164: 3 Ways to Heal Your Relationship with Food this Year // Natalie Shay
For hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, January is the month of the new diet. I’m sure most of us have been there with a new year’s resolutions to cut out all sugar, do a Whole 30, or lose 20 lbs.
If you currently have a new year’s resolution like this, that’s okay...I don’t want this episode to shame you or make you feel like you’re doing something wrong...I just want to give you additional perspective on ways you can care for your body that seemingly have nothing to do with food--and yet have everything to do with food.
If you’ve listened to 3 in 30 from the beginning, you may know that I have a long history with eating disorders. It started for me when my mom was dying of cancer when I was in college, and I used harsh food restriction and excessive exercise to deal with my grief and try to find some control in my life. A few years later, when I was going through infertility, I started binge-eating, again trying to use food to numb my pain, but this time trying to shove it down through excess.
After we adopted my son Noah, my disordered eating patterns only worsened due to the stress of new motherhood, and I knew it was time for me to seek some professional help. That is when I first started seeing a counselor, and I have been utilizing counseling as a tool to support my mental health fairly consistently in the almost ten years since. That’s a lot of therapy, and it has done me a WORLD of good.
My relationship with food and my body is still occasionally a struggle for me, but overall, I am in a completely different place than I was before I started counseling-- with so many more tools for emotional resilience, so much more perspective on the value of my body beyond just what it looks like, and so much more self-assurance in who I am.
Today, I am thrilled to get to interview my favorite therapist I’ve ever worked with, Natalie Shay. Natalie is a registered psychotherapist in Canada who has also been trained in somatic work, mindfulness, and life coaching. She has specialized in working with binge eaters and emotional eaters for over 15 years and has supported thousands of people to heal their relationship with food and their bodies, including me! I have worked with Natalie for almost 5 years now, and I can’t wait to introduce her to you today!
3 ways to heal your relationship with food this year:
Prioritize self-care. Tap into your body and soul and ask, “What do you need?” A clue to what your soul needs might be how you feel before, during, and after an activity, so make sure you pause long enough to evaluate that.
Start connecting with your physical body. Many of us spend the majority of time in our heads, and we may not even realize it. When we find ourselves outside of our bodies, we can bring ourselves back by jumping up and down, squeezing a pillow, running or walking, taking a hot bath or shower, breathing in essential oils, etc.
Remember that food is not your enemy. Acknowledge the ways that food has supported you in times when you really needed it. Experiment with other coping skills that you might want to add to your emotional toolbox over time, without eliminating food altogether, so you have a nice variety in there.