Finding The Courage To Be Remarkable On Social Media

To loosely quote Teddy Roosevelt, the critic isn’t the one who is important; the credit belongs to the woman who is actually in the arena.

In order to be remarkable, to make a difference in this world, to live out your purpose for this short time you’re here on this earth, you have to put yourself out there in a way that, quite frankly, makes you a target. 

In short, in order to be remarkable, you have to allow people to make remarks about you. 

As I patiently wait for my TEDx talk to be posted online for the world to see, I wonder how it will be received. I talk about today’s elitist and ableist version of health: how it’s not just what you eat or how much you weigh. I call for a systematic shift in what we stereotypically see as “health and wellness.” And I wonder how many people stuck in diet culture–those who live and die by intermittent fasting or cutting out all carbs and sugars–will leave scathing comments. 

As I patiently wait for the publication date of my debut book, Freedom with Food and Fitness, I wonder how it will be received. I talk about how intuitive eating saved my life, after over a decade of chronic dieting that morphed into three undiagnosed eating disorders. I call for a revolution against the diet industry: a $60 billion force that preys on the insecurities of women (and men). And I wonder how many people will leave scathing reviews. 

I have willingly stepped into the lions’ den knowing I will be both celebrated and criticized, the latter likely to dig into my own deepest insecurities and fear. 

You know that you have an amazing company, a revolutionary idea, a gift that you can teach others, a voice that is bubbling to the surface with passion and conviction. 

But you also know those critics are waiting in the shadows, ready to tear you apart. 

And it silences you. Makes you hesitate. Makes you delay your passions and life’s purpose because if you hear those negative remarks, you might think you’re wrong about yourself and your brilliant ideas. Maybe you aren’t so special, maybe you aren’t so brilliant. Maybe they’re right. 

But all that does is keep you small. Keep us, as women, from speaking up, speaking our truth and taking up space. 

When my clients struggle with thoughts that keep them stuck, I simply offer them different thoughts. So, here are some alternative thoughts I’d like you to try on–perhaps even as affirmations– so that you can better handle the remarks, and step into your remarkable self. 

  1. “They’re allowed to be wrong about me.” No matter what an internet troll says, it doesn’t make what they say true. We have a lot of thoughts about a lot of different people all the time, and sometimes, let’s admit it, we’re wrong. I totally misjudged Ariana Grande. Based on her music, I thought she was a vapid music artist with oversexualized lyrics. Turns out, she’s actually a sensitive, intelligent and wildly talented music artist. I was wrong about her, and I was allowed to be wrong about her, because my previous misconceptions of her didn’t change who she was fundamentally. This thought helps take the authority out of what other people say about you. 
  1. “Thoughts are not truths.” Just because someone has a thought about you, or you have a thought about yourself, doesn’t make it true. If someone comments on your YouTube video that you have no business wearing the outfit you are, who says that’s the truth? Before that comment, you thought you were rocking that outfit like a queen! Why do we believe what someone else says over our own wisdom? Why do we value their opinions more than our own? Who is right in the scenario of your outfit? There is no right or wrong. The neutral circumstance here is you wore an outfit. There is no categorical truth about whether you looked good in it or not; so it’s your choice to believe one way or the other. And then the question becomes: “Which thought serves you most and allows you to continue showing up as yourself, in service of others?”
  1. “What am I making this mean?” Going back to the idea that the outfit you wore is neutral, so is the fact that someone made a negative comment about it. The comment itself might be negative, but seeing the actual comment online is neutral. The key is what you’re making it mean. Are you making it mean that you’re not for some people and this person just isn’t part of your tribe, and moving on with your day? Or are you making it mean that you’re disgusting and need to lose 10 more pounds before you step on a speaking stage again? Are you going to drop thousands of dollars on a completely new wardrobe when you could be investing that money back into your business? Or in life experiences?
  1. “Not everyone likes peaches.” You could be the juiciest, most beautifully ripe peach in the world…and there will be someone who just doesn’t like peaches. You are not for everyone, and not everyone is for you. And that’s okay! That’s what makes our world so rich with nuanced ideas and concepts. 
  1. “Who needs to hear my message today?” Regardless of those who don’t like peaches, there is someone, today, who needs to hear your message. Someone who needs to know they’re not alone in their struggles. Someone who needs to know how to move forward to where you used to be– where they are now–and get to where you’ve arrived. You are not speaking up or showing up for those who will make negative remarks; you are showing up for those you serve, who you want to help through your message, a message only you can give in the special way you give it. 

Want to learn more about how to be mentally bullet-proof? To show up powerfully, authentically, and confidently? Go to to learn more about Defy the Diet, my signature program where I coach women on how to heal their relationship with their bodies through the philosophies of intuitive eating. 

Speaking Up Against Body Criticism: How to Create Kind and Firm Boundaries

“Wow! I can’t believe how much weight you’ve lost. You look great!”

“Oh, there’s no way I can eat that. A moment on the lips, forever on the hips!”

“Is that outfit really flattering for someone with your body type?”

Whether it’s a troll on social media or well-meaning Aunt Kathy, all of us have come up against comments and criticisms about our bodies. 

Comments about weight gain will almost always be negative because our society is obsessed with thinness. Conversely, you may be receiving praise for losing weight, a job well done for fitting into the ideals of our society. 

Many of us don’t know what to do with these comments. We may meet them with shame and a nervous laugh, or perhaps a hesitant “thank you” if the comment was meant to be positive. And although women are socialized to be modest, and we can perhaps chalk our awkward responses to that, I believe there is a deeper reason: We know that the fixation on our physical bodies is harmful to us as women. It keeps us objectified and small.

If someone is complimenting your weight loss, they may be complimenting depression, cancer, an impossibly restrictive diet, or even an eating disorder. The latter was a painful experience for me. As someone who had three undiagnosed eating disorders, I was constantly praised for being the “fit, healthy” one. My desire to recover and restore my weight was at constant odds with the praise and validation people were unwittingly giving my eating disorders. In the same vein, if someone criticizes your weight gain, they may be criticizing recovery.

It’s also worth noting that if you’re on a journey to quit dieting in pursuit of more intuitive health, even if people aren’t criticizing your body, they will be criticizing their own. As a result, you may start second guessing what you’re doing for your health, since your coworker Alice lost so much weight by swearing off carbs and sugar. 

But, as I tell my clients, you cannot control other people and their criticisms of your body. The words of others are neutral circumstances we cannot control. 

What we can control, though, are our thoughts, emotions and reactions to those criticisms. We have the choice to believe them to be true, to make them mean something about who we are; and we have the choice to set up kind, yet firm, boundaries around the people who participate in making those comments. 

The topic of our thoughts and emotions around body criticisms is incredibly nuanced and not something I could cover here in one article; it’s something I take weeks and weeks to dive into with clients. But what I can do is arm you with a few boundary-setting tips! All of these are discussed in greater detail in my upcoming book, Freedom with Food and Fitness: How Intuitive Eating is the Key to Becoming Your Happiest Self.

Tip #1: Write down conversational triggers/ what you’re not willing to tolerate✨

How do you feel about compliments regarding certain body parts? Your weight? How do you feel about conversations that include numbers? Is discussing weights, calories, or macros triggering? What about diet conversations? Figure out what you can and cannot handle in terms of conversation, actually write it down so you can feel it. As you think of each kind of scenario you may come up against, see how you feel in your body. Do you get a pit in your stomach? Do your shoulders tense up? Those are the topics you want to avoid.

✨Tip #2: If the talk is happening as part of a larger gathering (e.g. party), walk away. ✨

Go to the bathroom, grab a drink, talk to someone else–whatever you have to do to physically remove yourself from the situation.  This strategy is for those who know they need to filter the narratives around them but aren’t necessarily ready for actual confrontations. Quietly excusing yourself is absolutely acceptable. If you’re at a dinner table and the people to your left start talking about diet-related things, physically turn your body to the right and see what those people are talking about. 

Tip #3: Don’t get defensive ✨

If people feel attacked, the logical part of their brain shuts down and they, quite literally, can’t hear what you’re saying. Sometimes, especially if someone is being critical, you want to come back with fighting words. What does THAT mean? Why would you say that? We won’t want to be defensive because that puts people’s guards up, too, and then no one is really hearing what anyone is saying. It shuts down meaningful, productive conversation instead of facilitating it. Part of the reason we can get defensive is because, deep down, we still believe diet culture’s lies, too. Still, it’s not exactly fair to go into attack mode. For one, they’re also a casualty of diet culture’s messages; and two, the fact you still believe diet culture’s messages is not their problem–it’s yours. 

Tip #4: Write down responses ahead of time

This may feel silly but if you know what you’d say in certain situations, you’ll feel more confident sticking up for yourself and you’ll say them with more conviction, instead of stumbling on your words.  Write down what you think future disordered conversations will be like based on what they’ve said in the past. What will they say and what will you say back?

✨Tip #5: Be “punny” (lighthearted with your request for boundaries)✨

Although setting boundaries is a serious matter in terms of setting yourself up for recovery success, you don’t have to sound so serious. Laughter and humor are great ways to disengage the offending party and have them be more open to heeding your requests.

UNWELCOME COMMENT: “You’re going to eat all that?”

RESPONSE: “Yup, can’t topple the patriarchy on an empty stomach!”

UNWELCOME COMMENT: “Have you lost weight?”

RESPONSE: “Yup, the weight of other people’s opinions on my weight.” 

✨Tip #6:Be ready to let go of relationships✨

Some people are so wrapped up in their own thoughts, beliefs and wants (and diet culture), that they won’t want to or be able to fulfill your request. You’ll have to learn to let these people go. We only want people in our lives that will support what makes us our best selves, and we know that people pleasing (keeping people around even if they’re toxic) doesn’t serve us.

 We may fear we are being “oversensitive,” that we should just be able to let things go, that it’s not that big of a deal; but it is. Your mental health and happiness are huge deals, and you have every right to safeguard them, while asking others who supposedly care about you to do the same. They might not understand your journey, your requests, or how they themselves are wrapped up in diet culture, but they should still be willing to respect your requests. If they can’t do that for you, they’re not meant to be in your lives in the first place.

Want to learn more about how to be your own body’s best friend? Go to to learn more about Defy the Diet, my signature program where I coach women on how to heal their relationship with their bodies through the philosophies of intuitive eating. 

Resolution Regret: How to Move Forward from a Failed New Year’s Resolution

So, be honest: Are you still holding steady to your New Year’s resolution for 2023? 

Yeah… that’s what I thought. 

And there’s NO shame in that from me, friend! I can’t tell you how many times I told myself that I was going to eat perfectly clean, cut out refined sugar, cut out carbs, meal prep perfectly, work out perfectly, get down to my goal weight, and not break a metaphorical sweat doing it all. 

I was acting as if I could flip a switch and suddenly be able to do all those things!

And then I would inevitably feel like shit some random day in January or February when it all went to hell and I couldn’t hack it. 

What was wrong with me? I thought. 

Turns out, there was nothing wrong with me; and everything wrong with the way I was goal setting!

Here are some typical pitfalls to goal setting–and solutions to each. Which ones are you experiencing? 

PROBLEM: You put too much pressure on the resolution

When we make New Year’s resolutions, particularly on January 1, we put so much pressure on our new and perfect plans; if we fail at them, it subconsciously tells us that the entire next year is ruined. That we can’t start over. Talk about pressure–not being able to make a mistake for a whole 365 days!

This is commercialized bullshit perpetuated by diet culture. We have to buy into all their expensive programs on January 1, because otherwise, our year will be one fraught with weight gain, a lack of health, and zero self-confidence. 

SOLUTION: Realize that this resolution doesn’t make or break you as a person

Stop attributing the success of this resolution to your self-worth. Not eating perfectly clean doesn’t make you a bad person. Missing a workout doesn’t make you a bad person. You are someone who is on a journey toward better, more authentic and attuned health in the form of intuitive eating; but you’re not an intuitive eating robot. 

PROBLEM: You get caught in black and white thinking. 

You’re either at the gym every day for an hour–or not stepping foot in a gym for two months. 

You’re either eating kale salad with a squeeze of lemon for lunch–or eating fruit snacks for breakfast, lunch AND dinner. 

And your emotional state between both extremes is also–well–extreme. You’re riding a health kick high when you’re eating “healthy” and then in a full-on shame spiral when you’re not. 

SOLUTION: Learn to live in the gray

No one is perfect. I don’t care who you’re looking at on Instagram or even in your real life. In fact, many of the influencers you see are either disordered eaters, binge eaters or have other areas of their life where they’re a complete dumpster fire. 

When you “mess up,” instead of seeing it as a failure, see it as an opportunity to get better. We always want to look like we have it all together and have all the answers, when in reality, life is so much more rich when we continually get to go on a journey of self-improvement and evolution. 

PROBLEM: Your resolution (or goal) is too big. 

DId you promise yourself you were going to go to the gym six days a week?

…and journal every morning?

…and meditate for 30 minutes every evening? 

…and never yell at your kids again? 

…and always meal prep every Sunday? 

Yikes. That’s a lot. No wonder all the plates crashed and broke so quickly! You were spinning too many of them. 

Most of these habits are ones that I currently do—but it took years of stacking them, one by one! 

When we “multitask,” even with our goals, we can’t focus on doing any of them particularly well; we can’t focus on mastering them. 

SOLUTION: Choose one big goal and break it up into smaller goals. 

I have one big goal for my business this year: to grow my business. Within that big goal, I have a lot of small goals: a certain number of clients I’d like to sign, a certain number of reels that I’ll post on Instagram per day, a marketing plan for my book (which is further broken down into smaller goals!).

Tackle one small goal at a time in pursuance of a larger goal. We overestimate what we can do in the short-term and underestimate when we can do in the long-term. Give yourself time to create the staircase to your goals, one stair at a time. 

Goal setting, achieving goals, time management and habit formation are some of my secret superpowers–and I give the secrets to these to clients inside Defy the Diet. 

  • Healing your relationship with food
  • Creating a movement habit you enjoy
  • Prepping nourishing meals 
  • Learning to appreciate your body and your life

They all stem from being able to set and achieve goals both big and small. 
So let me help you do just that. Fill out my application for coaching at There, you can choose whether you’d like to hop on a 15-minute discovery call or would like me to send you a free customized video offer. Either way, I’ll detail EXACTLY how coaching with me will get you past the roadblocks to food freedom and to a life and body that you love!

Comfortably Learning to Feel Your Fullness

As someone who struggled with disordered eating for almost a decade, I know firsthand how difficult it can be to not only recognize when you’re full, but also be at peace with the feeling of fullness. It can feel like a whole lot of overthinking coupled with shame, especially in a society that tells you to eat as little as possible for weight loss. All this worrying and stressing over fullness can be harmful to both your physical and mental health.

First, let’s tackle how to know when you’re actually full. Learning to feel your fullness is crucial for maintaining a healthy relationship with food and your body. It means being attuned to your body’s hunger and satiety cues, and knowing when to stop eating when you feel satisfied rather than stuffed.

Feeling fullness has a variety of benefits, including the fact that it’s a signal that you’ve provided your body with enough energy. In today’s dieting-obsessed society, it can be tough to remember that calories are actually units of energy, not little demons trying to thwart your weight goals. Feeling full also begins to rebuild the trust that’s been broken between your brain and your body. If you haven’t been allowing yourself to feel fullness, your body has learned that you won’t provide the sustenance it needs. When this happens, it can trigger bingeing because, again, your body isn’t sure when the next time you’ll feed it will be. So the last benefit to feeling your fullness is the fact it can prevent future episodes of bingeing because your body is once again trusting that you will feed it adequately.

But how do you actually learn (or re-learn) to know when you’re full? Here are a few tips that have helped me and my clients:

  1. Slow down and pay attention to your food. Instead of eating quickly and mindlessly, take the time to savor each bite and pay attention to how you’re feeling as you eat. This will allow you to better gauge your hunger and fullness levels. Incorporate all your senses into the experience: sight, taste, touch, smell and sound. If you’re sitting down to eat something, have it be something you enjoy and savor the experience. You’ll feel much more satisfied than when you inhale your dinner or dessert.
  2. Check in with your body regularly during the day, as well as during meals. Take a few minutes throughout the day to pause and check in with your body. How hungry or full do you feel? What does your body need? This can help you tune into your body’s needs rather than relying on external cues. Many diets tell us we’re only supposed to eat at certain times of the day (and certainly never after 7 p.m.!) Instead, try to use the hunger and fullness scale to gauge how hungry you are. Aim for what feels like pleasant hunger. If you wait too long to eat (and ignore initial hunger signals), you may trigger a binge and override any “comfortable fullness” signals. Also, remember to check in with your fullness halfway through a meal. With practice you can learn to find your “last bite threshold,” the last bite that will leave you not only feeling comfortably physically full, but also mentally satiated. 
  3. Practice mindful eating. Mindful eating involves bringing your full attention to the present moment while eating, rather than eating while distracted (e.g. watching TV, scrolling through social media). This can help you be more aware of your food and your body’s fullness signals. Fullness may feel like a slight distention in the stomach, a feeling of mental (“ahhhh!”) satiation, a heaviness in the stomach, clear-headedness, or a calming of your nervous system. Sometimes we distract ourselves when we’re eating because we feel a level of shame about it, whether it’s the fact we’re eating at all, what we’re eating, or how much food is in front of us. This can lead to eating too quickly and missing initial fullness cues.
  4. Don’t be afraid to stop eating when you’re full. It’s okay to leave food on your plate or not finish everything you’ve been served. Trust your body and its fullness cues, and don’t feel pressured to eat beyond your limits. Remember that, as an intuitive eater, you’re allowed to eat whatever and whenever you want; so if you underestimate your fullness and end up hungry an hour later, you’re allowed to go back to the food. No “last supper mentality” here!

It’s important to remember that feeling full is a normal and natural sensation; it’s one we were very in tune with when we were babies and children. It’s not something to be feared or avoided. By learning to recognize and accept the feeling of fullness, you can develop a healthier and more positive relationship with food and your body.

If you’re ready to take the next step in your journey toward intuitive eating and a happier, healthier relationship with food, why not schedule a discovery call with me today? In just a short conversation, we can discuss your goals and how my coaching program can support you on your path to intuitive eating success. Click here to schedule your free 15-minute call now and let’s start creating the building blocks to your food freedom! 

Authentic Health: The Intersection of Want and Need

One of the reasons diets are so frustrating, apart from the fact they don’t work, is because they’re all so contradictory. One diet says to eat low carb, the other low fat, the other high fat and the other only orange foods. 

With all this conflicting information, trying to follow a structured diet can be very confusing, causing you to try all of them to no avail. You’re not any healthier or skinnier, which were probably the goals if you were on a diet, so what gives? 

What gives is the fact that many of us are on one or the other end of a spectrum of authentic health. We’re either all the way on one side, eating only what we need and none of what we want; or we’re on the other side eating only what we want and not considering nutritional requirements. 

The ideal sweet spot is known as “authentic health,” the intersection of guidelines from the science and medical communities, and our own body’s wisdom and desires. 

The Guidelines

The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Agriculture (USDA) update and release the Dietary Guidelines every five years. Each edition of the Dietary Guidelines reflects the newest developments in nutrition science. We typically see recommendations like focusing the majority of our diets on fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. They encourage consumption of healthy fats, but recommend limiting added sugar, alcohol and salt. While their guidelines don’t mention hydration specifically, the U.S. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends that men drink about 15 cups of fluids a day and women about 11 cups. 

With regard to movement, the Center for Disease Control recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and two days of strength training. That’s about 15-30 minutes a day, five days a week; even so, many studies are showing that even just 10 minutes of activity each day can slow the effects of aging. 

What happens when we approach these guidelines too strictly

When we hear these recommendations and the benefits of them, we automatically think about what happens when we don’t adhere to these recommendations 100% of the time. We get stuck in black and white thinking. We can tend to become obsessive with these guidelines in a way that is actually unhealthy

A guideline, by definition, is a general rule, advice or outline; it’s not an end-all-be-all creed for living a life free of disease. If we take the guidelines too seriously and adhere to them too rigidly, we run the risk of becoming obsessive and restrictive. If you’ve been in the intuitive eating space for any length of time, you know obsession and restriction leads to a pendulum swing toward bingeing and/or physical inactivity, sometimes as a biological response of rebellion. If we’re so worried about meeting these guidelines, but also fight with how restrictive they may feel, the added stress and anxiety takes a toll on our mental health. While many may disregard mental health as “woo-woo,” studies show very real consequences to ignoring mental health; in fact, stress over what you’re eating and how much you’re exercising can actually cause the very things we’re trying to prevent through nutrition and exercise: high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. 

How to approach these guidelines gently

Intuitive eating has two principles that detail gentle movement and gentle nutrition, respectively. In both of these philosophies, guidelines for both nutrition and exercise are loosely followed in a way that allows people to find joy and consistency in both. For example, if you hate CrossFit but feel it’s a way to get in a workout “that counts,” you may be consistent for a few weeks or months before you burn out or injure yourself, and then sit on the couch for the next six months. If you, instead, choose something you love–like dancing, yoga or gardening–you’ll be not only more apt to do it, but do it with more consistency. As with anything in our lives, the rewards of nutrition and movement are found in the cumulation of these activities over time, not a week, month or even year of them; the same goes for the lack of them. If you miss a week of working out because life gets busy or hard, or if you go on vacation and don’t follow the guidelines while you’re there, this will not impact your health virtually at all. When approaching food, approaching it gently means keeping in mind how your body will feel after a meal and keeping the guidelines in mind, but also knowing that honoring your cravings will keep you feeling satisfied and at peace. So have that pizza, but maybe have it with a side of grilled chicken and roasted veggies. Take the 30 minutes you spend scrolling on TikTok and do some yoga or take a walk and listen to a podcast. 

Start living in the “and.” Eat cake but also eat fruit. Weight lift some days and dance while cooking dinner other days. Take rest days. Enjoy the cocktail. Sweat in Zumba. Gently stretch in yoga. Approach nutrition and movement from a place of love and abundance, and your body and mind will give you love and abundance back. 

Your Doctor Is the Expert: And Other Lies

Although the landscape of how we view those in the medical field is changing, there are still many of us who believe that our doctors are the end-all-be-all experts when it comes to our health. 

“We know nothing, and we should always yield to their better judgment when it comes to our health.” This is actually the same narrative we hear with regard to fitness professionals: “We don’t know how to fuel and move our bodies, and therefore, we need to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for experts, expensive equipment, packaged diet food, and prescribed diets.

There is a disconnect that happens between our bodies and our minds when we constantly buy into and operate from a narrative that says that we cannot be trusted. We rely on external rules and societal norms to mold us into who we think we’re supposed to be.  We have no idea how to listen to our own innate wisdom, and this is very apparent when we step into the doctor’s office. 

Why Doctors Still Use BMI, even if BMI is BS

When we go to the doctor, it’s almost a guarantee that we will be asked to step on the scale. Whether it’s an off-color comment from the nurse or just a look at the number that appears before us, this event can be very triggering for many. Doctors generally use this information to calculate your Body Mass Index and discern whether we’re underweight, normal, overweight or obese. 

Although a poor and inaccurate determinant of health, BMI is still utilized as a diagnostic tool in most doctors’ offices. To me, this is lazy medical practice. “BMI has been used for decades at this point, so why should we change it now?” It’s also the quickest and most cost-effective way to categorize people’s weight in order to make an assessment about their health. 

Why doctors prescribe weight loss

Again, this is an “easy” way to provide medical care. It’s very easy to identify weight, particularly if it’s above “normal,” as the problem for any ailments a patient comes in with. High blood pressure? Lose weight. Joint pain? Lose weight. 

Uncovering the actual core cause of a patient’s issues would require a lot more time, money and diagnostic testing, which is why many doctors turn to weight loss as a first treatment option for anyone in a larger body; this is one of the most common forms of weight stigma seen in the medical community. 

Why it‘s not (always) their fault 

I’m not here to speak negatively about or stereotype those in the medical community. There are plenty of practitioners out there who go into their field–endure the years of school, student loans, and grueling shifts–to help people who are sick. I respect the hell out of them because it’s not a field I would thrive in. I have had some crumby doctors, but I’ve also had ones that have changed my life for the better and have even saved it multiple times.

As a result, we need to talk about why sometimes it’s not a doctor’s fault when they use BMI as a diagnostic and prescribe weight loss. 

First and foremost, they are fallible human beings living in a fatphobic society just like you and me. They are not exempt from the perpetuated lies and the fear of what it means for our “health” and self-worth if we’re in a larger body. Yes, they should consider it their duty to educate themselves on fatphobia and how to speak to patients about weight in a neutral way; but we have to give some grace for the fact that none of us have been perfect on this undieting journey. 

The second reason we need to show some compassion is because the medical field is changing. Doctors have less time with patients; they’re sometimes forced to spend only 15 minutes with patients, so they can see more patients and make enough money from insurance companies to pay the rest of the staff. 

And third, the medical field is constantly changing. It’s such a vast field that it’s literally impossible to expect a doctor, one human being, to be up to date on all the medical advances and studies. My “day job” is as a high school English teacher, and I’ll tell you, nothing is more infuriating than when someone assumes I’ve read every novel, know every grammatical rule, and can define every word in the English language. 

Suffice it to say, it’s up to us to take action and safeguard ourselves when we go to the doctor’s office. 

  1. Refuse to get weighed – This is key. Many people are hesitant to stand up for themselves in this way, but unless you’re taking a medication that’s dosage is based on weight; a diagnosis like kidney disease where weight needs to be monitored for possible kidney failure; or you’re getting anesthesia for surgery, getting weighed is not medically necessary. Saying a simple, “No, thank you. I’d rather not” will suffice. You do not owe them an explanation. 
  2. Set boundaries – This is your appointment for your health. If there is a course of action you do not agree with, you’re within your right to say, “I don’t feel comfortable with this treatment solution.” If they want to discuss your weight, you’re allowed to say, “I don’t feel comfortable talking about my weight as part of my treatment plan.” 
  3. Advocate for yourself – If your doctor wants to prescribe a diet or weight loss, you can advocate for an alternative form of care by saying, “I would like to know what treatment plan you would suggest to someone in a smaller body.”
  4. Do your own research – Yes, “Dr. Google” can tell you you’re dying for just about any symptom you could have; but at the same time, knowledge is power. Look for alternative causes for your symptoms and advocate for those to be explored, as well. 
  5. Find a HAES-aligned doctor – The Health at Every Size (HAES) Professional Listing Project is in the works by the Associate for Size Diversity and Health at the time of this writing. If it’s not completed yet by the time you’re reading this, though, you can Google “HAES doctors near me” to try and find a doctor that is willing to provide weight neutral care. 

If you need more help navigating your health without weight loss as the main component, let’s chat. Go to to schedule a free call with me to discuss how you can approach health without dieting. Enrollment for Defy the Diet closes on December 12 and spots are limited, so if you want to change your relationship to your health and your weight, now is the time!

6 Tips to Incorporate Gentle Nutrition

Gentle nutrition seems to be the principle of intuitive eating that everyone is itching to get to. It makes sense, considering it’s the “healthy” step and most of us have been dieting for decades in an effort to be healthy. Many feel uncomfortable with the other steps to becoming an intuitive eater because they force you to face diet culture head on, get rid of all the rules you were told would keep you safe and thin, and begin to allow all foods–including the ones you fear the most. You’ve written off all diets for good, but the phase of initial weight gain has been terrifying. You’re ready to get to introducing salads and vegetables back into your life without it feeling diet-y. 

If you are well into your intuitive eating journey and feel like gentle nutrition is a step you’re ready for, here are six tips to help you incorporate it in a way that still feels freeing and allows you to feel good in your body. 

  1. Ask “What can I add to my diet” that I actually like? Since you’ve been allowing all foods, now is the time you can start being choosy. You’ve been allowing everything because there are no more rules! But now you’re starting to notice that some foods were put on a pedestal simply because you weren’t allowed to have them…and now you’re noticing you don’t even like them. This is how I felt about donuts and many cookies. I just didn’t actually care about them, especially now that I could add any sweets I wanted–like ice cream and brownies! On the other hand, make sure you’re adding back in nutritious foods you actually like. If you’re adding them simply because you think you should, that’s diet culture talking again. I will never eat kale because I don’t like it–unless it’s a chip. It may be a superfood, but I’m super not into it. 
  1. What can I add to my diet (from a place of abundance) that is nutritious and will leave me feeling energized and satisfied? I REALLY love roasted broccoli with pecorino romano cheese. I could have that every day, and I feel so good after eating it. I love many roasted vegetables, eggs in almost any style, salads, fruits, yogurt, oatmeal…those foods taste so good to me and leave me feeling satisfied and energized. If the food leaves you feeling sluggish, gassy, bloated, or otherwise negative in some way, you can still choose not to eat it, even though you’ve given yourself permission to eat all foods. But instead of focusing on what you are taking out, focus more on what you can add in. I love spaghetti squash, so I add that in sometimes instead of pasta to give myself a veggie. I make sure to drink a lot of water and tea. I add fruit to my oatmeal or yogurt. I add healthy fats like avocado and cheese to my salads with dressings that aren’t just vinegar or lemon juice. Restriction leads to bingeing and overall feelings of scarcity; focus on what you can give yourself more of–more water, vegetables, protein, fiber, movement, etc.–as an act of self love.
  1. Check in halfway through the meal.  How does it taste? Does it still taste as good as the first bite, or are you just eating out of distraction or habit? How does your stomach feel in terms of physical fullness? Are you eating too quickly out of shame or are you allowing yourself to truly enjoy it? With gentle nutrition, you are allowing yourself to feel pleasantly full.  
  1. How am I feeling after this meal? Some of us don’t digest certain foods well. I personally don’t do well with fried foods. Whatever oil they typically cook it in leaves me feeling very sluggish and constipated for days. I don’t avoid fried things because they’re “unhealthy” – I avoid them because my goal is to always feel good in my body. If I ever do choose fried foods, though, it’s because I’ve made the conscious decision that I’m okay with feeling a little less than stellar later because I know I’ll truly enjoy it in the moment. 
  1. Stay curious and keep experimenting. It took me a while to find out that fried foods don’t agree with me. I wasn’t figuring out the pattern right away. So instead of feeling shame and frustration when you don’t feel great after a meal, approach the situation with curiosity. Hmm, I wonder what is causing me to feel this way. What can I do next time to avoid this feeling? Maybe it’s avoiding that food altogether or maybe it’s just adjusting the quantity. I find I can have one, maybe two, slices of pizza before the gas comes. That’s my limit. Maybe yours is different. 
  2. Don’t turn anything into a rule. I don’t have a rule that I can never have pasta just because I enjoy spaghetti squash, or that I can never have the whole egg simply because I like egg white omelets. I don’t have a rule that just because I don’t like most donuts that I won’t allow myself a toasted coconut or blueberry one (because I LOVE those!). Learn to live in the gray. There are exceptions to everything in life. The black and white thinking is what got you stuck in the first place, so I encourage you to smudge those lines.

4 Simple Ways to Regain Pleasure In Eating 

After years of dieting and/or watching family members follow diets, food may be viewed strictly as fuel. It’s something you need to merely tolerate in keeping you alive. All other forms of eating are indulgent and counterintuitive to your goal weight. 

This may sound like an innocent philosophy, especially in the name of “health,” but it does more harm than good. Food is meant to be enjoyed, even meant to be comforting. People have used food as part of ceremonies, traditions, and holidays for centuries. When we are babies, our mother’s milk (or formula) comforts us when we cry. 

White-knuckling your way through eating strictly for fuel typically results in eating only a handful of “safe” foods, and usually bland foods at that. This restriction leads to mounting cravings, and these cravings lead to binges. 

If we allow pleasure in eating, it can be a satisfying experience, one where we savor and are mindful in the practice of eating; one that provides joy and leaves us feeling energized and at peace in our bodies, not deprived on one end of the spectrum (when we restrict) or uncomfortable and shameful on the other (when we inevitably binge). 

So, if you’re looking to enjoy eating again, here are four ways to start: 

  1. Ask yourself: What do you REALLY want to eat? If you had unconditional permission to eat, what sounds good and would leave you feeling good in your body? You have body autonomy and are allowed to eat whatever you want! I remember when I was restricting and there was a dessert table at a family gathering, I would eat one of everything, even things I didn’t like! My restriction was creating cravings for things I didn’t even enjoy, simply because they were a “forbidden fruit.” Allowing all foods, though, allowed me to really discover what would really both taste and feel good in my body. 
  2. Use all five senses as you eat, without distraction. When we experience a binge or a cheat day, we tend to eat quickly, mindlessly and/or in secret. We don’t even get to enjoy the experience because we don’t want it to be an enjoyable experience! If it’s an enjoyable experience, we’d want to do it more, and then say goodbye to your weight goals! Stripping away the pleasure of the experience, though, doesn’t stop us from eating our trigger foods: we either do it mindfully and habitually, or we do it with shame in the form of a binge. So if you want to experience the former, slow down. Intentionally allow yourself to eat the food. Minimize distractions like your phone or the TV. If you have negative thoughts come up during the experience, journal them after. Use all five senses to taste, smell, see, touch and hear the food you’re taking pleasure in. Maximize the pleasure. Honing into the experience will also give you a more clear sign of when you are satiated. 
  3. Create a pleasurable experience. If you wait until you’re famished, eating is not a pleasurable experience. It’s an experience where your prefrontal cortex shuts off and your primitive brain just tries to keep you from starving to death. Conversely, if you eat when you’re not hungry at all, it’s typically because you are trying to numb out from a “negative” emotion like anxiety or boredom. If you follow the hunger and fullness scale, wait until you’re about a 4 to eat; for me, this is the sweet spot when I feel “pleasantly hungry,” when the food seems to taste that much better, and the calm that comes over me when I’m pleasantly full and satiated feels amazing. It’s also worth noting on this strategy that hunger may not present itself as a growling stomach; it might be irritability, lightheadedness, an inability to concentrate, or an empty, gnawing sensation in your stomach. Increased interoceptive awareness will allow you to hone in on one those early hunger cues so you do not miss it and end up ravenous before you sit down to eat. 
  4. Don’t settle. If your food isn’t high quality or otherwise up to your standards and/or doesn’t taste as good halfway through, you have permission to stop eating. When I was a disordered eater and I had “saved up” to have a slice of cake at a birthday party, if the cake was subpar, I would eat the whole thing anyway. I had been looking forward to it, a slice of cake I would rarely allow myself; and since I had already eaten some of it, I might as well continue to “cheat” on my diet. This is what happens when you restrict fear or trigger foods. If you genuinely allow them at any time, though, and cultivate habituation, you begin to get picky (in a good way) with your foods. Now if I go to a party and there’s mediocre cake, I don’t eat it. I can have cake whenever I want, and I only want delicious cake! I want to savor it slowly until I’m satiated and then move on with my day without guilt. 

Food can, and should, be pleasurable; the key is to allow yourself to experience it and be with the food fully and mindfully. While this can understandably be scary at first, repeated exposure will calm your fears and excite your taste buds.

Why Full Day of Eating (FDOE) or What I Eat in a Day Posts Are Not Helpful  

When you’re in recovery, it might seem reassuring to see what others eat in a day. It might give you the courage to eat more throughout your day or to eat more consistently. You might see those who have bodies like the one you want to have and be comforted by the fact that they eat way more than 1200 calories a day. 

This, at first, seems like a great tool in recovery; I remember feeling that way when I followed accounts that posted this kind of content. After years of restriction, the posts also provided me with some fresh, new meals, foods, and combinations that I could try as I began to allow all foods. 

Very quickly, though, these types of posts can create comparison. Are you eating less than them? More than them? Different foods than them? And do you look like them as a result?

Part of the issue with tools like body weight scales and tracking apps like MyFitnessPal is that they are not just restrictive, but they also create an environment where you’re using an external resource to dictate what you should be eating and how much. This takes away from the trust you have in your own body to tell you what it needs. That body trust is what needs to be cultivated and practiced, which means not looking to others to see what we should be eating.

Another issue with these posts is they implicitly convey the message that if you eat like this person, you will look like this person. While many in the diet and fitness world will explicitly or implicitly promise you certain results, either through what they look like or client before and after photos, these promises are false. Two people can eat and exercise in exactly the same way, and they will still be a different weight and shape. Genetics plays a crucial part in our body’s makeup. What is sustainable, normal, and appropriate for one person may be very different from another, regardless of age, gender, and height. 

Another aspect of these posts to consider is that we do not know whether these meals were completely finished, if more was consumed, if the meals were “earned” through excessive exercise, or were purged, etc. What we see on social media are what creators want us to see, no more, no less. 

These kinds of posts can not only cause comparisons for body size but also for quality of food. Perhaps you are not someone who can dedicate hours to making beautiful meals from scratch. I’m a full-time teacher, part-time intuitive eating coach, grad school student, wife, and mother, etc. I use a lot of convenience foods like frozen and canned items. I don’t have time to whip up turmeric lattes and beautiful overnight oats in mason jars; but that’s not the point of food! It doesn’t have to look pretty; it just needs to be nourishing and satisfying. 

Instead of these types of accounts, follow accounts that provide ideas for meals but do not show a day in its entirety. On my Instagram @FreedomwithFoodandFitness, I show several meals and snacks, but never consecutively from the beginning to the end of a particular day. I want to convey to my clients and followers the courage to try new foods, as well as  fear foods, but not trigger comparison for quantity and aesthetic. 

And by all means, if FDOE posts do not trigger you or cause “compare and despair,” then feel free to continue to follow them! But be honest in whether those posts genuinely help or harm your recovery. 

Binge Eating is Not Emotional Management (and How to Properly Manage Your Emotions)

Binge eating can be one of the most difficult behaviors to stop when you are a disordered eater. You’re afraid to gain weight, so you restrict your food intake. You have beliefs around what foods are good and bad. You white-knuckle through a few days or weeks of “eating clean” because you want to hit your ideal weight or, at least, not gain any more. 

Eventually, though, something happens to open the flood gates. Maybe a coworker has a birthday and someone brings in a delicious-looking cake. Maybe you got into an argument with a family member, boss, or partner; you’re still stewing; and you remember that you have Thin Mint cookies in the freezer. Maybe you’re just exhausted from chasing around your children all day and want five minutes to yourself and a way to replenish your energy–with lots of chocolate. 

When you’ve come to from your binge, you frantically assess the damage done. How much did you eat? What should you eat tomorrow and the following week to “make up” for that binge? How much weight did you (in your mind, inevitably) gain? 

I was stuck in this cycle for years and years. There is a lot of shame and feelings of helplessness born in these cycles. You are so scared to get out of the cycle because if you don’t restrict after a binge, you’ll gain weight, and to you, that’s the worst thing that could ever happen, right?

What I realized on a conscious level, though, and what you probably realize subconsciously, is that binge eating is not an effective form of emotional management. Binge eating, yes, can allow you time to numb out, forget about your problems, experience a hit of dopamine, and fill you up (at least physically), but it will never be a healthy or sustainable coping mechanism for negative emotions and experiences that we all have, as part of the human experience. 

If you’re looking for ways to minimize or outright quit your binge eating, here are some key takeaways to remember. 

  1. Everyone has bad days and negative feelings. Life is 50/50. Most of us will feel awesome half the time and crappy half the time, and that’s just the way life is. We’re not guaranteed a permanent state of happiness, which is why it’s so interesting that we’re so resistant to negative emotions. If we didn’t have bad days or negative emotions, we would have no reference for when things were great. We would also never know how to problem solve or learn how to make things better if we didn’t deal with obstacles along the way. Simply remembering that everyone, and I mean everyone, has bad days and feels like garbage sometimes helps you to not resist those instances in your own life. It provides a space for self-compassion and an opportunity for reflection. 
  2. Ignoring negative feelings will not make them go away. What resists persists. The less you try to think about a negative emotion, thought, or event, the more you will internalize it. If it’s not processed, it has no way out. If you process it, feel it, and understand where it’s coming from, it’ll move through you and pass more easily and quickly. There are so many ways to process negative emotions–from thought work, to inquiry, to journaling, to meditation. Working with a coach through these instances can be particularly effective and powerful. But using food to numb out and avoid the problem at hand does little more than compounding it for the future and leave you feeling shameful for binge eating. 
  3. There are many kinds of self-care. We tend to think of long, luxurious massages and trips to the salon as the only modes of self-care; and then we disregard self-care because not all of us have the time or financial means to do that stuff regularly. As a result, we default to something cheaper and more readily available: food. What if we expanded our definition of self-care? What if it was simply reading for 10 minutes? Watch an episode of Friends on Netflix? Taking 10, slow, deep breaths? Journaling for five minutes so we can process our thoughts? 
  4. There is only one way to stop binge eating. And that is to stop restricting. You may think you’re “balancing out the scales” but what you’re really doing is setting yourself up for the next binge. Binge eating is a biological response to what your body perceives to be a famine (and what you call a diet). Your body will do everything it can to keep you alive, including binge eating, even if it feels mentally and physically horrible. Committing to consistent and adequate eating will result in better blood sugar levels, effective emotional management, more stable weight, and improved relationship with food and your body. Of course, this is a gross oversimplification of the work I do with clients in terms of dismantling diet culture’s lies, analyzing the science behind dieting, debunking food rules, and healing scarcity mindsets; but it is the eventual goal for those stuck in binge eating cycles. 

If this post was helpful to you, and you want to work with me as your coach, go to to schedule a free 15-minute consultation with me.