Food and Body Freedom #48 Why You Feel Stuck With Food (And How to Get Unstuck!)


You feel guilty for your food choices? You feel pressure to be 'good' with food. You wait out your hunger until the 'right' time. You worry without a plan, your diet will be a mess!

This episode explores:

  • 4 reasons you're feeling stuck with food
  • Strategies to get unstuck

Resources mentioned:

Hello, hello, my name is Nadia Felsch. I'm an intuitive eating counsellor, and a non diet nutritionist and I want to say thank you for being here listening to this podcast. I want to welcome you whether this is your first episode that's super cool or whether you are returning with us for the 48th time which is pretty wild. I want to welcome you and thank you all the same. And I really want to encourage you, especially if this is not your first time to share this podcast with others. Let it hit more ears let it become more normal because we will all benefit from that. And so whether that's writing, reviewing the show, subscribing to the show, or literally recommending it to someone and telling them why you love it. Today I'm going to be exploring why you feel stuck with food and how to get unstuck. So this episode and the value that I share inside it are going to be for you if for instance you feel that you are just second guessing everything that you're eating, gosh, I know how that feels, and I know how exhausting it is. And then possibly you feel guilty as well. You might be convincing yourself that you're not really hungry or thirsty. You might be saying hey, if I eat what I want, I'm never going to stop eating some foods and that just feels terrible. That feels like freefall. Maybe you feel like if I'm not going to lose weight from this, like surely that's not good for me. You know why bother? And so I'm going to break this episode into four main reasons that you could feel stuck. And I'm also going to give you strategies for each to move past them.

All right. So reason number one is that you and I, we learned about food in all or nothing terms. And we learned this from such a young age, that food is really only good or bad that there is a hierarchy. And we are meant to try and fit into that. And what has that left us with is really nothing great. It's left us with so much fear mongering and really harmful ideas about food and eating. And that is reinforced over and over and I've talked about that on the pod before so many parts of our life reinforce that. The medical profession, nutritionists, dieticians, we reinforce that, and this strong messaging of good and bad, healthy unhealthy, you know, bad good. This is so lacking in context. It's lacking in nuance or individuality. And that's why it feels so difficult to let those ideas go when we're trying to feed ourselves because it's always heard. It's repeated and reinforced all around us. And so it just makes everything feel hard. So if you feel guilty for eating food, if you feel pressure to be so called good and that also that might be well others will see me as I care and I'm taking care like this gets deep. You might actually feel some of the the opposite effects here. You might feel that if I am eating the quote unquote good foods if I am focusing on eating fruits and vegetables, because I think I meant to when I showed that can actually feel like you're giving into diet culture as well. The good and bad and the all or nothing is actually just not serving us full stop. And so really what we have to do to overcome this, we need to redefine food on our own terms. And at the very core of that is being neutral. So really we need to we need to just get rid of the all or nothing the all or nothing. You know a client literally just said this to me. Literally this week, knowing that all food has a place is an incredibly powerful thing to know to know in yourself to know that when you view food in that way, everything changes and it's fundamental. And so the strategy that I'm going to invite you to consider here is just calling food what it is really simple and really powerful. You are going to challenge yourself to intentionally leave out those judgmental labels. They don't need to be junk, they don't need to be treats. They don't need to be really healthy. They also don't need to be bad or good. They don't need to be any of that they aren't on their own inherently food really, very rarely is just one elemental aspect. It depends who you're asking. It depends on the situation. It depends what your needs are. And so when we go down that rabbit hole, why just why if we can bring it back to neutral that all food can fit or food can serve you a purpose, but you get to define it on your terms. So to overcome the all or nothing I invite you to just call food what it is. This is a banana. This is a steak This is bread. And you will be amazed at how less emotional that feels to say that trade out. So reason number two, why you feel stuck with food. I'm literally doing two I've got two fingers held up like you're in front of me is that diet culture has kept you from your needs. And when I say diet culture, I'm talking about diet culture, which is upheld by fat phobia and white supremacy culture. diet culture came from somewhere and it's upheld by structures and they are the structures and they have all worked together to keep you from listening to your body. Because the goal is not to listen, the goal is to change your body under fat phobia under white supremacy culture under diet culture as we know it. Who cares if you're hungry? Because you just got to be thinner. And so it is it is completely impossible to have both going at the same time. We can't be focusing on all of the things our body our amazing clever bodies are telling us and what they need when we're trying to lose weight they do not go together. And in turn why this is so just problematic and harmful for you feeling free. And actually I want to be clear for you being well in your body is that ignoring or being taught to ignore our needs will leave us feeling more out of control. As opposed to the solution isn't that we need to spend time in our body. That's the solution to getting unstuck. We can't be be spending all this time away from our body. Our body has all most of the answers. And so for instance, I talked about this before if we're saying We're thirsty, not hungry. They're not the same. So if we're convincing ourselves of that it's very likely that we are trying our best not to be hungry. Just like if we are used to ignoring hunger because it's not the time we said we would eat or when we think we're allowed to eat. It might be even pushing ourselves say with movement, because we think we're meant to again to try to lose weight even though we are so out of our brains tired and our body needs to rest. And it could also be eating every single thing around you because again, you feel so out of control because chances are you're over hungry because you're trying to lose weight. And none of it satisfies you and you feel more and more out of control which also reinforces the the problematic idea that you can't be trusted. So the strategy here as I said the solution to moving past the fact that you've been kept from your needs is spending more time in your body and I would invite you to start with feeding yourself enough food and enough we'll we'll be clear when you are no longer so fixated on food in that moment. When you feel that you have not just eaten past okay, I'm not hungry anymore, which is also a common aspect of trying to change our body. We just try to eat enough so that we can maybe get by another few hours. But a great way to know if you are fed yourself enough if you are not fixated on food for that moment and you can get back to life. Food is there to support us. It absolutely is and we can enjoy it and feel pleasure from it too. It is not something we are meant to think about all the time. So that is just one strategy I would invite you to consider because it's very powerful. Feed yourself enough.

So reason number three that you might feel stuck with food is that it is so hard to learn that you actually are the expert of you. You always have been and you always could have been trusted to make decisions that feel good for your body without being told without following some idea that someone gave to you or a meal plan. My goodness the things that I have done, because I didn't think I could be trusted. And the reality here is that because because of all or nothing thinking around food, we are not used to looking at our own experience. And because diet culture has kept us from our needs. Were not in the practice of noticing the feedback from our body and so therefore the trust that you inevitably have in you the innate knowledge that you have about your own body, we need to we need to work on that. That's the solution. We need to build muscle memory as I as I say to my clients, and the the way that that can play out is that no longer do you believe while I'll never stop eating some foods, if I can eat anything I want that it doesn't feel like I'm not keep taking care of myself just because I'm not trying to lose weight. It doesn't feel like it's freefall when you're not following rules. So it's a pretty cool thing to get unstuck from and it will also mean that all the other things that make up you because it's not just food food is fantastic, but it's often a gateway into recognising lots of other things that might need some love in your life. And that's something a lot of clients notice in this work. So for instance, we might blame ourselves because we don't recognise we are the expert and there's so much information all the time from our body. But again, because of diet culture, because of all or nothing thinking with food, we go oh, I ate all the wrong foods. That's why I feel terrible, but really what was obviously going on in so many people's cases. Is how busy how tired and how disconnected they are. And actually the wrong foods, quote unquote, were probably the least important part of that and more of a symptom of something that is not being addressed. So the strategy that I would invite you to consider here is lean on what you already know, because you do notice stuff. So for instance, just like if you've gone away if you're if you're not with me just come back and really like think about these questions and immediate answers are important. So how do you like your coffee? I like a soy latte sometimes an iced regular milk latte.

Do you like pineapple on a pizza? Controversial I know I love it. Do you like smooth or crunchy peanut butter? I like both depends on the situation. How do you know those things? How do you know them because I know you knew them straightaway. How do you know you only no because you did it and you kept doing it. So it feels real. It is real. It feels like valid information because it is and that is what it is to build muscle memory. And so I would invite you to know what you already know. Maybe you can start learning some other things to know as well. So reason number four. The final reason I'm going to cover is that it can feel overwhelming to not follow the rules of diet culture to not follow the rules that apparently we all have to follow. To be well to be healthy. To take care of ourselves because surely, if you don't follow those, it will all fall apart. And this is really valid fear but it's actually only evidence of the power of diet culture and really just that it's not it's not evidence of anything else nothing falls apart. And in fact all of the reasons that I've already shared, why we haven't been encouraged to focus on ourselves to put ourselves at the centre. That's why it feels overwhelming. So because again, we don't have experience noticing feedback from the body. And we've had a erosion of trust. The muscle memory is not there. That's what I call it the muscle memory of just knowing what feels right for you. You have not been allowed to be curious, you have not been allowed to trust that. And so that's why it feels overwhelming. And this is compounded by the reductive limited and very oppressive definitions of health and well being but exist in our world. And that is absolutely at the core of moving through this. This is a common thread that will remain through all of the work that I do with folks we might move from challenge to challenge unpacking to unpacking and at the core is really redefining what it is to have health to have well being and what that looks like in practice, because we need to deconstruct what we've been taught and redefine it on your own terms. So for instance, we might really believe that if I don't follow portion control and calorie counting, my diet will be a disaster and my health will suffer. That's a real fear that a lot of folks have and it's a valid very understandable feed based on all that we have been taught about food and bodies. And yet, what has dieting and calorie counting really given you truly what has it given you. It might actually be that we feel hey, if I'm not going to lose weight from this, and that's the thing that society always says is good for me then why would I do this? Surely that's not good. Surely it's no good to listen to my body. I don't know anything. And again, we see the compounding of the reasons here. So my my strategy for you because I know this is big, is just to focus on an inventory of your own experiences. So let's take weight loss anything that you have done to try to lose weight. Maybe you've branded it health. That's cool. Let's put it in the same basket here. I would invite you to take an inventory of all of the pursuits or even one of the pursuits Have they really been health promoting pursuits like Have they really promoted health in your life and wellbeing? Has ignoring your hunger, really been fantastic for your wellbeing, for your brain, for your mental health, for your physical health, for your energy for you for every part of your well being? Has it been enjoyable? Has it been contextual to your life or was it just completely out of, you know, the realm of you being able to sustain that? And I would I really invite you to get real on that. If you want to start with one pursuit if you want to do a lot of them. This is a key practice. To moving past why it can feel overwhelming. To not follow the rules of diet culture. Acknowledging yourself of course it feels like a lot and has anything that I've been taught is apparently good for me really ever given you what you're seeking

The thing is that getting unstuck with food could also be called food freedom. And I want to share with you how I define that because I realised I never have on this podcast anyway. So food freedom for me, is an innate knowledge and a trust in your body. To indicate to you its needs. And it's also the ability to experience food as a multitude of things. So nourishment support, joy, pleasure, but also a very necessary part of your life. And I feel like food freedom can be shown in ways that are very small and medium and very big. And they are always going to be of course individual to what appeals to someone and what stands out to someone. But here's some examples and some experiences. I just wanted to jump drop in here with you for you to maybe be able to envision it for yourself. I hope that you can envision it for yourself. So it's knowing that holiday eating and non holiday eating aren't really that different. It's knowing how to put together a meal that satisfies you in pretty much most circumstances you find yourself in. It's embracing the natural fluctuations in hunger on different days. And it's getting more food when you're hungry and not caring what people think about that. These are some lived experiences that my clients now have that they never used to have when they followed the apparently healthy rules of diet culture. So now it's time to hear from you. I'm really curious which strategy you're planning to work on from this episode. So go ahead send me a message over on Instagram because I'm there every day and let me know what you're planning to work on. I would love to hear for the links and the notes from this episode. You'll find them on my website, which is Nadia forward slash podcast. You'll also find the link in the podcast player that you're currently listening on. Thank you so much for joining me in this episode. I will see you next time.

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