week 3: make peace with food, health, and weight

This week we begin to untangle weight and health. We talk about WHY pursuing health is very different from pursuing weight loss and how weight loss actually gets in the way!! This is a super important week for those who feel that giving up on weight loss is giving up on feeling good, eating well, and moving! I also touch on the 8 factors that affect our metabolism.

Recap:

The Fabrication of the Obesity Epidemic
Learning about how fear mongering in research and the media has made us believe that FAT causes illness and how the research numbers don’t add up. So much of this is in Chapter 6 of Health At Every Size. Give it a read to review/get caught up!!!

What the numbers tell us:
No obesity myth is more potent than the one that says that obesity kills. Yet it is not supported by evidence examined by federal employees. Their research found that "even severe obesity failed to show a statistically significant mortality risk" and suggested that overweight might actually be protective” - Linda Bacon

What is the point??
Am I encouraging people to put on weight??

Nope. What I’m doing is trying to get weight loss “off the table”. To stop the fear and the stereotypes around weight and health so you can stop making weight loss the priority. **REMEMBER – when weight loss is the priority (aka diet mentality) we become resistant and reactive. We disconnect from ourselves and can’t make good decisions around health!!!!

Once we stop obsessing about manipulating our bodies we can actually start to reconnect with our bodies and make objective decisions about our health.

So, how do we pursue Health without Diet Mentality?

  1. The PIE CHART Method (this concept was originally taught to me by Isabel Foxen Duke): be as honest with yourself as you can be when you are making decisions around food and movement: If you picture a pie chart in your mind, how much of that pie chart is dedicated to weight loss? How much of the decision is honestly about health.

    • Both motivations will likely be present (#hardtruth) BUT if WEIGHT LOSS is the biggest piece of the pie – put a pause on the activity OR…

  2. Think of new ways to pursue the activity without diet mentality

    • We talk more about this in this week’s Q&A!!!

The 8 Factors that Affect Metabolism 
Because it’s about SO much more than quality and quantity of food!
From Marc David’s The Slow Down Diet (I love the concepts in this book but the underlying message is still a bit diet mentality-ish to me - which is why I don’t recommend the whole book).

What is Metabolism? 
“Metabolism is the sum total of all the chemical reactions in the body, plus the sum total of all our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and experiences.” – Marc David
The 8 Factors that Affect Metabolism 
1. Quality

2. Rhythm

3. Relaxation 
4. Awareness 
5. Pleasure

6. Thought

7. Story

8. The Sacred

Relaxation & Awareness 
The application: micro moments of awareness and relaxation. Engage your brain when you eat. Notice your food – the smell, sights, texture AND taste, breathe, offer gratitude, CHEW, breathe again.

Pleasure 
The application: Pleasure FUELS our metabolism!!!! Eat foods that are inherently pleasurable and comfortable. ENJOY those foods!

Make Peace With Food

A process of legalizing food, taking back the power we give food, neutralizing food so WE can make the best choices for ourselves

“Call a truce. Stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can't or shouldn't have a particular food, it leads to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing. When you finally "give in" to your forbidden foods, eating will be experienced with such intensity, it usually results in Last Supper over-eating and overwhelming guilt.” - -Evelyn Tribole, Elyse Resch

How to Make Peace with Food (from Intuitive Eating by Tribole and Resch):

  1. Spend a few days taking note of foods that capture your attention (good or bad!)

  2. After a few days, look at your list. Circle foods you don't allow yourself OR tend to feel incredibly guilty about eating OR get into unconscious/overeating patterns with.

  3. Pick a food (or two) to neutralize. Go out and buy those foods, have them around, eat them regularly (as much as you want!!! with awareness) for 5-7 days. Again, the only real caveat here is to eat with "awareness" - sit your bum down, eat off a plate if you can, breathe while you eat, etc. Try to be present.

    Note how you feel after you eat the food.

  4. Repeat.
    Summary 
    Fat is not the death sentence it’s been portrayed to be.
    Making good decisions about our health involves separating weight goals and health goals. We have to take weight OFF the table!
    There is SO much more to digestion, assimilation, and metabolism than JUST how much food we eat and how "good" it is.

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Homework

1. Read Chapter 6 in Health at Every Size, by Linda Bacon
2. PIE CHART your food/movement choices. Be sure you are making choices for health reasons!!
3. The Make Peace with Food Process: (above) try it out. Remember relaxation, awareness and pleasure while eating previously restricted foods!!!!
4. Continue to reconnect with your body!!! Continue tuning in to hunger cues, how you feel before, during, and after you eat. Eat with Awareness - even just micro-moments - breathe, gratitude, put down the fork, notice ALL of the qualities of the food, CHEW.

WEEK 3 Q&A: