Podcast Transcriptions

Pursue What Matters

Episode 38: Balanced Eating: Is it Possible?

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Dr. Melissa Smith 0:00
If you’ve spent any time viewing weight loss ads or listening to people talk about food and eating, you would think we’ve lost our freaking minds. And folks, the sad reality is that most of us have. Well, it’s time to bring some sanity back to our relationship with food and eating. And I have got a great freebie for you today, a balanced eating guide. It’s time for some sanity.

Dr. Melissa Smith 0:27
Hi, I’m Dr. Melissa Smith. Welcome to the Pursue What Matters podcast where we focus on what it takes to thrive in love and work. If you’re like most Americans, you probably have a fairly dysfunctional relationship with food and eating. We love our food, and we love our diets in equal measure. And the story of our relationship with food is a schizophrenic story, to say the least. It is truly a complicated and insane relationship for most of us. How did we get here? It’s so crazy. So why is this the case where you raised on a steady diet of scarcity when it came to food? There was never enough of it. And so it left you wanting more. So my mom is going to love that I’m telling this story, Mom, please forgive me. But when we were growing up, there were five of us kids, and apparently we were always hungry. Not apparently we were we were always hungry. I submitted because there was never any food in the house. But I’m sure my mother would disagree. But I digress. It’s It’s my podcast. I get to tell the story, right? Anyway, occasionally, very occasionally, my mother would make homemade cookies or brownies and I kid you not. She would have to hide the Tupperware container, Do you remember did so I’m aging myself..Do you remember the big Tupperware containers where they still make Tupperware I hear but I miss Tupperware that containers are not as good as they used to be. As the Tupperware containers. I don’t have Tupperware anymore. I want Tupperware. But she would have to hide the Tupperware container in different spots in the house to keep the ravening wolves out of the cookies because she just knew that we would scarf those cookies down. And they wouldn’t last more than two minutes in the house that that was my mom’s story. Anyway, that’s why she said she had to hide the homemade cookies. So you know of course whenever my mom did make homemade treats, which was rare, I would say it was not occasionally it was rare. That’s my memory anyway, just because you know, I’ve got a scarcity mindset here when it comes to food. It was this great challenge among us kids after school to hunt down the Tupperware container. Mind you, this was not a small Tupperware container. It was like the big the big our swag like the huge one. The huge round Tupperware container for you Tupperware connoisseurs out there. It was big. And of course, because like if my mom was making cookies, dang it, she was making cookies. So of course half the fun was the hot so Okay, wait, I gotta give you an idea of this. It was like the size of a hat box. Like it was big. And maybe it was larger in my mind because I was like cookies and all I could see was this Tupperware container but who is like the size of a hat box. So of course, half the fun was the hunt. But dang it. We were hungry and we wanted those cookies. Okay, so picture it. My poor, desperate mother is late for work, but she knows she needs to hide these cookies last her hyena like children, destroy them before barely 24 hours have elapsed. So where does she hide them? You know she’s looking around the house. In her brilliance. My mother hides the ginormous Tupperware container under a pile of dirty laundry in her dirty clothes hamper. I kid you not haven’t helped this woman. I’m sure she went to work that day smiling to herself thinking. I’ve bested those hyenas. I will show them there are still gonna be cookies when I get home from work.

Dr. Melissa Smith 4:52
Okay, but here’s the thing. She had no idea how hungry we were or how desperate We were for real sugar, homemade sweets, and genuine carbs, we would not be stopped. And so here’s the thing. We kids, we sprang from the bus, spreading the distance to home, confident we would be the one to discover the hiding place of the Tupperware container. This was serious stuff. A major competition. Not only was our pride on the line, who could discover the hiding place first. But, you know, if you didn’t discover the hiding place first, there was a very good chance there would be no cookies left for you. So of course, we ran like there was no tomorrow. And like we we ran like our life depended on it, because maybe our life depended on it. It was food. And, of course, despite my mother’s cleverness, we found the cookies under the pile of dirty laundry. We found them. Now come on, I got to take a little timeout here. Because it is one form of crazy to hide cookies in your dirty laundry hamper, right? Like That is crazy. But it is an entirely higher order of crazy to actually go looking for cookies and your parents dirty underwear. But we did. And we found them. We found them. If I recall correctly, it was a team effort. In the end, we did pool our efforts. And I remember we sat down right there in my parents tiny bathroom next to the hamper next to the bvds. And we scarfed down those delicious chocolate chip cookies. And I’m pretty sure that giant Tupperware container was empty. Maybe it had the little dry crust of bread, right that all good moms if you live in the West, put in the Tupperware container so that the cookies stay soft. Apparently you don’t have to do that in the Midwest, you don’t have to do that in the East. But you have to do that in the West, so that your cookies stay fresh and soft and delicious. I’m pretty sure that was probably the only thing left in that type of work container. When my mom got home and she was probably disgusted. And she probably said I’m never making cookies again. Because you guys are pack of hyenas. And it’s true. We were a pack of hyenas. So maybe that was your experience. Maybe you were raised on a steady diet of scarcity when it came to food. I certainly was. Or did you live in a land of abundance with a pantry overflowing with all sorts of yummy treats? Well, that certainly was not my house. I mean, obviously, but I remember visiting my cousin’s house, and their pantry looked like the promised land. And I was in love. I was in awe. I just wanted to sit down, you know, Indian style and marvel at the beautiful pantry. And my cousin’s thought I was weird, because they wanted to go outside and play.

Dr. Melissa Smith 8:39
Did you grow up watching your parents diet? Or heaven forbid, were you put on a diet as a kid? I hope you were not put on a diet as a kid. So, you know, you might not be surprised, but it seemed like my mom was often on a diet when I was growing up, which really just makes me so sad. But one day in particular stands out. We were driving home about, you know, 5pm and she had an open box of quote unquote diet crackers in the front seat of her car. And she was eating, you know, she was eating one or two. And so I pulled one out of the box and began eating it. But after one bite, I said close this tastes like cardboard and I spit it out. And I said how can you eat those? And I still remember to this day, I remembered this moment. So clearly, you know, he had just had these moments that just stand out in your memory. I remember what I remember we were driving around the corner of Main Street and lo Rexburg, Idaho by the Maverick and it was winter and we were in my mom’s cool outtie car and and my mom responded why When you haven’t eaten anything all day, almost anything tastes good. And you’ll eat just about anything. Oh. And I just remember thinking, that is miserable. That is so miserable.

Dr. Melissa Smith 10:17
So maybe you were a member of the clean plates club, you know what that is, you had to eat everything on your plate before you were excused from dinner. So it didn’t matter that you were full, it didn’t matter that you hated brussels sprouts, you had to clean your plate before you could get up from dinner. So even if your eating patterns were fairly normal, you probably didn’t escape the billions of advertising dollars spent on marketing the latest gadgets and diets. A few of my favorites from growing up include the bonds of still videos, and you know, eventually DVDs, they probably they’re probably still out there. Does anyone remember those? I wanted those videos so bad. I never got them. I really wanted them though. The grapefruit diet. Okay, that one sounds really painful and miserable. And just like you’d be starving all the time. And like your mouth would be an acidic mess. And then my all time favorite. I don’t know if anyone remembers this. The Suzanne Somers thighmaster. Oh, does anyone remember that bad boy, I must confess, I did have one of those. And I used it religiously. It was quite the contraption. And you know, I do remember welding that like a weapon once. And, you know, like, I was like, go into town on it. And it’s it was it sprung loose from my amazing buys. And actually, it hit me in the head. These are my memories of high school. So I will actually, you can still get the thighmaster. So Suzanne Somers sells the thighmaster Gold, which I don’t know, it just means it’s been around for a while, I guess. But I will link in the show notes to the thighmaster gold. So because if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you do not know what you’re missing. You got to at least check it out and see what what the heck I’m talking about. But it’s pretty awesome. I have no idea if it’s effective. I mean, I still have thighs. I don’t know if they’re masters of anything. But you do have to be careful you use it because you could hit yourself in the head. But yeah, those were my memories of high school. None of us kind of escape the advertising dollars and all the marketing and the gadgets and the diets and the Oh, it’s just kind of crazy.

Dr. Melissa Smith 12:49
So the other thing that makes me crazy. This one This is really gotten my goat in recent years is the clean eating movement. We don’t hear cry. Maybe Maybe it’s just because I’m I’ve blocked myself from it. But I feel like maybe in the last year or so. We’re not hearing as much about it, I could be totally wrong about it. Maybe you’ll maybe you’ll tell me otherwise. But this concept of clean eating. So it first started popping up in the 90s in response to processed food. And you know, is the idea of eating food in its most natural state.

Dr. Melissa Smith 13:26
So then, of course as the Paleo movement took off, clean eating was really taken to an entirely new level, with a focus on eating as cavemen with little processing of foods, avoiding foods that come in containers and avoiding food additives. I don’t know about you, but eating like a caveman actually does not sound very enjoyable at all.

Dr. Melissa Smith 13:48
Like I think if we ask the caveman they would not want to eat like cavemen either. Okay, just saying. So the term is everywhere and is often tied to fitness, self control, and dare I say moral superiority by those hashtagging clean eating on social media. I mean, give me a break. I cannot stand it. So for example, Panera Bread, which I do really like Panera Bread is like, one of my favorite places. I don’t we don’t have one around here, but like when I’m traveling, I like to I like to go to Panera Bread, but they just so bugged me with this campaign, that I’m rethinking them. So of course Panera is a big chain of fast casual restaurants, that they have just they have a clean eating campaign. This was a couple years ago, so maybe maybe two, two and a half years ago. So I don’t know if they’re still doing I hope not. But they launched their clean eating campaign claiming that 100% is a quote, “100% of our food is 100% clean.” Yeah, give me a break and that they’ve achieved their goal of creating quote, “food without artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors, or colors from artificial sources.” close quote. So that’s where they get their clean from. They also have a list of quote, no, no list of ingredients, they won’t allow in their foods. Oh, how precious of them.

Dr. Melissa Smith 15:18
So, you know, this campaign is as ridiculous as it is pretentious. I just what I don’t, I mean, there’s a lot about it that I don’t like. So first of all, like, I just think like, there’s this moral superiority. There’s this kind of this shaming and potential judgment that comes along with it. And, and the big thing I really don’t like about it is virtue signaling. Like if you come here, you’re somehow better than others. And I just, I have no use for it. Absolutely no use and I think it, I think it’s, I think it can be really undermining. So anyway, clean eating is just the latest iteration of our collective neuroticism when it comes to food. So, you know, years ago, we rid ourselves of fat in food, along with flavor, right? So when we took fat out of food, we also took all the flavor out of food. And so then with that, started our binging on low fat foods, because hey, they’re low fat, so we can eat more of it. And we started binging on these low fat foods, because right psychologically, we thought, Oh, I can eat more. But also, because these because these low fat foods were low fat, we didn’t hit our satiation triggers, right? And we were searching for this flavor. And we weren’t finding it. And so we would over eat, to try and first try and get some flavor and try and get some satiation. So, boy that one backfired on us, that really backfired on us. And so we were binging on these low fat foods, right? And so we were doing this overshoot and gaining weight on these low fat foods. It’s just ridiculous. so ridiculous. And then of course, carbs were the enemy and sandwiches had to be eaten in dark closets, poor, poor sandwiches, what did they ever do to you? And then we’re still in an uproar about sugar shares. Heaven, we love sugar sugar’s, awesome. Nothing’s wrong with sugar. And then of course, we have irresponsible documentaries that present cherry picked data to scare viewers. And now we have to clean our food. Right? Like, seriously, clean eating doesn’t even mean anything. Right. It’s a fuzzy term that contributes to rigidity obsessiveness, eating disorders. And all it is, is virtue signaling. That’s all it is. And so, right, it’s a way that we can kind of feel better about ourselves. It’s, it’s just not helpful at all. So though, we are born with an innate intuitive sense of our needs, when it comes to food and eating and our bodies, most of us do not make it to adulthood with this secure relationship intact, right? I mean, I was hunting for Tupperware containers in my parents dirty underwear.

Dr. Melissa Smith 18:33
So I definitely didn’t make it to adulthood. Sadly, we relinquish the inherent trust of our bodies, for the insecurity of external messages about good and bad foods, clean eating the right way to eat. And, you know, it’s kind of made us crazy. So that’s kind of where we’re at, collectively. And now let’s, let’s kind of wrap our hands around the problem a little bit more. And there’s, there’s really two big problems here. As I see it, just kind of want to break it down into categories. And the first, the first problem as I see it, is this message that you can’t trust yourself when it comes to your body and to eating.

Dr. Melissa Smith 19:28
So, you know, while there is always emerging research in nutritional and medical sciences, that really help us better understand the marvel that is the human body. I mean, it’s so remarkable, amazing. Unfortunately, there are plenty of individuals and companies that misconstrue misinterpret and really, honestly massacre, research findings to support their beliefs and their products. And so, you know, we need to be discerning consumers, so marketing dollars and big social media followings provide a really loud megaphone for getting these mixed up messages out to us who, you know, we’re confused.

Dr. Melissa Smith 20:15
We’re confused about nutrition, and we’re self conscious about our bodies. And we are particularly vulnerable to the messages shouted at us. And the messages that are shouted at us are this, you can’t trust your body. That is essentially the message that is shouted at us. There are many variations of this message. But at its core, the message is one that serves to erode our sense of trust, and knowing in our own bodies, you know, as it relates to food and eating and how to nourish ourselves. And it’s so sad. It’s so undermining, because, right, like, as kiddos we, we know, as babies know, if you set any time around a baby, and feeding a baby, they know they have an innate sense, and it’s incredible to witness. So the message is incredibly effective, it works in creating confusion, doubt. And of course, that lack of trust. As we become more anxious, we adopt more rigid and controlling measures relative to eating and food. So eventually, this does become a self fulfilling prophecy in which if left unchecked, it really does lead us to not really knowing how to feed ourselves. So it’s really sad to see. So the second problem that I certainly want you to understand is that you are not alone. So if this process describes you, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Dr. Melissa Smith 21:53
As a culture, we are experiencing a collective neurosis around food and eating, as evidenced by the megabox dieting industry. And simultaneous obesity epidemic. This is no coincidence. So it’s no wonder we find ourselves asking what is normal when it comes to eating. So if the message being shouted at us is that we can’t trust ourselves, and that the answers are outside of ourselves, I would propose that the solution is found by returning to ourselves by learning to trust our our bodies again. And this can be a really radical thought, for many who cannot imagine letting go of control around eating. Obviously, this is easier said than done, because most of us have been raised on steady diets of crazy when it comes to food and, and eating. And even more, you know, diets offer the illusion of control.

Dr. Melissa Smith 22:59
So I just want to share an experience that I had years ago, I had a friend asked me what I recommended when it comes to overcoming the diet mentality. And so diet mentality is the term that I use when I talk about kind of this craziness around diet and, and exercise and this belief that we can’t feed ourselves and we can’t trust our bodies and our relationship with food. So anyway, she asked me about this, and I told her about intuitive eating and discuss briefly that one of its promises, is letting go of external control and instead learning to trust our bodies and our ability to feed ourselves. She walked away stunned. Several weeks later, after reading the book, she told me, I’m just not ready to let go of the control. It scares me too much. And you know, her experience is not unique. So she had been a lifelong director and she was just not prepared to let go of control the illusion of control that diets offer and begin to develop some trust with her body that was just too frightening for her. So while there is much to hate about the diet, mentality, right rigidity, deprivation, Misery, shall I go off, we must acknowledge that it does bring a sense of control. That control is fleeting, it does not work. It’s it’s, it is an illusion, but it brings a sense of control a sense of knowing a sense of if I can do this, then I’ll be okay. I’ll be worthy. I’ll be acceptable. Fill in the blank, right. I mean, the diet is all about the illusion, the promise it’s all about the promise. However, this is a mirage. And it disappears, the further we travel on that road.

Dr. Melissa Smith 25:03
So rather than leading to freedom and enlightenment, the path actually leads to obsession and fear that if we’re not perfectly controlled, we’ll blow everything and end up a big, fat failure with usually an emphasis on on fat because right that is, that is the dark side of the diet, if you don’t do everything we tell you, you’re going to end up fat, and there’s so much shaming around that so much shaming around that. So ultimately, this path leads to feeling anxious and out of control, which, of course, makes us more dependent on and desperate for the newest messages being shouted from the fitness gurus, right. So it really gets caught in a very vicious vicious cycle. But I’ve also had the opposite experience with friends, you know, including a friend who texted me after she began reading intuitive eating. So which is a great book I’ll talk a little bit more about. And she said, it made perfect sense that she had always wondered how some women could eat bread and peanut butter without self destructing, which was like so funny to me. And while she had been, you know, she has been working hard to reject the diet mentality for several years, she never felt like she had an alternative that made sense, and was sustainable. That was so cool. But what I told this friend is the same thing that I would say to you don’t look for one answer to solve all of your hang ups around food and eating. Right, because most of these issues developed over many years and are deeply entwined with our sense of self. Plus, you know, our bodies are complex, and we are each unique. So friend, this is what I am saying to you today.

Dr. Melissa Smith 26:51
There’s no one right way, there are no good and bad foods. And so be careful not to turn what I have to share with you into a commandment or a judgment. So you know, I do have some solutions that are focused on helping you reconnect with your body. And using intuitive eating as a gentle guide toward learning to trust your body that is based on sound principles, with good and growing research support. But you know, mostly intuitive eating is a rejection of the collective neurosis around eating. And that is definitely a good thing. Like anytime we move towards more balanced and more sanity, that in my book, that’s, that’s great news.

Dr. Melissa Smith 27:37
Okay. And just as a reminder, I have a great freebie for you associated with this podcast. So it is the balanced eating guide. And so I’m going to be talking with you about the hunger fullness guide. And the freebie includes a great hunger fullness guide for you as you work on really cultivating this trust with your body. So definitely head on over to the show notes at the end of the podcast and check out this great resource.

Dr. Melissa Smith 28:07
So let’s move into solution solution. One, cultivate trust with your body with intuitive eating as a gentle guide. So intuitive eating reminds us that we can know how to feed ourselves that we can learn to trust the cues we receive from our bodies and respond in kind, which usually, interestingly enough means learning to treat ourselves kindly. Funny how that works. I love that. So it’s also important to pay attention because I think there’s often a misunderstanding about intuitive eating. So intuitive eating does not equal unrestrained self indulgence, as that would not be taking good care of yourself. But it also doesn’t mean restrictive deprivation. So it includes learning to separate emotional hunger from physical hunger. It requires tuning into our bodies and our spirits in order to discover what within us needs to be fed. And that’s a really important skill related to awareness. So intuitive eating, I just want to talk about some of the benefits of intuitive eating because there are a lot and I think that that can be really helpful for people who are on the fence. But intuitive eating is associated with lower body mass index. So you know, those individuals who develop trust with their bodies and avoid yo yo dieting and restrictive intake to typically have a lower body mass index than those who repeatedly diet and adhere to rigid eating behaviors such as calorie counting, eliminating certain foods and strict rules about good and bad foods. Plus, it’s a way more enjoyable and flexible way to live. also improves cardiovascular functioning. So they’re they’re more heart healthy, improved weight maintenance. And or loss. So intuitive eating helps individuals get off the diet rollercoaster with repeated weight loss and regain. And that’s definitely a health risk behavior this, this up and down weight loss and weight gain that is definitely a risk factor when it comes to your help. And so you know, the roller coaster, the weight roller coaster leads to higher weights and metabolic adaptation, with the net result being higher weights on lower calories. And this is a really hard way to live. And so, intuitive eating helps to prevent this cycling. Also, there’s better emotional regulation. So intuitive eaters enjoy more emotional stability. So you also get off the emotional roller coaster. So who couldn’t use that when you don’t listen to your body, it makes you hangry. Like seriously people, rejecting your body’s cues requires a lot of emotional and physical energy, leaving you exhausted and less emotionally resilient. So intuitive eaters have learned that there are no good or bad foods and their choices about food are simply choices based on preferences, and body cues. So nothing more, and nothing less. So these choices are not indictments or judgments. And so it’s so awesome, because in this way, food loses its power to condemn guilt and shame. And so food is freed up to just be food, right? And so you have emotional and cognitive energy freed up for more important things, right to pursue what actually matters, rather than fretting over a Twinkie. Right? Well, who needs to do that?

Dr. Melissa Smith 31:48
Okay, intuitive eaters also have decreased body image discrepancy. So what this means is that they have more accurate perspective of their body, so they see their body more realistically. And they can challenge unrealistic expectations while listening to the cues of the body. So intuitive eating isn’t about eating perfectly, or about having a perfect body. But it is about recognizing and responding to your body and appreciating, you know, the remarkable gift that it is. so intuitive eaters have learned that no one wins when battling the body. And that making peace with the body means relinquishing control around food. So food wasn’t meant to be tightly controlled, and your body wasn’t meant to be tightly controlled. And that is a fundamental shift that most people need to experience in order to become an intuitive eater, but it is empowering, and it is really freeing. Okay, intuitive eaters also experienced greater pleasure and less anxiety with eating. So they trust their bodies and know that all food can be part of a balanced healthy diet. So when I say diet, here, I’m talking about like, everything. That’s part of what you eat, not like a restrictive weight loss diet. So this trust allows more freedom and less anxiety with eating, intuitive eaters enjoy dessert free of guilt and judgment, right? I mean, let’s sign up for that right there.

Dr. Melissa Smith 33:22
Intuitive eaters also have better psychological well being so they score higher on aspects of psychological well being so more balanced perspective and resilience than those with a rigid approach to eating. So the important thing also to recognize is that the benefits are widespread and lasting. So that’s the cool thing. And then I just want to put just one little addition here, as a clinician who also treats individuals with eating disorders. Sometimes people have argued that intuitive eating is unrealistic for those with a history of eating disorder. And that is actually not the case. intuitive eating has actually been found to be very helpful for those with a history of eating disorders. In fact, I’ve been part of research studies showing that intuitive eating is quite effective for those with eating disorders. So I do have some links to some of that research as well. So you can you can contact me my other life through balanced health and healing if you have interest in that but intuitive eating is helpful for all comers. So whether you’ve had a history of an eating disorder or not.

Dr. Melissa Smith 34:36
Okay, now, let’s talk about solution two; understand and honor hunger fullness. So have you ever heard of a hunger fullness scale? So if not, this can be a really useful tool as you begin to cultivate trust with your body. So balanced eating includes not only awareness of but also respect for hunger fullness cues, so balanced eaters learn to recognize the physical cues of satiety so right, like when you are full, then gently but consistently strive to respect those cues by picking up or putting down the fork in response to those fullness cues. And so this is where I have that great guide, balanced eating guide. And so I have that hunger fullness scale. And it’s, it’s a great skill to help you to really understand that scale better. So that you can start to recognize and tune into those cues for yourself. So I really hope that you will download this resource and use it because it can make a really big difference for you in terms of cultivating that trust. And then I also have this next component included on that balanced eating guide. And it is this triple A process that I want you to pay attention to when it comes to hunger and fullness. And so there’s, you know, three parts to this, they all start with a conveniently enough. So they are awareness, action, and then analysis. And so let’s start with awareness. So one of the most important aspects of building trust with your body is developing awareness of what is actually happening physically within your body relative to hunger and fullness. So right, the first step is to develop in the moment awareness of your hunger fullness cues, using this hunger fullness scale. So it provides you the guidance with decisions relative to eating so including, you know, whether to begin eating, whether to continue eating, whether to stop eating, or whether to change what you’re eating, right. So it can be really helpful for all of those decisions. The second step is action. So second is to act on the cues appropriately. So as you gauge your hunger fullness cues, you want to respond appropriately, based on the awareness you have from your body. So the guiding principle here is respect for your body. So sometimes you may want to push past your fullness limits, because what you’re eating tastes so good. But ultimately, you want to respect your body and treat yourself well. And right, sometimes you will make a conscious decision to eat past your fullness cues.

Dr. Melissa Smith 37:24
But make that a conscious decision. be intentional about it because it’s like you know what, this chocolate chip cookie is fresh from the oven. And I love it. And like I’m not gonna be able to have another chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven for quite a while. So I’m going to enjoy it and, and make that conscious decision and enjoy that cookie, guilt free. Right and trust your body that your body will know what to do with that cookie. And it’s not the end of the world and totally enjoy that. And we recognize that eating is not just about fueling the body. Right, that eating is so much bigger than that. Right? Eating is about connection, eating is about celebration, eating is sometimes about comfort, right? Like it’s not only about fueling the body, that’s such a small part of eating. But here’s the thing with awareness and with action, we want to be aware, we want to be conscious, we want to be intentional about those actions, and then we want to trust our body. Right? So that’s really the key. And then third, so the third a is analysis. So third, what feedback Do you notice after acting, so sometimes you may notice that you struck a good balance, and you’re satisfied and you move through, for example, the rest of your afternoon with energy and focus. So another time, maybe you notice that 30 minutes later, you’re hungry like you’re starving again, and your energy lags and the feedback that you’re receiving from your body is I need to eat more, or I should have had something more substantial. Or I needed to have something with more sustained energy to get me through the long afternoon. Or I need to find a snack right this minute. Or you know that dessert was too sweet. And it’s left me with a stomach ache. So this third step of analysis is really paying attention to the feedback from your body and integrating that information. So that you can really use that feedback loop to build this trust with your body because here’s the thing when it comes to trust With your body and needs to be a two way street, right? You’re building trust with your body, that it will take good care of you, as you listen to its cues. And your body is building trust with you that you will respond appropriately. Right? So when you feed it something, and it like, gets this horrible stomach ache, that you’re going to pay attention to that. And you’re going to say, Hmm, I need to kind of be a problem solver here and figure out was that like a one time thing, or is there something like in these deserts that like predictably upsets my stomach, and so just recognizing that trust is a two way street. And so we really want to do that third step of analysis, because that feedback loop is really important as you build that trust.

Dr. Melissa Smith 40:55
Okay, solution, three, recognize that food is also about connection. So I touched on this just a little bit. But balanced eating also recognizes that food is about more than just meeting nutritional needs. It’s about connection, celebration, and so much more balanced eaters do not deny themselves these opportunities for connection, and have an inherent trust with their bodies. that recognizes such eating is an important part of life. And balanced eaters understand that the body will know what to do with the food with no need to obsess. And that’s really the key.

Dr. Melissa Smith 41:29
So solution four; recognize the difference between emotional and physical needs. Balanced eaters recognize the difference between emotional and physical hunger, and find ways to meet emotional needs that don’t involve food. This recognition develops over time through understanding self recognizing those hunger, fullness cues, and developing self care strategies. Because if you are always meeting your emotional needs, through food, that’s going to be really problematic. And so I will link to my podcast on self care, that can be a really good resource for you in terms of helping you to meet your emotional needs, through coping skills and self care strategies.

Dr. Melissa Smith 42:15
So to help you on that front, solution, five, recognize that sane and balancing is actually very flexible. So balanced seating does not draw attention to itself, it’s flexible, it’s relaxed, there is there’s no anxiety around it. Instead, there’s trust, balanced, leaders don’t need to know every ingredient in a dish. They don’t, they don’t need to bring their own dishes to, you know, parties, they don’t need to obsess about what the food is doing in and to their bodies. It’s flexible, it’s nuanced. Flex, you know, balanced eaters are not not hard to be around, they’re not hard to eat around. That’s a key one.

Dr. Melissa Smith 42:59
Okay, solutions, six, that I just want to talk about some balanced eating basics. So, you know, three to four meals, six days, smaller meals, do what works best for you. Right, really do what works best for you. So you might want to play around with that a little bit. Prioritize, prioritize Whole Foods. So just be aware of how much of your food comes from packages, right. And I would just say just just have some gentle awareness of that. There’s nothing wrong with some of the processed foods. But like, if you notice, like all of your foods are coming from packages, that might just be something to pay attention to aim for five to seven servings of fruits and veggies per day, maybe one thing you could do is aim to increase the color on your plate, balance the macronutrients, so the fat protein and carbs that’s gonna really help ensure some of that balance and also that you’re that you’re sated at meals right that that those meals are satisfying and that they’ll get you through the afternoons and get you through the morning. That sort of thing. Don’t forget the micros, right? So your vitamins, all of that is really important to pay attention to and when you are getting your fruits and veggies when you’re increasing the color on your plate. Usually that will take care of your micros. So, you know, they all kind of go together these balanced eating basics. Then also aim for about 20 grams of fiber that’s also just going to help everything just kind of operate more smoothly. And fiber also has an impact just on gi health. So that’s also very beneficial. Drink plenty of water. Sometimes we can confuse hunger and dehydration. So just you know, I think it’s helpful to just carry a water bottle around and make sure you’re drinking plenty of water and And then I would just say be aware and potentially limit your other drinks. So they tend to have limited nutritional benefit. And they can really impact those hunger fullness cues. Now, there’s no need to be rigid about this. So I want to be really clear about that. But I would say prioritize getting all your water in. And then just be discerning with your other drinks. Because like I said, they they typically have limited nutritional benefit, and they can impact those hunger fullness cues. So especially if you’re really working on cultivating that hunger, fullness, awareness, and that building that trust with your body, having a lot of the, the drinks, the others in water are going to kind of undermine some of those efforts.

Dr. Melissa Smith 45:54
Solution seven, understand that balanced eating doesn’t mean perfect eating. So I know I’ve talked about this already, but it’s so important, I got to talk about it again. So balanced eating includes a recognition that eating is about sustenance and meeting nutritional needs. It’s about health and energy and vitality. Right, it knows that we eat in celebration as well as in condolence. It’s about nuance, not rigidity. Balanced eating knows the body is trustworthy, even as the diet mentality creates body betrayal. So balanced eating is forgiving, without requiring repentance. Balanced eating is healing, and it’s really the healing that our bodies and our souls have been hungry for.

Dr. Melissa Smith 46:41
And so I really hope that you will follow up on some of the solutions that I’ve provided for you. And that you will take the time to download the freebie. It’s the balanced eating guide, and it will, it will spell out that hunger fullness scale in detail plus the three part process the triple A process awareness, action and analysis to kind of help you dig in a little bit deeper with that building of trust with your body. So let me tell you how you can access that so make sure you head on over to my website to check out the show notes. With all the great resources for this episode, including the freebie also, I will link to the book intuitive eating. I will also link to Episode 20, which is the truth about self care.

Dr. Melissa Smith 47:32
I’ll link to the intuitive eating website. They have some good resources there. And also to the blog, intuitive eating works, which is a blog from our website where we talk a little bit more about intuitive eating. I will also link to Suzanne Somers website so you can get a look at the thighmaster gold. You got to check it out. So funny. Okay, and you know if you must get one, I guess, I don’t know. But anyway, check it out. Be careful if you get one you might injure your head. Just kidding you while I was a teenager, I was being silly. I’m sure I wasn’t using it correctly. But anyway, definitely head on over to the show notes. And you can access that at www.drmelissasmith.com/episode-38 one more time. That’s www.drmelissasmith.com/episode-38. You can access the podcast of course, on iTunes or Spotify. Wherever you find podcasts, you can give us a review that always helps people to find us. And also find me on Instagram, @dr.melissasmith. I’d love to hear your comments and connect with you there and hear what you would love to hear more about on the podcast. So thanks so much. I’m Dr. Melissa Smith. Remember love and work, work in love. That’s all there is. Until next time, take good care.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai