Food and Body Freedom #58 Why It All Starts with Self-Care


If you’re struggling with anything food and body related, it all starts with self-care. Considered radical self-care when we acknowledge that the systems of oppression we live under care not for our wellbeing and that it's radical to resist that. Which is exactly what I invite you to consider in this episode. 

This episode explores:

  • How I define and teach self-care in practice 
  • Where to begin exploring your own self-care infrastructure
  • The impact of not having self-care with food and body behaviours 
  • Self-care as 'selfish'
  • Self-care as the first thing to fall away under stress
  • Why gender and oppression is a critical part of this conversation

Resources mentioned

Greetings. Welcome to the episode I'm going to ask you straight away to support this work. Get this work out there more and more let's normalise it. You can do that by sharing a favourite episode with someone by reviewing this podcast and also by rating this podcast on whatever platform possibly apple that you're listening on. My name is Nadia Felsch. I'm an anti diet nutritionist and certified Intuitive Eating counsellor. And you might already know this in this podcast we explore the practical aspects of leaving the diet mentality behind and finding your own food and body freedom. So I'm curious to ask does the following describe you or describe your experience? Are you going long periods of the day not eating? You know work? There's other commitments you're saying I just don't have time and you also find yourself feeling intensely and urgently hungry? If so you are not alone. Another description could be that you have really great intentions for yourself plans even to make a yummy and nourishing dinner for yourself maybe tonight, and possibly when you get home. Maybe this happened last night. Cooking is actually the last thing that you can handle. Again, if that describes you, you're not alone. Maybe you feel pressure to do this so called good things. Quote unquote. So I gotta exercise. I gotta meditate. I gotta drink two litres of water. You've got to journal maybe, and do you keep feeling like a failure for not doing what might feel like another freaking long list of things to do in your life. And again, that you're not doing so maybe you say to yourself about any of these experiences. Why can't I just do this? It's so simple. And maybe this feeling of failing is so uncomfortable that you could rebel like altogether. You say who cares? Give me the ice cream. Give me the pizza, give me the whatever. Notice which foods those are, by the way, that's a whole other conversation. So is that is that what you resonate with? And maybe that actually makes you feel worse about your body about how you're caring for your body? What a freaking vicious cycle. So if you resonate with these experiences with feeling like you haven't got it together, and only if you could, then everything would be alright, this episode is for you. So the reality that we are all living within, and yet by design, it's the one that we rarely send our righteous anger towards is perfectly encapsulated and represented in an ad that I saw recently I want to share with you which was for this overpriced I don't even know what it costs. I just know it's overpriced, really elitist kind of nonsense supplement. So in the ad, I want I want you to I'm going to I'm going to paint the picture here. I'm not looking at it, but I remember it. There is a woman in the yard who totally represents the ideal that we have all been trained and taught to see when we think of what is healthy. What is wellbeing, right like you know it can you imagine that? She's white 100% She's thin She has blonde hair, so like Tick, tick tick. Yes. All of those things. She has visible muscle definition she's mid run you know she's she's getting out there. She's in cute short. She's got a crop on you know, you know what I'm talking about? And alongside her in this ad are the following words and no, I don't remember these. I have definitely written them down. My memory is definitely not this good. Tired, anxious burnt out. stressed, drained, exhausted, fatigued, spent shattered over it. So so this is the this is the woman that picture that we've been trained to see. And these are really meaningful and big words right about experiences that we have. So this reality depicted is actually really ironically, so so accurately represent like the reality that I'm talking about that I think this this ad shows is ironically, so accurately represented in this ad. What that reality is, is capitalism and the irony is that this ad is selling a product that supposedly removes these really valid these really hard experiences for you. You know, get the product, they're gone. You won't be anxious, you won't be drained. And again, the irony is that this ad is perfectly and manipulatively packaging in a look that you expect to see with an understanding of how you feel because you might feel like that you could shit like this ad gets me this product must get me I want to look like that. That's all that's all health, right? That's all wellness. And again, the irony is this is a product that you can supposedly buy to escape the reality of capitalism, which is really upholding and contributing to healthy feel. But letting you know you can just work your way out of those hard moments and feelings. You just need the right supplement you just need the right attitude. It couldn't possibly be that these experiences that you might have. I know I certainly have I know a lot of my clients have our valid response to living under capitalism. So that's the irony, right? Here's a product to escape what we uphold. And if this feels like a stretch for you, I want to honour that this might me sane couple is maybe like what the fuck is she talking about? Okay. Also, it might feel uncomfortable, and I invite you to lean into that I invite you to consider why might you feel that way? Because maybe it feels hopeless. Maybe you're mad? Because you think I need to be able to change my situation. I need to know that I simply an individual, I can change these experiences. Otherwise I feel hopeless. And it might be really hard to imagine that a supplement isn't the answer. That can be really hard to acknowledge and if that's where you're at, I see you. And I know you can do hard things because again, capitalism, you're already doing it. So here's why all of that matters to how you feel in your body and about your body. We live in capitalism where hustling is slick, toxically normalised praised and truly, often very necessary. So we live over scheduled and overstressed lives with very little regard for the core human needs that we have. And I'm just going to kind of just just name a few here eating, drinking that's liquids, not necessarily alcohol in that scenario, resting, playing and connecting. Right. So those five things are core human needs. We really, really easily skip over them. And if you're being real right now, you know, that's the truth. But this is our status. Quo. Everyone around us is doing it. If you're not hustling, well. What are you doing? And are you missing out on something? And again, is there a necessity in this possibly. We have meetings, we have deadlines, we have calls, we have errands, we have other people's needs. There is a million things in the way of you kind of paying attention and caring for yourself and inside capitalism. Kr is considered a luxury, possibly that you can buy and all of these experiences and kind of disconnections that we have saying no saying oh, I'll get it later. They all add up. You know, in the in the micro in the small kind of day to day. This is stress. This is nervous system dysregulation in the macro and the bigger picture, it's a cycle. It is you know, chronic stress to chronic stress to chronic stress it is constantly being in dysregulation in our nervous system. And let's use a buzz term here, but that add us it's burnout. That's burnout. But again, because of capitalism. Stress is a part of our life. There's other reasons, sure. But under capitalism, no one is guaranteed the right to life. And 99% of us work way too long for the basics. That's our reality. So one of the really common ways that we as humans turn either away from food or toward food is as a really valid and understandable way to seek more experiences that are positive in life and less, you know, or are avoiding negative ones because again, she's hard. So let me give you some examples. If you feel an urge to say I kind of gave you this example before like screw it, who cares what I ate, you might you might even have like this sense of aggression towards yourself, right? Like, I'm just gonna be G might say or, or it might be different language, but it's got that sense of fight. That's your defence response from your nervous system. This is a way that you might cope. You on the other hand, might feel a sense to restrict what you eat or how you eat. Maybe you feel overwhelmed. It's like I've got to get this right. I've got to really make this perfect. This is your flight defence response. This is your nervous system and flight. If you find another experience that you kind of check out a little bit with food, you might really desire like super flavorful foods. You might have really negative self talk or in a Karen as one of my brilliant clients. I hope she hears that calls it this is your your freeze response. Your please this is your protective response. So you very well could be in these protective defensive States a lot. Many of us are. And if you go back to that term I use before burnout. Like think of how often we talk about that word. Again, it's valid, but we talk about it and we don't blame or we don't send our anger rather to the right place. We blame ourselves. You know, we're feeling on all the time. We are tired, we are wired we are overwhelmed and exhausted and very likely we are unable to effectively manage that stress and bring ourselves back to a baseline. You know, what we would call regulation. That doesn't mean things are great. It means we're coping. So that crappy supplement is preying on all of this reality with the so called solution when I want to be really clear no supplement cannot run capitalism or any oppression none. So you might be beating yourself up for how you are behaving in the states in these chronic stress states. And that again, that could be binge eating emotional eating restrictive, eating, over exercising, feeling out of control and trying to get control trying to have more positive experiences, you blame you. And I want to invite you to consider that all of these are actually valid and really understandable behaviours when you view them from this lens of dysregulation. In other words, eating eating concerns that you have have a function. And that is why this episode is titled, Why It all starts with self care. So self care within I can't even stand that term. Like I hear myself saying self care. And I kind of like roll my eyes. I wonder like if that resonates for you because it's got such a bad connotation. So like let's Let's kill that let's create something different. We live within multiple oppressive structures I've named capitalism right. So self care within those structures, the structures that couldn't care less for your well being. Therefore by definition are radical. So it is radical to self care, because that's not the status quo. So capitalism does care if you are, let's say, emotionally regulated, if you've eaten adequately. If you had a good night's sleep, it does care. Only in the sense that you are a better worker in the system. And the system never benefits you just though, you know, the 1% that they built the people at the top. And again, this is a system right? Let's be clear, yes, individuals, we're all in it. But this is the system approach. This is a system criticism. So let's take another oppressive structure patriarchy you know, I love to crap on that. So patriarchy does care about how your let's say moving your body, right? Did you move your body in ways that feel good? Did you sleep in a way that felt good patriarchy cares? But it only cares if you look more acceptable to the societal norms and therefore you are more valuable to the male gaze. It's not about how you feel or your well being, you know that like that's I am now I'm going to say it and if you haven't noticed it, you're going to, I hope you notice it. When when women and it is women we get on social media and we have this this ability or this kind of I don't even know what it's like a behavioural pattern to apologise for our appearance. Oh my goodness, I went to do it today. Oh my goodness, I forgot in my hair is humid AF in the Sydney humidity in summer at the moment, and I turned my camera on to talk to my Instagram tribe, my community. I noticed my humanity and the instinct is to apologise for that, or at least to notice and name it. So you know, so I can't be attacked maybe or because I'm used to regulating my appearance, who cares? And another example of that I was going to go back to the patriarchy of like when when women are exhausted or any acumen but that women especially are exhausted and have bags under their eyes, because they haven't frickin slept. No one cares that they haven't slept. No one, the male gaze, the patriarchy again systems. They care that they don't look appropriate. They don't look acceptable. All right. I went off on my tangent. I'm coming back. I hope you came with me for the feminist rant. So I invite you to consider that radical self care is choosing you prioritising you rejecting the priorities of the structures that we're living in that again, couldn't care less about you. I want to be clear, they couldn't care less these structures, they are not for you. They are for the elites. I cannot stand that word. I can't stand a lot of words in this episode. I've losing my mind. You know, the power elite as they as they are referred to the one percenters. So this is about covering the basics of your needs before you move on in life so that you can feel okay, so that you can feel connected to your body. So you can feel a sense of empowerment and comfort, like you crave like you are trying to seek in these other ways that might feel icky. Right? That that's actually what we're trying to find. So your body, you you need things there is no getting around that please repeat that to yourself. You need things and building that truth and acknowledgement of that truth in your life is really powerful and supportive. So self care as I as I teach it as I work with clients inside my group programmes and my one on one coaching. Self Care is your infrastructure. It is a process that is shaping your daily routine, the relationships you have with others and yourself, their relationships with the environments you're in all to promote your care and that's why it's so powerful. So you can you can look at it if you want to in three different ways and I'm going to expand on this intention are number one, structural number two and holistic also a word I hate. Hear me out. So put another way I kind of caught myself judging the holistic thing. I hate it because of how it's used. Okay, the word is beautiful. So So intentionally what I'm saying there is you plan for and carry out bits and pieces. And the structural element is it is providing because you've intentionally planned for and carried out actions, you you feel supported. And then holistic is about honouring your whole self because you are a whole damn human. This is beyond sleep. This is beyond movement. This is beyond eating whilst all important and embracing of filling up your cup and being a human and honouring your humaneness. So let's get a little practical. What areas I imagine there might be some that immediately come to mind there might be trends that you kind of need some love or support support. There might be total areas of your own care that you neglect or that you don't, you don't even address you don't even know how to. So emotional regulation is one I see a lot folks often don't even know what that means. That's okay. eating patterns are huge. And obviously diet culture has a lot to say an intersection with with capitalism here because we're learning about how to eat in very dysfunctional disordered ways. And of course in anti fat ways, our boundaries with other people and that has such a bad connotation boundaries are beautiful. Our schedules with work well, capitalism Hello. What about engaging in fulfilling activities? That is right and and it doesn't need to look like meditation just to be clear. Movement absolutely might be part of your care. And again, it doesn't need to look like what we've been told. Connecting with other people is necessary. It doesn't need to look like going to certain events that you hate. In fact, it really shouldn't. And sleep, the quality of your sleep. So these are all examples of elements of your care. And I've gone ahead and hello, I love you giving you gifts. I shared with you as a bonus resource for this episode a checklist so a self care checklist that I use with my clients. It's the exact one I use with my clients and also inside my group programme. So you'll find that via your show notes, if you want to kind of just get a sense of what is she talking about? Let's dive in. So how this could show up as really, like quite negative is, let's say you are having you're doing stuff on the weekend. I gave you that example before, right? You're going to events, we're hanging out with people and maybe you're kind of just busy and you're just you kind of just saying yes to things so you don't have great boundaries. You're not feeling very fulfilled. By what you're doing. But you're actually wiped out. So you you kind of enjoy your weekend exhausted. The idea of going shopping, the idea of setting yourself up for the week ahead and the you know, capitalist regime that we're going to get back into. It's so hard, but you're left with the consequence of that. So that's that's just one example of how it can kind of flow really quickly into really hurting us. And it might be that you need more consistency. It might be that there are whole areas as I said of your care that you you just don't You don't attend to you don't even know you need it. And I want to be clear, you don't need to crap on yourself. I just invite you to notice what is there what isn't there what you might like to bring love to because you deserve it. Maybe just like one damn thing too damn things. Think about what you would like to focus on use the checklist that I've provided. Think about what's accessible. That's absolutely the most helpful place to start. So I want to kind of like bring this to a practical like kind of summary here. Folks often talk to me about how care for themselves is the first thing that falls away when they're under like increased stress. That there's a really challenging part of their life. Like the first thing that falls away. This is literally how they'll tell me is oh, I you know forget all about me or I forget all about those things that helped me. This is really normal. Absolutely. And it's really valid. But it's also why I teach radical self care as infrastructure because we need to have core elements that don't fall away. And rather that we use in those times that we lean on them. Now that doesn't mean everything on that checklist, right? That's not what this is, but that there are going to be non negotiables that you personally know you require no matter what all you need others to help you with. And so if you have like everything falling away when you know she doesn't go into plan, I want to ask you where you are in this. So who's benefiting if you're not considering your own needs, and why is whatever else you're prioritising more important than you, your core your basic care, why don't you matter? Especially if you are struggling with the consequences, like I've talked about of, of lacking that care, because you do matter. And so what we inevitably uncover, we have to go here is a version of people pleasing. So I want it Listen on radio listen to episode 28 and is a version of people pleasing. So I want to invite you to either listen or re listen to episode 28 And this is on the good girl conditioning. I also want to honour the gendered and really unfair concept that it can be considered selfish to take care of yourself and where selfishness is only ever viewed as a really bad terrible thing to be and to do. You know, so the plane the emergency plane, put your own mask on before you you hope anybody else's like, why don't we call that selfish right? It is it is the definition of it, but it's necessary and valuable. So I want to invite you to really see how important it is to acknowledge that this is a really harmful narrative that is harming some of us more than others, most women or ourselves, I should say what I'm trying to say is most people who listen to this podcast are women. And we are definitely the most harmed by this kind of narrative. So we are socialised from such a young age to one to put others needs ahead of our own and that includes labour tasks, right so anything to do with household labour tasks were taught that we are taught that it is not a woman job, I just No, absolutely not. It is not assigned to gender, but to we also learned that we shouldn't express our needs. We shouldn't express feelings, in case it upsets other people. And let's be honest, it often does because we're not meant to have needs. So in a combination. This leaves a lot of us as women in a really painful cycle that I see over and over again, where self care is an afterthought, rather than the truth where you require adequate self care to take care of yourself so you can bring the best of yourself to the world and to those around you. So as you are exploring your infrastructure, your self care your experiences, I invite you to consider really practically how you can or rather how you are dividing labour in your home if you live with other people, I some questions you can ask yourself, Is this working for you as well as it is for others? What is the cost? You know emotionally? What is the labour cost of your current setup? And are you replicating maybe unconsciously? Unequal gender norms? And maybe you don't value that and you don't want to pick that up? You know, because these are constructed and shaped by capitalism, by patriarchy, and by white supremacy culture. So maybe you go Oh, holy, like I am and I don't value that I don't want to continue with that but you know, we fall into it. That's our training. Another question you can ask yourself and I love exploring this with clients is if you are taking most of the labour in your home, and you don't want to and it's harming you. What is the cost say in your again? Your own care, but also the leisure time that you lose? Because there's a lot of interesting study around, you know, for instance, we don't we don't put a finger on the amount of care tasks and domestic tasks that women do in the world. And that's just not acceptable, because it's not a valued job, so to speak. And it is a frickin job. It's a lot of work to care for other people. And at the same time, what we also tend to look at is what we lose, so we can see over and over that men are the ones who are having more Hobby Time. As it's cold, right. So that's another thing to explore. And I really just, you know, I guess want to invite you to consider are there other options to leave that you just might not have explored or considered because we didn't consent to the norms that we have? And whilst yes it is radical to reject them, it's also liberating, and at the core, your care matters. So if you are struggling with anything related to food and body It all starts with self care. I want to remind you to download your free bonus to accompany this podcast episode which is in the show notes on my website, Nadia Forward slash podcast, or you can find the link in your podcast player. If you have questions. If you have thoughts from this episode, it might have brought up a lot of ideas a lot of well, I would love to hear them you can do that on Instagram, which is at Nadia Felsch You can also do it as well instead of in our free food and money freedom Facebook community. Thank you so much for joining me I will see you next time.

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