Forage

whole food ~ well made

Pathway to Cape Cod beach

How to Be Nourished: 3 Resources to Help Give Up Dieting for Good

Hello Foragers, This is my annual summer post with a short break from recipes that includes a few vacation photos I hope you enjoy.~Lynne

It’s deep summer. Bathing suit season. Stone-fruit season. Sleeveless dress season. Grilling season. And ice cream cone season.

It’s the best time of year for fresh foods and the worst for confronting our same-old body woes. Yes, I’m right there with you.

Just the other day, I watched a slender woman about my age walk across the beach in an emerald-colored bikini. What would it be like to feel that comfortable in your body? I wondered.

I’ve never felt that kind of body confidence–ever. I’ve been slimmer and heavier as an adult through my pregnancies and career shifts and moving into middle age. And since the election I have lost and then gained the same damn 10 pounds.

Then, for a whole year I stopped trail running to heal an Achilles injury. While I’m slowly building up my mileage again, this is a long game not a foot race. When I’m really honest with myself, I don’t truly believe the vision of my body in my head will ever match up with my reality.

That’s why a new book called Nourish: How to Heal Your Relationship with Food, Body and Self caught my attention. The author, nutritionist Heidi Schauster, offers 10 practical steps for transforming our relationships with our bodies and food. It’s a quick read with lessons to practice for a lifetime of self-love.

It’s the kind of book I want to give every woman I know because we’re all in the same boat, aren’t we?

Lobster salad at lynnecurry.com.
A homemade lobster salad on a bed of romaine with cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and peas.

And it’s one of many books and resources out there about getting off the dieting merry-go-round, giving up the scale as a measure of self-worth and relearning our relationship to food.

In this post, I want to share a few of the other excellent resources I’ve found on this journey toward self-acceptance that are decidedly food positive.

Add them to your summer reading list in the spirit of wholeness and wellness that is the centerpiece of happiness.

How Clean Eating Is Shaming

In my own pursuit of health, well-being, and weight loss, I’ve followed many of the trendy whole food-based diets, like Whole 30 and Clean. And I’ve followed a number of fasting programs for up to 10 days.

{I think it’s important to state that I do not have an eating disorder, and so I’ve used fasts as seasonal resets in fall or spring and did lose some weight in the process.}

But I think too many of us walk around with a restrictive mindset around food. Judging every bite every day. Avoiding all carbs or dairy or [fill in the blank here].

{I should say here that I consider myself incredibly lucky that I don’t have any food sensitivities, so I can choose from all the food groups, but understand that due to important medical conditions and health considerations, not everyone has that luxury. However, if you’re cutting out entire food groups because you think you should, think on that as you read on.}

Clean Eating is a term that I’ve used on this blog, but it’s troubled me. All the judgement piled on top of all the other edicts we already harbor about different foods, like bread and dessert.

This short post from a Good Housekeeping nutritionist helped me put a finger on why Clean Eating has rubbed me wrong. The writer points out that #eatingclean started out as a well-intentioned term to describe a whole food diet.

But once it became a trending term for nothing but smoothie bowls and green juice, it took a subtle shift into judgement land. The writer says, “Not only does the phrase establish a hierarchical model for eating well, it’s yet another medium for food-shaming.”

There it is.

Beach walk on Cape Cod
Even on a cloudy day, the beaches are the best place to be on Cape Cod.

Do any of us need another reason to feel bad about ourselves? Do we need another outside authority sorting our food choices into bad and good? Should we shame ourselves when the totality of the foods we eat on a given day, in a given week, aren’t 100% “clean”?

This is not self-empowering. And it is the opposite of self-care and all that we are striving for to live full and affirming lives that bring about positive change to ourselves and others.

There has got to be another way.

Why Body Compassion Is Primary

I wasn’t looking for any answers when I tuned into the June 11th episode of Dear Sugars,  the relationship advice column-turned-podcast with two amazing writers, Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, now sadly ending. But I was rapt by the topic: Trust Your Body.

If nothing else, listen to this podcast as host Cheryl Strayed honestly shares her experience being photo shopped in Vogue and admits how hard it is to accept her weight. It is real and true in that beautiful-painful way anything meaningful tends to be.

Informing the discussion is the work of Hilary Kinavey and Dana Sturtevant, the co-creators of Be Nourished, who state that food is not the heart of the issue. The real problem is that our culture imposes restrictive body images and even weight oppression that influence girls as early as 10 years old!

Food is the means of control over those bodies, our bodies. I think this understanding is critical to tuning into the self talk that undermines any of our self-care efforts. And it is a key part of the process of moving out of the authoritarian and ultimately doomed dieting mindset.

Cod fish dinner at lynnecurry.com.
A big family dinner of fried cod, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob and green bean salad.

I also think it’s a little mind blowing that self-care is ultimately about social change. And it starts with how we think of our own bodies, our relationship to food. It starts with us yet again.

As a mom of two girls, I’d sure like to break the cycle. I’d love to see a world where we embrace our bodies more for the real magic they are and walk through life with confidence in our body’s ability to know what it needs to do to support us in our real work of living.

These counselors offer a free Body Trust™ workbook on their site for those interested in exploring this idea further, plus more information and ways to find support. It’s terrific!

Intuitive Eating In Practice

After I read Nourished, I began practicing the techniques of ditching that number in my head that I’m supposed to weigh and following any prescriptive diet, no matter how reasonable sounding.

By now, I think most of us have a pretty clear idea of how to eat well. So, I don’t think it’s a stretch to trust ourselves to know how to feed ourselves. I’ve always loved the notion that we are the experts of our own experience.

This holds true for our bodies as well, if we are able to tune in. Of course, there are many women who struggle with that due to trauma of many kinds. Read Roxane Gay’s excellent book, Hunger. And so healing, especially with the help of professionals, is an essential part of the process.

Still, most of use are familiar with our own histories and patterns that cause a slip that can lead to a landslide. For me, it’s not sugar or chocolate, but bread. And crackers, and crunchy snacks.

You know that storybook If you Give A Mouse a Cookie?

For me, it’s If You Give a Woman a Bag of Kettle Chips… Or, If You Give a Woman a Glass of Wine and a Basket of Bread. That’s where I begin to slip.

Not a handful of chips with a sandwich or one glass or rosé with dinner or even one slice of artisan bread with pastured butter.

Those choices fit within the intuitive eating framework. If I choose them consciously and enjoy them thoroughly.

As many nutritionists say, good health is never about one eating decision. It’s not about one ice cream cone on a July day before going to the beach. That’s called joy.

Sunset on Cape Cod
Sunset over the tip of Cape Cod on a summer night.

These 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating are a simple and helpful place to start. They start with body acceptance and self love and a reminder that you can still be perfectly healthy if you don’t eat a perfect diet.

We become nourished by eating a variety of foods every day.

I recommend you read them in full, but just for reference with credit to nutritionist Alissa Rumsey, they are:

  1. Reject the diet mentality
  2. Honor your hunger
  3. Make peace with food
  4. Challenge the food police
  5. Feel your fullness
  6. Discover the satisfaction factor
  7. Cope with your emotions without using food
  8. Respect your body
  9. Exercise–feel the difference
  10. Honor your health with gentle nutrtion

Although I’m back from vacation featuring big family seafood dinners as a few of these photos illustrate, I’m going to steer clear of the siren call of the 30-day diet or a cleanse that may bring short-term satisfaction but keep me trapped in a cycle of denial and restriction.

This summer I am focused on being active and creative. And for that I choose to focus on feeding myself to be nourished.

Subscribe

and become a forager

What do you think about these ideas and the notion of intuitive eating? Let me know in the comments below or tag a photo #lynnesforage on Instagram or Facebook.

Comments

  1. Judy Witherrite

    I would love the recipe for the lobster salad.

    1. LOL! I will work on it for you, Judy.

  2. Laura Skovlin

    Thanks for sharing this, Lynne! Really resonates, and the part about bread, too.
    Your photos are beautiful!

    1. I’m so happy to hear that, Laura! Thank you. And we’re all in this together.

  3. Janet Lefkowitz

    Thank you for sharing this. This is something I certainly struggle with, and frankly am just exhausted by this taking up so much real estate in my brain for as long as it has. I am my own worst enemy… so thank you. Maybe – just maybe – this will be the thing that helps me just let go.

    1. Oh, Janet, if I could have back half of the time I’ve spent thinking about this! I am so ready to free up that real estate, too, and I do think that this is the most promising way forward. I also believe it’s a feminist act to reject our dieting culture hands down. I’m with you.

  4. Debbie

    Bread, chips, and more bread, chips…yep you can have the sweets! I would love the recipe for the green bean salad. It’s harvest time in Southern Oregon!!

  5. I started reading the intuitive eating book at the beginning of the summer after meeting with a nutritionist for a few months. I was kind of surprised at the fact that it’s not a new book bit has gained a lot of traction. I feel like women are d-o-n-e and ready to bow out of the game that nobody is winning. It’s going to take a long time to find my optimal nourishment (mind and body) but I’m in it for the long haul 🙂 I’m looking at Nourish now, it looks great!

    1. This is all rather new-ish to me, too, Sara. It feels like about time! And yes, it’s a journey, but you’re in really good company!

share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *