Have you lived most of your life as a career dieter?
Do you struggle with body image issues?
Feel you don’t measure up to societal standards?
Are there lots of things you JUST WON’T DO because of how you feel about your body?
Here’s a few examples: wear a certain skin-hugging dress? Enjoy yourself at the beach in a cute swimsuit? Go to the gym?
Do you think things like: “That kind of dress isn’t made for someone with my shape” or “I shouldn’t wear that swimsuit, no one wants to see my rolls” or “Everyone will stare at me when I’m exercising because I’m so fat”
Do these kinds of thoughts hold you back from doing things you’d like to do? Do they keep you cooped up and quiet when you want to be bold and free?
Are you sick and tired of it??
I was too. For a long time I starved, berated, and damaged my body trying to fit a certain mold.
I even did this when I was supposedly “healthy” and paleo.
It was a brutal time where I weighed myself constantly and never felt comfortable in my own skin.
Can you relate?
Cue my life changing transformation in body image and self-love which has helped me not only overcome my own issues, but help thousands of others.
I started with myself, but I had a lot of help along the way.
One of my incredible friends was a major influence on the way I feel now.
She is strong, beautiful, and doesn’t give two f***s what people think about her or her body.
She loves herself unconditionally and she teaches women like you and I to do the same.
She is known for taking sledgehammers to scales and empowering women to love themselves no matter what.
That woman is my friend Summer Innanen.
And I’m fiercely excited about her new program. She’s calling it You, On Fire.
You guys know I love to sign my emails “With fire and love” because I love the idea of women bringing out their fiery, passionate, bold and fierce natures and really loving themselves, despite everything else!
Summer’s new program is the PERFECT option for any of you who struggle with that. It’s for those of you that are DONE with letting diet culture dictate to you or make you feel like your worth is based on a number on the scale, a certain shape or figure, or whatever BS they’re spewing out these days.
It’s for those of you who want to love yourselves and learn how to do that in a safe place with an AMAZING and hilarious woman.
You, On fire is a kickass 12-week group coaching program where you’ll join Summer’s entourage and learn to stick it to societal standards, stop living behind the number on the scale and feel like a total rockstar in your body.
This will be a fun, hilarious, and soulful journey into the depths of who you are, but more importantly, will release your sense of humor!
Summer has the ability to bring humor into anything and I know you’ll love her and her program! I can’t recommend her highly enough!
So check out You, On Fire. Find more info here.
Tell us how you’ve overcome (or not overcome!) your body image issues! What do you still struggle with? What advice has helped you the most?
Did you know that there are actually three different major types of eating issues?
There are eating disorders, disordered eating, and then something similar to disordered eating called ‘problematic eating behavior’.
One of the interesting types of problematic eating behavior seems to describe MANY of the people that I talk with in the nutrition world and many of my readers- they are called restrained eaters.
Restrained eaters are eaters who struggle with chronic restrictiveness- either eliminating foods or chronically dieting.
If you are a yo-yo dieter or find yourself continually in the cycle of losing or gaining weight, you may be a restrained eater.
When restrained eaters are confronted with weight gain, they feel negative emotions which can then cause them to overeat. They also feel guilt when they eat a food they’ve deemed “bad”. Restrained eaters also have an obsession with body shape and weight and may use self-judgement as a tool to spur their weight loss goals.
Sound a little familiar?
In the paleo community, we eliminate certain foods for health reasons. In other forms of dieting we restrict processed foods or calories to help lose weight.
Research shows that these things DO help people lose weight. But research also shows that restrained eating can actually promote eating disorders.
Approaching weight loss from a perspective of restraint and negativity- the “i’m getting so fat I’ve got to lose weight” mentality, is a moving target. Nothing will ever be good enough. And when/if it is, it won’t last, because the way we get there is unsustainable.
Now, I know some people who do make restrained eating a lifelong change and feel great.
But there’s a difference.
These people restrict certain foods not because they are afraid of them (i.e. GRAINS and CARBS), but because they are making other choices that are healthier for them.
They are thinking about what foods they can eat to be as healthy, happy, and energetic as possible. They are approaching restraint from a POSITIVE perspective.
With these people, it’s not about eating as few carbs as humanly possible, it’s about eating how many feel right.
Of course there’s always the disclaimer that our modern world of processed, hyperpalatable foods makes knowing how many carbs are right difficult. And some people struggle with conditions like insulin resistance that make unhealthy carb cravings REAL.
But for most eating all whole, unprocessed food, there’s no reason to be afraid!
Research shows that these positive eaters have higher self-esteem and better long term weight management success.
My friends will tell you that they have an emotional freedom they never had before as well.
It just worries me in this day and age of “keto”, which is basically paleo circa 2011, being masqueraded as the all-powerful life changing, freedom giving lifestyle, that so many of these people are just restrained eaters on another diet.
25 grams of carbs is not right for many women. It’s just not. And obsessively tracking and counting them is just the kind of behavior that leads to chronic dieting.
How do we break that cycle?
It’s both easy and hard.
It requires turning to a type of eating called intuitive or mindful that focuses on listening to the body, to what it needs and what it wants, listening to the emotions that so often control us and taking everything in without judgement.
From there, we make food choices. We don’t count macros. We just listen and lovingly try to make each meal and food choice about HEALTH and NOT about weight.
That sounds too easy for most restrained eaters. They want to track, count, weigh, obsess and ruminate. I’ve been there too.
But the truth is, it sounds too easy because it actually is really, really hard.
A restrained eater is often not as self-aware or in touch with themselves as they think they are. They don’t know how to navigate health without a map of good and bad foods to guide them. The vast world of food choices is scary and they are afraid, above all, of gaining weight or staying in one place.
But it does represent a way out. Still restrained? Sure. No one’s recommending you binge on twinkies. That’s not the point. A mindful body will rarely ask for twinkies.
But if it does ask for chocolate sometimes or an apple? Or even *gasp*, a potato? A mindful eater will eat, without self-judgement. They will also probably choose more fruits and vegetables and crave less fast food.
Want to give it a try? I made a program to help you do just this. It’s called Weight Loss Unlocked and you can find it here.
Either way, I want you to know that I’ve fought this battle and I know how it feels.
I know the pain of those self-judgments and I can tell you I’d rather be the weight I am now, whatever it is, and be this happy and free, than be constantly angry and mean to myself for not being a weight that isn’t right for me.
True diet freedom is never having to be on a diet, even one cleverly disguised as a lifestyle, again.
Do you struggle with restrained eating? How do you overcome these issues?
Today I want to talk to you about a very sensitive and challenging issue.
It’s an issue I see constantly. I get emails daily from women who struggle with this stuff.
And it SUCKS.
I see too many women in my life constantly battling with food and their weight.
Is that you?
If it is, I want to talk to you!
I want to talk to those of you who are constantly searching for the perfect diet, and constantly falling off the perfect diet.
Are you constantly swinging between “this time I’ve got it,” and “what the hell is wrong with me that I can’t stop eating peanut butter out of the jar?”
Are you always judging yourself based on what you ate that day or whether or not your skinny jeans fit?
Do you generally let food and weight concerns rule your world — the ups and downs of the diet-binge cycle dictating your “good” or “bad” days.
I’ve lived this stuff.
I’ve lived a life that revolved around the food I put in my mouth, the exact quantity and macronutrient profile.
I’ve lived a life of food obsession and poor self-esteem.
Isabel Foxen Duke, my friend and founder of Stop Fighting Food, calls this “feeling crazy around food.”
Isabel is one of the most well-respected pros in the emotional eating world, contributing some very new ideas about how we can change our thought-patterns around food and weight, and finally break out of the exhausting diet-binge cycling behaviors that too many women find themselves trapped in — behaviors like, sneak-eating ice cream in the middle of the night; yo-yo dieting; emotional eating, and emotional eating’s painful cousin:binge-eating.
Many of my readers have worked with Isabel and her programs and have found her to be uniquely supportive and able to help them understand what is going on in their minds, and get back on the right track.
She’s got a wonderful, witty perspective that will keep you laughing and she drops truth bombs like nobodies business.
Isabel’s offering a free video training series this month, (Find it here) covering some of her most important concepts in changing women’s relationship with food on an emotional and psychological level.
If this is a topic that speaks to you, I highly recommend you sign up to get her free vids.
You don’t have to live your life clinging desperately to diets, only to end up with your fingers in a jar of Nutella at the end of the day.
You don’t have to live the rest of your life feeling bat-shit crazy around food.
Here’s the link again to sign up for this free training.
Let us know how you try to fight feeling crazy around food!
Woah, 2017. I can’t believe you are almost here!
At the writing of this blog post I’m pondering the making of new years resolutions. Are they healthy? Are they harmful? Are they something in between?
I’ve gone back and forth, but concluded that, like them or not, new year’s resolutions are a part of our culture, exciting and important motivators that can give someone the push they need to make valuable and lasting changes.
I’m not into crash dieting (or “diets” of any kind really) and I’m not into resolutions that end up making people feel worse about themselves when they fail to live up to unreasonable standards.
But health IS important, and focusing on feeling better and doing better in the new year is something admirable, after all.
So here’s my list of 5 Paleo for Women Approved New Years Resolutions!
#1 Cook More
Cooking is something I usually despise doing and avoid if I can help it. But it gets old eating canned salmon all the time.
As the new year begins, take some time to plan a daily schedule.
If you’re a detailed list maker, you’ll love it and if you’re not, you might feel caged in, but sketching out your time might show you ways you can be more efficient and leave room for home cooked meals.
Try buying books with meal and shopping plans already inside for you. Practical Paleo (find it here) is one of my favorites, because it contains meal plans for every possible variation of paleo.
There are other great books too. Stick with ones that focus on easy recipes that can be made quickly like Well Fed Weeknights (find it here). Or try books that utilize less dishes for easier cleanup like One Pot Paleo or Paleo Slow Cooker.
Cooking more will mean eating more veggies, one of the biggest indicators of a healthy lifestyle, and will cut down on the amount of rancid oil, sugar and Omega 6 you eat, making you feel healthier, improving skin and cardiovascular health, and probably helping you lose some weight.
#2 Lose Weight
Speaking of losing weight…
I might catch some flack here. You see, I believe strongly in body positivity and the body positive movement. That means I do hold firm to a belief in health at every size.
However, I also believe that weight loss can be a valuable goal for certain people.
Excessive adipose tissue does produce inflammatory responses in the body and does contribute to a range of health issues. And whether we like it or not, it IS something that we need to consider in our modern world of convenience foods and obesity related illness.
If you’ve become out of sync with your body, feel you need to lose excessive body weight (and remember that doesn’t mean you need to be stick thin!) the only real difficulty is finding a way to do it gently, positively, and with as little guilt and shame as possible.
That’s where my weight loss program, Weight Loss Unlocked comes in.
It’s designed to help you lose weight efficiently but mindfully, learning to listen to the natural signals of your body, rather than the mean girl in your head.
It can help you follow those New Years Resolutions without the fad dieting that normally goes with it. I’d suggest pairing it with a great paleo cookbook with meal plans like the ones I mentioned above.
Find Weight Loss Unlocked Here.
#3 Focus on Self-Love
While most people choose to lose weight at the beginning of the new year, it’s just as important to choose to love.
We often become our worst enemies and meanest critics, beating ourselves up and tearing ourselves down.
Disordered eating, low self-confidence, so many things stem from not loving ourselves.
To give and recieve love in the new year, we’ve got to start with healing our own hearts.
There are many, many people out there happy to help you do it.
To discover the sexy, confident woman you really are, try reading my book Sexy By Nature.
If you’ve strugged with disordered eating and are ready to take control of negative thinking, try my friend Kayla’s program Starting the Path to Recovery and Discovery here. Try reading When Food is Love (find it here), a classic for any emotional eater.
If you’re shy, perhaps try pushing yourself to do something that sounds fun but makes you a bit nervous- go out dancing or join friends at a party.
And if you’re always out to avoid being alone at home, perhaps try a night in of reflective thinking and journaling (Let it Out is a great resource) and sit with some of those emotions.
You’ll gain self-awareness and balance which we all could use in the new year!
#4 Breathe More
Breathing is something we do far too often without really thinking about it.
Most of us don’t even use the full capacity of our lungs, but only a tiny portion of them.
And breathe, just like food, is so important to life itself, and quality of life.
Improper breathing can do damage to the body just as poor food choices can.
Proper breathing, taking deep, long breaths, and long, smooth exhalations, can also be a form of meditation that has been shown to reduce stress, calm the nervous system and relax the mind.
It’s an imperative especially for those with anxiety, and may help anyone with stress-flaring conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, autoimmune conditions, and more.
With the new year, I’m vowing to remember to breathe in positivity and breathe out negativity. I hope you’ll do the same.
#5 Let Go
And as I work to breathe out negativity, I’m going to be trying my best to let go of anger, expectations, and arbitrary standards I place on myself and others.
2016 was a hard year for many and it’s easy to pick out the bad things that happened and let them stew and boil within us.
We can focus on that negativity, that anger, and let it fester.
Or we can consciously make the choice to let it go.
I don’t have a 3 step program to help you do that (though I’m sure one probably exists!) but I think we should try it nonetheless.
Let’s focus our hearts and minds on the good in 2017 and work for peace, justice, and positivity in the new year.
I will. I hope you will too.
What are your new year’s resolutions?
There comes a time in each person’s life when they must decipher their own motivations.
In fact, there are probably many times we do this as we seek to learn more about ourselves and come to a greater awareness of who we are.
In the paleo community, many of us swim dangerously close to the deep waters of eating disorders.
We sometimes hide behind “healthy” food as a mechanism of control.
We sometimes fall a little too deep into our community until the world around us and the food around us begins to create deep fear.
We often worry about our waist size above all else, even our underlying health, even our relationships.
Is there a little (or big) part of you that has strayed into those deep waters?
Do you eat calories, macros or food?
Does food that isn’t “clean” or “paleo” cause you fear or anxiety?
Is being the “healthy role model” more important to you than anything else?
Is being “fat” one of your greatest fears?
Kaila Prins, an advocate for women’s health and a dear friend in the realm of disordered eating recovery, has been helping women face these issues for a long time, ever since she herself began to overcome the battle several years ago.
Her new program; Recover. Discover. Emerge. is changing the way women everywhere think about disordered eating and recovery.
The program is intended to help those suffering disordered eating, exercise, and mindset issues that are holding them back from fully reaching a place of body acceptance.
The course is intended to introduce you, in two phases, to the world beyond “recovery.”
Kaila is the perfect person to be teaching this course and I’m so excited she is finally doing it!
She has always offered up her help and advice to women when they need it most and couldn’t be a kinder, more beautiful soul.
I know you will get out of her new program something amazing.
Some of us struggle with issues of disordered eating more than others, but it’s common for those of us who need the help most to feel the most resistant to it.
Are you ready for a change?
Are you ready to uncover the beauty of the path to “discovery”?
Are you tired of beating yourself up over the way you look or the food you put into your mouth?
Recover. Discover. Emerge. will help you.
Through a series of phases, Kaila will walk you through exactly how to overcome many specific issues related to body image, disordered eating, exercise bulimia, and more.
By the end, you’ll have learned what to do to recover, but more than that, you’ll learn about the beautiful life waiting for you beyond recovery.
You’ll discover. And then you’ll emerge.
The program starts October 9th.
To learn more about this phenomenal opportunity, visit the program website for Recover. Discover. Emerge. here.
For my entire life, I feel like I’ve been given nothing but dietary limits.
Limit meals to 3 per day. Limit snacks to 1 per day. Limit dessert to 1 per day. Limit fruits to 3 per day. Limit fat to 30 grams per day. Limit carbs to 50 grams per day. Limit calories to 1200 per day. Just kidding. Limit calories to 800 per day.
Don’t do this, don’t do that.
Diet in America–the healthy diet everyone always talks about–is always about a limit. It’s about a number. It’s about a prescription, a border, a container. The most trending diet searched on Google in 2015 was the “20/20” diet.
Diet in America gives you a restrictive number, and it’s supposed to be some silver bullet. It combines two of America’s favorite things–numbers and willpower! (I wish I were joking, but I’m not.)
It says: hit this target, strive for this target, work for this target. The more hardcore you are, the better you are. The more hardcore you are, the more willpower you’ll have, and the more the rewards are within your reach. If only you can manage to restrict yourself this much, to this precise amount, you will finally be the healthy, thin woman you always deserved to be.
(Says Oprah, anyway.)
So this is what diets are all about.
This is what, by and large, paleo is about, too.
Paleo talks so much about macronutrients. And nearly every single bit of advice you will ever hear about macronutrients in the paleosphere is that you should “keep them to” some level. It’s carbs, by the way, that paleo is mostly worried about… other worlds, like vegetarianism, do the same thing with fat.
“Keep carbs low,” they say.
“Limit fruits to a small handful of berries a day.”
“Be sure not to have too much.”
“Go ahead and eat carbs, but not too much.”
“Have some carbs, but only post-workout.”
“Don’t eat more than 200 grams of carbs a day, or else you’re in the “danger zone” with “insidious weight gain.””
You might think things were different.
These days, paleo talks the big talk. It says that it’s progressive about macronutrients.
But all it does is limit them in a different way.
Instead of saying, “keep carbs under 30 grams a day” it says, instead, “only eat carbs in the evening meal,” or something. Between 6 and 8 pm. 4 hours before bedtime, they say.
To which I say,
Don’t set macronutrient maximums, set macronutrient minimums
From my point of view, the right thing to do is to throw dietary maximums out the window.
Let’s stop talking about food like it’s something to be corralled.
Let’s stop talking about food like it’s a problem.
Let’s stop talking about food like an indulgence.
Instead, let’s talk about food like it’s healthy. Let’s talk about food like it’s energy, and fuel. Let’s talk about food like it’s nourishment.
You need food in order to reproduce. You need food in order to be active. You need food into order to feel happy, to feel good, to be kind, to go on adventures, and to live your life.
Protein is a part of this. Fat is a part of this. Carbs are a part of this. Calories are a part of this.
And none of those things (unless you have some specific health condition) should be restricted. None of those things merit fear.
They are all just different components of food, and food is that which gives us life.
In fact, it is much more unhealthy to undereat than it is to overeat. I would rather see a woman eat 400 grams of good, natural carbohydrates a day than 4…. 4000 calories instead of 40.
So let’s stop setting macronutrient maximums, and instead set minimums.
Fat grams, per day, should be at an absolute minimum 30 grams. That is an absolute basement minimum, and should ideally be at least 45 or 50 grams a day as a minimum.
Protein should be 50 grams daily, minimum, for women (and more for athletes).
Carbohydrates should be 100 grams daily, minimum, for women (and more for athletes). If you have a particular health condition such as diabetes or really want to be “low carb,” then 50 grams daily should probably be reasonably sustainble for you. But let’s be real. Most of us don’t need to do that. At all.
Calories should be 2000 minimum, daily. For women.
There, I said it. 2000 calories a day. I’m done pretending like it’s good or okay to eat less. I’m done rationalizing our restrictive eating behaviors. I’m done thinking that it’s okay to undereat, just because society says you don’t deserve to eat, or to have meat on your bones. You can eat less than 2000 calories a day and survive, certainly. And I want you to eat when you are hungry and stop when you feel good and full. But if you ever dip below 2000 calories a day because you don’t feel good about yourself, I hope that you read this post, and read my other posts on self-love, and read my book Sexy by Nature, and look at yourself in the mirror every day and say “I am hot. I am worthy. I am smart. I am capable. I am amazing, and lovable.” Because you are, and I’ll be damned if I let a nutrition label or a jean size or a nasty comment shouted at you from a passing vehicle ever let you feel otherwise.
Eat as many carbs as you want! Eat as much fat! Eat as much volulme! At whatever time of day you want!
I don’t care! The universe doesn’t care! Your body doesn’t particularly care! I mean certainly, your body cares. But it can be healthy with carbs, healthy with fats, healthy with protein, and healthy with varying calories, eaten at any time of the day! Really!
So in my opinion, the healthy thing to do is to set minimums. The smart thing to do is to set minimums. The loving thing to do is to set minimums.
When you do this–when you set minimums instead of maximums–you start to think of food as something you should be welcoming into your life with open arms. You think of food as nourishment. You think of food as a gift, and something to be cherished.
And then yourself, as a being worthy of that gift.
For my post on whether you can love yourself and lose weight, check it out, here.
For my post on why I love healthy at every size, check it out, here.
So there it is. My feelings about macronutrients today. I’m feeling fiery. How about you? What do you think of this idea? How does it work for you?