How UNDieting helps...(Part 2)...Lisa Dahl and Samia Bano in conversation...

SAMIA: Hello, Salam, Shalom, Namaste, Sat Sri Akal, Holah, Aloha, Bonjour and Ciao! So good to have you back with us Lisa. I'm so super excited I just absolutely loved our conversation the first time! And for those of you who might have missed the last episode we did with Lisa... Lisa is a wellness coach, she's an Intuitive Eating Expert. And we're talking about how we can create a better relationship with our bodies and the way that we eat. And Lisa, last time you shared with us, I believe, the first three of the ten principles on which intuitive eating is built. So tell us more, what's the fourth principle?


LISA: So it's you know... there's not one principle that is greater or better than another. And depending on your own personal history or relationship some principles are going to be easier than others. The... so the principles that we did, you know... another principle that I would love to share about is something called “challenge the food police”. And this one has a lot of meaning to me, and I'm going to say, to a lot of people in diet... who diet, or in diet culture. And when I say the food police I'm talking about those nasty little voices, that commentary, that you hear every time you choose to make a decision about food or you step on the scale and they bring you down that negative rabbit hole. When you challenge the food police, you start to change your thoughts which will change how you feel. And you can start to say, you know like, those little voices, you know... you can't do this and you need, you know... What is your commentary? What is your comeback? Learning to have, you know, a few different responses when you start to hear that voice... I mean some people even name that voice. Whatever, however you hear it, it's learning to understand that those voices are not helping you. And how do you shift those voices to support you?


SAMIA: Yes, that is really important. Oh my gosh, challenging the food police. I think for a long time I was my own worst food police. Oh my gosh, yeah.


LISA: It's, you know, how do you turn, how do you turn them into a positive? So you can have like the nutrition informant... who is going to tell you... and this was one of my biggest challenges is that I would go into a grocery store, and I'm a former caterer so I do a lot of cooking, and most of my food is from scratch and whole foods... and that's neither here nor there. The point is that when I would walk down the middle aisles and I would be buying prepared products or ingredients, I wouldn't even see... what I would see is the nutrition label on every food. A guy could go up and down an aisle and I could just look at that food and I could tell you there's so many calories, there's so many proteins, carbs, fats, here's the ingredients in it, it's a good food or it's a bad food. At the end of the day it's just not that important... how does that food make you feel? And now like when somebody says, “well, how many calories in that?" I simply don't know any longer. I have worked really hard to erase those details. And it's, you know, how does the nutrition informant become your nutrition ally? How did... how do you learn to eat based on how do foods make you feel? You know, it's going back to it, the last episode... you know we talked about habituation and making peace with food and we talked about M&M's. M&M's are not good or bad. How do those M&M's make you feel? 10 M&M's might make you feel fine, like, "Oh, I get my chocolate fix, it makes me feel good, I'm ready to go". A bag of M&M's and you might decide that you need to now spend the next hour in the bathroom because you don't feel so good. How do you, how do the foods make you feel? And over time... Nutrition actually comes last in the practice of intuitive eating for the reason that we're talking about... is when you bring in nutritional information and you're so focused on healthism, it doesn't help you to be connected to your body. It brings you back into your head. So you... there's a fine line between being, you know, conscious of foods that make you feel good and getting caught in society's idea of healthism that, you know... You can read any article or you can see any marketing and they're going to tell you that, you know, "If you eat this you're going to get that, if you eat this you're going to have cardio, you know, heart disease". It doesn't work that way. What are your actions and your behaviors... not the number on the scale or how much you weigh. That is going to lead you towards or away from one particular disease. And there's no black and white. Even the healthiest, everybody... nobody's excluded... Everybody gets sick and everybody dies, that is a fact.



SAMIA: Yeah.


LISA: And it's not if you eat one food that you are going to get sick and die. I mean the big conversation that we always have in my house is my partner loves, loves, loves, Cheetos. And prior to becoming an intuitive eating health coach I would never buy Cheetos. Like, I would go to the market and I purposely would not buy those for them because they were bad for him. Fast forward, you want Cheetos, eat your Cheetos. A bag of Cheetos could last a month in our house because they're no longer that prized possession. He likes them, he eats them, so what? And I know that's a hard thing to hear from... coming from a health and wellness coach because people just automatically, quote unquote, “assume that I don't eat...”, quote unquote, “...or serve bad foods”. All foods are equal, there's no good or bad... food does not have a moral value. And again, when we talk about food freedom, it allows us to make food choices based on how we're feeling. And so, you know, really making, you know, quieting that chatter of the food police because they show up in many different ways.


SAMIA: Yeah, I hear what you're saying. And I think something that you mentioned last time is also very applicable in this case in terms of... it's going to take a little bit of time for your mind and body to learn to think in new ways, and better more accurate ways, about food and what makes you feel good and what doesn't, because there's just like... Actually it makes me think of something my dad taught me, because, you know, after we came to America... Like, before I came to America, I never had weight problems, honestly. Especially when I lived in India, I never had weight problems. I would gain weight when I went to Pakistan in the summer because my summer time... I was gorging on lots of rich foods and so forth. But that wasn't like how I ate year 'round and so when I went back to India, resumed my normal lifestyle, my weight went down and normalized to whatever it was. Never had weight problems even when we moved to the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East for a few years... I didn't have any significant weight problems. But after we came to America, everyone in my family, we started to gain weight and it wouldn't stop. We all became seriously overweight and even obese at one point in my case. And one of the things we realized was that, I mean, we thought we were still eating well... But a lot of the food that we were eating had, like, a lot of, like, empty calories and, like, it was processed and it was high in sugar. And, like, we didn't realize the hidden sugars and all that... But the point of all of that that I'm trying to make is that my brain got tricked into thinking what I was eating was good food. And in some ways... it definitely tasted good. But I didn't recognize the ways in which it didn't actually do good for my body, that it made me feel bad...like, when I was gaining weight and I'm starting to feel sick. I didn't necessarily link it back to the food that I was eating. I just thought, "Oh, I'm just getting sick, I'm just gaining weight, I don't know why, there's something wrong with me". And I didn't know how to properly understand what was happening and how to... and what relationship it might have to what food I was eating and what really is healthy and what it's not. And so it was very, very, confusing. And I mean you know, so what you were just saying... something... what you were saying about the food in itself is not good or bad, you know... I hear what you're saying. And then, you know, I'm sure, like, once you... there's a part of me, because I'm stuck in the diet culture and all that kind of stuff, it's like I want to get to the part about the nutrition. Part of me’s like, tell me what is real nutrition! But I hear what you're saying that we need to slow things down and re-learn a lot of things first.


LISA: Right! So you hit on... you said a few things in all of that, that really stood out… Was that you... for you know... when we use the word overweight or over obese, over what weight? So that's the first thing, is that diet culture has us thinking about a weight, that it has to be specific.


SAMIA: Yeah.


LISA: And you know, what I like to say is, you know, how do we turn the word fat into not having a negative connotation, has the same value as fat, thin, small, large?


SAMIA: Right.


LISA: And when I work with my clients we talk about being in larger bodies. We talk about, you know, fat bodies. We talk about what term makes you feel comfortable when we're referring to your body.


SAMIA: Right.


LISA: And what you instead though... what really stood out was you didn't clue in to the effects of how you were feeling or why you were sick and being tired... as it wasn't about the weight, it was about how the food was making you feel. And part of that goes to one of the... there's two principles that kind of touches on, several principles, actually, where it goes into coping with your emotions with kindness. Because I'm guessing when you came to the States that there was a lot going on, that it was not an easy move, that there was a lot of emotions going on. And your eating habits changed and you were trying to do things to make you feel better. And all of these easy products were a quick fix to manage your emotions which helped you be resilient. Like those kept you strong, they kept you happy, until they weren't working any longer. And you needed to create other tools in your toolbox to manage those emotions besides food, not instead of food, in addition to food. The other thing, a couple of things is, noticing when you were full... because when you eat empty calories, our bodies get tricked and then you're still hungry.


SAMIA: Right. <


LISA: And then you tend to overeat because our bodies don't understand what's happening. Because empty calories is a serious diet trick of restriction and deprivation. And then we think that we're an emotional eater because at 6 o'clock at night or at 9 o'clock at night you're starving. And you tend to overeat to make up for the lack of nutrition during the day. And then the hub, like the primary hub of the practice of intuitive eating comes down to satisfaction. And especially with your ethnic history and cultures of food, I'm guessing with all of those homemade foods there was always... even... even when meat wasn't readily available, that your food was still hearty and satisfaction, satisfactory... It made you feel satisfied and fulfilled, that you didn't need to go back for more. All of those empty foods didn't provide you with the satisfaction.


SAMIA: Yeah.


Lisa: And sometimes, I mean sometimes you just, you're craving something and an ice cream is what is going to satisfy you. And that is okay... But when we're talking about being satisfied, the components to satisfaction are not just necessarily about the food. It's also about the environment, it's about feeling secure, it's about the relationships, it's about how and when you're eating it, what is your stress level... All of those components bring satisfaction into the core. And when we're satisfied physically, mentally, and emotionally, we're not reaching out and continuing to look for more to make us feel better.


SAMIA: Yes, that is such an important point that you just brought out, that even the concept of satisfaction... when you're thinking about how to be satisfied or being satisfied with the food that you ate, it's not just even about the food itself... there's these... all these other layers to it. And if you don't have an awareness or an understanding of what all these different layers are, that's when, you know, you can sort of get confused about what you're doing and why you're doing it in terms of how you're eating.


LISA: Right. So all of these principles, they're very strong as individuals. And they all are interwoven and they're all part of the practice of intuitive eating. So just kind of quickly, another couple of the other principles are, respecting your body. And that goes back to, you know, how are you, you know, how do you treat your body. Like, as I had said in our previous call... our bodies are with us until the end.




LISA: You don't have to love your body, you don't have to think your body is beautiful, you don't have to think your body is all of these things… How do you respect your body to be able to take care of it? And focus on all the things that your body can do for you. You have, you know, maybe you have larger thighs and legs. Well that allows you to hold your children or to snuggle with your partner, it allows you to walk up the stairs. If you, you know, if you have a big belly, how do you turn that into something that it allows your body to do? And you know maybe you have a baby that loves to snuggle in and play with your belly? Even though it may make you feel uncomfortable, babies love that soft squishy feeling of being snuggled and loved in a body. There is always a way to shift or to focus on the parts of your body... your beating heart... look at what it allows you to do! Because basically with, you know, if you don't have that we have nothing. And how do we spend the time on this earth focusing on all the things that our body allows us to do? Even if it is just something small and simple about your body, to start to be able to have a better relationship with the internal organs of, you know, what your heart or your brain, because that's not visual.


SAMIA: Right.


LISA: How do you begin to appreciate the non-visual and work from there. And begin to understand and create a better relationship… So when you're saying, like, "Oh, you know, I hate my body." Well, how do you thank your heart for beating? How do you, you know, appreciate your hands because they allow you to hold your partner's hand or your child's hand, or allows you to write, or type, or do the things that you love to do?


SAMIA: Yes. Oh, I just love what you're saying. You know one of the things that I've experienced in my life is when we talk about creating change and making change fun and easy, like, creating change with love is actually such a key aspect of how to make change more fun and easy also. And so in this context when we're trying to change something about our bodies, the way we eat, the way we think, to do that with love is so important. And there is actually this saying... I can't remember exactly how it goes, but something to the effect of... "Only when you accept yourself, can you then change yourself". It's like, it seems like a paradox. And/but it's so true! Only when you accept yourself in this loving, compassionate way can you change yourself.


LISA: It's like, how do you create awareness? So when you create awareness, we're removing the judgment and we're bringing in the curiosity. And when you remove the judgment and you go to curiosity and you're willing to experiment and to try other things, that's where the change can happen. And when you are aware of, you know, there's a circumstance and we have our thoughts, and our thoughts are just a string of words. And if you don't like the way that those string of words make you feel, we have the ability to change those thoughts. How do you... and you don't go from body hatred to body love. We're not talking leaps and bounds. How do you create thoughts that are, you know, kind of like a ladder?


SAMIA: Yeah.


LISA: Start really tiny, small... something that is believable. I'm not a big believer of, you know, the affirmations of, you know, I'm going to tell myself that life is wonderful every day when you are struggling with whatever stresses you have. You know, everything is a stepping stone, you are a work in progress. Keeping the ladder, the runs, very close together, so that it is a very, you know... it's progress, not perfection. You don't go from A to Z in a split second, you need to go through the rest of the alphabet to get there and to be able to take one small step at a time.


SAMIA: Yes, I agree with you. And I think the only sort of shift that I make in my thinking in that context is that I love to know the furthest that I could go, you know, and then still take small steps to actually get there. And an example that I will give in just a different context, because, you know, that's more my area of expertise…. It's, you know, I'm a trauma survivor. Actually I'm a survivor of child sexual abuse. And so when we're thinking about healing from trauma, one of the things that I found really, really, helpful in my trauma healing journey was when someone showed me a vision of what my life could be like as I continued to progress on the healing journey, and not... and here was the real, real amazing thing that I learned while... and that motivated me to just keep wanting to go on and on and on with the healing journey was, you know... you know, there's this... in the trauma healing world we talk about these three stages of healing. The first stage is when you're a victim... you have just experienced the trauma and you know, you're still in the crisis. And/but then that ends. And so then you shift from being victim to survivor, and then you're in survivor mode, what you're really trying to do is get back to a point of recovery. So you can get back to the point of wellness that you had prior to your experience of that trauma. And for a lot of people, they think that's as good as it gets. And for a lot of people even just hitting that point of recovery is an amazing, amazing, accomplishment. And it doesn't have to stop there. And that's the vision that I got shown... was that you can actually continue to grow and heal. And so you go from being a survivor to being a thriver, to actually thriving in your life... So that you are in a state of wellness that is even greater than before you were experiencing that trauma. And that it doesn't stop you know... that you can continue to grow. And like for me the idea of, you know, that, "Ah, so not only can I stop suffering but I can actually reach a place of calm. And then after I can reach a place of calm, I can actually reach a place of being peaceful. And then after I achieve being in a place of peace I can actually learn to be happy. And then after I learn to be happy I could actually be joyful. And then after joyful, I can be blissful!" And you know, there's just more and more and more growth and healing and joy and love, and there's no end to it! And when I saw that vision, I was like "Oh, oh I want to get to the next, next bit. How do I get to the next bit?" And for me, having that sense of, oh there's more, more, amazing, you know, things that I can experience and feel that really, really, motivated me. And at the same time it was like, "Ah! No. I can't end at the end point all at once. So just one step at a time".


LISA: Great! There is no, there is no end point. And it's like with that ladder... it's like, okay, I've climbed here, how do I reset so that I can go here?


SAMIA: Yeah.


LISA: When, you know, in step one, somebody didn't say, "Oh, you're going to get to blissful"... Because you would have said, you can't even, you can't even see more than 10 seconds in front of you. You're in so much pain.


SAMIA: Yeah.


LISA: So what we're talking about is, you know... and it's about continually moving it, you know, while you're getting there. It's okay, I've done the work. I'm here. Now I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna do more work, or differently, or focus on something else, and I'm gonna set new goals and hopes and dreams of how I can continue to improve my health and wellness.


SAMIA: Right.


LISA: And it's, and that's where I said, you know, in the beginning that you can't fail the practice of intuitive eating.




LISA: That it is as much as... I, you know, by no means am I a perfect intuitive eater. I don't even know that there is such a thing as a perfect intuitive eater.




LISA: And when I work with my clients and I'll share principles, they'll be sharing information. And so I'm like, "Oh! Hey, I can take this information too and make it a little bit better for myself." That you know... going back to that onion... it's like you continue to just look at things and figure out how to continue to dig a little bit deeper, to go a little bit further. And it all comes down to time, patience, practice, and self-compassion.


SAMIA: Yeah, awesome! Thank you again so much Lisa. And once again I'm going to have to stop our conversation right here, but you know what, come back another time!


LISA: I would love, love, love to come back. And anybody who's listening, I do one-on-one coaching. I have a group program called Body, Peace and Food Freedom that I open up a couple of times a year. And, you know, I offer free discovery calls. So if anybody has questions, just want to share where they're at, I'm happy to continue the conversation with anybody who is interested. And you'll share my information in the notes so, thank you so much for having me.


SAMIA: Yes, we will be including Lisa's links in the show notes so you can get in touch with her. Please, please, get in touch with her. And I just want to say I love you Lisa! Thank you so much for giving up your time so generously, and so much of your wisdom so generously. I really, really appreciate it. And see you again soon.


LISA: Thank you! And thank you for sharing your stories. It just really is so heartfelt and genuine and it all applies to, you know, in so many different ways. And just knowing that, you know, everybody suffers, we all suffer differently, and we all have our journey and choices on how we ultimately want to feel. And you are just on such a beautiful path to continue to feel joyful and happy and to share that message with everyone. So thank you :).


SAMIA: Thank you Lisa :)

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