Posts tagged dieting
Relationship with Food Series Part 3: Seeing our Food and Body Image Struggles Collide

Last week in our relationship with food series we talked about the importance of safely, and from a distance, going on a little exploration journey. I asked you to look back at some of your stories and personal history with food to learn from it and view it with as much kindness as you could muster. For me, the first step in improving my relationship with food was taking an honest look at where I was with food, acknowledging that I was struggling and where that struggle was actually coming from. The very next step was taking inventory. I had to look back at my history with food and all the damage that going on endless diets had done, understanding that so many of my struggles with overeating and emotional eating came from this self-imposed restriction and focus on control and perfectionism. Soon after going on this little self discovery journey, it was time for me to see a different side of the equation, and it’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Body image was what was usually behind many of my habits with food and exercise and yet it was so incredibly difficult for me to see. So much of my focus was on healing what I considered to be my only problem: I would sit down to eat and paid no attention to my body’s cues, I would overeat until the point in which I was severely uncomfortable, and I would emotionally eat using food as my only coping tool to deal with difficult emotions. Just as I hadn’t seen the negative role restriction had played in my relationship with food, I would only see food as the culprit, food as the problem, food as my nemesis, food as something I needed to gain control over.

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Relationship with Food Series Part 2: Riding our Bikes Through our Food Stories

I’m so excited to bring you part 2 of our relationship with food series. Last week we talked about getting started on this journey by digging in deep, and noticing where were are when it comes to our relationship with food. I shared what really changed when I decided to look into these issues, and I talked about how every year this is a process of self discovery in which I get to see different sides to it and I continue to heal and make peace with food.

Today’s topic will be a bit shorter than last week’s because most of the work is going to be done by you, at home. Yes, there will be a bit of homework for you, as we’ll probably have in most of the episodes and posts in this series.

One fun little fact about the topic at hand today is that my whole process of healing my relationship with food began with looking into my food stories to share them with you. It was all in an old blog I used to have, and sadly I hadn’t realized (and wouldn’t realize for a while), that those stories were going to mark the beginning of a journey for me.

In fact when I dug into these stories the first time, I could only see the instances in which I was overeating, emotionally eating, sometimes bingeing, and was looking through them as a way to find how on Earth I was going to restrict and eliminate those behaviors through weight loss attempts. I had not yet seen what I told you about last week, that my stories of restricting foods and dieting had been the source of the problem, yet I had ignored them and focused on what I thought the “bad” habits with food were. I hadn’t seen what I know now, that my past history with dieting and restriction had been the cause, not the aftermath of so many of my issues with food. Back then I also hadn’t seen how my stories with body image and feelings toward my body had in many cases preceded my efforts to diet and restrict.

This is why looking at our stories with food and body image, exercise, dieting, emotional eating, etc., are so important when it comes to healing our relationship with food. It’s why today I’m going to ask you to get on a bike and ride next to your food stories and see what you discover.

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Relationship with Food Series Part 1: Acceptance of Who We are and Where We are

As promised a few weeks ago, we’re about to embark upon an adventure through our food stories, exploring our relationship with food. It took me a while to understand that in my own journey with food and cooking, there was another side to my interest in preparing delicious meals. I became a student of cooking when I was around 15 or 16, when I would gobble up all the cooking shows, and watched my uncle (the best cook I’ve ever known) deglaze pans to make elegant French sauces without any pretentious vibes whatsoever. I would study his techniques on everything from making a simple sandwich to the perfect artichokes with hollandaise sauce. I became obsessed. I began collecting recipes, filling up notebook after notebook as I watched The Food Network and when I finally found my chance (especially after I had Carlos to charm and impress), and started spending every bit of free time in the kitchen. What I didn’t know back then was that this thirst for culinary knowledge was also my way of dealing with something I wasn’t aware of at the time: my relationship with food had been tumultuous, it was in pain, and it needed a little support and help. Looking back I know that my interest in food was my way of looking into my relationship with food “without looking into it”, but thank goodness there came a day in which I couldn’t avoid shining a spotlight on it any longer. That was the day things really started to change.

As you probably know if you’re one of our My Brownble members, or you’ve taken any of our cooking courses, my interest in food and cooking never went away, and it’s still one of my favorite parts of the day, but along with developing the skills for tossing onions in a skillet, this has gone hand in hand with looking into and healing my relationship with food. It’s why neither side of this equation is ever missing in our content. One goes along for the ride with the other. We can’t talk about food and cooking without inherently dealing with our relationship with food, and we can’t talk about our relationship with food without talking about the act of eating and the food itself.

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Ease

Every time I sit down to write one of our posts and episodes for what we’ve informally called the little word series, I think of 2 or 3 more I’d love to talk about. I can now confidently say that this series of posts and episodes will definitely be back after we’re done with the last two I had in mind for this time around. We’ve already talked about patience, excess, change, fear, and one of my favorites, labels, and we’ve got just two more to go. Today, we’ll be talking about what has possibly been denied, repressed and pushed back in modern society and in our lives and formative years in the biggest way, and that is the pursuit of ease. Ease will be our little word for today as we discuss eating, our stress levels, time, mindfulness and the emotional aspects of ourselves that have an impact on the way we eat, the choices we make and our general well-being.

Is it just me or is anyone else noticing a serious busyness epidemic in our world today? “Busy” has become the new “fine” when we ask people how they are, not as a complaint, but more often than not as a little badge of honor. Everywhere we turn, and especially in social media, it’s all about the hustle, the getting things done, the systems and ways in which we can do more, using time to an inch of its life. In last week’s podcast episode I answered a listener question from one of our Sams (our gender-neutral pseudonym for all our listeners and readers who send us questions). Sam had asked how Carlos and I manage to have Brownble up and running with its constant flow of content that is released weekly AND also have our day jobs. You can listen back to last week’s episode to hear my full answer, which had mostly to do with getting organized and sticking to the plan so it becomes a habit (especially in terms of the content we create).

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Fear

We’re back with our little word series this week to talk about fear. So far in the series we’ve talked about the important role patience plays when it comes to everything we talk about here at Brownble. Whether it’s the patience needed when changing the way you eat, or patience with family members around you when you’re going on your vegan journey, whether it’s an important part of being more appreciative of the body you have, going on this quest to improve your relationship with food, or to improve your own body image. It even applies to all the posts and episodes we’ve had on cooking and honing your skills in the kitchen. It’s what I’ve loved about this series so far, one little word can have so much to do with many different aspects of our lives, and each and every one of you are going to get something different out of them. After patience came the word that inspired it all and we dove into our relationship to excess and how a little mantra has helped me tremendously this year. Then came the topic of change and how we experience and deal with the many changes we might be going through when we’re on this path to feeling better right where we are, and when creating an impact in the world around us. All of this got me thinking, what is that one emotion that seems to always be present whenever we discuss any of these little words in the series? The answer?

F.E.A.R

Fear is such a powerful part of each and every one of our lives. It’s one of those basic human emotions, and for many of us, especially my fellow anxious chronic worriers, fear runs the show more often than we’d care to admit. Fear is related to all of our favourite topics here in the blog and in our podcast, so I thought it was only fair we let it have the spotlight it often craves, in our little word series.

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Excess

Last week we talked about patience in this new series of episodes and posts in which we’re using little one-word mantras to help us on our journey. Today it’s finally time to talk about the little word that inspired the series: excess. I told you a couple of weeks ago how when a little Japanese woman on Netflix helped us declutter our home, I had some pretty massive realizations about my relationship to excess.

In case you don’t know who I’m talking about, I’m referring to the wonderful Marie Kondo and her Netflix show Tidying Up. A wonderful woman who turned our January into the ultimate “spring-clean-in-winter” fest. As you heard me talk about here, this process of donating bags and bags of those belongings that didn’t spark joy, was very meaningful. Not because we had the relief of having the tidiest closet we’d ever had (although that was part of it too), or because we could feel the breath of fresh air that naturally comes when you put away the last stack of unopened mail (even though this certainly happened), it was mainly because I had some pretty big realizations about my relationship to excess that had less to do with external things, and more to do with that internal world we love to talk so much about here at Brownble.

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Mindful Eating Basics

You've hear me talk about mindfulness and mindful eating a lot. It's because just as some people always place a pitcher of water or a salt and pepper shaker at the table, mindful eating is always a main character at ours. It wasn't always that way though. For most of my life, and even for most of our marriage we ate full of distractions, many times in front of the TV, and how much we ate depended on how much I, or the person making the meal, would put on our plates. While I was on the many diets I tried, it was the restrictive diet du jour which told me how much I should eat. Making it so that everything that was "allowed" was eaten, no more, and no less, regardless of hunger, of satisfaction, and even regardless of whether the food was enjoyable or not.

You've heard this little dichotomy I was so fond of before, right? If the diet du jour told me 1 cup of this or that, I followed it with rigid perfection. Then, when I couldn't anymore because, well... diets!, I would pile on the food, gobble it up mindlessly, feel overly full, and only if a second helping wasn't offered would I stop there. If seconds were even mentioned, or if it was a particular favorite of mine, or if serving platters were on the table and still had food on them, I would eat until plate, ladle and pot were squeaky clean. Not because I was really hungry, or because the food was giving me so much pleasure I just had to dig in, but because....well, diets. 

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Body Image Series: Behind the Curtain of Control

After a teary eyed episode last week, I'm finally here for part 4, the last installment of our body image series (at least for the time being). We've gone through so many aspects of our struggles with body image in the series. In part 1 I told you all about my rock bottom moment when it comes to body image and the fantastic tools that pulled me out of that place. In part 2 we discussed what the research is now showing when it comes to body image, body image resilience, and using the low points as jumping off points to slowly improve your relationship with your body. We also talked about self care (not self control or focusing on changing our bodies in order to love, appreciate and look after them). To me, acts of self care were one of the secrets to coming to a new relationship with my body and with food. In part 3, we talked about what happens when we have a different body, either due to illness, disability or circumstance, and I again told you about a painful/joyful part of my life, where I learned so much about what it means to navigate this beauty obsessed world.

Today we're going even deeper.

Today we're going deeper because our issues with body image and our relationship to food are like big juicy onions. Once you start peeling back the layers, you start to notice there is usually something at the core of these issues, something we try to keep hidden away below the surface, distracting ourselves with calorie counts, miles measured in apps on our phones, trying to control, tweak and change our bodies, and speaking negatively about our outside image instead of looking inward. 

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