Can we lose weight while being body positive? With Michelle Shapiro RD

QTD: Can We Lose Weight While Being Body Positive?

Season 1 Episode 1 of Quiet the Diet Podcast with Michelle Shapiro, RD

Check out our debut episode! Podcast host (and your new best friend) Michelle Shapiro, an integrative and functional Registered Dietitian, talks the TRUTH about current trends in nutrition. In this episode we discuss:

  • Michelle’s own personal story of drastic weight loss efforts *which she does not recommend,* and the health consequences that can ensue
  • Body neutrality and weight loss through a functional nutrition lens
  • The crucial difference between body neutrality and body positivity, and what this means for your health journey
  • The truth about current trends in nutrition (think: Body positivity, HAES, Intuitive Eating)
  • Tangible steps for how to determine if/when weight loss is right for YOU
  • How to access your authentic inner voice and be your own healthcare advocate

Michelle Shapiro

The year is 2022. And I finally have a podcast. I can’t say how many people were waiting for this moment. But I have gotten enough requests, where this day had to come. I know I’m about 20 years late to the game here. But I really am so excited to be sharing this information with you. You know, a person who likes to put a lot of words in a caption on Instagram, I like to have really deep and meaningful and transformative conversations. I don’t like surface level stuff. And I felt like this was the best way for me to get to the bottom of a lot of the issues that I’m seeing in the nutrition world when it comes to the clients I’m working with, when it comes to just conversations I’m having on Instagram with people. And I felt like this was the best medium for me to do that to be able to serve all of you. If you’re new to me, and you might have heard of me on some other podcasts.

If you’re new to me, I am Michelle Shapiro. I am an integrative and functional Registered Dietitian. I’m a born and bred New Yorker, you’ll hear me talking about that a lot. Because the subtext of a lot of what I’m going to be saying will be a layer of love, compassion, and certainly some fierceness because I do not like to sugarcoat things. I do like to say things in a way that is really supportive and compassionate. But I don’t like to fake people out or condescend them. So certainly these conversations could get a little bit sassy, a little bit sarcastic, but always I want these conversations to have a strong basis of love, and maybe a touch of rebellion.

Today’s conversation, I want to send around body positivity, weight loss, if it’s possible to lose weight, while your body positive, more about the movement, more about my opinions, what I’ve seen work with clients, what I haven’t seen work with clients, and really some tangible solutions for you to take with you by the end of the episode on how to approach your weight lovingly. Again, if you’re new to me, I’m so happy to meet you. I’m so excited to just be having this conversation with myself. But with you as you listen. And I’m really eager to share, you know, parts of myself that, although I’ve been on, I don’t know, 30 or 40 colleagues podcast before I share some of my story when it comes to weight. And when it comes to my weight loss journey, which we’ll hear about, which I really don’t recommend. But I don’t share the full scope of it, and maybe all my emotions that happen behind it.

So I’m hoping that this can be a really awesome platform to do that. And then I’m going to parlay that conversation into a conversation about nutrition in a more broad context, what I’m seeing in nutrition trends, and how you can if you wanted to approach your weight in a loving way. So I am I was born and raised in Queens, New York, a borough girl. And I had always occupied a larger body when I was a kid. So starting about at the age of five, I, I guess would always have been classified by BMI standards, which again, are not like what I believe the driving force of health information. I would have been classified as overweight or obese from the ages of like five to 18.

I want to issue a trigger warning that this episode will talk about drastic weight loss efforts in an unhealthy way. And I am not recommending these efforts at all quite the opposite. But I’m just issuing a trigger warning in case that might be personally upsetting or triggering for you. So I grew up in Queens, which was a super diverse neighborhood. I grew up in one of those neighborhoods where my best friends were my siblings, like the younger siblings of my sister’s best friends. And like my parents were best friends with the parents. It’s a very neighborhood neighborhood.

And I know, for anyone listening to this, if you’re from you know, my neighborhood delta center, like in Queens, I love you all. And it was a really supportive place to grow up. And I always had like a big personality. I always did great in school, I had a lot of friends and was super fortunate for that. And at the same time I was occupying this larger body from a really young age. So the way that I kind of grew up and view the view of the world was different than the way that other people did because people and larger bodies especially in the 90s were treated absolutely differently. So although my friendships were really solid loyal and some of those friends you know all Most of those friends, I still have to this day, I didn’t feel that I got the same societal advantages as other people. Now, whether I think this is right or wrong is irrelevant to the fact that I actually had that experience. And that to this day, people in larger bodies consistently experience weight bias when it comes to jobs, in doctor’s offices, in relationships. It is wrong that this happens.

But it is true that this happens also. And it’s really important to acknowledge that, and we will be talking about that in our conversation on body positivity. So I did feel loved. And I did feel like I had a beautiful life. Growing up in Queens, I was a class clown in my high school 5000 students like the shining achievement of my life, I think I had to like threaten people to get there. By the way, I’m not 100% sure why that happened. But it was a very decentralized grade. But I would own up to that maybe if that happened, like telling people, you better vote for me. And going off to college, I was going to the University of Delaware, which is much more homogenous in ways of race and ways of body sizes and ways of gender. And having grown up in Queens with us in this massive high school, being unique was something that was really positive.

And it was something that I aspired to be, I always wanted to be a lot different than other people, I thought it was like, so cool to be different. So much so that I’m just saying this on his podcast, which anyone can listen to. But I basically faked having like a speech issue. At one point, like I faked having a list when I was in second grade was I wanted something that would differentiate me as a person, which like, I don’t know, if that’s, like, I’m sorry, if someone has a list, by the way. And I didn’t mean to be offensive by saying that, but it was a factual thing that happened. Just being unique in New York is something that, you know, you never want it to be basic, right? You always want it to be super unique. I knew that going away to college to a place that was so much more homogenous, it was going to be really important for me to have people be able to view me from the outside in a way that was societally acceptable.

So when I went to school, I, you know, I was I was getting ready to go to school the summer before college, and I was like, Oh my gosh, look, I’m gonna go to this school, and they’re not gonna know, I’m Michelle Shapiro, like the funny, cool, you know, whatever I thought of myself type of person. And whatever my friends thought of me, they’re not going to know me. And my Wait might be a barrier for them to know me. So I went on what was a pretty drastic and I cannot discourage you enough from this, please do not do this from what I’m saying.

But I lost like close to 100 pounds in three or four months. And then basically, my time at school was characterized by anxiety and illness. And it took me until my time through dietetic school because I was in school to be a dietitian. That whole time I was there. I didn’t even necessarily put the pieces together but my I had debilitating panic attacks, which you’re going to hear about in episode two because I’m going to cover how to naturally support and reverse anxiety. I was suffering from really bad panic attacks I was suffering from like, you know, my hair was falling out my skin was like the color yellow. Like if you look at pictures of me, I had nutrient deficiencies. I lost the weight through a really drastic of vegan diet that again, I wasn’t vegan for necessarily animal purposes. Although I love animals. I was vegan because it was another way for me to cut out entire food groups and not have people ask questions.

The most upsetting part of my weight loss journey for me was the fact that I was absolutely validated on my journey. And this is no one’s fault. Because again, society tells us that weight loss is always good, right? Weight loss is always a good idea. And so while I was destroying my body, because our bodies our bodies of preservation and healing, and our bodies want to survive, so if you lose 100 pounds, and you drastically reduce your body’s feeling of balance and safety, it has huge consequences on a physiological level, and we’ll talk more about what those consequences are too. It took really until after college for me to realize that my weight loss was driving a lot of the medical issues I was having. And I was having really bad symptoms like college I love college.

I took so many close friends from there. I thought the schooling was, you know, really good for a dietetics program especially. But if I could take back feeling like crap, I definitely would have to and I have to say that I authentically saw relationships I have with friends, even from childhood, like if I had, like, male friends might have looked at me a little bit differently after I lost weight. And there’s a positive part to that. But anyone who’s lost a lot of weight, you know, for me, it was like 100 pounds, knows there’s also a sting there, right? Like you didn’t, you didn’t like you didn’t like me at my best, you might have liked my personality. But you didn’t see all of me. And maybe there’s like that invisibility feeling right?

So while society was like, live in for these changes for me, and was like, kill it, lose more weight, you got this. And doctors were saying, you know, this is great. Why are you complaining about these like debilitating panic attacks and migraines and vomiting that’s happening. Because I had really bad acid reflux to from the vegan diet. I did not feel good. But I did receive the benefits of the new thin privilege that I had. And after occupying a larger body from the ages of five to 18, let me tell you, it is very noticeable how differently people treat you on a day to day basis, and a smaller body. So I can say that losing weight was something that I regretted because I also feel like it helped me to form the whole business, the whole work that I do is I want to help people lose weight the right way, so that they don’t do what I did, which lose it the wrong way and potentially permanently damage your health. Right, if your body is trying to keep you alive, and you are losing hundreds of pounds of, you know, essential fat from your body and a rapid nature, your body is going to get quite scared because it thinks oh my gosh, I’m starving to death.

And there’s a huge cascade of hormones and a huge cascade of biological and chemical reactions that happen in your body as a result as your body tries to save your life. So rapid weight loss is something I would never recommend. There are exceptions to this, which is going to be covered in a later episode, which is that in weight loss surgery, something happens where the hormones that get altered, are minimized. So that’s kind of this, I think, like the magic of weight loss surgery, I’m not recommending anything to anyone. This is all you know, for educational purposes and emotional purposes only. This is not medical advice. But there is something that happens in weight loss surgery, besides just making your stomach smaller, which is that you are altering the level of leptin and ghrelin, which is making you feel either more satisfied permanently, which I think is a key to why people who lose weight regain it, we’re going to cover this, we’re going to cover the biggest loser in a future episode, I’m bringing on some awesome guests to talk about that too. So I had this weight loss. I soaked up as much of that positive thin privilege as I could possibly soak up. And then I started to go into how am I going to heal my body after that.

And that’s when I really sought the help of a naturopathic physician who was not my business partner, because it basically coerced him. There’s that the coercive language of mine again, into being my best friend and doing business with me after our first appointment and why I’m so passionate about naturopathic and functional medicine starts with him and really was the boulder rolling down the hill with my own healing journey. So that’s what mate turned me into a functional nutritionist, which we’re definitely going to talk about too. Instead of a conventional dietitian, I’m a functional dietitian, which means that I look at problems from the root cause as an end for natural and whole body healing as opposed to treating symptoms.

So an example of this would be when I, you know, had hypothyroid symptoms, so my labs would come back that my thyroid was sluggish. When I would go to conventional medical doctors MDs, they would tell me here, take a thyroid pill, and instead, you know, which is like an exogenous thyroid hormone from a peg or something. So take this permanently, there you go. And I was prescribed that as prescribed level thyroxin didn’t take it because I also had so much anxiety about taking medications that I wouldn’t take medication for my thyroid or anxiety. At the time, I do not have that anxiety anymore, or much, but I did at the time I remember.

So if you go to a functional medicine doctor or a functional dietitian, instead of just giving you thyroid hormone, what we want to know is why is your thyroid not working in the first place? So this is really important as a kind of idea set that I want you to carry with you through all of these episodes. And our journey together on this podcast is that functional nutrition treats the root cause, which means we want to know what the problem is, before we support. So functional nutritionist would ask, Hey, why isn’t your thyroid functioning? And then we would work to see what is the problem of why it isn’t functioning? And how can we boost your body’s natural ability to produce and convert thyroid hormones. So it’s all about using the amazing tools your body already has, and identifying issues that are not commonly found in conventional medicine doctors offices,

I believe that functional nutrition is the key to approaching any health issue. So whatever we’re going to talk about in this podcast, we’re always going to do it through a functional lens. So I call myself an integrative functional dietitian. Integrative means I’m going to use modalities both from Eastern medicine and Western. And when I say medicine, I mean, within scope of nutrition, we’re going to use whatever modalities from Eastern nutrition and Western nutrition. And we’re going to put them together, it means I’m open to all modalities, it doesn’t mean we not conventional Western modern medicine at all, it means we’re open to anything that will help the client. And we also like to integrate, it also means we view the body as a whole puzzle.

It’s one puzzle that works together at the same time. If you do something to your brain, it’s going to affect your gut, if you do something to your gut, it’s going to affect your brain, right, every part of your body works all together. So if you can find the cog in the system, you might be able to influence your whole body. Right? So again, in the case of that thyroid hormone, if you’re able to influence, let’s say, your mineral status, let’s say you part of the reason your thyroid isn’t functioning is because you need minerals and vitamins for your thyroid to function. So if you are supporting your vitamins and minerals, then your thyroid will start functioning better. If you start supporting and detoxifying your liver, then your thyroid will start functioning better.

So those tools are really what is the advantage? I believe a functional nutritionist. Okay, so two components, again, of the work that I do is that I’m a functional dietician. And then I also believe in body neutrality. And I believe that the answer to our health ales, I guess, I would say, is combining compassionate functional nutrition. So these amazing tools and this approach with principles of eating according to bodily autonomy, and what I mean by that is eating what your body wants, on a physiological, mental, emotional level all levels. So let’s talk about the body positivity movement. Let’s talk about what’s amazing about it, let’s talk about what is confusing people about it. And let’s talk about what we can take from Health at Every Size practitioners and share let’s not say take, let’s see what we can share the wisdom of Health at Every Size practitioners.

So the body positivity movement was born out of women being denied adequate medical care who were occupying larger bodies, because they were being dismissed due to weight bias and doctor’s offices. What that looks like is if you go to a doctor and say, hey, you know, my knee is bothering me. And the doctor says, Well, you should lose some weight. If you go to the doctor and you say, Hey, I have an earache. And they say, Well, you should lose some weight. Weight is something that is so ubiquitous in our society and wastes like conversations in ways of the way we view people. It’s such a huge theme underlying everything, and it’s such crap because it really shouldn’t be. It’s just like the least important and least interesting thing about someone how large your body is, is, I’m gonna say it again, the least interesting and the least important piece of information about someone.

The term obesity, which is obviously representing a certain BMI, your body mass index, which is just a calculation of your weight and height. The term obesity has so much heat and hate in it. And for me, I don’t even believe that obesity should be a diagnosis at all. Like, what does a diagnosis to me is a disease state, right? Obesity is a temporary status of someone’s body size that changes all the time. It doesn’t tell you about their body fat, their health, it doesn’t really tell you anything. Are there correlations that can be made? Yes. But diagnoses shouldn’t be correlations, right? They should be actual conditions. So if you are someone who feels the heat have the word obesity, it’s just a current state of being. That’s all that it is. It’s a current state of being. And it could not mean much more than that.

So the body positivity movement has the absolute merit and validity of stating that people in all body sizes deserve access to medical care, respect, they are morally as good as anyone else. I’m laughing because it’s so ridiculous that we even have to have this conversation. The tenants of body positivity are so obviously correct, it makes no sense to me that people would even argue them. And if someone is arguing them, they’re morally bankrupt. And I have no interest in having that conversation anyway, of course, people should not be disrespected, or receive worse jobs or medical care or less love because of their body size, it makes no sense whatsoever.

Of course, the same can be said for any bias that someone has, right. But it’s been kicked into so much of what we do. So from the body positivity movement, calm the set of principles on I would say, that’s like maybe a larger hood and a type of practitioner. So a set of principles, a system for employing strategies to help you with food freedom is the 10 principles of intuitive eating the 10 steps to intuitive eating. And I think those also are perfectly solid, I think that they make absolute sense to me, I understand. We can go through some of the principles to honor your hunger, you know, consider the satisfaction factor, like make sure that you’re receiving satisfaction, gentle nutrition.

So I know that a lot of my clients especially are people who have done intuitive eating with a practitioner, intuitive eating specific practitioners, they’ve gone to Health at Every Size practitioners who are distinctly there to help people with their relationship with food to help people with their relationship with their body. And the main principles of Health at Every Size is also that we should not pursue weight loss as a as a primary health goal, because that could be psychologically damaging for people, which I also agree with the Health at Every Size practitioners, you know, according to their own website, believe that diets fail, and if so, or like 98% of diets fail, so if so, you shouldn’t try to diet because that can actually lead to see, you know, feelings of depression and failure, of course, and also lead to for some people further weight gain. They, of course, believe that people should receive access to fair medical care, and that they should not be only viewed based on their body size, which is like, yes, of course, I agree. But I think the where, where people and my clients specifically have had struggles with intuitive eating and with Health at Every Size, it is that they do in some cases believe that weight loss might be beneficial for them.

So a lot of my clients have been to help at Every Size practitioners who have said to them, weight loss is not good for your mental health, you should not try to lose weight, it should not be part of any health plan. There are certain situations where weight loss can be supportive and helpful, helpful. And I agree that just pursuing weight loss is not something that’s productive for people’s health. But if you pursue balance, and you pursue consumption of foods that suit your body’s individual needs. Weight loss does happen as a side effect sometimes.

So I think that, you know, in the case of a lot of my clients have really severe gut issues anxiety, or have had some sort of hormonal issues. So for them, they really don’t have the luxury to kind of open up all their food restrictions and eat any food they want, because they’ll get physically sick from from doing that. So it’s a really sticky area for people specifically with any sort of chronic illness or, you know, gut conditions specifically because, you know, I have clients who when they consume a certain type of food, they get joint pain that lasts them days, and that can be visible in their actual labs, and that can be visible, you know, I can see what their dietary patterns have been like in recent months.

So it’s hard for me as a practitioner, to hear my clients are physically struggling with something and for me to have some solutions to support them, and then not give them those solutions. Because they shouldn’t be pursuing weight loss so that weight loss isn’t a goal or that you basically this idea that you shouldn’t restrict any food So this podcast is called Quiet the diet. Okay. There’s another like half of the slogan, which is master your health by listening to yourself. What we’re going to do on this podcast is only listen to what our bodies want, we’re not going to listen to a set of principles, we’re not going to be principled, we’re going to be whatever our autonomous selves want. I want to help you, my listener, to access your own voice when it comes to food. When it comes to matters of your health, I want you to be your own advocate.

This is a lot easier said than done, because we don’t all have access to these voices. But there are strategies we can use to access them. My biggest gripe, and I don’t see a lot of people talking about this, about this leg of the kind of more militant body positivity movement is that it still tells people what they should feel, you shouldn’t want to lose weight, because weight loss isn’t good for you. I don’t play on other people’s playing field, and I don’t want my clients playing other people’s playing field. So once someone tells me what might be good for me, I know I’m very rebellious. So I’m like, that’s probably not good for me, then I have to know and know it within myself. So I think that the idea that all weight loss is bad, or all food changes are bad. Or if you wanted to stop eating gluten, that it’s not good for you, because gluten is, you know, you can’t cut out any food group. I think that all food decisions should be individualized and autonomous.

So I think every single food decision you make needs to be based on what you need, and not what anyone else wants for you. So I also have clients who, you know, this is a really big piece of this too, which is that now that society very unfortunately, does regard people in thinner bodies as having higher privilege, it’s really hard to ask someone who’s in a larger body to sit in the discomfort, without urgency to lose weight when they feel or are tangibly missing out on really important things in life. If I could change society First, I would. And not one of my clients ever has a goal of weight loss from me, it would only be something that I would honor if my clients distinctly wanted it.

But we wouldn’t do it in a way that we’re just counting calories or anything like that, not at all, we would do it in a way to bring the body into balance so that they can, their hormones are working effectively. And their metabolism is working effectively. And they don’t have as many cravings and things like that, that make it those kinds of things that make it really hard to lose weight. When you treat the root cause of weight loss, which is not laziness or anything like that. It’s usually something going on with someone physically, emotionally.

No one has to lose weight here in this podcast, you can leave this podcast, if you’re occupying a larger body don’t ever lose weight, because I said that some people benefit from it, or someone else said that you should it always has to be what you want for your body. And I want people to understand that the consequences of rapid weight loss are drastic and the rate of weight regain is so not worth it to go about it that way. So strategy wise when it comes to all of this, you know, low and slow, nurturing, compassionate the way that we treat our bodies is translated back to us and the way that our bodies treat us sorry to fix this.

When it comes to the actual act of weight loss itself, I would never recommend someone do something like calorie counting. I would always recommend a more brain based weight loss plan that also includes whole body health. I would put a whole body spiritual and mental health first. My issue with people encouraging no weight loss, again, besides the fact that it’s someone else making a decision and prioritizing something for you is that if someone feels that it’ll benefit them, I want them to pursue whatever their own bodies are telling them. And that’s important for them. There’s a difference between a voice in our head that tells us you need to lose weight right now.

And a voice that says, hey, like, maybe this would be okay for me. I think accessing what’s voice and I’m gonna, I’m gonna do another episode where I dive into this deeper. I think accessing the voice that is most authentic to you is a really, really important part of any healing journey. I think separating out the voice that’s telling you urgently, you need to lose weight right now. And the voice that’s telling you, hey, we might be able to benefit from making a couple food changes. Differentiating those two voices in which voice feels more compassionate and more like your authentic self is an essential part of any health journey.

So we’ve gotten to this point where we’ve talked a little bit about body positivity, we’ve talked about intuitive eating, the word diet culture hasn’t been brought up yet, because for me, I could do like six hours of I almost like didn’t want even say the word dye culture. Because what I’m seeing, you know, as trends a lot on social media, is that if someone is like drinking lemon water in the morning, or using some sort of ancient modality of healing, people are lumping that together and dye culture. So this idea of fad diets. Of course, we can categorize right away into diet culture. Okay, so fad diets that are predatory are definitely ineffective, and definitely dangerous.

So I, I am not supportive of fad diets. What I am supportive of of is 1000s of years of ancient healing modalities. So I don’t want you to throw the baby out with the bathwater, right? So just because counting calories and under eating might be diet culture, it doesn’t mean that drinking lemon water is diet culture too. And I do feel that this idea that if you don’t eat, you know, oh, you have to don’t live in any foods. All foods fit this phrase, right? You have to eat. You can’t say no to Oreos, you can’t say no to Fruity Pebbles or anything like that.

Although that’s, you know, this idea is not really what Intuitive Eating is about I do see people posting all foods fit. The idea of what foods are constituted as all foods varies in every single country. So if you were in Europe, you know, anywhere in Europe, the foods that look like foods here don’t look like foods there. So it’s really hard for me to believe that all foods fit when these are like brand new foods like post industrial revolution, a lot of these are super new to our food supply and to food to human existence as a whole. Right? So it’s hard for me to believe that you instantly have disordered eating if you don’t choose to eat what these specifically marketed to you foods from these predatory food companies are telling you you should be eating.

So no, I don’t believe if you choose to not eat hyper palatable, hyper palatable and hyper processed foods that you have any sort of disordered eating, of course of them. Sorry. Of course orthorexia, which is the only consuming you know, super health foods for distinct reasons is a legitimate eating disorder. But making food choices based on a what might be culturally appropriate for you, aka what your ancestors ate, and you might be able to digest better. Be what you know, you feel good eating is totally fine and not disordered eating. That’s okay. It’s okay.

Also, by the way to want to lose weight. It doesn’t make you a bad person to want to lose weight. That’s an okay thing. How you feel is not only okay, it’s the most important thing in the entire world, the only thing that matters is how you feel about yourself and feel inside of your body and your life. That’s what matters. That’s what this whole thing is about. So if you feel that you want to eat a certain way to support your health, do it find a way to do it that’s supportive on a mental and emotional plane to now again, I have clients come to me and if they say, Hey, I need to lose 50 pounds in a year. Are you going to be the person to do it? I’m not the person to do it. Because before I even make one food recommendation to people, I need to make sure that they know how they feel when I’m making that food recommendation. I need them to tell me how they feel.

My Sessions are loaded with consent, I am asking a lot would that feel okay to talk about carbohydrates, because food. And dieting has been so weaponized by these diet companies who, by the way, I would argue are just as predatory as the food marketing companies. Because we have that knowledge that both of them are trying to put ideas in our head that are not our own. I’m cautious of anyone telling my clients what they want. So instead of telling my clients what their priorities are, I ask, but I can’t put a timeline on something like weight loss, because that would be in my head, super unethical. Allergy syndromes, alright. So in my head, that would be super unethical. And I don’t believe that we know the exact amount of time it’s going to take for someone to lose weight. And I only work on the timeline of my clients, body, feelings, emotions, and everything like that.

So even though there one part of them might really want to lose that weight, and that time, and I hear it, if I don’t feel it’s safe or supportive for them to do that, I can’t make those recommendations. I also just don’t think that dieticians are like gods, like I don’t think we’re like rulers of the universe and have full control over other people’s bodies, which I don’t want to have control over anyone’s bodies, except for my own, which I do want to have full control over for sure. And by full control, I mean, autonomy, not control over my body, my body has control over me. And that expresses to me what I need. So part of the, you know, starting this off with a weight loss piece, too, is understanding that weight loss is not good or bad. It’s something that is neutral, wanting to lose weight, not good or bad. It’s something that is neutral.

So adding a connotation onto it. And a value marker onto it is the issue. It’s the same thing as if we put a value marker on to a person for being at a larger size. I don’t like adding morality to things. There’s no value to weight loss, it just is. You just lose weight. You know, sometimes people just lose weight and sometimes it’s not really indicative of a bigger medical thing in the same way that we overvalue how bad weight gain is, which is untrue, we undervalue how sorry we overvalue how good weight loss is too, we think it’s the most amazing thing in the entire world. We think weight gain is the worst thing in the world. And weight loss is the best thing in the world.

And I think when it comes to just taking a one second break in ways of tangibility for this episode, I want to talk about what you can do, to understand if it is your time to lose weight, if it’s something of interest to you, and maybe give you some tools for accessing your inner self. Because that’s how you’ll know if it’s time to lose weight or not. When it comes to timing of weight loss, if the urgency is extreme, to lose weight, and it’s coming from a place of fear, I am very unfortunately here to say I do not think it is time to lose weight. I think if fear is you know driving your ship, it’s usually going to drive you into a wall. When you feel that you are fighting for your body’s health and for your happiness, it might be a better and safer time to lose weight.

Again, when fear drives us, it drives us down a dark path. So I don’t like recommending making fear based decisions. If you’re feeling the urgency around weight loss, which is super normal again, from these societal standards, there’s a million reasons why if we are feeling like we’re in a larger body than we’re meant to be, it can feel dangerous for us. And I just want to tell you right off the bat, it’s not immediately dangerous, nothing is happening. Nothing is attacking you and you’re safe right now, if you feel that way. I think what would be more important would be actually addressing the urgency of the weight loss for yourself.

Listening to what your body’s trying to tell you. Because just jumping into changes is usually not the first step in any health journey regardless of its weight or not. So the first thing I want you to do if you feel the urgency is high Oh my god. Oh my god, I have to lose weight who have to lose weight right now. Listen to that voice and let it talk to you. Let it tell you what it’s trying to tell you. That’s step one. Listen to whoever’s talking to you, from downstairs, your gut from the rest of your body, pick up the phone, and create a line of communication between your gut and your brain and your heart. And listen, usually feeling that and hearing that is probably step one. The next thing is you need to cool your nervous system down when you’re feeling like that, too.

So you can take some some nice deep breaths, you can go on a little bit of a walk, you can do things to soothe your vagus nerve, like gargling some water or getting in like a one minute shower. But acknowledging that our thoughts can cause physical discomfort in our body, and that feeling like we’re not in a body that we belong to, when it comes to our weight, can create a really unsafe feeling is super important. And I want to you to know that the feeling of not feeling safe in your body or not feeling like your body is one that you’ve recognized. It’s okay. It’s okay to feel that way. And sometimes we can sit with the discomfort of that.

And sometimes, we need to just calm our nervous system and give our nervous system a little bit of loving, because it can be really overwhelming to feel that way. It feels like dysmorphic, you know, it feels like this, I don’t know this person, you are still you. And everybody says you are still you, and your soul is still yours, I can guarantee that. The next step after just listening to the thoughts in your head. And then soothing your nervous system is step two, I would say after that would be asking yourself honestly, what do I need? And I like to do an experiment where you tap on your heart, and you say, what do I need? What do I need? What do I need? Close your eyes and ask yourself, what do I need? Tap and ask until the answer comes up to you. I’m giving you a second to do that now. I think it’s really important with weight loss, that we don’t respond to the urgency again. Because if we respond with fear, that’s where we get into that rapid weight loss.

And frankly, that’s also where we get into really poor food decisions. Because when the voices in our head gets so loud, you shouldn’t be eating this, you shouldn’t be eating this, why are you doing this, I can’t believe you gained weight, it becomes impossible to make a food decision. And the reason for that is because you can’t access your own brilliant voice. We get decision fatigue, we get exhausted from the chatter in our heads. And what we end up doing is we say screw it, I can’t even make this decision. I thought this food was healthy this food wasn’t. And that’s where we get into that mentality. So letting the voices just come up and speak with you. is so so important. But we can’t meet the urgency with further urgency.

Again, a lot of this is done, you know, really safely and really well in a practitioners office, who really cares about you and is sitting across from you and really, really listening to you. But these are just some tools you can use at home. I think when you listen to yourself and you say what do you need? The answer is not usually going to be like a keto diet right off the bat, you know, but it’ll be like I need some compassion, I need some help. I need some alone time. Whatever your body’s trying to communicate with you let it communicate with you.

And I would say when it comes to, you know, choosing specific foods over others, you know, just to give like a really, really high level recommendation, I would say, just eat food that’s closest to being something that you could farm, something that you could kill, like hunt, imaginary, like hunted with, like hunt in the supermarket. Just get it as close to real as possible because a piece of this that we haven’t spoken about yet, is that I think a lot of people feel nervous when they hear intuitive eating, because they feel like you have to just access your intuition. And that’s really not what Intuitive Eating is. It’s a distinct pathway and set of principles and steps to be able to access what your body needs and to listen to the message of your body.

But what I think is a problem with intuitive eating is that when we eat foods that are super processed and super palatable, like hyper palatable foods, they have the ability to hijack our body’s cravings to hijack our body’s ability to make decisions around food. That is what food marketers sit and find out how do we actually do this. This is something that they legitimate They do. So I think it’s important with these food decisions also, that you can target your health, from physical changes you make in food. And then again, what we were talking about just a minute ago with these three steps, with the emotional changes you make with food.

I believe that intuitive eating and Health at Every Size and body positivity are psychological solutions for sometimes physical issues. And what I mean by that is, if I have a client who doesn’t have a diagnosed celiac disease, but reacts really negatively to gluten, I can’t say you shouldn’t restrict any foods, because if they’re having a, you know, they’re getting, you know, holes in their tiny microscopic holes in their gut from consuming gluten, and they’re having symptoms. Eating intuitively or releasing restrictions is not going to help them to be able to tolerate gluten more. Helping our psychological and spiritual selves is essential to healing.

But it is not the only tool we have in our box. That’s where functional nutrition comes in. So again, we can help our spiritual selves and use these incredible tools of intuitive eating to get us so far. And then I think we need full body healing and to listen to the intricate signs and symptoms our body is trying to tell us for healing after too, and there’s a lot of support we can give, again, if someone had a parasite, they would need to go on a parasite cleanse, eating intuitively wouldn’t support them in that. So I think some of the things going on in our whole selves, their support you can get from a physical perspective and support you can get from a psychological perspective, I think the work I do and the work of awesome functional integrative dieticians is that you can do all that at the same time, which is so awesome.

There’s a reason and season for every person, some of my clients really need the mindset and their relationship with food support. And some of them just have physical symptoms that are so uncomfortable, that they end up actually using food to numb those symptoms. Because it’s, it’s, you know, giving them that those rush of those positive hormones. But what’s underneath is those symptoms that are being suppressed. So we don’t want to suppress anything, we want to know what the heck is going on with our bodies. And we want to listen to our bodies. Listen to every ache and pain you have in your body. Listen to every thought you have.

Our thoughts aren’t always reliable, but listen to them so we can learn where they’re coming from. So always have a plan approaching nutrition through a body neutral lens. And when I say body neutral, I mean, you don’t have to love your body, but you have to respect your body. I want you to focus on listening to yourself, I want you to focus on soothing your neurological system. And I want you to focus on how you feel when you eat different foods. And when possible, you can try to consume foods that are closest to their real form, I guess I don’t know natural form, I would say, which shouldn’t be radical nutrition advice.

But in this climate, it feels super, super radical. In the next episode, we’re going to talk about how to approach anxiety from a functional nutrition and really compassionate, compassionate perspective. I am going to dive in and this season to what I think actually, is the answer to sustainable weight loss in ways of a really compassionate, but also super scientific approach. I think there’s a missing piece that a lot of people don’t realize in sustainable weight loss and why I think I was able to keep my weight loss off for this time, because I’m one of the rare people who doesn’t regain weight. And I think I had an advantage.

And I will tell you what that advantage is, I’m going to be bringing on practitioners from every walk of life, who are just the top of their game, and whatever they are super passionate about. And I want this information on this podcast to be extremely tangible for you extremely usable, and I want to have fun. I know this episode I wasn’t I was a little more serious. I’ll probably be a little more fun when guests are on. But I wanted to really bring this specific information to you.

And I know that a lot of these issues are really hot in the nutrition world and super contentious and Nutrition has become this like belief system and almost like political policy. Like it becomes so heavy. And I want us to be able to just talk through things for sure. Laugh through things, but and really learn together and I want to you know, hear from all of you.

If you found this episode to be super helpful to you. Of course please like, share it. Leave me a little review. I would love it and I can’t wait to see you on the next one. Thank you so much for listening. I can’t believe I’m just like here making a podcast and you’re listening to it. That’s so cool. All right. I’ll see you soon.

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