Intuitive eating with Coach Tiffany Thoen RN. In this episode, we look at the dysfunctional relationship so many of us have with eating and how when we get sober, we often use food as a substitute for alcohol.
One thing that Chip and I realized after our own sobriety journey and working with a number of people in recovery is that underneath the drinking is a lot of difficult feelings and emotions. So when we stop drinking, those feelings and emotions will usually come out in their behavior with food. Which is why I’m happy to have Coach Tiffany Thoen on for this episode. She’s an intuitive eating coach and registered nurse and has had her own journey through drugs and alcohol, into sobriety and dealing with the obsession with food.
“It’s the obsession about what to eat that takes up so much energy and space in our heads.” – Veronica Valli
Tiffany has been sober for the past 21 years, but she didn’t start to face and recover from her attachment to eating until the last 3 years. In her early years, she abused drugs and alcohol daily, getting blackout drunk regularly until she finally went to rehab at 17. It wasn’t a smooth road since then, she had a bad relapse after she gave birth to her daughter, but got back on track and kept going. After becoming sober though, she switched her drug of choice to food. That led her into an extreme cycle of strict dieting, followed by heavy rebound eating, followed by the guilt and shame over her weight gain and around and around it went. Tiffany came to a point where she knew she needed help and found a therapist who introduced her to intuitive eating. It has allowed her to finally feel well and feel grounded in her body. Now she’s doing the same for others and for you in this episode.
“Intuitive eating is weight neutral, so we focus on health rather than weight.” Coach Tiffany Thoen
There are a lot of problems being masked by drinking
Drinking can sometimes be a symptom of a deeper problem we’re covering up. And once you’ve solved the drinking, usually those problems come back up and we have to deal with them if we want to stay sober. There could be issues in our childhood and traumas we’ve experienced that we need to release to finally be able to move on.
Practice intuitive eating
It’s not another diet. Diets fail because they create a negative and sometimes obsessive relationship with food. Should you be eating that? Are you eating too much or too little? Intuitive eating puts all of that away. It’s about self-love and health and not about what goes on on the scale. When Tiffany started it her weight fluctuated but she didn’t judge and wasn’t unkind to herself.
Go on your own food journey
For-profit companies are good at a lot of things. When your income and profits are on the line, usually, you’ll make good products that serve the long-term good of your customers. But they go wrong when they make recommendations that serve their own growth agenda and not yours. Those recommendations may favor diets that feed into your obsession with food, which goes horribly in the long run. Instead, explore programs and get the support that serves your wellbeing and no profits.
Divorce your value from how you look
This “beauty redefined” movement is already making waves, but its about women separating their bodies from the conversation about their value in society. It’s not body-positivity, it’s recognizing that everyone has equal value and it’s not determined by what we eat or how we look, but by who we are as human beings.
How will this food make me feel
Intuitive eating isn’t about labeling any food as being either good or bad. You’re making conscious decisions about food every day. You’re looking at the food you’re eating or want to eat and you’re asking yourself how will it make you feel. It might be kale or it might be chocolate, it doesn’t matter, you can have it but be aware of what it does to your body and if that’s something you’re okay with for the purpose of pleasure or health.
Intuitive eating for kids
Your job is to provide the meals, your kids’ job is to decide what to eat. When we force or bargain with our kids to eat what we want them to eat, when we want them to, and in however many quantities we deem best, we’re already conditioning them to have a negative and obsessive relationship with food. When we put the choice in their hands, if they’re hungry, they will eat – they won’t starve – and they’ll make the right choices because you’re providing the right options for them.
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