Do you have an unhealthy relationship with food? Learn how one woman made peace with food and how to rediscover the joy of eating!
As far as I can remember, food was always a huge part of my life. My parents were foodies, well before a foodie was a cool thing to be. And I lived in New York, aka foodie central. In our household, food was celebrated, not feared. Minus a short period of time where I apparently refused to eat anything that didn't begin with the letter "P", I was a pretty normal eater.
But somewhere along the way, like so many others, my relationship with food became strained. Thankfully, I had that balanced approach to eating from childhood still there in the background, otherwise things could have gotten really out of control.
I distinctly remember a point when I realized despite being a nutrition student, and knowing so much about food, and despite being a pretty disciplined person in every other area of my life, I really wasn't eating very well. I went through obscene quantities of diet coke. I ate fast food most days, which I kept secret for fear of judgement (a nutrition student...eating french fries??). A quart of ice cream lasted no more than a couple days - always Breyers double churn (aka low fat) until I found out Edy's low fat ice cream was lower in sugar. I was constantly sick. One time I got strep throat 4 (!!) times in the same year - I think my professors thought I was making it up to get out of work but it was legit.
Most of all, I was always obsessing and stressing about food.
I wish I could say this realization forced me to wake up, but it took years and years for things to finally click. I knew things weren't right, but I didn't know how to fix it.
Knowing how many people are in the same boat I once was is one of the reasons I am SO excited about Joyful Eating, Nourished Life, the 6 week online wellness program I launched with dietitians Anne of fANNEtastic Food and Alex of Delish Knowledge. It gives you a roadmap for how to make peace with food. Even if you find yourself lost, broken down, going in circles or in the totally opposite direction, you've got the support of us three dietitians and an entire facebook group of people going through the exact same thing to get you back on the right track.
Leading up to our next group in October, we're sharing stories from some of the women who completed our first group over the summer. It's been so inspiring for me to read the "aha" moments, big connections and little successes in the facebook group, as well as these more in depth stories of their broken relationship with food and how Joyful Eating helped them heal it.
Below is a story from one of our wonderful joyful eaters of how she finally rediscovered the joy of eating, a story I feel so privileged to have been a part of!
Tell us more about your history with food and dieting.
I always struggled with wishing I could eat less or have more control over what I ate. It was a daily battle - trying to skip meals and having constant regret over everything I ate that wasn't "healthy", trying to fit into this eating mold that clearly left me really unsatisfied and made me over think all of my food choices constantly.
How did you try to control your eating in the past, before joining Joyful Eating? What was the outcome?
I'd try food and calorie tracking or avoiding certain foods. I'd allow myself to indulge but then always regret it. I always ended up overthinking and regretting my food choices, unable to portion control and just feeling miserable and joyless about food.
What motivated you to join Joyful Eating, Nourished Life?
I realized that I did not want to live my life constantly regretting and overthinking every food choice I made. There is no reason to lose sleep over that ice cream cone - that's ridiculous!
What’s the greatest lesson you learned from the program?
The greatest lesson I learned was to take the time to really listen to what my body wants - to choose foods that make me feel good but also choose less healthy foods when that sounds good too.
What was your first “aha moment” in Joyful Eating?
Eating a meal or a snack, even when nobody else was, just because I felt hungry and my body needed calories and being ok with that.
Looking back, how have you changed since completing Joyful Eating?
It is still a struggle and a challenge but I try to listen to my body more and honor what it wants. I try to have healthy, tasty snacks with me to satisfy my hunger and make sure I am excited about the meals I choose. I also try to recognize that everyone needs something different - some people can skip meals or snacks or eat like a bird - I am not one of those people and trying to limit my food or ignore my hunger only results in poor choices and regret.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to future Joyful Eaters?
This program will help you change the way to think about food, your body and your choices. There is no easy or quick fix. You need to be dedicated and open to really trying to change the way you think about things. If you are looking to shed pounds fast, you may not be mentally ready to take this journey on. However, if you are sick and tired of obsessing about your eating and feeling constant regret over your food choices, this program can help you shift your thinking toward a healthier and more sustainable existence!
Join us in October!
Our next group of Joyful Eating, Nourished Life is starting October 10th. For more information about the program, head to our website where you can sign up for our October group! We've made some really great improvements to the program and added more content based on some of the questions and struggles we saw come up regularly in the facebook group. We've also added three Facebook live chats throughout the six weeks to provide more personalized interaction! And for our summer joyful eaters, don't worry - you'll be getting the same great content too!
If you'd like to hear more about other's experience with Joyful Eating, check out the other joyful eaters stories on Alex and Anne's blogs.
We hope you'll give yourself the gift of an ice cream cone without guilt, pasta without drama, and a lifetime of health and joyfully savored meals! Join us in October!