How To Have Better Self-Control With Food

How To Have Better Self-Control With Food

How’d you like to learn how to have better self-control with food? 

Follower concern: “Kat, I’m sick of how society currently provides an overload of information on what we should or shouldn’t be eating and how we should or shouldn’t look. It paints a mixed picture in which ’strength’ means being constantly disciplined, thin, healthy, happy and IN CONTROL. But this need to be so in control around food, often seems to lead to my most out of control eating behaviours.”

Hey, thanks so much for sharing your experiences. I couldn’t agree more! We’re told to stay “in control” which is portrayed as “superiority” and actually the messages around food and bodies often have the opposite effect and lead to eating that feels out of control.

Below I am sharing some common reasons why people can feel out of control around food, and how to have better self-control. They might be different to answers that you will find elsewhere on Google! 

Step 1: The pursuit of weight loss needs to move aside

Follower concern: “I have an issue with restriction and binge eating. I feel like I can’t control it either way and I find the messages confusing. Intuitive eating conflicts in my brain with trying to stay in a calorie deficit. I am desperate to get away from using My Fitness Pal, but I can’t seem to get a sensible handle on eating in a healthy controlled way.”

One important step to have better self-control with food is to led go of pursuing the thin ideal.

We’re led to believe that our weight is something that we have entire control over. This can lead us to trying to eat in a way to fix our bodies into a size that society deems to be acceptable, which can lead to feeling out of control around food. The body is asking for one thing (satisfaction, pleasure, adequate nutrition), but the mind is telling you to do something else (control, restrict, to not go over your calorie limit).

Unfortunately weight control is not that simple. 

If diets worked, we would all be thin, and in fact diets would no longer exist. The staggering truth is that the diet industry is a $60 billion per year industry with an 80-95% failure rate.  

Let that sink in.

The diet industry (which has now morphed into the wellness industry) is making a fortune by selling products and promises with limited evidence of being effective and safe in the long term.

It’s only natural for some very strong emotions to be triggered when we realise we’ve been sold a lie.

I remember when I first learned that permanent weight loss was not sustainable for most people. In a way, it was comforting, because it confirmed my personal experiences and what I had witnessed in others up to that point. It was also very sad, however. I had told myself that if only I could get to my ideal weight, life would be better. Giving up that dream was not easy. And I hold the privilege of being in a thin white body. For those who are in marginalised bodies, giving up the thin ideal can be extremely difficult.

Learning to let go of the pursuit of thinness is not the same experience for those in larger bodies, disabled bodies or bodies of colour. This work is not easy, and we simply need to make it a safer and more accepting environment for all bodies, including marginalised bodies to feel safe in the body they have been gifted.

Step 2: Connect with natural hunger signals

Follower concern: “When it comes to the latter, my main problem is that just one taste of sweet or fattening foods will trigger a binge. That I cannot control myself around food and that the idea of being allowed to eat anything will just lead to uncontrollable bingeing.”

In order to have better self-control with food, we have to learn to make peace with them… that means, allowing them into your life. However, before moving to this stage, you HAVE to rule out the biological drive to eat. This means, being able to tune into subtleties of hunger. We have powerful mechanisms and hormones that drive us to eat, which no amount of willpower will be able to override. It’s near impossible to approach food in a way that’s moderate or conscious when you have a primal drive to eat (you’re hungry).

Think of honouring your hunger as your safety blanket. Being adequately fed throughout the day is key to keeping you calm! 

Tuning into the subtleties of your hunger can be tricky, especially if you’ve been ignoring them for a while. Some common signs include; 

  • Head: achey, light headed, dizzy, distracted, poor concentration
  • Energy levels: tired, sleepy, sluggish, meh
  • Mood: hangry, irritable, cranky, snappy, moody, low
  • Stomach: gurgling, rumbling, emptiness, stomach ache, gnawing, sicky feeling
  • Body: shaky, quivery, low blood sugar, salivating, sicky feeling in throat or chest

My FREE 20-minute audio guide with an actionable workbook offers more guidance on this.

A good “rule of thumb” if you’re really struggling to connect with hunger is to aim for 3 meals, up to 3 snacks a day, with no more than 4-5hours between eating. This is not a rule, rather, an example of what works well for many. It may be worth finding a trained healthcare provider to support you if you’re struggling to connect with hunger and fullness.

Step 3: Be realistic

Follower concern: “I want to learn how to have better self-control my compulsions and be able to stop after a nice treat rather than being drawn back to the cupboard to keep eating more stuff”.

This may be an example of setting standards too high. Far too often, when I work with clients, their perfect / ideal day of eating includes zero “fun foods”, doesn’t make them feel happy, isn’t satisfying, and just doesn’t fulfil their needs! These high expectations can lead to out of control eating. Where you eat more than is perceived to be acceptable, which triggers the sod it mentality – “I’ve ruined it now, I might as well keep going”. Or, last supper thinking – “I will finish this now, and start again tomorrow”. Both of these can drive out of control eating.

To add to that, there are expectations on “how much” is an acceptable amount. For example, telling yourself you should only be able to have “one treat”. What if some days you need more or less to feel satisfied? Putting limitations on what we “should” eat, can lead to out of control eating if we go above this. 

One way how to have better self-control with food, is to check in with your own expectations. Write out what your perfect day of eating might look like, from the moment you wake up, to the moment you go to bed. You can check your ideal against my FREE checklist on “What Eating Well Looks Like”. This can help you to identify if your expectations of yourself are realistic.

Step 4: Challenge your guilty foods

Follower concern: “I feel like I can’t have ‘naughty’ foods very often and certain things never at all. Because of this if I do have these foods I lose control and eat them to excess. For example, when we go on holiday and we eat out a lot, I go crazy and over eat hugely. This doesn’t cause me any discomfort at all physically but only mentally that I feel so bad and frustrated with myself and therefore dread situations where I know I will do this. It’s like I can’t trust myself to trust my full cues – I don’t have any!”

Quite often, the foods we feel out of control are the ones that we’re actively trying to avoid. Having “bad/naughty” foods can induce “last supper mentality” eating. Where our brain isn’t convinced that we will have access to the food again, anticipating future restriction. We therefore feel out of control over the food. In this listener’s case, it might be that post holiday, this listener is anticipating being “good” or “starting again”. This is enough to trigger out of control eating on holiday. There may have even been some form of restriction leading up to the holiday.

The fact that the eating in this listener’s case does not physically feel bad, indicates that they are likely eating an adequate amount of food. However, they have perceived that this is “too much”, based on diet cultures unrealistic standards. This is enough to induce guilt, leading to restrictive behaviour, which in turn fuels out of control eating.

One key way how to have better self-control with food, is to stop labelling foods as good/bad, and eat the food. It’s time to unlearn the food rules that have dictated which foods are “good” and “bad/naughty”.

When you take perceived “bad” foods down off of their pedestal, and bring them onto a level playing field with all other foods (essentially, making chocolate as emotionally charged as a piece of fruit), you get to actually taste the food.

You get to ask: “do I even like this?”, “do I want this right now”, “does this feel good in my body?”, “will I feel deprived if I don’t eat this”, “will this satisfy what I need right now?”. 

This way, you can finally decide what foods make you feel good rather than being driven by their emotional charge. This sounds scary, I know. The biggest fear is that we will just eat ‘junk food’ all the time if we eat our ‘forbidden food’.

Whilst it may feel that is the case in the short term, this dissipates as time moves on when you keep a curious and non-judgemental mindset. This process is called habituation – it’s a scientifically proven thing! 

I am going to use a non-food example to explain habituation.

Imagine buying a new top that you love…

When you first wear it, it feels exciting!

Maybe you even wear it more than normal at first, however, after time it heads into the draw with all of your other clothes. It still feels nice to wear at times, but you’re not obsessed with it like you were at first. The same happens with food. When we allow it in, we get used to it and whilst it may still taste good, it becomes less exciting. 

Let’s look at an example…

Say chocolate is your “forbidden” or “bad” food that you feel obsessed with. You need to be specific about the brand, type and flavour of chocolate. Because if you’re introducing chocolate buttons, chocolate biscuits, chocolate toffees, chocolate icing all at once it will take you 4 x as long to become habitualised to it. Be specific about the brand and flavour!

Next, plan out when you would like to practice eating it whilst giving that chocolate your undivided attention. 

Pick at a time when you’re not too vulnerable (I.e. stressed, tired or hungry). 30-60 minutes after a meal is a good time. Practice eating that food paying attention with all the senses.

Tune into the flavour, texture, smell and emotions that arise. Eating mindfully and without judgement can help us to identify whether we actually want this right now. 

Step 5: Keep a curious open mindset

Follower concern:The internal struggle of, but I want it (chocolate, biscuits), it will make me feel better, then the, no it’ll make you gain weight, you won’t be able to stop, then the eating of XYZ, overeating, then the guilt, and almost the internal criticism, I told you you’d feel like this if you ate it… I eat for comfort, but it ends up feeling very out of control! The guilt afterwards is horrible.

If you tell yourself that when you take a bite, you’re going to eat the whole lot and it will lead to out of control eating, this is exactly what will happen. One way how to have better self-control with food is to challenge your thoughts.

In reality, eating chocolate is not going to make you gain weight. 

When we look at the thoughts, versus reality, it can put things into perspective. 


  • Thought: “Eating chocolate will make me gain weight”
  • Reality: “I try to avoid chocolate, inevitably cave in, feel out of control, eat past what feels physically comfortable, feel guilty, restrict again, which fuels back into the cycle”. 
  • Alternative perspective: “Eating chocolate will not make me gain weight. It may actually provide enjoyment and satisfy a sweet craving so that I don’t feel out of control when I do eat it”.

In addition, the fear of weight gain is an indication of underlying fat phobia that needs challenging. Educating yourself as much as possible about why weight is not an indicator of health is a good idea. Books like Body Respect and Health at Every Size are a good place to start. 

So what’s the verdict on how to have better self-control with food?

As you may have identified from this article, how to have better self-control with food is layered and complex. It’s often rooted in the fear of fatness, and layered in physical restriction (not eating enough or allowing satisfying fun foods in), and/or emotional restriction (allowing the food in, but feel guilty for doing so). The above, require a lot of unlearning, and re-learning, so go easy on yourself.

A good place to start on how to have better self-control with food is to check in with your expectations of yourself. Write out what your perfect day of eating might look like, from the moment you wake up, to the moment you go to bed. You can check your ideal against my FREE checklist on “What Eating Well Looks Like”. This can help you to identify if your expectations of yourself are realistic.

How to Navigate Emotional Eating

How to Navigate Emotional Eating

Are you wondering any of the following?

“How do I NOT EAT out of boredom?“

“How do I resist the urge to snack all day when I’m stressed out?”

“How do I take control and stop binge eating out of depression?”

“Why do I turn to food when I am happy, sad or stressed?”

If so, you’ve come to the right place.

This article outlines what emotional eating is, the different types of emotional eating, and ways in which you can understand and navigate it.

What is emotional eating?

It could be argued that all eating has an emotional attachment to it. If you think about it, in most cultures, food is highly linked to emotions from a young age. When you’re a baby you cry when you want food, you go to a kids party, you eat cake and pizza. You go to a wedding and often eat a special meal of some form. 

On a basic level, food is there to offer nourishment, pleasure, but also sometimes comfort too… and using food to soothe emotions isn’t inherently a “bad thing”.

Sometimes it’s a really important coping tool. In fact, quite a useful tool. When you’re turning to food when you’re not physically hungry, it’s your body’s way of saying “hey something is up and it needs addressing”.

It usually doesn’t feel good if you’re always diving into food at every emotional state. And so if the way that you’re eating right now is not feeling good, I’m here to help you unpick it.

Understanding types of emotional eating

There are four main avenues to emotional eating:

1) Breaking a food rule/eating something you’re trying not to, causes emotional distress after eating.

For example, you eat a cookie, feel bad, and then continue eating past the point of comfortable fullness – this is the “sod it” mentality.

2) Experiencing a strong emotion that reduces appetite

Like if you’re really anxious, you might feel a bit sick and not want to eat. So you eat less.

3) The backlash of restriction

Are you someone who actively tries to avoid “bad food”, but then when you’re bored, stressed, or lonely, find yourself uncontrollably diving into all of the foods you’re trying to avoid? Sometimes emotions get in the way and interfere with your restriction. It’s a backlash effect of the restriction. Interestingly, research shows that former or current dieters have higher emotional eating than do people without a history of dieting. Basically, dieting (any pursuit of weight loss) can exacerbate emotional eating.

4) Comfort eating

This is when you find yourself eating to self-soothe or distract yourself from uncomfortable emotions. It classically results in eating more food.

And to make things more complicated, there can be a blend of the above taking place.

It’s thought that the way in which we’re raised affects our ability to cope effectively with life’s ups and downs. If your parents helped you to develop positive coping skills as a kid, like talking, expressing emotions, receiving comfort, life’s ups and downs can be more easily met. But if your upbringing was more emotionally distant, neglectful, abusive, or if your parents were less able to cope with emotions themselves, you may find yourself turning to more destructive coping mechanisms.

Throw pursuit of weight loss in the mix, and it’s a recipe for using food to cope – regardless of your upbringing.

So what can you do to manage emotional eating?

It’s not possible to manage emotional eating without understanding its roots. So here is a checklist of questions to help to understand your emotional eating.

1. Have you eaten enough? 

Sometimes what we identify as emotional eating is actually just hunger. I frequently hear in clinics that clients feel they are emotionally eating or feel addicted to sugar. However, when we dive into it, it’s clear that they have not received enough food throughout the day through restriction (trying to lose or maintain weight), or just busyness. By the time the evening comes, there is a primal drive to want to eat which can induce night time binges. When they do eat, they eat more than what feels comfortable. That judgy voice can then creep in, labelling it as an ‘emotional’ or ‘comfort’ eating episode, which is also judged as ‘bad’. This can trigger compensatory behaviour, such as restriction or over-exercise to ‘make up’ for it. Restriction usually only exacerbates the cycle for overeating at some point later to happen again.

What can you do? Fill your belly first! Hunger can present itself in mood, energy levels, head – need to rule that out! If you’re wondering how to stop dieting and eat normally, you can learn more about that here

A few questions for you to consider:

a. Do you eat at least 3 meals a day, and regular snacks – 2-3 snacks a day?

b. Does each of your meals have a balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats?

c. Have you recently increased your amount of movement?

d. Have you changed your patterns of eating? Like having lighter meals or having a snack instead of a meal?

If you answered no to questions a & b, or yes to questions c & d, it may be sensible to address these before moving on.

2. Consider taste hunger

Taste hunger occurs when you have a taste for a specific food that may be present outside of physical hunger or alongside it. Basically, taste hunger is when a food just sounds good! It’s really normal to have the desire for a little something to round off your meal and provide the “satisfaction factor”. Like sweets, biscuits, ice-cream, fruit, yoghurt, hot chocolate etc. This is not bad, and it’s not emotional eating.  If you’re feeling the desire to eat something sweet after your meal, maybe that’s just what you need to hit the satisfaction factor.

If you’ve identified that you’re 100% not physically hungry, it’s not taste hunger, and no amount of food will fill you up, then it’s likely that you’re experiencing emotional hunger.

3. Flip it on its head. 

How might emotional eating actually serving you right now? Maybe it’s providing you with comfort, control at the moment, distraction, numbing? If you’re using food to distract, what are you trying to distract from? Does it give you any clues about your unmet needs? Plus, if you’re worried about sugar consumption, using food to soothe at times is not a bad thing. You don’t need to stop eating sugar to be healthy. 

4. Identifying what it is that you’re feeling.

This can be tough if you’re used to eating your emotions or often trying to push them down instead of feeling them. An emotional word wheel might be able to help you pinpoint what emotion you’re experiencing.

5. Identify coping tools

Food can be part of your coping toolkit, and if you suddenly remove it, it may leave a void. So it’s time to build in other ways of coping, that are not about food.

Have a go at writing down:

  • 5 people you can call when you feel down, upset or need to vent (parent, friend etc.)
  • 5 ways you like to relax (go for a walk, take a hot bath etc.)
  • 5 places you go to calm down (e.g. your bed, outdoors, to the water fountains).
  • 5 things you can say to yourself (“you’ve got this”, “this feeling will pass”). 
  • 5 activities you can do to distract yourself (e.g. start a puzzle, watch a film etc). 

In summary

Emotional eating isn’t inherently bad. There are far worse things you could be doing for your health than diving into food in times of high stress and anxiety. Give yourself some slack, and look at it as an important clue that your body is giving you about your unmet needs. What are you really feeling? And therefore, what do you really need?

If you’re looking to improve your relationship with food, have better self-control around food, and manage emotional eating, the evidenced-based approach Intuitive Eating might be right for you. Intuitive eating can help you learn to honour your health by listening and responding to the direct messages of your body. This helps you to meet your physical and mental needs based on your terms and move away from external tools such as the time of day, points systems, calorie tracking, rigid rules or meal plans to show you the way – which can exacerbate emotional eating.

If you’re struggling with you eating right now, and want to dive deeper into some of these concepts, check out my course, Coping With Feelings Without Turning to Food”.

How to Shift the Diet Mentality

How to Shift the Diet Mentality

The diet mentality is a false belief that society creates, that weight loss creates health, confidence, happiness, and success. This mentality steals joys from life by saying you should delay your dreams until you have lost weight. It’s the voice you hear over and over which categorises food into good and bad or healthy and unhealthy. 

So perhaps you’re becoming aware that following rigid rules around eating in pursuit of weight loss is not serving you. Maybe it hasn’t resulted in long term weight loss after all? Maybe it’s ultimately led to binge eating, weight gain, food obsession and regularly eating past the point of comfortable fullness? 

This article offers some tips on how to shift the diet mentality.  

Where to begin with shifting the diet mentality. 

1. Learn about Intuitive Eating

Intuitive Eating is an approach that can help shift the diet mentality. Because ultimately, that pursuit can cause all sorts of complex issues with food and don’t work. Instead, it helps you heal your relationship with food and lets your weight settle in a comfortable place that’s natural and healthy for you.

When beginning to learn about Intuitive Eating, the idea of letting go of dieting tools, food rules and restrictions can feel quite uncomfortable. I hear you. 

There are many people co-opting intuitive eating into a diet, so be mindful of who you learn from. 

Tips for this step:

2. Learn more about how the body weight is regulated

We’re lead to believe that weight is entirely down to our control. A classic thought people have is “maybe I will just lose weight and then do intuitive eating“. Unfortunately the people who say this don’t realise that intuitive eating is not a weight loss or maintenance technique; it will restore you to whatever your “set point” weight is.

Tips for this step:

  • Educate yourself on non-diet approaches like Intuitive Eating. This will help you to address concerns about health and your weight. Sources include; “Body Respect“, and “Health at Every Size“.
  • Pursue coaching and/or therapy to start to process why you think you “feel better” at a lighter weight and heal the wounds of your body shame.

3. Think of letting go of the diet mentality like weaning a baby

You don’t suddenly switch a baby from breastmilk or formula to solid foods overnight. It’s a weaning process. If you’re at the stage where you know you need to ditch dieting (restrictive eating to pursue weight loss) in order to overcome a problematic relationship with food, it can feel very frustrating. You’re “consciously incompetent”, meaning you’re becoming aware of what to do, but you can’t do it just yet. 

Imagine if you suddenly took milk away from a baby when they didn’t yet have the full skills to eat solid foods. They would likely get very hungry and upset. The same happens if you suddenly ditch dieting tools. You have nothing else to hold you just yet, and you’ve likely not learnt and practiced the skills to fully let go of dieting tools, rules and restrictions. This takes time, and that’s where self-compassion needs to come in…

4. Self-Compassion is Key to Ditching the Diet Mentality

  • Think about what your self talk is sounding like right now? 
  • Would you speak like this to a friend or loved one? 
  • How would you feel if someone said these things to you?

Compassion is the desire we have to help alleviate suffering in friends/children/animals. Self-compassion is directing that inwards to ourselves.

Why does it matter? 

Having a higher level of self-compassion has been linked to a number of health enhancing behaviours, in particular, in relation to food behaviours. That includes, having fewer binge eating symptoms and body image concerns. It can basically help with those judgy voices that try to sabotage you moving through improving your relationship with food. e.g. “I’m such a failure”, “I can’t believe I did that”, “I’ve ruined my day now”, “I’m not worthy”, “I’m disgusting”. 

So if your self-talk is negative, think about how you might respond to a friend going through a similar tough time?

If your self talk is something like: 

“I am aware of hunger cues but I struggle to honour them”

A self-compassion response would be something like… 

“The diet talk is really strong right now and we know that’s been a default mentality for you for a long time. No wonder you find it tough to honour your body’s natural signals. I know that many other people find it tough too. What’s great is that you’re becoming more aware of your hunger signals and listening to them. It sounds as though you’re doing really well with that. It’s great that we now have new information that you find it difficult to honour them… is this something you would like to explore further?”


Hopefully that’s given you some insight into some of the common mind battles that many people face when they are beginning to ditch the diet mentality. These are normal, and it will take time to wean off of restrictive thoughts or guilt around eating certain foods.

The more you practice honouring your own natural hunger, fullness and satisfaction signals the more confident you will feel in letting go of the physical tools. These tools are things like counting calories, eating at certain times of day, compensating for food eaten by exercising more or cutting back elsewhere. A lot of self-compassion is required and if you’re struggling, additional support from a qualified practitioner may be beneficial.

Plus Size Dating – Beyond Appearance

Plus Size Dating – Beyond Appearance

Dating seems to be considered an emotional experience, but a necessary hurdle if you want to find a partnership. And when you’re of plus size (or if your appearance doesn’t conform to mainstream beauty standards in other ways), dating can seem riddled with even more challenges. 

Maybe you’re fully aware of the damaging appearance-based nature of modern dating, and how it upholds patriarchal standards and oppresses people in many ways. But you’re still wanting to meet someone. And online dating seems to be the mainstream way of dating these days.

So how can you navigate the dating scene when your body doesn’t conform to societal standards?

Firstly, who am I to talk about this? 

I have never lived and dated in a larger body. But I have dated online and I have some perspective as a voice in the non-diet world. As a Registered Dietitian and Certified Intuitive Eating Counsellor, I work with many plus-size people who experience oppression because of their size. I provide training to university students on weight-based discrimination, and I have some resources and ideas that may be helpful for you. 

You’re not alone. 

It’s estimated that 35% of the UK population are single, meaning that 65% are in a relationship of some kind. Since the majority of UK adults (64%) do not have bodies considered to be thin, the majority of us fall outside the current concept of conventional beauty. Yet we still couple up!

So whilst you may feel excluded by not fitting into conventional beauty norms when it comes to body size, the main point here is that you’re not alone in feeling frustrated with online dating. There is nothing wrong with you, and it’s not just you who finds it challenging. Anyone that doesn’t conform to cultural norms can feel harm from these systems and it sucks!

When you’re feeling discouraged by dating.

Have you ever been ghosted? Ignored? 

Ghosting for those of you who haven’t yet experienced it is having someone that you believe liked you, disappear from contact without any explanation at all. No phone call or email, not even a text.

A 2014 survey conducted by Elle Magazine, identified that being ghosted is a phenomenon that approximately 50% of people have experienced—and an almost equal number have done the ghosting. Despite how common ghosting is, the emotional effects can be pretty devastating, and particularly damaging to those who already have fragile self-esteem. 

Ghosting and being ignored can encourage us to get caught up in our bodies. Especially if we have a lot of internalised issues that we’re dealing with.  

So what can you do?

Check-in with yourself. How are you feeling about your body, and/or sense of identity? Is it a good time for you to be online dating? Do you have the energy to cope if you are ignored?

The dating scene may suck the last bit of water you have from your energy tank, so how can you continue to work on feeling good about yourself (aka filling up your water tank)? 

As Vironika Tugaleva, The Love Mindset quotes: 

“Your relationship with yourself is and always will be directly reflected in all your relationships with others”

Now, I do not believe in needing to “love yourself before you can love others’. You can certainly be working on your body image whilst you’re with someone. But working on gaining confidence or acceptance in your body may result in you having a better experience dating. It may help you to build up resilience in the dating world and improve your body image, regardless of what others say.  

Plus, if you’re doing this work on yourself, you’re more likely to seek people who are aligned and end up attracting the people who are actually right for you. It will likely set you up to be in a partnership with someone who will treat you well and align with your values.

The need for human connection and companionship is real. I hear you. However, if we jump into something that’s not right, we can subsequently result in having a negative relationship, ending in pain and leaving us in a more difficult place than where we started.

How is your tank at the moment? Does it need topping up? Consider taking time out of dating if it’s not working out for you right now. 

Are you thinking beyond body appearance too?

The appearance-based nature of online dating keeps people from getting to know those who could actually be a great match.  

Are you clear on what you’re looking for in someone that’s beyond body appearance? 

I invite you to write a list of all of the things you’re looking for in someone that is not appearance-related.

And that list MUST include finding someone that is accepting of you as a whole human being, including the shape and size of your body. 

Remind yourself that you made a narrow escape.

Being ignored gives you magical feedback from these people that they are not right for you! You’re a catch, and you’ve not yet been found. When you meet the right person who is emotionally available to you right now, they will be responsive, present, and you won’t need to scramble for their attention. 

Love and relationships are available to anyone, and you are deserving of a partnership, regardless of your size. 

Additional Resources: 

Non-Diet New Year Resolutions

Non-Diet New Year Resolutions

If you’re looking for some non-diet new year resolution inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. Ending the exhausting cycle of losing weight and gaining weight is one way to improve your health and well being for 2022.

I am going to break down some common goals and give some reflective prompts to turn these into non-diet new year goals. Let’s get started.

“I want to exercise more”

Great! Here are some questions to consider to make this a non-diet new year goal:

  1. Why do you want to exercise more?
  2. If you were going to exercise for pure pleasure and enjoyment, and it had no impact on your body image or calories burned, would you still do it?
  3. If not, what else would you do?
  4. Do you prefer exercising alone or with others?
  5. Do you prefer to exercise inside or outside?
  6. What have you come up with?
  7. What do you need in order to explore these?

When exercise goals are purely based around body change or weight loss, they can be unsustainable. Especially if you see no difference or if you’re unable to maintain these body changes. If you really desire some intuitive movement, but haven’t found something you like, this is a great opportunity to set a goal of trying out new forms of movement. Remember to be flexible with yourself and not too rigid. Intuitive exercise and joyful movement mean that you can work with your thoughts and feelings around movement to decide when and if you should exercise.

“I want to eat healthier”

Great! Here are some questions to consider to make this a non-diet new year goal:

1) On a scale of 0-10 how satisfied are you with your current eating?

2) What could help you to feel more satisfied? Maybe you would like to plan a bit more? Maybe you would like to add some more vegetables?

This goal is a common one, so it’s important to think about what eating healthier means to you – because “health” means different things to different people. Be careful though, because diet culture can raise the bar to an unrealistic standard. Healthy foods are the foods that make you happy, fuel you, keep you satisfied and feeling nourished. This generally involves eating a variety of grains, fruits, vegetables, fats, dairy, proteins, and fun foods over time, with regular meals and snacks. Are you setting your expectations too high?

“I want to lose weight” 

Unfortunately on this one, it has to be pointed out that weight loss isn’t a behaviour. If you want to lose weight and are having difficulties with your relationship with food, check out this article: I want to Ditch Dieting, But I Still Want to Lose Weight.

If you’re looking to stop the endless cycle of restriction and weight gain, it might be time to reconsider your goals. Sustainable goals should be SMART. Small, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based.

Here are some examples of non-diet new year resolutions: 

  1.     Write a journal entry once per week to reflect and check-in with yourself / your eating and body image. You can do this by keeping a pen and journal at your bedside as a reminder and try to do this every Sunday night (or whatever night you decide is best).
  1.     Try a new form of movement that you are excited about once per month until you’ve found something that you love or keep it up because you’re having fun with it. To help keep things exciting, recruit a friend for these adventures. Ideas include hiking, rollerblading, walks around town/parks, indoor climbing, bike riding, fun runs, or a unique workout class like goat yoga.
  1.     Try-it-Tuesdays! (Or any day of the week). While at the grocery store each week, pick out a new food you haven’t had before but would like to try. You may find a new favourite food!
  1.      Have problems eating consistently throughout the day? If this is something you struggle with whether it’s due to busyness or disordered eating, one way to achieve this goal is to set a timer on your phone for every three to four hours that reminds you to eat. Carry a few snacks around in your bag to help ensure options. Remember that you don’t have to stick to a timer to eat, if you feel hungry before the timer, eat! The whole point is to make sure you are fuelling consistently throughout the day.
  1.     Want to cook more? Set aside time each week to find a recipe you are excited about and then if you’re able, gather the ingredients during your next grocery run. Think about what things are standing in your way of cooking more and make alterations to help. If time is a barrier, can you purchase pre-chopped vegetables, chop them yourself the day before, try out a food delivery service, or make it a social event where you cook with a friend? Maybe the goal is you try out one new recipe a week or one new recipe a month. Either way set your cooking goal in a way that you know you can work towards achieving it.

6.     No goals. Maybe you are not in a place for a goal. That’s fine too. Do what is best for your own health and well-being.

Wishing you a healthy & happy 2022! If you’re looking for some more non-diet support, you can check out my FREE audio guide below – 7 Steps to Food Peace & Food Freedom.

Navigating Diet Talk at Christmas

Navigating Diet Talk at Christmas

Seeing family can be stressful, especially whilst recovering from body image or eating issues and diet talk comes up. Here are some tips for making it through season festivities and boycotting diet talk!

  1.     You do not have to stay in a conversation that is making you feel poorly about yourself or is triggering for you. Excusing yourself from diet talk to grab a glass of water, use the restroom, or to go catch up with a different relative. These are all reasonable ways to exit a conversation like this.
  1.     The holidays usually coincide with lots of delicious foods that family only prepare for special occasions like this. Unfortunately, you may hear someone say, “I am being so bad right now!” for experiencing those foods. While I would like to reiterate that not responding to a statement like that is always a valid option, you could respond with, “Did you steal the food or something?!” This will help lighten the mood and given folks a reminder that enjoying delicious holiday food is NOT an immoral thing. This instagram post might help too!
  1.     If someone approaches you about a recent body size change of yours, here are a few different responses you can try out:
  •  “I’d prefer not to talk to you about my weight but would love to talk to you about _(blank)_.” What is something that you are really excited or happy about in your life? Have a few conversation pieces ready to slip in here to change the direction of the conversation.
  •  “I don’t really find that question appropriate.” This is a little more straightforward but may also help deter future questions of similar substance. You owe onlookers nothing, whether you’ve become larger or smaller, you do not ever need to explain your body to someone else.
  • “I choose to not focus on my weight. How’s your family?” I put this response in here because a perfect response is to ask the person about themselves. Never underestimate how much people love talking about themselves.
  1.     You can be bold. If you are in active recovery from an eating disorder and things are getting to be too much, certainly leave the conversation. But if you feel as if speaking up may fare better for subsequent gatherings you also have permission to be bold. You can 100% tell someone, “I am recovering from an eating disorder so, yes, my body changed. In the future don’t address my body like it’s a topic of conversation.” Or even, “Yep, weight gain (or loss) happens when you’ve recovered from an eating disorder sometimes!”
  1.     You can kill the diet talk with kindness. If someone is trying to approach your body size change in a mean spirited or negative way, and maybe says, “Oh no, what happened? Have you gained weight?” you can respond with, “Yep” with a smile and give them a compliment on a non-body size related thing, like their shoes.
  1.     If the heat isn’t on you, but listening to someone else’s latest diet or body size change is stressful, here’s how you can change the subject: “Aside from your weight or aside from your diet, how are you doing? I would love to hear about your job, family, hobbies, etc.”

Remember, your self-worth is not tied to the scale and this is something that you can communicate to the people in your life. If people are not respectful of the boundaries you have set, it’s time to catch up with someone else. You are an interesting person with so much more to you than one physical attribute.