Most doctors enter the field of medicine because they want to "help people." No one tells you when you're a young, idealistic teenager who happens to do well in science and math courses that there are many ways to "help people" that don't involve spending 20+ years of your life in some kind of training. But I digress.
When I started medical school, I fit into the masses of idealistic bleeding hearts who wanted to give their all to every patient that walked through their doors. I also wanted all of my patients to lose weight.
I drank the proverbial kool-aid that seeps into every fabric of our being, and traditional medical training no exception, that obesity was an epidemic and that the cure to this public health crisis was to get everyone to lose weight. Spoiler alert: that's not the answer. But more on that later...
Never mind the fact that at this time in my own life, I was over-exercising, under-fueling, losing my hair, not...
You may have heard of "Health at Every Size," but not sure what it really means. Or you may still be struggling to accept that health doesn't equal the size of your body. I know many individuals who are thin or "normal" and are very unhealthy and I know larger individuals who are actually very healthy. What gives?
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Every summer, it's the same scene. The dads are in the pool with the kids, and the moms are huddled in the shade sweating their little tushies off. I'm sure you have seen a similar scene this past summer.
Why do we do that as women? We so badly want to just get in the pool and cool off, have some fun with the family, but we are terrified of what we look like in a swimsuit. So terrified in fact, that we would prefer back sweat to fun.
I get it. Taking your clothes off and exposing yourself in this way can be overwhelming, but friend, you have to rip off the Band-Aid and just swim. Swim because it feels good. Swim because every summer you really want to. Swim because you feel like the you in the corner is missing out.
As we head into fall, I want you to begin this work so that by the time next summer comes, you are ready to confidently tackle the summer and the pool, and the swimsuit regardless of what shape and size you are.
Need more encouragement? Listen...
In today's culture we often associate weight loss with mortality, but rarely do we shine a light on weight loss and morality. Morality, according to Webster is defined as "of or relating to principles of right or wrong behavior". For too long we as human beings have been fed the idea that the definition not only applies to our overall character, but to our food choices as well. Salads are "good" and chips are "bad".
The "diet police" are criticizing every move we make and we are therefore applying our weight and appearance to our inherent worth. Thin people are deemed as "good" and heavier people are, "bad". These self-righteous people who make you think that they are better human beings because they eat "clean" are just plain wrong. You are not a better person for eating a lot of vegetables and controlling your calories and you are not worse if you'd prefer a juicy burger with some boxed macaroni and cheese. Health is a decision we make just like anything else and just as I...
As women, we are so fearful of gaining weight. So often we associate our looks with our ability to first find love, and then stay in love after you get married. It's easier when we are single to achieve that idealistic standard of beauty, but add in a husband, kids, a dog, a house, and a full time job, our time during the day to work on our physical fitness or meal prep becomes almost impossible.
As a result of carrying babies, aging, and time constraints, our bodies physically change and the once dull voice that used to tell us that we need to lose weight is now screaming at is.
This loud mouth who lives in our head is destroying the relationship we have with food and our body, and as a result, we turn to diet culture to "fix" us. We shell out the money for the informercial we see on Sunday morning...we begrudgingly wake up in the wee hours of the morning to squeeze in that at home workout, and we forgo girls night out so that we can be sure to meticulously track our macros...
During a conversation with a patient the other day, we uncovered that she wasn't struggling with food per say, but recognized that she seemed to have an obsession with exercise. I've been hearing this a lot lately from a few of my patients and friends and so I wanted to bring the conversation here.
A lot of times, when we think of "eating disorders" we think of the more traditional ones like Anorexia and Bulimia. Exercise isn't something often discussed and the messaging behind the importance of daily exercise makes this specific type of disorder more difficult to notice.
In "Exercise Bulimia," an individual uses exercise as a way to "purge" or "pay" for ingested calories. Some of the signs of disordered exercise could be exercising when sick, feeling guilt when missing an exercise, not exercising in the "right" way (i.e. walking instead of running), and prioritizing exercise over social engagements, just to name a few.
This disorder is a sneaky one and can be easily...
Control manifests itself in so many ways, but can also show up in our behaviors around food and too often, they represent an area of our life where we feel out of control.
There are two common areas where people generally feel out of control.
Often times the control we place over food can be a clue as to where we lack control in our own lives.
Control the times of day that you eat? Perhaps you subconsciously are wanting control over your schedule.
Fast from foods? Perhaps you are wanting a break from something or someone who is causing you stress in your life.
Eat foods on a consistent...
There comes a time when you realize that you can't continue on the way you once did. You realize that calories, food, and exercise are ruining your life and you want off the high speed train to Nowheresville.
You mentally understand that this behavior isn't and hasn't ever served you and you are ready to change. You are ready to make peace with food. The mountain though that I think so many people struggle with isn't necessarily just the food piece, it's the body piece, and it can be quite a climb.
You know you have to make changes with your food, BUT there seems to be a piece to this that you are afraid of...weight gain.
It's scary, I get it... BUT there has to be a moment of realization where you are making peace with the idea that the outcome of this journey could lead to weight gain. There has to be that moment of realization and acceptance that there is a possibility that you were genetically predisposed for a larger body, and in order to heal, you MUST make peace with...
One of the biggest issues with distorted thinking is that you truly don't think there is anything wrong. Our thoughts tell us that we are the problem, and in those moments of despair, we tell ourselves that there is no "fix" to who we are at our core. We are just simply not enough.
I remember my very first "a-ha" moment.
I was listening to a podcast and I overheard one of the hosts say, "our thoughts lie to us".
In that moment, it was almost as if someone had used a defibrillator to restart my heart that had seemed to flatline months prior.
In an instant, I had felt hope. In an instant, I felt seen for the very first time, and it was as if they were reminding me that this version of myself was not who I truly was...that something really was wrong.
I wanted to share my story today, because I want you to know that I see you. I see the real you. I see you struggling. Sadness, anger, frustration...they are all normal feelings, but to feel those emotions day in...
If I had a dollar for every time a patient asked me to "fix them," I'd be a wealthy woman...or I'd at least have my student loans paid off. But really, jokes aside, this is a common misconception.
To be quite frank, the reason therapy can not "fix" you, is because real change is a mindset that YOU have to have. I can guide you there, but you have to first take accountability for your role in your life, and second you have to truly want to change.
When you place the power on someone or something outside of yourself, you will never transform on the inside. Sure, you may temporarily improve external or superficial things for a moment in time, but no real and lasting improvements will take place until you take responsibility.
I know firsthand how difficult it is to not harbor resentment, anger, or painful emotions toward others who have impacted your life. I'm not telling you to abandon these emotions. It's important to feel these feelings. In fact, without allowing yourself...