What I'm Consuming [Top Reads]

As I’ve shared before, I constantly have my nose in a book or my ears plugged into a podcast.

I especially have a big appetite for content regarding food and body liberation, like Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size.

Here are a few recent articles that really resonated with me (and many others!). Perhaps they will with you, too.

Smash the Wellness Industry
“The diet industry is a virus, and viruses are smart. It has survived all these decades by adapting, but it’s as dangerous as ever. In 2019, dieting presents itself as wellness and clean eating, duping modern feminists to participate under the guise of health.”

What Does Intuitive Eating Even Mean?
“If you find that you’re counting things, that’s not intuitive eating,” says [Evelyn Tribole, co-author of Intuitive Eating]. If there’s something called a cheat day, that’s not intuitive eating. If someone’s promising weight loss, that’s not intuitive eating.”

(To learn more about the basics of Intuitive Eating, head on over to here.)

What Happens When You Put a Kid on a Diet
This heartbreaking story is sadly one I’ve heard hundreds of times.

“If you are an adult putting kids on weight loss diets, restricting their eating, or telling them they can’t trust their body, you are an adult who is saying that the risk of a lifetime of struggle—a lifetime of self-hatred, a lifetime of disordered eating, a lifetime of not trusting oneself—is worth the possibility of a brief moment of thinness."

When Did "Fat" Become an Insult?
"For much of history...'excess body fat [was] a symbol of wealth and prosperity as the general population struggled with food shortages and famine, as we can see in Renaissance portraits celebrating full-figured women.”

I’ll be sharing more of my favorite content in the future, so stay tuned…

Do You Struggle with Nighttime Snacking?

Do you struggle with nighttime snacking?

If yes, you’re not alone. 

Many people find themselves rummaging through their fridge or cupboards an hour or two after dinner in search of something to nosh on.

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with eating at any time of day or night, it’s helpful to pause and check your intentions so you can ensure your needs are truly being met.

What Are You Really Hungry For?
We rarely snack at night because we’re physically hungry. If you are, by all means, eat whatever your body needs!

There are always exquisitely good reasons for eating. Although it may not seem like it, nighttime snacking is a way of taking care of ourselves. More often than not, we’re trying to nourish a psychological or emotional hunger.

Rather than chocolate, ice cream, cookies or chips (let’s face it, very few of us snack on an apple or carrots at 9 p.m.), here are some things we might really be hungry for:

  • Pleasure: Food, especially sweets, provides a quick hit of pleasure, something we crave when we don’t experience enough pleasure during our daytime hours (e.g., unfulfilling work).

  • Relief: Most of us move through our days pretty wound up. Eating offers a temporary respite from the stressors of our daily lives. Creamy foods, in particular, ease anxiety, which is one reason why ice cream is such a popular nighttime treat.

  • Grounding: Our busy lives can leave us feeling overextended and overwhelmed. The act of eating is very grounding; it's a way to center ourselves when we feel scattered.

  • Companionship: Although we’re more connected than ever before thanks to technology, many of us feel quite lonely. When loneliness creeps in at night, we can always rely on food to hang out with us and distract us from our uncomfortable feelings.

  • Energy: Because we operate in overdrive throughout our day, most of us are completely wiped out and depleted come nightfall. Food, especially sugar, is a fast and easy way to boost our energy.

  • Satisfaction: When we don’t get much satisfaction from our meals, perhaps because we’ve eliminated foods we enjoy, eat while multitasking, or rush through a meal, we will naturally seek more food later in an attempt to satisfy our taste buds.  

  • Me Time: Whether at work or home, many of us spend our days taking care of other people’s needs. Enjoying a nighttime snack, once everyone else is tucked in or logged off, is something special we do just for ourselves.

What Will Truly Meet Your Needs?
If you want to bring more mindfulness to your late-night noshing habits, understanding why you do what you do is the first step.

With compassion and curiosity, ask yourself:

What need am I trying to meet with this food?

Will this food truly meet this need?

If not, how might I better fulfill this need?

For example, say you reach for chocolate throughout the night because you’re pleasure deficient. How can you bring more pleasure into your life? Is it as small as reading a good book or taking a post-dinner walk with a pal or as big as changing careers? 

Or, perhaps you dive into a bag of chips because you feel overtaxed and burned out. How can you simplify your life? Can you hire a housecleaner, set work boundaries like not checking email after 6 p.m., or say “no” to others and opportunities more often? (Remember, saying “no” often means saying “yes” to yourself.)

Maybe you’ve identified that you’re seeking an energy boost, something to alleviate your depleted state. If this is the case, you’ll likely benefit more from hitting the hay than raiding the cookie jar.

Deprivation Backlash
If your day includes depriving yourself of what you really want to eat (e.g., ordering a light salad instead of a hearty sandwich) and/or restricting the amount and type of food you eat (e.g., counting calories, cutting carbs), your urge to snack all night is not due to a lack of willpower or discipline.

It’s a compensatory reaction; your body’s natural response to physical and psychological deprivation. The more you ignore your body’s needs and desires, the bigger the backlash and binge.

When you allow yourself to eat what and however much you want throughout your day, you’ll likely feel less compelled to snack the night away.

Please Keep in Mind…
It’s perfectly okay to eat when you’re not hungry, including for emotional reasons. Sometimes, a bowl of ice cream is exactly what you need.

What I Do When I'm Not Digging My Body...

Even though I’ve been on my body acceptance journey for many years now, I still have days when I’m not digging the skin I’m in.

In the past, a challenging body day would easily turn into weeks, if not months. Like a dark cloud, it would loom over me contaminating my every action and interaction.

I’d hide from the world. Push away my boyfriend. And go into fix-it mode—that is, create a plan for changing my body.

Naturally, my plans backfired. They weren’t sustainable or pleasurable. They did more harm than good.

My Most Powerful Tool
These days, I have an extensive tool kit for navigating a challenging body day with greater ease, from doubling down on self-care, body kindness and gratitude, to repeating a supportive mantra, like “this too shall pass,” “I am enough” or “every ounce of me is sacred.”

One of my most powerful tools is remembering that I came into this world loving my body and that I was taught, without my consent, to see it as flawed (and fixable) by our pervasive diet culture.

As writer and activist Lindy West says:

“Fight to remember that you are living inside of a cruel, toxic system, and when you hate yourself for gaining five pounds it’s because a billion-dollar industry conditioned you to feel that way for profit.”

Reclaiming My Power
When negative feelings toward my body creep in, I remind myself that I can reclaim my power by understanding that my body is neutral and the only reason I feel bad about it is because I have been brainwashed to do so from a very young age.

I no longer blame myself for failing to shrink myself. Instead, I blame the systems of oppression that want me to believe my body is a problem to solve.

I now give the middle finger to our insidious diet culture that relentlessly tries to convince me that if I just played my cards right, I’d finally have a flat stomach, cellulite-free thighs and a small, perky butt—and thus finally be worthy, acceptable, happy and healthy.

I no longer stand for this oppressive BS.

I see clearly now that it’s our weight-stigmatizing culture that needs to change, not my body!

And that every single ounce of me is—and always will be—sacred.