Episode 38: Disordered Eating as an Adaptation of the Nervous System & Listening to the Body with Kindness & Curiosity with Dr. Maria Paredes

black square with a quote from Dr. Maria Paredes in white text

Addiction, eating disorders, and any other form of self-harm are adaptations of a dysregulated nervous system to cope โ€” to create faux windows of tolerance to feel safe in an unsafe environment. The body must respond, however, to the trauma of food restriction on a cellular level. Constantly assessing the threat of food restriction is very taxing on the body.

Additionally, the way that it is absolutely normal and socially acceptable to talk about body size, weight loss, and how much we hate our bodies is a symptom of collective trauma.

Our culture has normalized talking about what diet we’re on or what weight loss program we’re doing that you’re an outlier if you aren’t doing those things.

This episode with Dr. Maria Paredes is packed full of wisdom from a trauma-informed eating disorder therapist.

eating disorder therapist dr. maria paredes

Dr. Maria Paredes is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Clinical Supervisor, Certified Eating Disorders Specialist & approved IAEDP supervisor, and owner of Three Birds Counseling & Clinical Supervision in Greensboro, NC, a practice that provides services from a trauma-informed, fat-positive, Queer affirming, faith-affirming, and social justice-affirming lens. She helps individuals of all gender identities make peace with food and with their bodies, and live fuller lives, free from negative thinking, fear of food, and body hate.

She believes ALL bodies have worth and that ALL individuals deserve to enjoy food, move in ways that feel joyful, treat their bodies with kindness and gentleness, and experience authentic connection with themselves and others. Maria recognizes that this healing must occur within the individual therapeutic relationship as well as within the larger, cultural environment, and thus embraces the role of advocacy and activism. She also works with individuals experiencing anxiety, trauma, infertility/pregnancy loss, and PCOS. Maria teaches courses in UNC-Gโ€™s Counseling department and provides clinical supervision and training to new professionals working toward their licensure as therapists or dietitians.

Maria is Mom to 3 young girls and hopes that they will grow up to experience the wonder and power of all their bodies have to offer, without believing they must shrink themselves.

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In this episode with certified eating disorder specialist and licensed therapist Dr. Maria Paredes, we…

  • discuss the link between eating disordered and trauma (while also sharing that there is not always a “trauma” that leads to an eating disorder)
  • discuss nervous system dysregulation, Polyvagal Theory, and the trauma of restricting food
  • talk about the role of intuitive eating in recovery
  • talk about orthorexia
  • discuss the role of dissociation and eating disorders
  • talk about the importance of bodily autonomy and consent with food, including children
  • discuss parenting, childhood development, picky-eating and kids exerting independence
  • share how eating disorders create “faux” windows of tolerance
  • explain why the BMI is bullshit
  • share why weight-inclusive care should be the foundation of all physical and mental healthcare
  • share how Dr. Maria helps her clients heal through curiosity about their bodies

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Transcript

Hello. Hello. I’m so glad you’re joining me today. Thank you for being here. , before I jump into this week’s episode, I just have to be real with you for a moment. So I can’t believe that we are halfway through the month of may in 2021. I mean wasn’t new year’s Eve two weeks ago. It feels like time is skipping in ways that I don’t understand.

I’ve never experienced time. That flies as fast. As time feels like it is blinding in 2021. And I think I’m pretty much over the pandemic fatigue. I feel like I’ve been in a pretty good flow work-wise lately. I feel like I’ve had a lot of creativity. And a lot of focus and that’s been great.

And yet time is skipping and skipping. And skipping it’s so fast and it’s so weird. It’s like we’re living in some sort of a. Altered fast-forward time portal or something. I have no idea. There’s probably a much more scientific term for that than what I’m giving you,

But I don’t always know how to talk in the most scientific terms. If you’re experiencing the time skipping. Crazy fast energy that I’m feeling. Would you please reach out to me on Instagram. You can DM me at, I am Lindsay locket and just be like, yep. I’m feeling the time skipping too. It’s not just, you.

Or you could also say no, you’re crazy. Everything is fine. The other weird thing is that as of the time I’m recording this intro. It is Thursday, May 13th. And. I have, as I mentioned earlier, I have been in this like really focused flow of work and productivity, and I felt like I’ve been in my zone and I’ve had a lot of creativity and things coming up that really felt like they’d been blocked in me for a long time. And it finally feels like the flood gates have opened up and stuff is just coming through and.

I’m working on a masterclass and I’m working on a course. And I cannot wait to release those into the world. But then I woke up yesterday morning, Wednesday, May 12th. And it was like all of that focused and flowing energy was like, damned back up again. And so yesterday, Wednesday, and today, Thursday, I have felt super scatterbrained.

I feel like at times I’m walking around in circles, like scrolling on my phone and I don’t even know why. And then I look up and I’m like, wait a minute. What am I doing? Why am I on my phone? And I come back to my desk. And I start trying to focus again. And it’s I have a list. I actually work off of a to-do list and I mark things off with actual pen and paper.

And I have the list sitting in front of me and I feel like everything I’m looking at. It’s there’s something that’s prohibiting me from being able to work on it. And it’s mostly been technological issues, which I hate. It’s so ironic that my entire life is on the internet. When I hate technology so much.

But. All this brain fog and the scatterbrained feeling and just feeling like I’m in a haze of cloudy thinking and not really knowing what to do next. And it’s like that energy flow and creativity, somebody turned the faucet off. And I was expressing this morning to my husband. I was like, I just feel so scatterbrained. My brain feels like it’s a herd of turtles trying to stampede through peanut butter.

That’s what my thought process had fell up. Have felt like for the last two days, And he’s yeah, I felt that way too. I didn’t really feel. Sleep good last night. And I don’t know what’s going on. And then later he’s oh, guess what? There was a level three geomagnetic storm that started.

Yesterday Wednesday, May 12th. And suddenly it all made sense. So I was like, okay, I have to know. I can’t do any work anyway. I’m not getting anything done. I am so scatterbrained and brain fogged and bogged down and feeling irritable that I would be pointless for me to try to dive into work at this point. So I might as well go down.

The rabbit trail of finding out what solar storms. Due to the human energy field. So I did, I went down the rabbit hole and it turns out that geomagnetic storms or solar storms do quite a bit to the human energy field and they affect our mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. And they are a time before massive downloads, intuitive, knowings, being more in tune with.

The energy world receiving synchronicities, noticing repeating numbers all kinds of exciting stuff, but. They are also known to cause. Anxiety, irritability. Feeling Spacey, feeling brain fog. Being more sensitive to lights and sounds like everything is intensified. Everything is extra.

So a lot of people feel edgy, irritable. A lot of people either have trouble sleeping or they are wanting to sleep more. These solar storms affect our pineal glands. So that would be the third eye. And last night, Wednesday, when I went to bed, I had a pressure. Sensation in my third eye and this pressure sensation in my third eye is not a phenomenon for me. This is a feeling that I get pretty frequently whenever I meditate.

But I wasn’t meditating last night, I was just laying in bed about to fall asleep and I wasn’t able to fall asleep because there was pressure on my third eye. And then today I’m doing all this research about geomagnetic storms and their effect on the human body and the human psyche and the human spirit.

And it’s talking about how it affects the pineal gland. So it all made sense. And I got on Instagram and I asked my Instagram followers if they were experiencing any of these sorts of symptoms of this geomagnetic storm. And so many people. Commented or DMD that they have had anything from just feeling blah, to their heart rate, variability changing.

Migraines. Someone said that they had like a flood of panic attacks on Wednesday night and they haven’t experienced that in years. And so whatever’s going on with the sun right now? It’s affecting the earth. The Northern lights have been intense. Over north America and not just in Alaska and Canada, where they usually are. They’ve been like down further south.

And we see Northern lights sometimes in Minnesota, but some of the pictures that I’ve seen online of Minnesota, Northern lights have been intensely beautiful. It’s Sunday. Now you’re listening to this on Sunday. So maybe the geomagnetic storm has passed. I don’t know. I don’t know how that works. I don’t know if there’s a forecast or like a channel that you can find to know when these things are happening or what, I really don’t know how that works.

But if on Wednesday and Thursday you felt. Scatterbrained Spacey, anxious, irritable, jittery, nervous, edgy. Extreme hunger or thirst. Being really tired or being really energetic, really sensitive to other people’s energy. Then maybe this is why I think that this is a plausible explanation for why.

Wednesday Thursday, Friday may have felt pretty intense. So I’m just throwing that out there if you experienced it too. Or if you’re like thinking back to last week and you’re like, oh, that’s what that was. Okay. That makes sense. Then again, shoot me a DM on Instagram at I am Lindsay Lockett. I would love to hear if you are sensitive to solar storms, the way that I’m sensitive to solar storms, that I didn’t even know. I was sensitive to.

So with that said, let’s move on to the episode we have today. Today. I am pleased to interview Dr. Maria Paradis. We are talking about eating disorders and trauma, of course, the nervous system, polyvagal theory, all of our favorite things, but we’re doing it through the lens of disordered eating.

Let me tell you about Dr. Maria. She is a licensed clinical mental health counselor, clinical supervisor, certified eating disorder specialist, and the owner of three birds counseling and clinical supervision in Greensboro, North Carolina. Her practice provide services from a trauma informed fat, positive, queer affirming faith affirming and social justice affirming lens.

She helps individuals of all gender identities make peace with food and with their bodies and live fuller lives free from negative thinking, fear of food and body hate. She believes all bodies have worth, and that all individuals deserve to enjoy food, move in ways that feel joyful, treat their bodies with kindness and gentleness and experience, authentic connection with themselves and others.

Maria recognizes that this healing must occur within the individual therapeutic relationship, as well as within the larger cultural environment. And thus, she embraces the role of advocacy and activism. She also works with individuals experiencing anxiety, trauma, infertility, pregnancy loss, and PC O S. Maria is the mom to three young girls and hopes that they will grow up to experience the wonder and power of all their bodies have to offer without believing that they must shrink themselves

 

As I just mentioned Dr. Maria Perez and I are discussing the link between eating disorders and trauma. We are also sharing that there is not always a quote unquote trauma that leads to an eating disorder. We discussed the nervous system, dysfunction, polyvagal theory, and the trauma of food restriction. We discussed the role of intuitive eating and recovery. And we also talk about orthorexia, which is an eating disorder. That’s not made it to the DSM has an official diagnosis yet, but it is something that I have personally dealt with and didn’t realize that I had dealt with it until I was outside of toxic wellness culture.

We also talk about the role of disassociation in eating disorders. And we talk about the importance of bodily, autonomy, and consent with food. We discussed parenting, childhood development, picky eating and kids learning independence, and not very commonly. One of the ways our kids show us that they are their own individual beings is by having total control over what they eat and when and how much.

We share how eating disorders create a pho window of tolerance. Because the eating disorder helps the person feel regulated even when the environment is dysfunctional, but the eating disorder itself is dysfunctional. It’s a very interesting concept. We explain why the body mass index is utter bullshit.

We share why weight inclusive care should be foundational in mental and physical health care. And we share how Dr. Maria helps her clients heal through curiosity about their bodies. So it’s a very special, longer than usual episode that I have for you today. And I hope that it supports you in your journey. Enjoy.

welcome Dr. Maria peritus to the holistic trauma healing podcast. I’m so glad you’re here. Thanks for having me. Yeah. I’m really excited to talk about what we’re going to talk about today because I don’t really know a whole lot about it. So I’m mostly just going to ask you questions and be quiet and let you teach me.

Awesome. We are going to talk about trauma and the nervous system and eating disorders today. Yeah. So just dive in, tell me about your work with that. How you got started with that. Did you also suffer from an eating disorder? Is that how you got into this work? Good question. I do consider myself as in recovery from an eating disorder.

And I use that language specifically, because I think it’s an ongoing process. And your body you don’t recover in a body and then your body doesn’t change ever again, or your relationship with food never changes again. And so it’s ongoing, right? As I age, as my body changes recovery sort of ebbs and flows in different ways, but but I did do have, did have an eating disorder but I really stayed away from doing the clinical work for a long time because I was afraid that I wasn’t in strong enough place.

I think there used to be more stigma around doing the work. If you suffered from it yourself, that’s really changed with experiences. I think a lot more valued now. And yeah, so I own a private practice. We specialize in disordered eating and body concerns, trauma, anxiety, grief, and fertility, and pregnancy loss.

We also do a lot around immigrant hardship evaluations. So folks who are seeking asylum or facing deportation. And then I teach at the local university. Wow. That I answered your question though. Like how well you did answer my question, because you said that you were in recovery from an eating disorder.

And I do it’s so weird to me how people are like, I guess this is more of a past belief it’s not. As much of a belief anymore, but I think it still exists is that if you are dealing with this thing, you’re not qualified to help people with the thing that you’ve dealt with. And for me, I’m like, man, if I’m dealing with trauma, I want somebody who knows what the fuck I’m dealing with, because I don’t want to just talk to some, guy in a coat who’s like studying me like I’m under a microscope and I’m an experiment or something like, I want somebody who knows that it’s hard and that it’s painful and that recovery is possible.

And I’m really glad that’s falling by the wayside that it’s okay if you struggle with something and help people at the same time. Yeah. And I think it does depend. I think, You have to be the thing I look for when I’m looking at folks who are working in my practice or folks, them supervising are they committed to doing their work?

You can suffer from something and not be committed to doing things, to be a well person to hold space for other people. And so I think there, it goes in tandem, right? Suffering alone, I don’t think is an exclusion for being a good provider. If anything, I think it gives you a really good insight into what’s happening for the person you’re holding space for.

At the same time, I will say, I know some providers who are really excellent and they don’t have any history of what they’re doing. They are an excellent provider in the area of substance abuse and they’re not, they don’t have addiction or substance abuse in their in their history. I think it’s like both ends.

I think lived experiences is so important. I also think it’s not the only way to understand what someone’s going through. For sure. So what is the link between eating disorders and trauma? Is there one there absolutely is. And we can look at it in a few different ways. So for a lot of people, not all they have a specific trauma, or ongoing trauma in their past.

So for some people, it it really is just that there was a specific event or ongoing events, ongoing experiences that set the stage. But separate from that, a lot of people don’t have that. But the experience of restriction is a trauma and of itself that the body experiences, right? So the body is always doing everything it can to survive.

Everything we do is in the service of survival. And that’s probably paraphrasing a Deb Dana quotes, but everything we do is in the service of survival. And when we are restricted in any kind of way that the body experiences that as a threat. It’s a threat to the integrity of the body.

So if we are under feeding ourselves, if we are not getting enough not even just calorically sometimes my clients may be getting enough in terms of how many calories they need or how many macro micro nutrients they need. But if they’re not getting enough of what we want, if we’re not experienced satisfaction and experiencing pleasure that in itself can be experienced as a restriction.

And that is experienced as a trauma to the body. The body experiences restriction as a threat to its integrity and it’s going to do everything it can to fight that. And so when I say that too, like at the root of all eating disorders is restriction and anxiety of some sort, right? So even including binge eating disorder, which a lot of people don’t necessarily understand.

I think there’s more understanding coming from that. I, haven’t never had a client with an eating disorder with disordered eating who doesn’t have significant restriction as part of their profile, but they often don’t see it as that. So a lot of the people because of fatphobia because of a lot of misinformation about weight science and and health a lot of people will come in and they’re focusing just on I’m so bad, because I eat too much or I’m so bad because I’m the size.

And then when we start to explore and actually start to assess and go, Oh gosh, actually you meet criteria for anorexia or you have a lot of restriction in your profile. And they’re like, what, how could that be? I’m X amounts of, weight, right? They might be in a higher weight body. A lot of people don’t know that you can have anorexia NB, higher weight.

Historically what we’ve thought about interacts DIA was just thin white, rich girl disease. And it actually couldn’t be further from the truth in terms of who’s more vulnerable and susceptible to developing them. So anyway, so a lot of times folks come in, they just feel like I’m bad. I’m gluttonous.

I’m, because I’m the size because I, eat in this way. And then we look through and actually we might see that they’re restricting for a good portion of the day. Because of the shame that they have, because, or because someone’s telling them to go on a diet. When really that might be the worst thing for them.

So they wake up and they’re not eating until three, four and pock them afternoon. What happens to the body when we don’t get food after even just a couple hours, just a few hours, our body, because everything we do is in the service of survival. Our body starts to do things to fixate on food.

And a lot of times we’re taught that’s a bad thing, or we need a trick that, but actually that’s our body trying to survive. Back when we were nomadic wanders, we didn’t have grocery stores or fridges. And we, don’t know when food was coming next. We, it was actually really great for our evolutionary DNA to be able to think about food when we weren’t getting it right.

So our ability to store fat, our ability to hyper fixate on food our ability to know, Oh gosh, I haven’t gotten food in this amount of time, so I need to start releasing hormones. I need to start putting all my attention. I need to start not focusing on this over here. That’s all protective and helped our genes be passed on.

If that makes sense. Okay. So now we have person right back to that person. They have woken up, they have restricted for most of the day, they get to the afternoon or whatever time it is at night. And yeah, their body at that point is in such a state of trauma. We can call it they’re in such a state of restriction that they’re going to do their, body’s going to do everything.

It can to try to get food and to try to get really highly palatable food and try to get the food as quickly and as fast, as much as possible. And that’s where you’ll often see what we term bingeing. And I say that term bingeing, because a lot of times what folks will think has bingeing is really just feeding themselves.

Cause sometimes folks will have binge-eating disorder, they have bingeing and it’s really not even objectives that much food. But there’s just so much shame attached and that can spiral into a cycle. So then they, they have what feels like or is, however we’re going to call it a binge episode and then they feel so much shame and and their body’s exhausted after that because now it’s gone from this end to this end really quickly.

And that sets them up to do it again the next day. The next day I’m so bad last night. And so I should just restrict again. Back to a polyvagal theory, if we think about we’re getting out of our window of tolerance when we are restricting oftentimes we’re either when someone’s doing a lot of restricting, we’re either going to a hyper Rouse space above our window of tolerance.

We are anxious. We are, we’re really feeling like a danger Oh my gosh, there’s no food coming in. Our brain alone every day needs a tremendous amount of calories. Or some at some point over time with enough restriction, our body adaptively puts us in hypo aroused state right below our window of tolerance because once it starts seeing, Oh gosh, we’re being restricted.

We’re not getting enough. And it doesn’t look like we’re getting more soon. It starts to signal the body that needs to start shutting down. And it goes into dorsal vagal. So you’ll see things like the heart rate starts to slow metabolism, decreases all sorts of things. Physiologically start to happen to slow down the system.

Again, protectively because of the threat of not having food. So how do we fix that? We eat right, like eating food, listening when you’re hungry and providing your body. Nourishment is a really. No, I put easy in quotes. Cause obviously it’s really hard and lots of ways. But it’s a it’s a sure-fire way to help your body start to get back into the window of tolerance.

Man, I had so many things. I was just taking notes feverously while you were talking. Cause I have so many things I want to ask you now. Okay. Like obviously the body wants food and restricting the food creates this like state of the body’s like in panic and then there’s all this guilt associated with it and then the cycle just goes on and on.

So as a person who’s never dealt with an eating disorder, I recognize the privilege that I have to say, like, why can’t we just listen to our bodies? Isn’t that easy, which I know that it’s not, otherwise we wouldn’t have eating disorders. If it was that easy, we wouldn’t have eating disorders. How does like intuitive eating factor into eating disorders?

And when I say intuitive eating like I’ve never actually read the book, intuitive, eating intuitive eating is something that I just like naturally as I turned off, cause I used to be a health food blogger. And so I consumed information about food and eating and intermittent fasting and, different types of diets like paleo and keto and whole thirties and gluten-free and all these things.

Like I consumed that kind of information for years and years, I’m a certified nutrition, health coach. And so the thing that I like realized for myself was that trying to hack into my body in these different ways was like the opposite of intuition because I wasn’t listening to my own body.

I was instead following the prescriptive rules or whatever that whatever diet or whatever book I was reading at the time wanted me to follow. And I’ve since backtracked way, way back and gone back to the beginning of you give the body what it needs, and it knows how to self-regulate like our bodies are amazingly capable of returning to a state of homeostasis when we give them what they need.

And so for me, intuitive eating, wasn’t reading the book, intuitive eating, although I’ll link to that in the show notes. For me, it was just about closing all of the books and all of the blogs and all of the websites about different diets and fasting and all of these things. And just going back to basics of listening to my body and eating when I’m hungry, listening to my cravings, giving into my cravings and not feeling like I’m cheating.

And amazingly through that process, like I actually lost like 30 pounds and my weight. Has since stabilized to a place where it’s like at a set point and it doesn’t move really, no matter what I do, it doesn’t move. It doesn’t go up or down. I don’t exercise very much. I don’t restrict calories. I don’t do any of that.

I just listen to my body. I give it food that it wants. I nourish myself and I just love my life. And it’s an afterthought for me. So I do recognize that I’m coming from a really privileged place by saying that this is my experience. So what does the role, where, what is the role of intuitive eating with eating disorders and are people ever able to get to a place where like food just isn’t a big deal anymore?

Yeah. So many things coming to my mind. So one thing I want to say is for some folks, they they do recovery work, whether we’re calling it intuitive, eating, whether we’re calling it, just recovery work in general and they do, they lose weight, their body. That’s where their body wants to go.

For some people they do the work and their body doesn’t change. Their body stays in the same place. And some, for some people, they do the work and their body increases, they gain weight. And and I just want to emphasize for anyone listening out there, any one of those outcomes is okay, there’s one of those outcomes is not better than another, right?

So we’ve always had bodies and all shapes or sizes. We have evidence of that. And there’s nothing you’re not bad and your recovery is not bad if in doing your recovery work and doing to, to beating work. If your body still is a higher weight body so just to name that, yeah.

Oh, sorry. I’m going to interrupt you here because I did forget to share like one part of my story. In 2018 I got really sick mentally and physically, and I started to lose weight like really rapidly. And I was eating like I was eating all the time. I was constantly hungry, but the more I ate, the more weight I lost.

And I went from like 160 pounds to 125 pounds. And three months, like it was crazy. And I checked myself into the hospital. I got on some meds and I started doing the recovery work for myself. And I felt so miserable at 125 pounds. Like I felt like I was shriveling up and I was going to blow away.

And so part of the intuitive eating work for me was eating and allowing myself to gain that weight back and not be. Like worried about gaining it back and just trusting that my body would eventually stabilize on its own and it totally has. Yeah I want to echo what you’re saying is I’m not saying that if you eat intuitively, it ends up and you lose weight and everything is fine.

Like sometimes you actually gain weight and I’ve experienced both. Yeah. And it it’s hard to not I think because of the messages that we are surrounded by and even a lot of the training that’s still be being put out there. I think it, it can be hard for folks to experience weight gain during that process.

Cause it can feel like for them, what’s wrong with me, and the comparison can be so high, like why that person recovered and they, this is what happened to them. But for me, this is what happened and that’s I would say in a flip way, I’d say that’s one of the really neat.

Rad beautiful things about bodies is that we are also different, right? And our bodies are not meant to be the same. It would be really boring if we all were the same. And there’s so much else that can go into this too, in terms of access and, history of access, history of oppression, attachment styles are so much more than goes into this that helps, shape that trajectory of what is happening for a person’s body.

And the biggest thing out of any of those factors is genetics. So that’s something that’s completely out of our control, right? So genetically, some bodies are going to be bigger than other bodies and somebodies are going to be smaller. So I’m going to be this shape. Some are going to be that shape that is almost completely out of our control.

One of the things too, that you brought up that I just want to name too, if anyone hasn’t heard this you’re describing, and I don’t know that this is a word that you identify with or not Lindsay, but what we call orthorexia which is, not a official diagnosis in the DSM.

But it may be, it may eventually be some people think it, it really is just under the cloak of inner Aksia. The unique thing about orthorexia is that it’s really an unhealthy extreme or distorted obsession with what we call in quotes, healthy eating. For example, some people.

I have nothing against veganism. So let me just say this. I’m not criticizing people are vegan, but one of the things that as a, you know, provider, I’m working with people, and a lot of times it’s folks who are, very cute or, just very sick, very well is trying to assess where is the motivation coming from, for some people veganism. And I’m again, not poking at veganism, but just as one it really is their principle way of living it. It has nothing to do, or it’s pretty separated from other things and they recover and they’re still a vegan for some folks. Whether it’s veganism or clean eating this or paleo or you name it keto gluten-free right.

It really is more a function of disordered eating and an obsession with this idea of purity or this idea of cleansing us. And they’re eating. And we’re seeing that on the rise that this profile. And so there’s a lot of people out there who may not clinically meet criteria for a DSM diagnosis of an eating disorder.

And yet really are presenting with disordered eating in a big way. And I don’t really care so much about whether it meets criteria or not. Because what I’ll see in my office is the same kind of suffering, right? Where so much of their day, so much of their energy, so much of their time. So much of their relationships is secondary to this kind of obsessive search for some sort of purity that isn’t really leading them.

To being at home in their body. That’s not leading them to joy. That’s really creating such a level of restriction because they’re holding themselves back from being able to experience life more. Totally. Yeah, totally. Yeah. I was actually like, I know that it was orthorexia that I was experiencing. I didn’t want to bring that up cause I know it’s not an official diagnosis.

So yeah. I’m glad that you brought it up. I definitely did identify, I wouldn’t have said I was orthorexic but like looking back at Lindsay from seven years ago, five years ago, even three years ago, like there was this definite need to identify problem foods and cut them out of my diet and and then also tell like my coaching clients, the same thing for everybody, I can’t even tell you how many people I told them to cut gluten and dairy out of their diet, because in the health food world, gluten and dairy are like the bane of all existence, and it’s such a damaging thing and Yeah, I’m so glad that I’m like out of that now, because I feel like I am living. I don’t want my life to be just obsessed with food. I don’t want to be obsessed with if I’m out, I really was like this. If I was out with people or if I was like out grocery shopping or running errands and it was mealtime and I was hungry, I would either make myself wait until I got home because I refused to go through the drive-through somewhere and get, something fast or something that wasn’t organic and non GMO and raised by a local farmer.

And or I would go to an insanely expensive place where I knew I could get that kind of food. And probably spend way more money than I needed to just to feed myself, and thankfully I’m totally out of that. And in fact, the other day I took my daughter and her friends thrift store shopping, and we were like out and we, they wanted to go to a fast food place for dinner and we did.

And like I ordered taco bell and look, I’m here. I lived and the thing is though, is I can eat taco bell. I can appreciate it for what it is. And then I can wake up today and I can have a solid and herbal tea and still feel good. It’s I, there’s no guilt. And I feel like I can just go to bed and get back up the next day and it with my life, because I do ultimately eating healthy is really important to me.

I want I don’t like the word healthy, cause there’s so many definitions of the word healthy and healthy is relative, depending on who you are. I’m just a really big fan of nourishing myself. Like how can I nourish myself? Sometimes the body wants chocolate and a cheeseburger, and sometimes it wants a salad.

And to me, that’s what intuitive eating is. It’s getting rid of the food police, which is one of the principles of intuitive eating it’s de pathologizing food, all foods have purpose. I know in some of the conversations you and I have had offline about re variety of things, anything that gets put in this sort of purity, all or nothing, black or white lacking nuance kind of frame, I think ends up being harmful.

There’s always nuance. There’s always great. When I say all foods have purpose. I really mean that all foods have purpose. Some foods give us energy, some foods help us be stronger. Some foods give us just pleasure. Some foods help us connect to others. Think about how some of this, I don’t know if this came up for you, during that period for you, but this kind of orthorexic, very restricted way of approaching food.

Really goes against so many cultural traditions, food in every culture around the world is such an important part of how we even define our relationships to family, to ancestors, to, to the earth. And so to be able to take that away, right? And to take such staples away really can be a threat to one’s connection to their heritage and to their relationships with others.

Yeah, I was totally I’ve actually talked about this on the podcast before. I was totally a person who I was doing a very restrictive gut healing. I’m using air quotes there diet one year it’s called the gaps, diet, gut, and psychology syndrome. Diet is actually the name, what the acronym stands for.

And it was around the holidays and we went to my husband’s family. For Thanksgiving. And my husband’s mom bless her heart. She like bent over backwards to try to accommodate me like she really did. And so everybody’s sitting around the table with their plates piled high of mashed potatoes and gravy and, cranberry sauce and all of these things.

And I’m like sitting there with my slice of Turkey and like a baked sweet potato, and having no dessert and having no like cider or hot chocolate, or anything like that. And sitting across the table from people with plates full of like carbs and things I couldn’t have and telling them about my gut healing diet and how amazing it was like.

Totally. I was that person, and now I look back and I’m like, Oh, that girl, she was so insecure and who she was. And she had, I had all these like ideas about, purity and health and eating clean and all of that to the point that I was like shaming, basically shaming and judging other people for what they were doing.

And also robbing myself of the experience of just like enjoying myself and my family and a holiday meal and like going on with my life, it became like a big deal that I, it became a focal point when it shouldn’t have been so totally resonate. Yeah. And, again, like it’s hard disordered eating has become so normalized in our culture that it almost can be hard to know what is normal.

Put that in quotes. It almost becomes, you’re almost like the outlier when you are eating intuitively when you aren’t dieting. I can think about that going to just, mom get togethers or whatever. And and the topic is all about what diet or what weight loss program someone’s on.

It becomes part of how people are connecting. And I think that makes it hard to even know what’s my motivation for this. What is it doing for me? Is it helping me connect to other people that are helped me disconnect and being able to step out of that and go, what does my body actually need and want right now?

So yeah. You said something else that I was gonna. Bring up too, in terms of trauma, the role of dissociation is really important in all of this. And dissociation is essentially like an extreme disconnection from body. We all do it right the last time. I always tell people think about the last time you were driving and you can’t remember the last 10 minutes, it’s not that you weren’t paying attention. It’s that part of you was paying attention and part of you was, going to something else. We’re really good at being able to disconnect parts of ourselves. So that’s a really. Innocuous, is that the right word? That’s a really not worrisome end of the spectrum in terms of dissociation, just mind wandering.

But on the other end is like really completely, splitting from parts of ourselves or parts of our experience. And so a lot of people with disordered eating have that. And a lot of my clients and I experienced this myself where in the depths of my eating disorder, I would, I didn’t know what hunger felt like.

Or when I would eat, it was almost like I couldn’t feel from my neck down. And it took a lot of therapy, a lot of work, a lot of somatic work reconnecting to my hunger cues and re identifying with that. And one of the reasons that ends up being so common is. This connects to like the messages sometimes that we teach around food to, to kids or that our parents taught us.

So for example, like with my kids if I, we follow something called the division of responsibility, it’s a parent feeding approach by this therapist and dietician. And essentially we offer, we decide what we’re eating when we’re eating, where we’re eating it, but they decide if they’re gonna eat it at all and how much right.

Which is scary to a lot of parents. And they hear they’re like what if they don’t eat well, then they don’t eat. And they, then they learn, what hunger feels like. And that’s not a horrible thing and there’ll be a meal again. We’re going to feed them again. We don’t feed them one time, and again, and this is outside. If there’s an issue, if a kid has an eating disorder, has ARFID has something else, then, the approach is going to be a little bit different. There’s something called responsive feeding. That can be helpful there, but essentially we follow that.

But imagine with my. My kids. If I told them if their body was like, I’m hungry right there, their body’s giving them messages and cues, like I’m hungry, they’re can feel it in their belly, they feel in their head, maybe they’re tired. And I said, no, you’re not, like you’re not hungry.

You’ve had enough. I’m teaching them to disconnect. I’m teaching them to dissociate from their body cues. Same in the reverse, if they are full and their body’s telling them their body’s giving them lots of messages. Like I’m full I’m up. I don’t want anymore. And I say, no, you’re not finished that plate.

Finish that plate of pancakes finished that, stacker, broccoli, whatever it is. If I do that once or twice, I this Lindsay, like I’ve broken every rule I teach about parenting. I make mistakes all the time. It happens. But so if it happens once or twice, no big deal.

But if that’s like the chronic way that I teach food, that over time, they’re going to start to learn. I can’t trust my body’s cues. I need to split. I need to disconnect. I need to dissociate from my body’s cues and listen to this external source of information. So consider how, and I don’t know if you can hear that truck right out my window going by, but yeah, I can.

It’s fine. It’s they’re like all of a sudden doing construction outside anyway, but consider how that connects, like how that parallels to other consent experiences. I want my kids to learn that they get to decide what goes in their body and what stays out right. In all the ways I want them to decide now again, are there like, exceptions?

Yes, there are. They don’t have a choice right now about getting the flu vaccine or if the coronavirus vaccine comes out, I’m going to have them have it. They don’t have a choice. There’s certain things as a parents, right? Like a kid’s sick. They have a fever or whatever, right? There’s certain things, sometimes we parents, but overall my message, my hope for them is that they learn that their bodies their own and that they decide what goes in and what stays out.

And so it’s no mistake that a lot of people, and I’ll say this happens across gender identities, but we see it more often with folks who are socialized as women because of the, some of the ways that just, you know there’s gender discrimination and all that that folks who are socialized as female tend to learn in many ways that their bodies are not their own and that they don’t get to decide what goes in their body and what stays out so much so that sometimes they don’t even know what it feels like.

I’ll have clients, adult clients tell me I don’t know if I want to have sex. I didn’t, I don’t know if I can sense it or not, because I just doing what I feel like I’m supposed to. This gets murky, right? I don’t know what I like. They’ve never masturbated. They’ve never touched themselves.

They’ve never explored their bodies because the messages that they’ve taught, I know you’ve talked about coming out of the fundamental religion, right? Like the message they’ve been taught in various directions is that their body is not their own and that their body is some sort of weird, like virginal.

Like special thing, but also bad and sinful and like it’s so confusing. So weird. So weird. So back to this food thing, like that’s a big part of, for me, why it’s so important that my kids learn. I want them to know what hunger feels like in their body. I want them to know what fullness feels like in their body.

So I’ll have people say what if they eat too much? That’s happened. Yeah. Like we’ve had times where, you know, like we’re having whatever and afterwards they all this cake. And then they’re like, Oh my body hurting my belly, mommy. I think of a tummy ache. And what I say is, Oh, good job.

Listening to your body. Okay. Now, and not in a shaming way, just okay interesting. That’s an opportunity for them to learn what fullness feels like in their body. So that then over time they can start to be discerning about, huh? How maybe I want to slow down.

Maybe I want more, maybe it’s okay to listen to this. Yeah. That’s so important. I’m really grateful that we, I did not know that it was called division of responsibility, but that’s essentially like what we did with our kids whenever they were little. For me though, it was mostly about my kids, both of them around the same time, they just started to get super, super picky.

And it got to the point where I was like in a codependent relationship with my kids, because I would make my husband and I have one thing for dinner. And then I would make the kids something else completely because that was what they would eat. Or if we went out to dinner, I would pack a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for my son, because I knew that he wouldn’t eat anything on the menu.

And finally, I realized I’m just enabling my children to be picky because I’m constantly catering to their pickiness. So I started doing the thing was like, here’s what’s for dinner. You may eat it. If you like, you may choose to go hungry. If that’s what you choose. And then you’re not eating again until it’s the next meal or the next snack or whatever.

And honestly, it was like within two days my kids both had like completely given up being picky because they got hungry and then they ate the food and they were like, Oh, this is good. We like this food. And now in our house, like everybody’s allowed to have preferences. Like I don’t like green bell peppers and I don’t like green beans.

Like I just don’t. But like my daughter loves bell peppers and she just likes green beans, but my son likes green beans. Everybody’s allowed to have a preference and sure. I can make green beans for my son and my daughter doesn’t have to eat them and I don’t have to eat them. That’s fine. And I’m not like enabling that pickiness anymore, but still honoring their autonomy and their preference of being like, I don’t want this food.

I don’t like it, or it doesn’t make me feel good or whatever. We have a lot of options. But yeah, I’m like friends with people who. Their kid has been sitting at the table for an hour and they still haven’t eaten their food. And the parent is like exasperated and frustrated and they’re telling their kid, you have to take 10 more bites or you have to, whatever.

You’re not getting up until you eat five more bites or until you finish your broccoli or whatever else. And it worries me that those kids are like not really being allowed to. Develop like a sense of what they like and what they want. And they don’t really have the autonomy to choose and I get it as a parent.

It’s really frustrating. Whenever your kid doesn’t touch their food and then 30 minutes after dinner, they’re hungry again. But that’s also where as a parent, you can be like I’m sorry you had the chance to eat. Whenever I serve you dinner, we’re going to be eating again and two hours. I’m going to ask you to wait until then, if you can maybe hear is like at a banana or something to tide you over.

Yeah. How do you feel about that? And when I say is anyone’s listening out there and going, Oh my gosh, I’m a bad parent because I do this. Or I do that. I just want to say there are so many different ways of parenting, and every kid’s different, every time it comes into is all those different things.

So cause sometimes, we’ll talk about this and some will be like, Oh my gosh, I’m horrible. Just, be gentle. We’re all doing the best we can. You know how people say, like there’s no book on parenting and it’s it’s not true. There’s 5,000 books on parenting.

And they all say something different. So but one thing I want to say is kids are really resilient. And I feel like we live in this parenting age right now where there’s like this pressure coming, whether it’s we’re talking about Pinterest or just, okay, go to this parenting class.

Like my mom will say, Maria, I didn’t go to any parenting classes. I didn’t there wasn’t all this information. We just did what we were doing. Be gentle, be forgiving I think there’s even in the face of difficult things or different kinds of parenting kids turn out.

Okay. But I wanted to also say, like you said, around the same age, both my kids experienced this. And so I want to point out too, like we know that there’s actually developmental stages that people go through and so around like early childhood preschool ages, into like early school age. There’s something called Eric Erickson.

He was a student of Freud colleague of Freud and he had these psychosocial status and we know around those ages, one of the things like the job of a kid to figure out is to start having their own like industry, like their own agency. So around that age is where you’re going to see across spheres that they’re going to start to be more independent.

This is where you’ll, you might start to see like at the very early parts of it no I’m going to do it myself. I’m thinking about how many parents might know, like your kids trying to buckle themselves. And it takes 10 minutes and you’re just like, can I please just buckle it for you?

And they’re like, no, I’m I do it myself. But then as they get even older, but still in those early ages, it actually is super developmentally normal for kids to be selective around eating and most kids in an environment that is affirming. And that is not. Crazy restrictive. And that there’s like room, whatever.

Most kids will grow out of that. Cause I hear that from so many parents like, Oh my God, my kid is so picky. And it’s okay, what age are they? Okay. Yeah. That makes sense. You’re seeing it over here too, in how they are about what clothes they want to wear and about what friends they want to do and about how they’re responding to you.

Why wouldn’t it also show up in terms of foot food and why wouldn’t it also show up in terms of an act that when we think of it, like what we’re really doing is making a decision about what goes in our body. So even the metaphor of that, like developmentally, we want them to be selective and to learn, to say no and to learn to go, Oh, I don’t want that.

Or I don’t like that. That’s how they’re going to figure out what’s good for them. So the fact that both of your kids does that did that does not surprise me. Most kids will do that and most kids will grow out of it, some don’t. And that’s where sometimes we need to look at whether we need some other intervention, but.

So I’m curious, sorry, I don’t know if this is, if I’m changing gears here on you or if this is related, but I’m curious when it comes to a trauma and an eating disorder manifesting as a result of experiencing trauma. Why maybe you don’t have the answer to this and maybe I’m not even asking the question in the right way.

So I’m just like pear, pre phrasing all of that out, because I just want to make sure that people listening know that I’m definitely not an expert at this, and I don’t know if I even have the vocabulary to have this conversation, but why is it that simple people develop an eating disorder and others develop like other self harm things like cutting or, something like that.

Or, and then why is it that some people then develop, like what is it about an eating disorder that makes it. I know it’s not a Loring to somebody, but like, why does that seem like the option for self harm when there’s all these other options or even options that aren’t self harm.

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It makes perfect sense. And that’s a good question, right? I don’t know that anyone knows the answer to that question. Because I think it depends on so many different things. Do you remember Jurassic park? And there’s like a scene where the guy with the glasses. Oh gosh, Jeff Goldbloom I think his name was, and he like puts a drop of water and it falls like down his or something.

And then he’s okay, I’m going to put the same drop of water in the same place and let’s see where it goes. And it goes like somewhere completely different. I hope that makes sense to people listening that scene, but there’s so many different factors, right?

Why do two people in the same exact family with some of the same exact experiences have completely different outcomes, right? This is, this has to do with so many different things. So eating disorders they’re for sure are often genetic components. We know that. So sometimes there’s like just a predisposition and sometimes that has to do with how the disorder manifests.

There’s even theories about how low weight anorexia that that there’s a theory that perhaps the ancestors of folks who have one version of lower anorexia where maybe folks whose bodies were able to go long distance and they were the bodies that maybe went and brought back food for other bodies, right?

Like different bodies have different functions, even this idea of all bodies need to move. All bodies move differently. Like we have different purposes, right? Just like different species of dogs do different things. I feel like I’m answering question you’re really circular way, but and I totally just lost my train of thought.

It may have eating disorders. So I also want to say like back to polyvagal, just to connect this to polyvagal theory. A lot of times for people who develop eating disorders, The eating disorder behaviors creates almost what we call a foe wooden window of tolerance, where you and their behaviors is a way that they’ve learned to feel safe.

And I can say that was true for me. So in, in various ways, because of just some of the trauma that was happening in my household, growing up, and some of the experiences I was dealing with using disordered eating was a way that helped me feel more regulated in an environment that was really dysregulated.

And I’ll see that a lot for folks, right? They’ll tell me for whatever reason their environment is dysregulated, whether there’s trauma, abuse, neglect, whatever my oppression and turning to whether it’s restriction or bingeing and purging or mix of all three or overexercising or this orthorexic sort of obsession with healthy eating was a way to feel safer, was a way to feel back in their window of tolerance.

But when we really look at it, we discover this is really a full window of tolerance, and we need create one that isn’t also hurting you in the process. Because even though those behaviors might have emerged as adaptive coping strategies, they’re now getting in your way, they’re now creating other health issues.

They’re now jeopardizing your ability to live potentially. We know that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all the DSM diagnoses. Actually, that’s not true anymore. Up until a few years ago, they had the highest rate. Do you have any guesses about what the. What has surpassed it now that’s not to test you Lindsay, but yeah, it’s a fun, it’s a fun question.

And when I say that for people listening, like meaning like of all the mental health diagnoses, more people die from eating disorders than any other DSM diagnosis, but now actually something has surpassed it. As soon as I say it, you’re gonna be like, duh, is it suicide? No it’s opioid addiction. Ah, okay.

Duh. But that that’s a way that people are trying to get into a full window of tolerance. A lot of times there’s trauma in the background of folks who have addiction and it’s a way to feel safe. And so I think about this bigger picture, how do we raise kids?

How do we create environments? Where people don’t have to create these full windows of tolerance where they can feel safe in the environments that they’re in. And for me, that’s where like, when I do this work with people, it’s really important that we deep pathologize behaviors that I believe I trust that whoever, whatever client I’m working with, that they.

Developed, whatever behavior, whether we’re talking to you, just sort of stuff or other kinds of things for a reason, but it didn’t just like it just wake up one day and be like, Oh my gosh, I’m going to start cutting myself. Or, Oh my gosh, I’m gonna start doing this. Something in the environment, something that was happening around them was there.

I don’t mean this in a trauma explains everything. I but that usually things don’t just happen for a reason. And when we start to look around, we can see more information that, that gives us a clearer picture. So would you say that eating disorders are an adaptation of the nervous system?

Oh, absolutely. Yes. Yeah. And when we look at the vagus nerve, the vagus nerve cranial nerve, it emerges, originates in the brain. But it is all the way down in the gut. It’s very much tied to the gut. And actually there’s more and more research showing that there’s a link between GI disorders and eating disorders.

Very often people it’s chicken or the egg, sometimes you’ll first see that someone has a history of GI disorders and that leads into disordered eating and restrictive eating, or it goes the other direction that people with a history of eating disorder, even when they have recovered may still have GI disruption because of the connections there.

So I’m totally familiar with the GI disruption and then, and orthorexia, because a lot of times people are trying to quote unquote, fix or heal, they’re. GI disruption by restricting their diet to only healing foods or only gluten-free foods or whatever else, what other eating disorders come out of GI disorders and any of them.

And we could really simplify it of. If you have GI disruption for whatever reason, right? Whether it’s mixed with genetic, whether there’s a condition you have, whether it’s, a lot of anxiety, whether it’s a response to trauma and there’s a lot of cortisol and adrenaline output that is creating an environment in your body that is causing yourselves to feel deprived.

I, one of, one of the things I have that is part of my profile is I have a polycystic ovarian syndrome, PCO S I was diagnosed when I was 16. And there’s a huge connection between PCOS and eating disorders. And we’re learning more and more about that. From a PCs perspective, there’s also, more information coming out about some link in terms of.

History of complex trauma, developmental trauma. So here’s me just saying my own little theory that this there’s still stuff coming out to support this. But I think about growing up in my family and I love my family and there are a lot of wonderful things, but there was for sure, a lot of trauma.

There was a lot of chaos. There was a lot of fear. And so in certain ways I was like living in that hypervigilant place for a lot of my childhood, there was a kind of a constant state of fear about bad things that were going to happen or bad things that were happening. And so I think about what impact that had even in terms of what impact it had on my mom when I was in utero, when she was living in a environment that was chaotic and abusive at times. And so what impact did that have on my, on a cellular level to create an environment where my body relationship with sugar and insulin was disrupted. So a lot of people with S what we have is something called insulin resistance.

I don’t have diabetes but I have insulin resistance. And so I take a higher dose of Metformin than a lot of people who have diabetes take that helps my insulin sugar relationship. Some of the technicalities, I’m not as, as good about explaining with all of this, but but I think about that in terms of it’s all connected.

I know we say this all the time, but it’s really fucking all connected. How does the body respond on a cellular level? To the threat of restriction, to the threat of trauma, to the threat of chaos, not being able to know what to expect our body likes to know what’s coming. It likes to know we like predictability to some degree.

And so if you’re in an environment that’s chaotic, you’re in a, you’re going to be in a constant hypervigilant state. Constantly threat assessing and that’s taxing on the body. Long-term we weren’t designed to be hypervigilant constantly. We were only supposed to be hypervigilant momentarily to fight the bear and then go back to a more ventral vagal state. But our world now is more suited to keep us longer in these hypervigilant States. It’s just not good for us. Okay. You’re okay. You’re the second. No, you’re the only other person besides myself who has a theory on trauma and the connection to like pelvic issues.

So I have a theory because I have yet to talk to a woman, meaning or a person who has like a uterus and ovaries have yet to talk to a person who has a uterus and ovaries. Who, if they have a problem in their uterus and ovaries. So whether it’s endometriosis PCOS, for me, it was pelvic floor dysfunction and pelvic congestion syndrome, which is varicose veins in the pelvis.

I’ve yet to talk to someone who has a uterus and ovaries with issues that did not have some sort of like major trauma, usually in childhood, not always sexual trauma though. So that’s the interesting thing is not always sexual, but it’s like that trauma or that, that trauma state. So like an environment of chaos where it’s like all the time, it’s not necessarily like one big event, like a car wreck or, you saw your dad punch your mom or something like that.

It’s like just the state of your home that you lived in. Was such that it was like constant, hyper vigilant, hyper aroused sort of state. And you had no way out because you were a child and you didn’t have any agency and you didn’t have the ability to escape or fight or flight or flee or anything like that.

So I’m or fight or flee flight and clear the same thing. But yeah, it’s just so interesting. I’ve talked to so many and I’m going to say women because they are women. They do identify as women. I haven’t yet talked to a man with endometriosis yet, but I might one day and I will probably ask that woman, what is your story?

Tell me about your childhood. And I would not be surprised if they had issues with their ovaries and uterus, because they have some developmental shit that happened in their childhood. So is that, does that make any sense at all? Are you tracking my theory tracking you? I am. And, I’m thinking of what our friend Molly talks about. Don’t blame everything on trauma. And I agree I do think there has been a I can, I’m trying to think of how to say it, like an over, over describing over reliance on the side of it. It’s like a buzz word now, but it’s people want to say anything bad that happened to them was trauma.

And I don’t like that people use trauma as like a, an excuse for bad behavior. Because I was trauma because I was traumatized and you triggered me like, this is why I behave the way that I did that’s a stretch. Yeah. And and I think one of the things that I know she talks about was like, there are some conditions and I agree with this, there are some conditions you don’t have to have any trauma.

It just as purely a genetic marker it’s and so I absolutely agree with that. And I also do think there are so many things we’re learning so much more about how many health outcomes can be traced back to some environmental factors. And this gets at like the ACEs study.

If you’re familiar with that we have so much more information that in a cumulative effect, it’s not even just did you have one thing happen? It’s like the more things you happen had happened. So if we think about The more hypervigilant you had to be, right? The more in outside your window of tolerance you grew up in we can see that there is a higher likelihood of having, a plethora of negative health outcomes.

And to me, it’s it just feels like such a duh, right? If you don’t feel safety insecurity and some sense of predictability and attachment and your childhood, it’s going to influence and shape so much, that happens, next. Now I don’t think that means there’s like a lack of hope, right?

Lots of people experienced lots of things and they’re able to be super resilient in the face of that. So I, I always want to say to people like, don’t lose hope, right? This isn’t like a, Oh gosh, this happened to me. So there is no hope there is so much hope out there. This is more about like, how can we be curious about what happened, how that influenced us so we can maybe move it away from a place of blame.

Like I’m just crazy or I’m just, bad or. Whether we’re talking about weight, we’re whatever it might be. And move it to more huh? How can I be curious about how many different things came together in some combination? Some things we know, some things we don’t to lead me to what I’m experiencing now and that, I think that’s a kinder place to be, then just, yeah, let’s just inject some kindness into the whole situation.

Congress is like getting a bad rap lately and it’s like seriously earnest and gentleness, right? So many of my clients come and, the world is harsh to hire weight bodies. The world is discriminatory, is oppressive to higher weight bodies. We could go into that in so many different ways.

I could, list out so many different specific ways. And that gets internalized. And I have clients who, even before pandemic, I was meeting with virtually because it’s so hard for them to leave the house because they’ve had experiences of leaving the house and having just awful vitriolic hate thrown at them.

They go, they don’t go to the doctor because they go to the doctor and they are berated and made to feel like something’s their fault. I happen to have a lot of body privilege in terms of being able bodied and in various ways, even with chronic pain and chronic, with PCs, whatever but I still, my body meets criteria for obesity for this this BMI category that by the way is bullshit.

It doesn’t actually give good data. And that impacts different things for me. In terms of even being able to get life insurance in terms of experiences I’ve had, even at the doctor. And I still have the tiniest fraction of experiences as compared to folks who are in much higher weight bodies than I.

The world can be really crappy to bodies of all kinds, but particularly in the work that I do, where we see it, the most are folks who are in higher weight bodies and that gets internalized. And that becomes an, this harshness I’m so bad. It’s my fault. I shouldn’t be allowed to have pleasure in my eating.

I shouldn’t be allowed to just last night in the, this class I lead his Bodyworks body image group class. I do, we were talking about. Our relationship with food. And, one of the biggest themes that I hear from folks all the time is I don’t deserve to enjoy food. Oh my gosh, we have this one life food, like that we’ve been taught or the people feeling like I’m shameful for enjoying food or I’m shameful for eating, what an experience that, this thing that we have to do to live that we’ve been taught that it’s shameful.

It’s just such a, I think sad thing. Yeah. It’s so sad. God, I love food so much. I loved, I love to eat food so much and I just, I don’t want food. I do love like health food and stuff like that, but for me, nourishing foods is I do eat a high fat, high carb diet. Like I love carbs. My body loves carbs.

I have nothing against carbs. I don’t believe that fat makes you fat. Needs carbs by the way, everyone. It’s not like we all need carbs to live. Yes. We all need the fucking carbs to, don’t be scared of carbs. That’s going to be the end. The Instagram thing I make for the sub soaks, we all fucking need carbs.

We all fucking eat carbs. It’s just wild. Some of the things that get labeled, and it was a great book, anti diet by Kristi Harrison. It was a friend of mine and great dietician. She’s got a podcast called food psych and she talks about the history she traces back.

Like you can see, there’s been themes, right? Okay. Now it’s low fat. Now it’s high fat now it’s right. I mean it switches and it takes us. All of those experiences are just like that example I shared earlier where an external source is telling you what to put in your body or what to keep out.

And our bodies were not built for that. Our bodies want agency, our bodies want autonomy. Our bodies want to be able to listen to our cues and respond to those cues. Yeah. So I want to elaborate on that more, but first I want to circle back to you said that you could state a lot of ways that higher weight bodies are discriminated against and just the stigmas and stuff, how they’re affected on a daily basis.

Can you talk more about that? Because I would like to talk more about weight inclusive care, the bullshit of the BMI and The, weight science and prescribing weight loss as a solution for, I feel like if you’re a woman and you’re like on the BMI or you’re 10 pounds overweight or something like that, the answer that your doctor is going to give you for, literally everything is will you just need to lose some weight?

So can you talk about first, like the ways that higher weight bodies are excluded discriminated against and then also the bullshit of the BMI and weight, more having more weight, inclusive care. Yeah. We’re to be in I think weight inclusive care should be foundational. And it, we inclusive care.

Shouldn’t just be for people who are higher weight, it should be for all people. Because even to separate that I think is a Is a mistake because bodies change and advice that you’re giving to one body outside of knowing what that body may do, what trajectory that body might have.

So again, weight inclusive care should be foundational for everyone. And in practice, what that means like in a doctor’s office, it might be things, as, as simple as like having blood pressure cuffs that like fit. Bigger bodies, right? Consider okay, getting your blood pressure taken for a lot of people can be anxiety provoking, like going to the doctor can be anxiety provoking right now.

Imagine that your your body happens to be higher weight and you go in and they have to search around to find a blood pressure cuff. That automatically is going to raise your blood pressure. It’s not going to be really a good metric. And they make this isn’t like a hard thing or impossible thing.

Like they make blood pressure cuffs that are bigger. And that’s not like a hard thing to access or to get. So some things like that’s just one specific example. Another one might be even, this is something you’d see if you were In our office suite chairs they’re accessible, right.

Seating, that’s accessible. I think about that with my clients, when they come into my office if they didn’t have accessible seating or just even accessible, like space, the door to open all that kind of stuff. What message that sends right from the beginning, even if it’s not conscious that there’s not enough room here for you.

That you’re too much. I don’t want my clients feeling like they’re too much. Size-wise emotions wise, mental health wise, whatever. How can I start with, how can you make, just even the space accessible in whatever ways I’m skipping around in terms of the questions you were asking, like other examples.

Again, that the example I said of higher weight bodies one very specific way that they’re penalized is being able to access coverage. In terms of health insurance, in terms of life insurance we see it in other spheres, like there’s there were there was a study some years ago looking at it was like graduate student applications.

And they did a, I think it was a double blind study if I remember correctly. And and showing that so folks, when they knew the weight and it was higher weight, they were rated lower, like their applications. And I don’t honestly remember what it was like, let’s say it was like application to I don’t know, a creative writing master’s or something.

I don’t know. I can’t remember exactly what it was but had nothing to do with their weight. And when the weight was known they were rated lower. And, like a less qualified applicant, that’s completely discriminatory. It has nothing to do with their ability to to be a student to perform, to be, and that if it was creative writing, I don’t remember if it was like to write well, there, there is a lot.

And for folks who are interested cause sometimes we’ll hear this or Oh, wow, this is not about a wow thing. This really impacts people in tremendous ways. Even when we look at like weight loss surgery, for example and I think if you talk about it in a nuanced way I don’t, I would never ever shame anyone for doing anything, choosing any thing that they do to their body.

I believe in body autonomy at the same time. We don’t have many other surgeries who have the kind of low success rates that weight loss surgery does that are pushed on people. In the ways that we lock surgery is, and lots of our clients are post weight loss surgery. They’ve had that they’ve had whether they’ve had a history of chronic dieting or they have a full blown eating disorder whether it was before waitlist surgery or whether the weight loss surgery is what caused the eating disorder.

And very often they now have gained the weight back post. And the weight management program might be now encouraging another surgery or another thing. And there are so many negative impacts after weight loss surgery on the body. We see Ryzen like auto-immune disorders. We we see all sorts of GI stuff.

And then just even we’re talking about the experience and joy of eating, it can be really hard to eat. Like the joy of that gets taken away. I’m like skipping around, just touching on some like quick things, if you’re out there listening, I encourage you to learn a little bit more about what some of this is and some books, if you want to learn more, that book anti-diarrhea is a great place to start.

You mentioned intuitive eating. That’s a great place to start. If you’re wanting to splurge relationship with food. I love the food psych podcast. Yeah. Anyway, that’s amazing. No, thank you. I can get very tangential. Yeah, no, it’s totally understandable. It’s a thing to get tangential about.

There’s so many, there’s so many different like facets of it. Oh, what kind of do one more thing about the BMI. That’s what yeah, please. I mentioned quickly earlier, right? You can, I just want to say this clear, you cannot tell a person’s health. By looking at their body, you can’t tell a person’s health by knowing their size or BMI.

And and they’re very often people assume that they can, health is is not a unidimensional construct. It is a multi-dimensional dynamic construct and we have different areas of health. But you absolutely can not tell a person’s health by looking at their body. You can’t tell how much they work out, how much they eat.

If you heard like the assumptions, people will make about people just based on their size or shape. And it’s the person will be like, I don’t even eat that way. Or, I, this is all I eat, they might be super restrictive. And again, they’re in this higher weight body you can be obese and be very fit, be an athlete.

Not that’s a better or worst thing, but like we often assume things just by seeing the size and shape of a person’s body. Yeah, I actually so I still have my food blog and I still run an Instagram account for that. And I actually had someone send me a DM the other day. Their fourth grade child was told by the family doctor that they’re obese and need to lose weight.

According to the BMI chart and the mom sent me a DM and she was like, I’m curious what you think about this? My daughter is very confident. She doesn’t, her size doesn’t bother her. She eats really healthy. She exercises every day she plays outside. She does all these things, but we still can’t get her to lose weight.

And the doctor is still saying that she’s obese. And according to the BMI, she needs to lose weight. And I was like, and got my thumbs ready, and I was like, okay, first of all, if your daughter is confident and feels good in her body, that is all that matters. If she’s eating good food and she’s getting exercise and she has energy, amazing.

If she has no other health problems, other than she’s just like bigger on the BMI scale and your doctor says she needs to lose weight, that’s a load of shit. Let her be a child and let her body do what it wants to do. And I haven’t gotten a response back yet, but I was so pissed. Like she’s fucking 10, 10 years old and you’re already like inundating her with this shit.

And I feel like this is so much of what is wrong with our culture can predict eating disorders when you when kids are put on diets. So like outside of someone has like a seizure disorder, right? Like keto, for example, it’s really supposed to that. The only real reason for keto is it should be like seizure disorder.

It’s being abused in so many different ways and by folks anyway may not go on that. Tangent children, adolescents should not be on diets. They should always be gaining weight. I don’t mean every second every day, but I mean like their trajectory should be gaining weight. They should not be on diets.

Now some kids have difficulties in various ways and my recommendation would be for them to be assessed by a dietician that specializes in eating disorders and pediatric and specifically pediatrics. Who can be able to look and sometimes what folks can look is look at their growth chart and see kids are generally outside of there being an issue supposed to generally fall within their growth chart trajectory.

And if there’s been a big change that would be something that maybe. I’d be curious about, right? Did they, all of a sudden, gain a significant amount of weight and move outside of their growth trajectory or lose a significant amount of weight that may be a sign that something’s wrong, but otherwise in general, there are always going to be kids who are bigger.

There’s always gonna be kids who are smaller. And yes, the kids should never be put on diets. And and that’s also sometimes who we see. A lot of, I can’t tell you Lindsay, how many of my clients life-threatening eating disorder was triggered by being put on some sort of diet as a child, whether they were higher weight or not.

And set them off on this trajectory of body hate and dysfunction and all sorts of other things. There are, if you’re wanting to look for things on Instagram, Sunnyside, nutritionists, and a Lutz RDN the adolescent, I think it’s adolescent nutritionist. There’s some great pages that specifically focus more on pediatrics, but children’s should not be put on restricted diets outside of again, they have a specific medical condition.

And there’s like that specific reason for that, but weight alone should not be the criteria. Yeah. And I just I want to speak to parents who are listening, who maybe have a child who is higher weight or a child who you’ve been told needs to be on a diet or whatever. I feel like whenever we do that to kids, it We doubt their body’s ability to regulate itself.

It’s and again, as a parent, sure. You have to decide am I going to vaccinate my child? Am I going to put them on antibiotics? Am I going to homeschool them or enroll them in school? Like you have all these decisions that only you as a parent can make. And I would just say be so careful with how you fuck with your kids’ health, because their bodies are just as capable as yours of regulating themselves and of reaching homeostasis and homeostasis for one person is not homeostasis for somebody else.

And it’s don’t fuck with what with that. And I’m saying that with like gentleness, I really am, but I know that I am like a parent who. I don’t have any problems questioning the medical system. If a doctor tells me to do something, I’m going to take that information and I’m going to go research it from every possible angle.

And then I’m going to make a decision for myself. I believe in informed consent when it comes to healthcare, no matter what the health care is. But I know that a lot of people, particularly in Western countries, we see a doctor in a white coat with a stethoscope around their neck. And we were like, you are the authority.

I will do whatever you say. You went to school for this. I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know what I’m talking about and you do. And so we hand over our power to them. And as parents, we can hand over our power to our child’s pediatrician or whoever else when really they might just actually be operating on super outdated on ethical information and practices that needed to be like thrown out years and years ago.

But because of our society and because of our culture being fat phobic and all these other things, they’re not getting thrown out. So just be careful before you’d fuck with your kids’ health or your own, just ask questions, make an informed choice. Totally. And apart from even just like health outcomes, which is super important I’d also say like psychol psychologically from an attachment perspective, from a psychodynamic perspective, what a child internalizes, when they perceive that their parents is not, is conditionally loving them.

Even again, and I want to say parents, we’re all doing the best we can with what we know. I’m certain and I’m fucking my kids up in certain ways, right? Who knows? Maybe the things that I think I’m doing a great job of what they’re going to be talking about in therapy one day we all make mistakes.

We’re all doing the best we can, but consider like in this way, how a kid will experience like, Oh, even if the parents well-meaning. But the parents trying to shrink them, what does it feel like when your parent is trying to shrink you or edit you right. Or quiet you? It’s really, again, a threat to your integrity.

It is gonna make you feel like you’re not good enough in whatever ways. Yeah. So how like to bring all of this full circle, what do you do in your practice? To help people regulate their nervous systems. To come back into a real window of tolerance instead of that full window of tolerance to establish a better relationship with their body and accepting their body and their body image.

And then ultimately like being able to see food as something that nourishes them that is okay to feel pleasure in. That’s okay to eat and not feel like they have to control it or restrict it. What do you do to help? Like a lot, like there’s a lot of things we do. And depending on the severity of what someone might have if someone really does have significant eating disorder, they may need a treatment team.

Standard care for someone with an eating disorder is to have a dietician, a medical provider, sometimes a psychiatrist or a movement specialist in conjunction with the therapist. There might be a lot of different things that we’re doing, but if I wanted to simplify everything like really down, like overall, what are we doing?

I would say the basic thing that we’re trying to do is to build curiosity about the body. Because any of these kind of restrictive things restriction in general, shuts down curiosity. Restriction forecloses curiosity, right? It says, it says, don’t be curious about what your body wants.

Don’t be curious about what your genitalia feel like. Don’t be curious about a different way of believing in spirituality. Don’t be curious about what this food tastes like. Restriction says, just listen to this one thing in front of us. And I would say this is not just my approach just with eating disorders, but things in general, social media, right?

How can we cultivate curiosity? And if we can just increase curiosity, then that will snowball into so many other things. So if I can get my client to be curious huh, how does this feel when I take these breaths? Like this ha what does this food smell? Maybe I’m not even ready to taste it.

Yeah. But I’m just going to explore smelling it. Huh. What does it feel like when I let my body sit and not, overexercise every hour of the day or something, if we can just build even the tiniest bit of curiosity that will snowball into so much more.

Yeah. That’s really beautiful. I was actually just talking with a friend last night about that, about how, what I see our culture mostly on social media, but also in person lacking is. That we’re not curious. We just immediately we jumped from, we see something that someone else is doing and we skip the question phase and we go right into making a judgment about that person without being like, tell me more about why you’ve made that choice.

Tell me what does that feel like for you? What I’d love to know, what do you have to share about this thing? There’s no curiosity. It’s just we’re skipping. All of these steps in between that make us human. And curiosity has definitely been a huge player in my own like awareness and awakening to not only just like healing trauma, and, but also just how I parent my kids, how I interact with my husband, how I, when I go outside, like being more curious, it makes me go outside for longer.

And I’m more interested in what I’m doing versus just like taking a walk with my headphones on and, not paying attention to the world around me because I’m not curious. So yeah. Curiosity is a huge one and, Lindsay, we’re not going to get into all of this and I don’t get all this but I know you and I have both faced, people saying things about us that are just not true or the truth and, or both been approached to not follow.

I’m trying to remember if I’ve received a don’t follow Lindsay message. I, like it. All of that. It’s like shutting down the complexity of the human being before us. It’s it’s shutting down like learning and opening yourself up to what else might be out there. So yes.

Curiosity is gonna win. I feel like in, in all realms, curiosity, every bad thing, Oh no. Curiosity injected with kindness. Let’s just be kind and curious people. Wow. Maria, this has been really awesome. I’ve definitely learned so much today. I was really curious about this topic and I’m really glad that you agreed to come on and have this conversation with me. Can you tell people how they can find you and ways that they can work with you or your team if they want to.

Yeah. The website is three birds counseling.com. You can either put the word spelled out three or just the number three. It will both go the same place. And you can find me on Instagram at, with underscore this underscore body. I also have a sub page called grounding underscore techniques where I upload a different grounding technique or definition or explanation every week.

And yeah, I’m not, I don’t have anything I’m selling right now in term. I Other than like our, counseling coaching services. But those are just the places where you can find me. Cool. We’ll have all of that linked in the show notes of this episode. Thank you so much for being here.

 

 

I hope you found this episode supportive. And if you know of anyone who is dealing with or healing from an eating disorder or any kind of body hate, I hope that you will pass this episode along to them. And perhaps it can support them on their journey as well. I kept the tape rolling and Dr. Murray and I continued to talk for another 45 minutes, I think. And we had such a great conversation and I actually saved that for my trauma healer circle. Trauma healers circle members get two bonus podcast episodes every month. And so trauma, healers circle members, you can look forward to Dr. Maria, his bonus episode. It’ll be in the membership portal whenever you log in.

If you’re not a member of the trauma healers circle, but you want to be part of a community who is committed to growing healing and becoming empowered and conscious creators of their best possible reality. You can join the waiting list. Currently the trauma healers circle is closed to new members, but you can get on the waiting list. And when it reopens, you can.

Be the first to know about it and you’ll have an opportunity to join then. So if you want to get on the trauma. Or circle waiting list. You can go to Lindsey lochhead.com. Forward slash circle, and you will see how to get your name on the waiting list. There. Also, I just want to encourage you to please consider supporting the podcast financially. I want you all to know that this is my job. This is what I do. I don’t have another job that I go and work during the day and then come home and record podcasts in my free time.

This is my work. And so I make the podcast free. I don’t put ads on the podcast and I want to keep it that way because I personally find ads to be very annoying. And in order to do that, I have to get paid from somewhere. So I’m either going to get paid from advertisers and that’s going to clog up your listening with stuff that you might not want to hear about.

Or my listeners can support me and I’m not on Patrion, but what I have set up is very similar to Patrion. It’s like Patrion, but it’s not on Patrion. It’s on my own website. And just like patriotic, you can support me for as little as $5 a month. You can think of it. Like once a month, you’re buying me a fancy Starbucks coffee latte drink.

I don’t really drink coffee. So whatever. A $5 drink is at Starbucks. You’re buying me that once a month. And if enough people are buying me that copy once a month, then that is supporting me and my family. And it pays me for my time. Because I truly believe in this work and I believe that nervous system.

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For $5 a month, you can support the show by going to Lindsay locket.com forward slash circle. And you will see the option there to be a grateful listener and support the show for $5 a month. So with that said, that is all that I have for you this week. And I have a very special guest in store for you next week. It will be my friend and astrologer, Jeremy tan.

And he is coming on to talk about how we can use astrology to move from trauma to purpose. It’s a really fantastic conversation and you are going to just love Jeremy. ๐Ÿ“ You’re going to love him. So have a great day and a great week and i will see you next time