Let’s Talk About Sugar, Diets and Early Sobriety
The topic of sugar comes up all the time with women who are trying to stop drinking because they’re fearful of replacing an overconsumption of alcohol with food.
Common advice in early sobriety is to let go of your ‘food rules’, go ahead and eat the Peanut M&Ms, have dessert and don’t get too hungry.
But a lot of women resist this advice.
Instead they try to combine their efforts to stop drinking with a new eating program or diet, only to find in a few weeks that they’ve gone back to drinking and are starting the whole process again.
Dieting in early sobriety can sabotage your efforts to stop drinking.
- Hunger is a huge trigger to drink.
- Alcohol has a lot of sugar in it, so you’re going to crave sugar. You don’t want those sugar cravings to lead you back to drinking.
- You need to change your established ‘cue, craving, response + reward’ habit loop (where drinking is your primary reward). It’s OK (and often helpful) to have some of your new rewards be food.
There are also other reasons to stay away from dieting and I’ve got the perfect guest to talk about it all.
Ingrid Michelsen Miller is a Diet Recovery and Weight-Neutral Life Coach who helps women find freedom from binging and weight-cycling.
Ingrid was one of the first friends I met in early sobriety and we quit drinking just 60 days apart.
Over the last 5 years we’ve navigated life without alcohol together (and the day this episode goes live, April 15th, 2021, is Ingrid’s 5 Year Soberversary!)
In this episode, Ingrid and I dig into:
- Diet Culture: what it is, how it was created and what it does to us
- The disordered relationship many women have with food, dieting and their bodies
- Why it’s common to fear gaining weight if you stop restricting food when you’re quitting drinking
- Why you should let go of food rules in early sobriety
- The reason that trying to make our bodies smaller is counterproductive
- Health At Every Size, medical weight stigma, and the total liberation that comes from living outside of Diet (and Drinking) Culture
About Ingrid Michelsen Miller
Ingrid got sober five years ago and – as happens with lots of us – she discovered that sobriety was really just the beginning.
In early sobriety Ingrid was very quickly forced to confront her disordered relationship with food, dieting and her body, and the fact that she was being told to “eat anything she wants, just don’t drink” didn’t help matters at all. But, she did what she was told and ate her way through early sobriety, all the time planning to diet again as soon as she felt solidly sober. But something changed in her after eating-all-the-foods to stay sober– she was no longer binging.
She had unintentionally trained her body that no foods were off limits, so she no longer had crazy cravings, nor was eating certain foods delivering the ‘high’ she once felt when she went off her diet.
Ingrid argues that we can’t be “addicted” to foods, and that the true addiction is to the dieting cycle (restriction gives us the illusion of control, and inevitably leads to the ‘high’ of eating the restricted foods).
Resources mentioned in the episode:
The first Hello Someday Podcast Episode with Ingrid: How to Find Friends In Sobriety
Isabel Foxen Duke Presents Stop Fighting Food
Connect with Ingrid Michelsen Miller
Find out more information about Ingrid and the work she does, head over to https://takeupspace.coach
Have questions for Ingrid, contact her at [email protected]
Follow Ingrid on Instagram @takeupspace.coach
Sign up for Ingrid’s FREE workshop where she will be sharing everything she knows (and learned the hard way) about the science and experience of managing your relationship to food (sugar, in particular) in early sobriety.
Thursday, April 29, 2021 5:00 PM 5:45 PM
Sugar, Diets and Early Sobriety – Free Workshop: https://takeupspace.coach/workshops
Want more support, resources and tools to help you go alcohol-free?
You can Drink Less + Live More today with The Sobriety Starter Kit.
It’s the private, on-demand coaching course you need to break out of the drinking cycle – without white-knuckling it or hating the process.
Connect with Casey
Find out more about Casey and her coaching programs, head over to her website, www.hellosomedaycoaching.com
Take a screenshot of your favorite episode, post it on your Instagram and tag me @caseymdavidson and tell me your biggest takeaway!
READ THE TRANSCRIPT OF THIS PODCAST INTERVIEW
Sugar, Diets and Early Sobriety With Ingrid Michelsen Miller
drinking, eat, diet, people, sobriety, weight, body, setpoint, sugar, food, alcohol, feel, fucking, Pomeranian, sober, fat, life, English muffins, day, restrict, how women feel physically, being a big motivator for why women want to stop drinking, healthier, get better sleep, do workouts, encourage, sober treats, early sobriety, work, reprogram, automatic, cue, craving, response, reward structure, fears, connection, headspace, meaning of life, what you’re going to do with the rest of your life, wonderful realizations, quit drinking, Booze Free Brigade (BFB), wise sober women, real stigma attached to being fat in the world, spectrum, mental space, physical energy, perspective, deal with, compassion for people
SPEAKERS: Casey McGuire Davidson + Ingrid Michelsen Miller
Welcome to the Hello Someday Podcast, the podcast for busy women who are ready to drink less and live more. I’m Casey McGuire Davidson, ex-red wine girl turned life coach helping women create lives they love without alcohol. But it wasn’t that long ago that I was anxious, overwhelmed, and drinking a bottle of wine and night to unwind. I thought that wine was the glue, holding my life together, helping me cope with my kids, my stressful job and my busy life. I didn’t realize that my love affair with drinking was making me more anxious and less able to manage my responsibilities.
In this podcast, my goal is to teach you the tried and true secrets of creating and living a life you don’t want to escape from.
Each week, I’ll bring you tools, lessons and conversations to help you drink less and live more. I’ll teach you how to navigate our drinking obsessed culture without a bus, how to sit with your emotions, when you’re lonely or angry, frustrated or overwhelmed, how to self soothe without a drink, and how to turn the decision to stop drinking from your worst case scenario to the best decision of your life.
I am so glad you’re here. Now let’s get started.
Hi there, I am really excited to have this conversation today because it’s an important one about sugar, diets and early sobriety, as well as a whole lot more. I wanted to have this conversation because this topic is one that comes up all the time with women who are trying to stop drinking, both in the context of having how they feel physically, being a big motivator for why they want to stop drinking, either they want to lose weight or be healthier, get better sleep or do their workouts. And it also comes up as we really encourage sober treats in early sobriety to rework and reprogram your automatic cue craving response reward structure. And women have a lot of fears around replacing alcohol with sugar as a treat in early sobriety. And, of course, so retreats don’t have to be food. And they don’t have to be sugar. But there is a lot of sugar and alcohol. And there is a connection in allowing you to let go of that really harmful substance by replacing some of those cravings with sugar. So, another thing that happens is that a lot of women have also tried to combine drinking with some kind of a weight loss diet or something like whole 30 that eliminates alcohol as part of the program. And that’s something I know I recommend against and a lot of other coaches do. Because it can really sabotage your efforts in early sobriety. You feel a lot of deprivation, and you’re generally feeling unhappy and you can’t tell whether it’s because you’ve cut out everything you love to eat or because you cut out drinking.
So, I brought on the perfect person to give us all a lot of food for thought on this topic, and likely ideas that you may not have considered in the past. My guest today is Ingrid Michaelson Miller. She’s a diet recovery and a weight neutral life coach. And she’s also my sober bestie Ingrid and I met five years ago when we were both in very early sobriety. On one of those secret not drinking Facebook groups are sober dates are actually only 60 days apart, which is insane. After five years we have been together on you know, our first three months in our first six months in our year anniversary, and job ups and downs and marriage stuff and everything fucking in between. and on the day. This episode is airing, April 15. Ingrid is actually hitting her five-year sobriety date, which is amazing. So Ingrid, welcome to the podcast and I should say welcome to the podcast again. Because if you go back to my sixth episode, Ingrid was one of my first guests. We talked about being lonely in sobriety and how to find friends. And that is if you go to Hello someday coaching.com forward slash six. You can hear a whole nother hour of Ingrid and I chatting on all things, finding friends and having fun in sobriety. So welcome.
Thank you. Thank you. I love that intro. Thank you. I know it was a really long one, but not we have a lot of history. We do. We do and I’m so grateful for that. Me too.
Casey McGuire Davidson 04:57
We’ve talked about many times. How It’s possible and neither one of us could have kept going during the ups and downs of this whole not drinking process because it challenges so much more than physical sobriety. It’s about identity and coping mechanisms and worldview and fears of the future and memories of the past and all that shit. Everything well as identity in terms of your body and weight and everything you’re going to talk about today.
Yes, well, it’s funny, because I heard once and it was on the unruffled podcast Actually, I heard once someone referred to getting sober as the midlife solution. And I do think there are a lot of women probably men too, who when they quit drinking, their headspace is so cleared up, right, you get to that point where you’re no longer white, white knuckling for lack of a better term, right? Struggling, and you have all this room and space to think about the meaning of life to think about what you’re going to do with the rest of your life. And you suddenly have these wonderful realizations about what matters to you, and what you know, what you want on your gravestone for lack of a better term. I, on the other hand, got sober and had all this headspace and realized I have a second whispering voice in my head, you know. So there was that whisper stop, you know, you really shouldn’t be drinking, you’re wasting your life, right? So I quit drinking. And then this other whisper, which was really more of a roar was like you have spent your whole life trying to change your body, trying to make it smaller, and you’ve gone up and down, and you’ve been successful and unsuccessful. You’ve noticed because you’re not ridiculously observant, that it never permanently stayed where you wanted it to be, or where I wanted it to be. I noticed that. And that cycle, which, by the way, at 40, whatever I was 42 was already getting kind of exhausted of its power cycle since I was like, what, like 16, maybe even 13. And it’s exhausting.
It is exhausting. And I was getting less good at it instead of better after all that practice, right? Like the cycles are getting shorter, I was feeling worse and worse, I was gaining more weight at the end of every cycle. And I was just fed up, right, but it was still filling my head. So when I got sober in those early days, I was still very steeped in diet culture, the desire to become thinner, the desire to prevent getting fatter, I think that was my biggest fear because I started eating all the things in sobriety. And I heard someone, a bunch of people on the BFB, which we’ve talked about before, which is a private secret Facebook group, all these wise sober women saying eat all the things, do whatever you need to do, just don’t drink, right. And to me that rang as empty, for lack of a better term, it couldn’t seem.
Yeah, it was empty. It was kind of like, oh, you can say that, because you’re a thin bodied person. Like, you can’t say that to me, you don’t get it. That’s actually just true, right? Like you have real stigma attached to being fat in the world, right or bigger body, depending on you. There’s a huge spectrum of being different sizes. So they didn’t get it in my mind. And therefore they were basically saying, it doesn’t matter. But what they meant was it doesn’t matter. In my in my head, I translated it as it doesn’t matter. Don’t worry about it, because you’ll still be in the range of, you know, attractive, you know, or normal, right? Like you can’t gain too much weight or whatever. Eventually you’ll go back to your original weight, right? That’s another thing that people promised your two, don’t worry about it just eat all the things. And I panicked. I was like, this is Bs, like, I can’t just let go. Because if I let go, there is no telling where I’ll stop. Yeah, I will eat my I will eat until I die of eating. I don’t know if that’s a thing is, I know it’s not at the time letting go of the reins, the reins were so tight, that letting go of them was terrifying.
Casey McGuire Davidson 09:05
Well, and that’s part of the issue, right? In early sobriety. We’re like, you know, I talked to women about it. I know people told me in early sobriety as well, like, what you’ve been doing up until now hasn’t been working in terms of, I’m going to stop drinking, but I’m not going to eat the sober treats. I’m going to stop drinking, but I’m not going to do this suggestion. So why not try something different? Because this thing, this drinking thing, for those of us who have a problem is truly bringing us to a low place physically, mentally, emotionally. And like, you know, let’s put out the burning fire first. And then you actually have the mental space and the physical energy and, you know, the perspective to deal with other stuff, right? Mm hmm.
Yes, and What’s important to understand is that well, first of all, let’s have compassion for people who are freaked out about gaining weight. Because the world truly does treat fatter people differently than people. And there are studies that are done in one study, I think it was 5% 8%, something around there of people would rather lose a limb than be fat. And 30% would rather be alcoholic than be fat. Wow. And I’ll we can put the link to the study in your show notes. Because it’s, it’s real. So this is a real blocker for people in getting sober. Because while we think we get rid of all those calories, when we quit drinking, in fact, for some reason, and again, I don’t think we have real research on this. By the way, I’ve asked a few people experts in this field, we don’t really know why it doesn’t just automatically translate to weight loss. It’s not just because we’re eating sugar. It just doesn’t, right. It’s not an immediate and I’ve heard like drinking just fucks up your metabolism and your body, you’ve been ingesting toxins. So who knows you’re not sleeping? Well, that is absolutely the number one like metabolism killer. If you’re not sleeping well. Like, there goes your metabolism, like there’s so many factors to how your body functions optimally.
The other factor is that and this is something that again, I’ll put a link, or I’ll send you the link for this. There’s a TED talk about why diets don’t work. And one of the things to understand about bodies, and this is something that diet culture would have you not believe so bear with me for a second. But our bodies operate like a thermostat. So we have a what’s called a weight setpoint range. And it’s between they think between 10 and 20 pounds for every single human being. And it’s genetically pre-determined. The only way to change it there, there are a number of ways to permanently change your wet weight setpoint range. One is illness. And the other is mobility changes, right? Like you lose a limb. You can’t move anymore. Another is aging, right? We all know that our bodies change as we age. And then the third is dieting. And the way dieting permanently changes your body weight setpoint range is upward. Because every time you restrict below your wet weight setpoint range, which by the way, a lot of women are in the diet binge cycle, right, but it’s within their setpoint range. So they still have a lot of belief around the effectiveness of it because they can maintain 10 pounds lighter for you know, multiple years, right, or 20 pounds lighter. It’s when you go out of that range. That it’s unsustainable, like scientifically unsustainable. And that’s what we’re learning about it. So, point being your body is a thermostat. And it’s going to do everything it can to keep you at your current weight, or whatever your weight setpoint is, actually because I have no idea where your weight is right now. So it’s been a fight to keep you steady. So you’re drinking a ton of wine, tons of calories, doesn’t matter, you’re still not going to go above your setpoint range. Right? You’re gonna maybe hit the ceiling of your setpoint range, but calories in calories out is just factually wrong. Our bodies don’t process calories that way. It processes calories to maintain your weight not to adjust up and down based on how much you’re consuming. So in fact, you know, when I was going through this, I’m terrified moment in my early sobriety days eating all the things and I ate more food than you can even imagine. I don’t want to get into specifics, but it was like I really let go of the reins. I was like Alright, fine, right. I got all mad. And then I did it. And I was eating a pint of ice cream every day. And I’ll just keep going right? It was all the food, carbs. I mean, suddenly I was having English muffins for breakfast. I hadn’t touched bread in years, and I had English muffins in the house.
In years, all I had tried to avoid bread. Let’s put it that way. Of course I had slipped up, but I really was a no carb gal, right? That was my whole thing. All right. So I have English muffins in the house. I have pasta for dinner. I have sandwiches for lunch. And that is normal to me. I’m like, sandwiches for lunch and pasta for dinner. For me, that was radical. Oh my gosh. And this just tells you how I was no matter what my body size was before getting sober. I was below my setpoint because I was restricting carbs like crazy. And I was still whatever body type I was, but I was below my setpoint so the minute I took the lid off, my body’s like yeah, we’ll go back to your setpoint range, whatever it is, doesn’t matter if it’s pretty great. Like it’s just gonna get there. So, there I was unrestricted. And I ate and ate and ate and ate and ate and ate and ate and I gained 10, maybe 20 pounds in that process. And then it just stopped it leveled out. And I continued to eat meat, meat, meat, so there’s an upper limit to your range. And there’s a bottom limit to your range. Most of us spend our time intentionally trying to get below our range. But in reality, if you like actually did an experiment to try to get above your setpoint range, it would be equally difficult.
Casey McGuire Davidson 15:28
If you’re listening to this episode and have been trying to take a break from drinking, but keep starting and stopping and starting again, I want to invite you to take a look at my on demand coaching course, The Sobriety Starter Kit. The Sobriety Starter Kit is an online self study, sober coaching course that will help you quit drinking and build a life you love without alcohol without white knuckling it or hating the process. The course includes the exact step-by-step coaching framework I work through with my private coaching clients, but at a much more affordable price than one-on-one coaching. And The Sobriety Starter Kit is ready, waiting and available to support you anytime you need it, when it fits into your schedule. You don’t need to work your life around group meetings or classes at a specific day or time. This course is not a 30 day challenge, or a one day at a time approach. Instead, it’s a step-by-step formula for changing your relationship with alcohol. The course will help you turn the decision to stop drinking from your worst case scenario to the best decision of your life. You will sleep better and have more energy, you’ll look better and feel better, you’ll have more patience and less anxiety. And with my approach you won’t feel deprived or isolated in the process. So if you’re interested in learning more about all the details, please go to www.sobrietystarterkit.com. You can start at any time and I would love to see you in the course.
And you said that your setpoint range can go up right as you get older or as you Yeah, diet and restrict or if you don’t move, right, correct.
Yes. So those are ways to like permanently to increase. Now the TED talk that I’m gonna link to the why diets don’t work says it’s very sad thing that we all have to grieve, I think, in the process of recovering from diet culture and diet cycling, which is this idea that there is absolutely no scientifically known way to reduce your weight below your setpoint range.
Casey McGuire Davidson 18:04
And I have always we’ve been friends for five years, good, good friends had lots of conversations. And I have to say that talking to you, has sort of set me on this emotional journey, right? Where I’ve been like, No, I don’t want to believe that because believing that means giving up. And I am not at you know, the goal weight that I you know, want to be at or whatever it is. And of course that goal weight, by the way is like I’ve gained and lost 30 pounds, probably five or six times in my life, right? probably didn’t, you know, gain 30 pounds but gained a bunch of weight in in high school and then lost it and then gained weight in my early 20s when I lived on my own and was working and then lost it and then gained weight before my wedding and then like dropped 35 pounds for my wedding and then gained weight with each kid and lost it. And also I lost weight and early sobriety I was also doing all the workouts and all the things though in my mind my you know, ideal setpoint weight or the weight I want to be is of course when I was 27 years old and lost all the weight before my wedding and I’m 45 and so you know of like, when you were telling me this I was like, okay, intellectually I believe it because it fucking makes sense. Right? But no, if I do a, I’m giving up, right? I’m giving up and you know, giving up on being that weight again. And that’s what I see in the magazines and that’s what I think is right and you know it takes up so much headspace so I have to say that, you know, I admitted before we had this call that I’m not totally there yet. Like I’m still in the matrix in being like yes, yes, yes. Oh wait and no Like, I don’t want this to be true, and there’s so much more there, but I’m just in case you’re listening to this and you’re like, Fuck no. That’s okay. Right? Like, that’s okay. That’s what we’re wrapping our head around.
Yeah, absolutely. And you know, the fuck no. coming from someone who’s in a larger body is going to be a much scarier fuck no than from someone coming from a thinner body, right? Because the world I’ll say it again and again, weight stigma is real. Nobody wants to be fat. Right. And the stigma around fatness would be extremely different. If absolutely everybody understood the thermostat concept. If nobody believed that it was your own fault, your own damn fault for eating too much that you know if your body size was understood to be the same thing as hair color and eye color and nose shape and yours, right? It really everybody believed that nobody would be as afraid of being fat, there might still be beauty standards that we can achieve. But it wouldn’t be quite the same chain that we feel right? Because people literally believe everybody, including myself prior to all of this work, that it’s my own damn fault.
Casey McGuire Davidson 21:23
If only I had to feel bad if only right, what and right. I listened to something that actually made sense to me. And I’m, you know, I admitted to you before that, I might say things that you cringe at because they’re not. Right. And I want you to call me out on it. But I was listening to and I think it was a you know, talking body podcast, but it was around you know, it was it was Health at Every Size. And there was a there was a speaker on, and she was basically like you’ve been brainwashed. We all have. And there is this standard of what is the body that you should have that we’ve all bought into since we were 11 years old and watching our moms. And it is like if you think about dogs not that from Harry Met Sally, someone is supposed to be a dog in this scenario, but it is like there is you know, the ideal body, right? The fitness instructor on Instagram is a Pomeranian you’re gonna cringe and I say this and that we have all been told that like Pomeranians are the ideal dog type. And if we all just eat this eating plan and do these workouts or whatever, we too can be a Pomeranian and like maybe you’re a great day maybe you’re you know a pug maybe you’re a golden retriever. I kind of like to think of myself as longer. Like that’s a great metaphor and like you’re never you’re a golden retriever. That’s awesome. You’re never fucking done to be a Pomeranian and yet we’re all like, No, no, you know, they tell you if you just eat this, and if you just have enough discipline, and if you just, you know, work out enough, you too will be a Pomeranian Great Dane.
Well, and can you imagine? Imagine you have a Great Dane. And you starve it to make it a Pomeranian? Yikes. I how cruel. Right? Yeah, but we do that to ourselves for our entire lives. It’s true.
We’re not educated when the Great Dane sincere in his tells himself, he’s a piece of shit every goddamn way. 40 years because he’s not a Pomeranian, right? Like, what is wrong with me? I’m such an ugly jock.
Yeah. And so let’s briefly transition into the quest, the question of health, because I think that’s what comes up in everyone’s mind. They think of either themselves or someone else who has who has a much larger body. And they have diabetes, like there’s this correlation in our minds and in our cultural understanding of diabetes, type two, sorry, to be clear, or other conditions. And they, they think, Oh, it’s all their fault, right, which we have just established. It is not part one, part two, they’ve created diabetes by having a body of that size, which also is not scientifically proven. In fact, it is purely correlated, meaning you could catch diabetes or get diabetes and it could make you gain weight. That could be a cause of the weight gain. We don’t know it may not be that waken Causes Diabetes, right. So that’s just one example of misconceptions around fatness and health. But I think the biggest misconception is that you can’t be healthy and be fat, like really fat, medium, fat, you know, average fat?
Well, because they show you like the fat gathering around and around your line.
I know. But in fact, if you look at statistics now, I’ll share this chart with you Casey. And if you want you can put it on the shelf or share a link to it or something like that. But if you Look at health outcomes. And you have a group of people in different weight ranges. So like underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese etc. in the category of doing nothing else, right? So the people in this group smoke they drink, they don’t exercise, let’s just use those as examples, then you have some differences in lifespan, like the really large people might have shorter lives than the really small people. When you move into removing those other life habits, so let’s say you have another group at the end of a chart, right, that it’s hard to visualize this, but I’ll try to explain it. If they exercise, don’t smoke and don’t drink. There’s almost no difference in health outcomes.
Casey McGuire Davidson 25:49
One part of that makes sense to me, right? Because like, exercise, don’t smoke, don’t drink like you’re not, you know, causing cancer, your brain, your body, the heart disease part of it, that intellectually makes sense to me.
Right? So fatness itself is not a disease, right? It’s not a disease state. So it’s something that we kind of assume is true, that they must have high blood pressure, they must have Bay, I say in air quotes, we must have, you know, all these problems associated with it, we probably have knee pain, back pain, blah, blah, blah. In fact, if you pursue average amounts of physical fitness, and don’t smoke and don’t drink, there’s actually no difference. And counterpoint to this is that it’s actually and this is a social justice point. It’s none of our freakin business, whether someone’s healthy or not. And it’s not my job to tell someone they need to change their body, or change how they eat or change how they move or smoke or drink, to make, you know, to make myself happy, right? Like I it’s none of my business. So it’s a concept called health ism, where like, people are like policing other people for their choices, and like, I actually have every right to not pursue health. But with all that said, it is possible to be healthy, and fat. Now, the issue of whether people think you’re attractive or not, I can’t change that. A lot of that is informed by like, I could go on forever. But, you know, body ideals have their roots in racism, and slave trade. It’s fascinating. And I could go on for two hours about that. Feel free to go research that Google.
Casey McGuire Davidson 27:36
And I feel like that just Well, I’m sure it’s been known and discussed for years and years, but I feel like I’ve only heard about that more and more in the last year. Like I completely see that now. But it’s something that is only now coming into my consciousness and whether that’s only because I finally like, stopped drinking and looking around and coaching and learning more, but I buy into that. But can you recommend a book that that you think is good on that topic?
I love the book fearing the black body. And I’m blanking on the name of the author right now. So I can pull that up, but it relates so
Casey McGuire Davidson 28:18
the idea is that what is attractive is a construct and we can see that right throughout we know that like yeah, obviously like, you know, Marilyn Monroe was seen as very, very attractive than she is, you know, very attractive or was and other women as well, much further back than that throughout history. But then, at some point it went to Kate Moss right, who was just like, significantly underweight would you say? But I mean, just tiny.
I mean, that’s the beauty of the Pomeranian golden retriever metaphor. She was a what a Pomeranian Yeah, I’m, I’m guessing she probably died at lunch. But like, I’m sure she was also born to various Yes, like Bobby type, right? Like, there’s no, there’s no judgment. I love the fins and the fats. And actually, speaking of no judgement, I think this is really important. Because a lot of people hear this stuff, right? Like, diet culture is trapping you. It’s a prison and our bodies are designed to be whatever they’re going to be, and you need to just love yourself and accept yourself and, and the healthiest way to be is somewhere in your setpoint. Right, because your body optimally works to maintain that. So if you fight it, you’re actually hurting your metabolism, you’re actually hurting your, your emotional life, too, right? You’re wasting all this time and energy. All of that said that’s a quick little summary of what we’ve just talked about. We can all understand that intellectually, but the emotional element the emotional attachment, we have to hope for a better Her body, a different body, a smaller body. That’s a dream we’ve held since we were whatever age that we started having that dream. And that dream is so tied up in worth, ability to attract a partner. I mean, either fundamental human needs, right? These are huge.
So this, letting go, that just doesn’t happen. It doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t just intellectually get out of this stuff. Yeah. Yeah. So it’s, it’s a hugely emotional journey. And there’s a ton of grief to work through. And if you’re in a smaller body, it’s a different path than if you’re in a bigger body. If you’re in a smaller body, it’s an internal journey, right? You’re not getting feedback from the world that you’re giving up that you’re costing the healthcare system huge amounts of money that you’re ruining they’re experiencing on an airplane because you’re taking up too much room, right? Like, you’re not experiencing those horrific stigmatizing events in your life. You have your internal journey, which is legit, but it’s different, right? And then if you’re in a larger body, and you’re experiencing actual out in the world stigma it’s a social justice journey to well in part of me to like the grief, I think is real. And like I said, I’m not 100% there, like I’m still in the still in the matrix to some extent, like I’m definitely working and learning and I feel like it’s helpful, but it but it’s still, you know, I’m intellectually fighting against what you’re saying, because I don’t necessarily want it to be true. But in addition to that, like now I’m fucking mad at myself for like dieting and messing up my setpoint. Right, like, God dammit, you’re telling me I made a go up like now? I’m just my younger self, too. Well, I knew probably could very quickly transition to being pissed at the world.
Oh, yeah. Telling you the wrong information. Yeah.
Yeah, we do better when we know better, I guess, theoretically. But yeah, I was super angry. So you know, the stages of grief. Anger, right. Number one? Yes. super angry, angry. I feel like it’s not dissimilar to quitting drinking, right? No, all Harrison weights in our head that whispers to us that drinking is a good idea. And it’s been internalized, since you were a child watching adult strength, right, the whole concept of adult beverages and the whole marketing system about like drinking is required. And that, you know, even the medical studies about like, red wine is good for you. That is totally fucking untrue. Because people who don’t drink in those studies had a reason they didn’t drink, right, whether it was medical, or they used to drink a lot. And so the baseline of the idea that people who drink some moderately are healthier than those who don’t drink at all is factually untrue. And you know, that medical research has finally admitted that 50 6080 years later, and you know, you’ve internalized this voice, that drinking is a good idea, and you actually think it’s your own. But in reality, it’s been brainwashing. And it’s the, you know, all the things. So, it’s, you know, I know that when I quit drinking, when a lot of women quit drinking, they go to, you know, pretty quickly after they get out of the thing, they get angry at like, you guys fucked me up in this. Yeah. brainwashed everyone, and you’ve told me that this thing that is a super addictive and making me ill, and increasing my anxiety, depression, you told me it was helping me, you know, so I wonder if it’s a similar process.
Oh, in it, it’s, it’s very similar. And living in the world once your eyes have been opened? It’s identical. Yeah, you can see that other people are still in the matrix, right? Yeah. And you’re trying to operate within norms that are just the opposite of what you believe now? Well,
Casey McGuire Davidson 34:15
it’s the same idea that recovery ruins you for drinking. I mean, I’m in that process of like, knowing this information is like ruining me for dieting. I’m like fighting against it. You know what I mean? It’s Yeah, it’s like, Dude, this is fucking confusing. Like, you’re telling me something that is very different than what I’ve been led to believe and internalize my whole life and you feel like that voice when you know, full disclosure, you look at yourself in the mirror and you’re like, what the fuck Get your shit together? Why can’t you just lose this weight that and get back to where you were at 27 you know, after two children at the age of 45 You know what’s wrong with you get some discipline again, you think it’s your own voice. And it’s actually the internalized beauty standards that surround you 24 seven that are telling you something that is not true. But you think it’s your own, you know, inner critic, you don’t realize it’s your inner critic voice that’s not actually your own.
Well, there’s even like the added parallel to drinking here with the marketing machine. Oh, yeah, people profit. If you look at the “obesity epidemic” chart, right? Like where weights, generalized weights in the world went up in the last 40 years. That is true, which I think is fascinating. But we don’t know why. We really know there’s a whole coal industry around studying why people are getting fatter. Why the average size is now for women is 14,16. Right? Like, why is that and you know, they say sedentary lifestyle.
Casey McGuire Davidson 36:01
The food chain, you know, processed food, eat processed food, the fact that fast food is cheap. Access to like, or the switch to the fake sugar or whatever it’s called. Yeah, you know what I mean, that liquid sugar cane, it’s not that it’s something it’s not real sugar.
It’s the fake sugar anyway, I can’t believe I’m forgetting that. Forgive me. Maybe you can splice in.
Casey McGuire Davidson 36:23
No, no. I know exactly what you’re talking about. I’ve heard all this stuff. Yeah.
And there, there are a lot of theories, none of which have been proven to be singularly responsible. And they probably are. It’s probably a mix of all those things. But alongside all of that stuff, we have the diet, industry growth, and die of industry profit growth. And one of the most interesting things I heard with this business call, it was like the CFO of Weight Watchers was talking about how proud he was that people on Weight Watchers statistically now are showing that they’re maintaining past two years I think it’s their mark. Maybe it’s one right like nobody studies past one year, by the way if they’re in the diet industry, because it’s so bad, but they’re maintaining a five-pound weight loss. And yeah, proudly announced how successful that is. I was gonna say that’s pretty pathetic. Because as someone who has done Weight Watchers, nobody joins Weight Watchers to lose five pounds. No, buddy, but that’s what they’re proud of.
Casey McGuire Davidson 37:35
That they maintain five pounds under them within a weight in microwave, I mean, all these different points, but I’m like, Yeah, but inherently isn’t eating spinach healthier for you than eating a big now McDonald’s. It’s got to be right. Sure. Yeah. What’s the question? Well, aren’t you gonna be healthier if you eat lots of spinach and therefore isn’t it good that you’re beating yourself up to eat all the spinach and not all the shit? Okay, interesting. I’m gonna separate the beating yourself up. When you choose village over, I’m just kidding.
Yet again, back to healthism. Like, you. There is nothing wrong with pursuing health. What I what I try to help people to get to in my coaching biz, is a place where it’s totally weight neutral. So you have this, you see your food choices. And you know, the first step is to learn to unrestricted because any form of restriction is the root cause the seed for bingeing. So emotional restriction, actual food restriction, those two things, mental restriction, whatever word you want to use. Those are the things that actually breed bingeing. Because your body physiologically freaks out. It’s like, Oh, she’s not having sugar this week. I better kick into high gear, like the cravings for sugar. And I, by the way, I’m going to slow my metabolism down. Because I don’t want to lose weight, I wanted to stay where she is. So that’s the body’s reaction. So that’s why we binge when we restrict, right? That’s, that’s where emotional eating concerns, in fact that I actually emotional eating can be two very different things like and we most commonly call it emotional eating when we’re eating without being quote unquote, hungry. But there’s, there’s a form of emotional eating that is incredibly healing and wonderful, right? You’re eating with a best friend. And it’s just a social, juicy experience that the food enhances, and maybe you’re not starving or hungry. But you know, but you’re sharing a pint of ice cream with a friend and it’s so satisfying, emotionally, that that’s like what I would call real emotional eating. Right? Or really lonely and sad and a bag of chips really makes you feel better. Just the mindless, you know, whatever. When most people talk about it, they’re saying, like, I’m just eating, and I’m not hungry. And typically, that’s rooted. And I am, you know, I haven’t allowed myself to eat full meals through the day. So I’m actually hungry, I don’t notice it. And then I just shove whatever’s in front of me in my space, right? Like, and, and the chamber around that is what causes the next restriction round. Right? Like, oh, shit, I had a whole bag of chips, that was just way more than I should have. So tomorrow, I’ll like skip breakfast, or I’ll have the healthy breakfast instead of the unhealthy breakfast. And then later that next day, or a week later, like that’s planted the seed and again, in your body that it reacts to, and it you know, you will mindlessly eat again, because it it’s trying to correct for the restriction. That’s all it’s doing. It’s neutral. It’s not like trying to make you ugly. It’s not trying to make you know what I mean? It’s literally just the body is so hard wired to keep you where you are spaces.
Casey McGuire Davidson 41:01
So what happens when you stop doing that?
It’s really interesting. So I’ll sort of dip into my story, because it’s a weird one. So I did it, I did with the wiser silver people told me to do and I just completely unrestricted my eating. As I mentioned, I ate a lot of food. And but I was planning in my head six months in, I’m gonna allow myself to diet again. Right? So you know, in advance, like, I’ll go back to normal in six months, once my sobriety is settled, I think is a really common plan. Yeah, like a lot of women are like, Sure, sure. I’ll let go of the reins for now. But I’m going to set a plan for this date, when sugar is off the table, because it’s toxic and addictive. And I don’t want to transfer my addiction, or I’m going to get my waiting under control. Or I’m gonna Yeah, yeah, exactly. Um, so I made that plan, just like kind of everybody else. And then I’ve said this a few times a story, but I got a really big fight with my husband is about three or four months into sobriety. And I was so freaked out by this fight. And I went downtown to the studio apartment, which you are familiar with Casey. And it was it was between renters, so it was empty. And I went to the city target, and I picked up like binge food, because I wasn’t gonna drink and I wasn’t gonna do anything else. And I needed some kind of soothing, right, I needed some way of making my visit, like when you’re dreading like you’re eating at someone like your… Yeah, your hands.
Yes. Cuz, you know, lots of people drink at someone exactly like that. And I had historically been a diet or like, severe restriction, and then these crazy binges, right, which would make me feel high. Like it was that compulsion, right, like, so that that little dopamine cycle. So that’s what I was looking for. I was looking for the high of that escape, and just, you know, eat, eat, eat, eat until, like, I felt better. I mean, obviously, I knew I wouldn’t feel physically good at the end of all of that, but like, I wanted to feel emotionally, somehow taken care of. So I bought all this food, brought it back to this studio apartment. And about halfway through, like one thing that I bought, and I was full, and I was bored. And I was like, Jesus, this isn’t working. Like this is really, really annoying. Like I can’t more and that I can tell you in absolute 100% honesty had never happened to me before. Like when I was in that kind of heightened emotional state, food was always my go to. And it always worked at least to a degree, right? It would at least like tasted, but I was just sitting there like, this is nothing. This is not helping me; this is a void. And I was so mad about it, because I was like, this was my last, you know, remaining. self-destructive tool, right. And I was kind of annoyed. But I was also like, I was curious about it. And as you know, I was already struggling with all of this stuff. I was trying to figure out like, should I be dieting? Should I not be dying? Okay, they already heard about Health at Every Size. I’ve already heard about the anti-diet movement. I’d already like intellectually, just like where you are, you’re saying you are I don’t want to assume where you are. But like I had intellectually gotten this stuff. But I wasn’t ready to commit to it and dive in. But that moment, is when the light bulb went off. And I was like, oh my gosh, I’ve been eating so much that my body physiologically has adjusted to this new normal, where I’m not restricting anymore. And it’s no longer getting that dopamine high that compulsive high from eating because it’s all legalized, it’s all approved of right like less of the forbidden fruit like exactly, exactly, and it was gone. Like gone. Now, have I been able to sort of re engage with those old habits periodically in this process? Absolutely. Because it’s not like I erased my history of dieting and body shame. But that moment was like very big for me because I hadn’t really believed that there was a world in which my body would literally Tell me stop. And not like stop because your full not stop because your overfall, which is my usual, right, it was literally just, like, move on, try something else. Let’s go get a massage. Like it was. It was so interesting. And so all the theory started to pull together into my experience of it. This unrestricted thing, this constant on restricting had kind of without my brain changing, really had changed my body’s level of trust in me. Does that make sense?
And yeah, I gained weight. As I said, it was like, I don’t remember how much but I mean, you’ve known me all this time, I’m still wearing the exact same clothes I was wearing. Yeah, I never noticed. You know, like, hardly I just be clear, I wasn’t even weighing myself. So I’m just guessing, right, based on how tight my pants felt or whatever. But I have completely undone like, my, my rules around food. And my body has just settled, it’s just settled. And of course, I eat differently now, now that like, there’s not this desire to lose weight. Like, I choose the spinach. When a like, I want something a little lighter, right on my palate, or something crunchy, like usually Actually, I do romaine. I don’t like spinach that much. But like, I want something crunchy or watery. Because I’m like, somehow wanting something with water or I want fiber because I’m backed up or whatever. Right? Like, I’ll eat q1 instead of rice sometimes because it’s got more fiber, like, but literally, to, like, functionally change things in my digestive system not or because I’m in the mood for it.
Casey McGuire Davidson 47:11
Yeah, I was gonna say I have a green smoothie every morning, but like with the like chocolate protein powder, and I actually like fucking love it. Like, if you love it, you love it. That’s awesome. Yeah, but I never used to have it. Like, you know, I that was not my breakfast. And so my question is, because all my, I’m just gonna ask the questions, and you can tell me I’m wrong. Because, you know, that’s part of it. I’m sure anyone listening has the same as, wait, but what about this? So what happens? Awesome, go Isn’t it like drinking where you like, crave what you consume? So when you eat a bunch of you know, crap. Haha, that’s fast food. I mean, isn’t a isn’t some food inherently less healthy for you than others? Like anti? You know, isn’t McDonald’s crap for you? And isn’t it addictive to and doesn’t it make you want to eat more of it? And all those questions that are going off in my head? Like because with drink? Yeah, you know, the idea of like, one is too much it lights up your brain and all of it is not enough like to me that that hit Yeah, to like, if you just avoid it, it’s easier. So tell me why.
Yeah, okay. Well, this was like the golden nugget. This is what your question is literally why I’m coaching. Okay. Because what I learned is that food, food is physiologically incredibly different than toxic substances like alcohol and drugs.
Casey McGuire Davidson 48:50
And yes, but we need to talk about this on the like, yeah sobriety podcast, right? Cuz this is something that like, we all buy into, and we’re like, yeah, I quit drinking. But fuck, I don’t want to replace that addictive habit with this new addictive habit that is, quote, unquote, equally damaging. And by the way, that comes with the negative societal response, as opposed to drinkie which often is encouraged by society, right? So it’s that sure, I mean, there’s a lot of shit there.
Yeah, there’s a lot of shit there. Okay? So there’s a lot to unpack. I’m going to try to think of how to where to start but our bodies are born requiring food, and eventually what you know, with very natural strong drives. The first is food. And eventually we get sex, right? And then, uh, you know, whatever, as we get older. These are the fundamental things that survival depends on. We are not born, our brain is not born, craving or requiring drugs or alcohol. Right? When you consume alcohol, it’s just us more That’s my favorite. Or was when you consume alcohol, you actually change your brain. It actually deforms your brains process and kind of breaks your dopamine system. Like you know how when you’re recovering early from early sobriety and you feel depressed, and then you have the pink cloud and then you’re depressed all the time or that numb feeling, I think is a better description.
Casey McGuire Davidson 50:26
You fucked up your whole joy pleasure systems by like, your dopamine off the charts with this substance that then leads you into withdrawal. Like, yeah, anyone who’s interested, there is a ton of research around this, but like, basically alcohol and drugs completely fuck up your ability to feel joy at any norm. Yes, stimulus.
Yes. And physiological addiction is in part defined by needing more and more to feel normal slash high, right, like high at first, and then eventually to just feel normal and blah, blah, blah, because you’ve actually actively damaged your dopamine system, your pleasure reward system. That’s alcohol and drugs. You’re born wanting food and food is designed, including sugar is designed to light up that reward system. Right? You remember that whole study that like sugar is the same as heroin, or cocaine or whatever. That’s actually just for the record. anyone listening out there have been debunked a million times. Like I could send you all the links of the metal like the red wines. Got your heart kind of thing?
Yeah. So they actually start the goddamn rats, and then said, Oh, look, they like the sugar more than the heroin.
Casey McGuire Davidson 51:41
Because they’re starving. Oh, yeah, they’re hungry. Okay. So let’s just put that aside, because I’ll happily disprove that offline with everybody who’s interested, right. But sugar is not actually as addictive as heroin. It doesn’t have a physiological withdrawal. It doesn’t have you know, it’s not it’s okay. So I mentally buy into that, like, I’m
Casey McGuire Davidson 51:59
like, yeah, it’s not. Okay. I’m sure other people, but I’m like, Yeah, that makes intellectual sense to me that heroin is more addictive than Yes, yes.
So we are hard wired, I can’t say this enough to enjoy food, it lights up our dopamine and our reward system, because if we didn’t, we would starve to death and die, and our species would go away. Right, just like sex, you know, lights up the reward system, because we need to reproduce to survive as a species, these are incredibly fundamental drives. This is not artificially lighting up our dopamine reward system, right? This is like fundamental. So when you remove alcohol, after actively messing up the system, if you’re continuously sober, your brain starts to heal. And it gets easier and easier and easier, because you’re abstaining from a toxic substance, foreign substance, right, that was messing you up, right, so your body actually has the equipment to heal, and it can actually get better and go back to normal pitch, right like. And that’s a beautiful thing. And so we learn in quitting drinking that absolute abstinence from some substance allows your body and your brain to heal, then it becomes easier and easier and easier to live without it right over time, with food. And that includes artificial crap like McDonald’s food and sugar, right? Because these are just calories, it’s just energy. It’s what your body is designed to want. If you restrict it, and if you abstain from it, there is this incredibly complicated process that kicks in in your body to slow your metabolism down to make you crave that thing to like to stop you from restricting or abstaining. So if you think of diet diets are like a rubber band, that you’re just pulling and pulling and pulling and pulling and pulling and pulling, until eventually your body which is hardwired to do this, it’s going to say Nope, and you snap. Whereas abstinence from alcohol is hard at first, but it gets easier and easier and easier because it’s a foreign substance that you’re getting rid of. It’s completely different physiologically. So what I like to think of dieting is like holding your breath. Or that’s really interesting to me, or, or a staring contest. The longer you do it. Your body’s gonna be like, Nope, I need their I need some liquid on my eyes, right like that is dieting. abstinence from alcohol is just the opposite.
Casey McGuire Davidson 54:43
The same they are fundamentally different. So do what you can to debunk learn. Put it out of your mind that like quitting drinking is similar to removing poop that make you gain weight, quote unquote, right?
So I’m going to caveat very carefully. If I bet you There are hundreds of people listening to this, who say to themselves, okay, but sugar makes me break out, it ruins my sleep, I it’s toxic in so many ways, I’m just not going to list all of them. It has nothing to do with controlling my weight. I abstain from processed sugars, because they make me feel bad, they give me a headache, right? If that’s if you fully examined that, and that’s really true, it’s weight neutral. For heaven’s sake, don’t eat sugar, I don’t care, right like to eat sugar, you do not have to eat McDonald’s, right? Like you do not have to eat anything you don’t want to eat. And if you want to pursue health above all else, I’m there a lot better, more expert people in the world who can help you do that, right, like nutritionally balanced meals, etc. These are all things that are totally personal choice. We’re all adults here, you can do whatever you want. What I’m suggesting is that if you’re abstaining from sugar, because you feel crazy around it, if you eat it compulsively, the odds are, it’s because you’ve restricted it in the past. And if you loosen those restrictions, you won’t eat it compulsively anymore. And then you can make a weight neutral decision, how much sugar you want to have in your life, it can be none, it can be lots, it can be somewhere in between. But until you disentangle it from intentional weight loss, and management of your body, which is out of your control anyway. Then, you know, then you can’t make those adult choices about whether you want to eat it. So again, like if you think sugar is toxic, awesome, but you do not have to eat it.
Casey McGuire Davidson 56:51
So why does everyone say that you are going to crave sugar in early sobriety and that you should not deny yourself sugar in early sobriety.
So, there are a lot of theories around this. I bet you know even more than I do. Frankly, because you’re a Sober Coach. But my understanding is that our dopamine system is super damaged from alcohol. And when you eat sugar, you kind of you, you’re allowing yourself to be mentally vaguely stable through the early sobriety process, because you’re in this kind of dopamine withdrawal state until you heal that system, sugar the great, quick way to kind of stabilize that. And not have you feel horrible. Because you don’t want to go back to drinking. Yeah, right.
Yeah, because alcohol does have a ton of sugar in it.
Mm hmm. And then you’re, you know, one of the reasons and it’s, it’s probably very different. Like I said, I’m new did to the work that you do is one of the reasons that we don’t recommend, and why so many of us have probably tried to do whole 30 and tried to quit drinking and been like, Oh, this is gonna be fucking fantastic. I’m going to not only kick this addictive habit that I’m been worried about for years, but I’m also going to lose a shitload of weight, right? And then break down is because, you know, getting rid of alcohol is incredibly hard. And the first two weeks especially, and then day, 16 to 18 is incredibly hard. And it requires a singular focus. And if you try to do everything at once, a lot of times, we’re just like, No, no, I’m just eliminating all this food and going on a diet and you don’t actually even examine the emotional, you know, the reasons that you drink the reasons that you want to reward the reasons that, you know, you’re angry, hurt, upset, bored, you know, and you do really need to bubble up. And so, you know, I always say like, early sobriety shouldn’t feel like deprivation, it really shouldn’t. It should feel like you’re actually taking care of yourself, what your body needs, what your mind needs, with your emotions need for the very first time, often as an adult, since you quit drinking, you’re no longer like knocking yourself unconscious with wine. So like, for God’s sakes, don’t, you know, get rid of the alcohol, and then also not address your emotional, mental habitual needs in any other way. Because you’re just, you’re just setting yourself up for failure.
Yeah, yeah. And I have a little theory about it. Which is that a lot of us women go through restriction cycles. Right, we’ve all dieted. Maybe not everybody. My apologies. They’re like unicorns out there. God.
Yeah. And sort of, you know, my story of my binge that didn’t work out, right? With my husband. In the beginning that eating was so soothing, it really helped, it really helped to just give myself permission to have the ice cream or to have the dark chocolate or to have the whatever it was the whatever I needed to eat. And I think the reason it was so effective, and so soothing, was because I’ve had years of dieting behind me, it’s like that wonderful, like, I’ve been let out of jail. And this food tastes better than it’s ever tasted, because I’m allowing it for the first time. And, and it’s really, really powerful. And then as you’re sober for longer, and you know, you’re given yourself permission to eat for longer, the power of that food soothing tool kind of dissipates.
Casey McGuire Davidson 1:00:50
But you have to have faith that that that’s the case, you know what I mean? You have to trust it in the same way. You have to trust people that quitting drinking is better. And that’s hard, too hard to do. The other thing I would say is, and I saw this in myself, and I see it a lot in women I work with like you said, I mean, I can’t believe you hadn’t even an English muffin in years. That to me, is amazing. And honestly kind of weird. I’m, you know, like, I’m often sorry. You know, we all believe there’s this good food and this bad. I’m like, English muffins are bad.
I had a banana for years, either. Oh, you’re kidding me. But the other thing is like the idea of, we save all our calories for alcohol, which I did for forever, right? Like, I used to go out to dinner and never ordered dessert I’ve been if I literally would say out loud, oh, I saved my calories for red wine, right? Or I would order import or dessert which is all I want to do is keep the keep the buzz going and keep drinking. I wasn’t ready to be done. You know, I had a client It was like, oh my god, I had Brie. I haven’t had Brie. And I’m like, or like they’re like, Oh, I don’t let myself have sugar. And I’m like, Yeah, but we’re drinking a bottle of wine at night. Like How’s that? How’s that working out for you? You know what I mean? So yeah, one of the great things about quitting drinking is you do get to be like, Oh my god, there is this universe of amazing tasting things and pleasures in the world that I have, you know, had such like, you know, tunnel vision and blinders on that I never like oh my god, you haven’t had Bri in a decade. Brees, fucking amazing, you know, like, that’s Yeah, that’s a goddamn shame. You know, like, that kind of thing?
Yes. Yes, it is. And it’s this incredible opportunity to explore again, from the beginning from scratch, you know, what do I love what I love to eat? What makes me feel good, what, you know, idea of like, you know, if wine if whatever your drink of choice is, is your only reward or your favorite reward, or your reward intrigued that accompanies everything else you do in life. Like live music, or sitting by a campfire, or singing or whatever it is, right? If alcohol is your constant companion, and eventually becomes the focus, right? You don’t know whether you’d like it because of the alcohol, or you like it, because it’s actually just fucking fun, even without the alcohol. Like that shows a shocking lack of creativity. And I say that without judgment, that’s where I was. That’s where I was, yeah, 20 years, right? Like, but, but you’re like, oh my God, I’ve been so focused on this one thing, to the exclusion of doing anything that didn’t involve it. In my free time in the evenings. You know, that kind of thing.
I used to be so proud of myself if I skipped dinner and just had two bottles of wine.
I mean, I’m not joking. I used to have to do but like, No, I mean, I say that and I’m like, yep, did that too. I don’t think I was proud of myself for skipping dinner because I didn’t do that. Apparently, I wasn’t quite as immersed as you were, but I’m sure I was like 95% there like, I never gave up bagels or English muffins or bananas. But I would, you know, I used to I did Weight Watchers and I would literally log it. I can’t believe I wrote this down and showed it to a fucking trainer because she was like, what, what? But I would be like, you know, egg white omelet for breakfast, like, you know, salad for lunch, salmon and asparagus for dinner, six glasses of wine. And like, I took this long to her on the regular and she would before I was fully aware of that I had a drinking problem and kind of was like, oh shit, I shouldn’t tell people that that’s what I drink. But she’d be like, What? What do you like? Maybe cut out the wine. Or, you know, I go back to two glasses. And I was just like, uh, but I was like, No, no, like, I’m in my points, like I, you know, glass wines, two points, like, what the fuck? I just had six of them. That’s, you know. So like, I hear what you’re saying like skipping dinner and drinking two bottles of wine. Like, I like to be like, Oh, no, I didn’t do that yet. I was having the smallest number of food calories I could possibly, like, get away with and half of my calorie intake was how… Again, calories in, calories out. We got to ditch that whole concept.
Yeah. But in terms of the topic, I wanted to ask you two things I we talked briefly before we got on about movement. I am working. I had hurt my back in January, I am working out again for the first time it feels so good. I’m happier. I’m you know, and we talked about trying to how tie that is into triggering your own thoughts about like, okay, okay, and I’m going to lose weight and XYZ, and diet culture. And so it even in the motivation for it. So I want to talk about that. And then I want to ask you at the end, like, what’s the end goal of diet recovery? So I want to make sure we have time to like to cover those Gorski? Yeah. So first, let’s talk about movement, because you said that was coming for you, too.
Mm hmm. Yeah, and this was before we got on the call. So I am, I’ve been in active diet recovery, which is a term that’s not really well known. But the idea is that I’m just trying to adopt a health and every five stances, be weight neutral about my food, no longer restrict my food, etc., right, and come to some peace and acceptance about my body and invest in my well-being from a weight neutral lens. So five years of that now, if I started this, right when I quit drinking, which is a whole other story, but I have actively avoided pursuing physical fitness for this whole time. And the reason for that is every time I dip my toe into it, like trying to get back into jogging, or going on power walks, or whatever the hell right yoga even, right? I automatically it’s just this so ingrained, I automatically go into this, if I do this every day, my body will change in the following ways. Or I get like, you know, oh, no, I, you know, I shouldn’t eat this because I didn’t do my yoga thing this morning. Or I didn’t go for my walk, right? Like that sort of equating, like, my worthiness? My, I’m allowed to have food if I do this, right. Yeah. All those diet, diet culture, fitness related connections, like give the neuron a shot. And then if you want to lose weight, you got to eat under 1400 calories or burn you earn your calories. Yes.
Yep. And movement has always been a punishment. For me, it’s always been at, like, if you eat this, you have to do this. Right. And it’s so sad that started really young. Even though after doing all these things, I always feel better, right? Even though I have that intellectual understanding of how this is really good. I just, I’m more I’m more tired, and I sleep better or whatever, right? So I’m, I’m moving into my own process of integrating intuitive movement into my life. And intuitive movement is just joyful movement. Stopping when I’m tired, blah, blah, blah, right? Like, you can sort of guess what it means. And then just working through the emotional triggers, just like I did when I was giving up dieting, right, and you just step by step, you sort of try to notice the trigger, counteract it with a different thought. And just practice that over and over, right? Like, it’s just like anything with alcohol, quitting, it’s the same idea. You notice the thought, you see it, as you know, a little bit more neutral, because if you’ve noticed that it’s farther away from you, right? Like you have that observational gap. That’s really important. It’s like meditation, right? I’m getting distracted by this, blah, blah, blah, blah, I won’t notice it, and then it’ll become less distracting, right? So that’s the work. But I’m extremely excited about going through this, like actively working on this because it I know it’s gonna be transformative for me, it’s gonna be a very big deal. And it’s just, I’ve been waiting to feel 100% comfortable in the food part. Before really tackling this one.
Casey McGuire Davidson 1:09:36
I noticed that too, because, you know, I actually had done this early morning, you know, you know, I work out with a bunch of moms in this really great group. And I used to do it Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 530. And then Saturday and Sunday. Like I actually really liked it and it was a huge part of me, making friends when I moved from Seattle to the east side and feeling connected with people and they’re all like just smart women who happen to be moms and so you know, but we meet with no kids. And so we actually talk more about, like, our careers and our lives and our emotions and our interests than I do with most other people. You know what I mean? Where you’re just saying, how are the kids like, we’re like, we see each other every day, I don’t give a shit about your kid. I mean, you know, like, if they’re, let’s talk about or if you’re super proud of them, but you know, we’re most of a, we’re talking about other stuff. And so I had been doing that, you know, while dieting, not dieting and losing weight, gaining weight, but that that was consistent, right. And it was a big part of my sobriety, like getting up at 530. And actually not doing burpees with a bottle of wine in my belly. That was that was big. That was like, what is good about not drinking well, doing burpees hung over just fuck it. Right, but I was doing them. So when I was doing them without being hungover, I was like, this is amazing, you know? And so, with COVID, that stopped, right? And, um, you know, yes, we were supposed to do zoom workouts, maybe some people did them, I didn’t like them. I’m motivated by other people, I work harder with other people, like even getting in my car driving to where the workout was, helped me get up, like getting up and working out. It’s hard. But like, after getting there, this is all to say that I didn’t do it basically, for eight months. Then we went back October to December, we had one session in person before Washington locked down again. And we went back to zoom. And then when we went back to zoom, my mother showed up for two and a half months, and I hurt my back. So I didn’t do it again. Well, basically, a week ago, I went back to the outdoor workouts, and oh my god, my life, my optimism, my energy, my just feeling of being a happy person has already come back. And I think it’s all of it. Right? So like separating the diet, culture, the food, the weight from like, not tying that to exercise, which is, at least for me, does really improve my mood. And when I’m with a girl, it’s not like Oh, shit, I’m not fast enough. I just like these.
You know? Yeah. Yeah, I mean, the more I read about the science around exercise, and sleep, those are the two things that I’ve been kind of accidentally binge reading books about. Because Emily and Amelia and the Gorski wrote that book burnout, which has a whole section brand new book whole section about completing the stress cycle. And the number one best easiest way to complete the stress cycle is exercise. And she Emily Nagurski also wrote a book called Come as you are, which is about sex and stuff, but it talks about how stress is like a major brake on your desire for sex. And one of the best ways to relieve stress again, right it’s exercises it’s to complete that stress cycle. And then of course Sleep is magic sleep does everything for you. like super sleep is amazing. It’s amazing it is and it’s it creates you know a healthy balanced metabolism in your body to like for food processing, right. So, I am sold on the power of exercise, and I think there is no question and in fact, I think I told you earlier that I bought a peloton which Yeah, I cannot believe I’m I can’t believe I bought a peloton but I joined this group on Facebook. It’s a health of every size anti diet peloton User Group, which is freaking awesome. Yeah. And what I’m learning because there’s a really active community like super passionate about the peloton, right?
Oh my god, there are a lot of so be aware. Like on groups too.
Oh, cool. Yeah. That’s super passionate. And my anxiety was that I’d be doing these classes on the peloton, and I’d be filled with diet talk, right weight loss, talk, blah, blah, blah, change, change your body, change your life, like, and every single person on this group is like, no, that sounds amazing. The teachers gonna never talk about that. Or, you know, there’s might be one teacher who does, you know, stuff about his own diet history, whatever. And I’m just super excited because it feels like the rest of the world is sort of catching on to this concept that fitness is not about weight. You can be a marathon runner and being super fat, right? You can you can do these you can participate. It’s really emotionally challenging if you’re big going into the gym, right? There’s a lot of stigma and people make assumptions that you’re there to lose weight, for example, right? Or, you know, they’ll start telling you offering tips for more reps, you know, to tone right when maybe you want strength, right? There are so many things.
Oh my God, when you’re saying I Yes, I see all that, like all the tips for everything and yeah, and it reminds me of unsolicited, when you’re pregnant or when you have a baby and it’s somehow like, everyone in the grandmother feels like they can come up and yeah, you that you should be using cloth diapers or that formula is bad or that and it’s like, Are you the fucking expert on this? Like you’re not, you know, it’s just, it’s, you know, oh, you need to let him cry it out like I it just in terms of unsolicited and actually unhelpful, and often uninformed advice to someone who is in a delicate place or not, like, it’s just, it is infuriating, right? Because everybody thinks they’re an expert.
Well, and there’s all this well, meaning all the worst is if you’re like, doing a 5k. And if you’re in a bigger body, and you might not be at the front of the 5k pack, and people go, who, you’re just so great for doing this. Right this like, it’s hard to explain why it’s so awful, but it’s just like, patronizing. Just patronizing. Yeah, don’t do that. If you’re out in the world, and you see someone fat exercising, don’t route them on from your car. It’s really insulting. They might be better athletes than you and you need to shut up. Right? Like, it’s, I’m done with all that shit. Sorry, little rant. But um, but this is the point is that it is completely separate from changing your body. Now, with all that said, of course, you can change your body with fitness, right? Like you’re become more toned. You can become heavier because your muscles are building up or I mean, all sorts of things. It’s, it’s the food thing that your body will say, No, your body will say, do not restrict the food. And it’ll do whatever it can to get you to eat the food. That’s what bingeing is that’s what craziness. That’s what compulsion, that’s what feeling addicted to sugar is. It’s your body, just saying. So if you just let go about, you won’t feel those things anymore.
Casey McGuire Davidson 1:16:53
Yeah. Okay, so last question, what is the end goal of diet recovery?
So the end goal is let me start with the people who I work with so far. Come to me with the intellectual understanding already. It’s like they’ve vetted themselves, right. they’ve read Linda Bacon’s Health at Every Size, or they’ve read Evelyn Tripoli’s intuitive eating, right? Like they, they they’re starting to see already, that dieting isn’t delivering what they want it to deliver. And they want to try something new. But they’re not bought in emotionally to the idea of truly giving up weight loss as a goal. Right? So the diet recovery coaching process is like mostly guiding people through the emotional hang ups that we have, clinging to the hope of a different body. And what are all the different reasons why that’s a pretty fruitless thing to do. And sometimes actually actively counterproductive to your goal. Right? If your goal is to make your body smaller, you continue to tie it, you know, eventually you’re going to be bigger than you started. So like just statistically speaking, so it’s, it’s helping people walk through that grieving process. The anger, the denial, the bargaining, bargaining is hilarious. I did so much bargaining, like I’m ready, I’m ready to give up dieting as long as I don’t end up at this weight. Yeah, Cuz that weight is unacceptable. That’s the wrong weight. Yeah, everything else is fine. I’m totally on board. But if I get to that weight, I’m dieting again. And actually, my coach at the time said, Great diet again, good luck. But there is this like, okay, what’s the alternative and planning is to lose weight intentionally below my setpoint range and try to maintain it. And we know that’s not sustainable and statistically nearly impossible. What is Plan B? So diet recovery is walking you through Plan B, and plan B, when you get to the end of it, which there is kind of no end? Yeah. to life. Right? Like, we live in diet culture, it’s not going away tomorrow, right?
But I totally recognize diet culture, like, when people say things, or when you see advertising or even, you know, in the same way as drinking, right, it’s, it’s a self-reinforcing loop that everybody in your ecosystem is bought into. So, you know, there are a million prompts on social media a day of like, people being like, Oh, you know, this is my treat. This is my reward. You need it to relax or like God, do you stop drinking? Do you have a problem? Like you’re not that bad? Like all that shit that happens in diet culture to where you’re like, holy shit, there are a million different comments a day including from my work well meaning friends, I mean, I’m sure I perpetuated diet, culture and my conversations with you a million times in you know, five years and God bless you for only calling me out on it like, it’s hard.
It’s hard. It’s really, it’s um, living inside diet culture truly is very similar to living in mommy wine culture or drinking culture, right? Like it’s once your eyes are opened again, it’s very, very, very hard to not have the urge to call everybody out. Yeah. But, but so that recovery the end game, the end game is you eat what you want. And want I put in air quotes because want can be functional. Wants can be health related want can be I’m eating this now so that I will feel fine tomorrow. Right like some foods, like my fabulous pint of ice cream story. And you know, for me, the pint of ice cream these days is a major calculation. Am I willing to feel pretty shitty in an hour? Full pint of ice cream. Now I make a different choice. Every time I eat ice cream. It just you know, it’s a different choice. I make the choice though. There are people who are gluten sensitive but not allergic, for example, who in this new construct this new world of being recovered from diet, binge cycling, will choose to eat gluten. Even people who are gluten allergic will choose to eat gluten, because dammit that pizza just isn’t worth it. And I’m making that choice because I’m an adult. And I’m allowed to do that. And people who are have blood sugar problems, all the different issues. And they might choose to eat a lot of sugar but know that to manage that so that they don’t get really sick. They add that fiber protein into the sugar eating session to keep their blood sugar from spiking. Like you just start thinking about it in a very different way. It’s not about changing your body size anymore. It’s literally what would taste the best now and potentially impact me later, right? Like you just have you learn about what how food affects you. And you’ll learn what satisfies you. So it’s like such a huge difference between fullness and satisfaction. And you just start to figure that out. And for me, for example, I don’t feel satisfied unless I feel really full. That’s me. That’s how it’s so ingrained from my childhood whatever that was right the panic over there not being enough because I knew I’d be compete for food with my sisters or whatever it was feeling really extra full is connected to feeling satisfied. I don’t know if that’ll always be true. But I accept it. That’s just who I am.
Casey McGuire Davidson 1:22:39
And hopefully, and that’s how I eat my goal that you would stop all the negative self-talk. I mean, I think I was surprised and untamed. That Glennon Doyle’s, you know, who clearly is, you know, a very successful woman and has done a shitload of self-actualized work, you know, says 50% of my thoughts every single day are negative thoughts about my appearance, my weight, and I was just like, or aging or whatever it is, and I was like, fuck you too. Like but like yeah, with diet recovery, you could have more just and not like self-compassion, meaning I’m gonna like feel sorry for myself and give myself a pass but like truly stop that negative bullshit thought that you know, is telling yourself like, What the fuck is wrong with you every day.
There are it is really disheartening sometimes to see celebrities like Oprah Rene brown Glennon my buddy Lenin fat shaming themselves, because it’s reinforcing the message that fat is bad thing is good, right? fat is self-created, then is the correct body to have. And everybody should feel badly about being fat if they are because it’s, again, self-created, and they could be thin. And that whole thing, that whole underlying message is what creates your diet culture, right and creates that shame cycle which by the way, also makes us all want to eat more, right? Like it’s so similar. So that is sad. I’m here to say officially, that I do not think about this stuff anymore. Oh my god, other than to help other people other than to help other people through it, which can sometimes be weirdly triggering because I’m like, Oh, I forgot I felt that way. But five years ago, but I’m sure that’s the way it is as a sober coach, right? Like sometimes someone will say something and you’re like, Oh, yeah, I forgot about that. Like and it’s just a but it is practice and it’s slow. Yeah, it’s not easy. It’s hard at first gets easier as you go. Just like putting drinking. Yeah. And you practice and so the training I’ve done, which is two different certification programs, one being very centered around tools for noticing your, your thoughts that aren’t supportive thoughts, right, that don’t actually help you. And learning how to address those right? come up with different thoughts to counteract them, or at least get in the practice of noticing. Right? We talked about that earlier. And the other training program was entirely around trauma informed diet recovery, right? So because being hating yourself for your whole life, whether you’re in a fat body or a thin body is traumatic when having family members, family members tell you not to eat anymore, because you’re getting ugly, basically, you’re getting fat. That’s traumatic.
I had never heard of and I know you I’d never heard of trauma informed diet recovery. That’s fascinating.
Yeah, well, I mean, it’s part of the program, because it’s specially people living in fat bodies. You’re living trauma daily, right, getting on a plane. Imagine getting on a plane and having to deal with the looks people give you. Yeah, nasty comments, the giving the extra seatbelt extender exam experiences, my sort of pinnacle of the traumatic experience, but like having chairs that you can’t fit in, and even just having comments about your body. Yeah, thrown at you. Because it is like kind of the last remaining thing that people can be hateful about.
Casey McGuire Davidson 1:26:32
Yeah. And like, oh, no abuse as a child, you know, I mean, about have not loved or being rejected or being criticized, like you said, openly criticized? Well, I’m being told by the media and movies that you’re consuming with your friends that your body is not lovable and worthy of romantic love. Yeah, you’re, you see fat bodies as the funny friend, your whole life. Yeah.
Okay. So interesting. It’s so valuable. I know a lot of people listening to this are going to have emotional reactions all over the board. And a lot of people are going to be like, Okay, I need to learn more, I want to learn more, you’re speaking my language, or at least what I hope I could feel in the future. So how can people get in touch with you?
So my coaching website is probably the first place go it’s taken up space dot coach. And I imagine Casey will put the link.
Casey McGuire Davidson 1:27:33
I will, I’ll put it in the show notes. Take Up Space Coach. And there’s a link on that website to set up a free discovery call if you want to just chat and or maybe you just want to call me and yell at me about sugar. totally open. Love to hear your thoughts.
Wait, what about your webinar? Aren’t you doing a webinar?
Yes, yes. On April 29, which is Thursday. And you can sign up to get all the details on my website, I’m going to be doing a webinar designed entirely around sugar diets and early sobriety. And all the stuff that I’ve talked about today will be covered. But there’s also some other little tidbits in there. And it’s just a to help people who are struggling with this, who feel like they’ve transferred their addiction to sugar or transferred their addiction to food. And I know for me, that was a major, major, scary trigger point in my early sobriety and almost caused me to go back to drinking. So my hope is that this webinar will help you through that. No matter where you are in your sobriety journey. Because I know it’s worth it. Yeah, it’s worth working through this because sobriety itself, even if you stay at diameter, I don’t care right? But sobriety is worth it. And when you deprive yourself of certain foods or whatever and really sobriety it truly tricks your brain and you think you’re you think you’re craving alcohol and it messes you up that’s what it is. You think you’re craving alcohol and you know kicking alcohol if it is problematic for you will change your whole life in a positive way.
Oh my god, in every way. And again, who cares if you fix your relationship with your body I do personally in life now, but it’s much more important to just ease up on yourself and focus on the drinking so full circle those older wiser ladies who have those the folksy advice if you whenever you want smoke, whatever you want, blah, blah blah. They’re right. They might not know why they’re right. Yeah. They are so right.
Casey McGuire Davidson 1:30:07
Yeah. All right. Thank you so much, Ingrid. You know, I could talk to you for hours. And I’m sure we will. But thanks for coming on the podcast by talking about this.
I really appreciated the chance to talk about it. Thank you, Casey. Hopefully some of it made sense.
Oh, it all made sense.
Yay. Thank you.
So thank you for coming on here. I couldn’t appreciate it more.
Thank you for listening to this episode of The Hello Someday Podcast. If you’re interested in learning more about me or the work I do or accessing free resources and guides to help you build a life you love without alcohol, please visit hellosomedaycoaching.com. And I would be so grateful if you would take a few minutes to rate and review this podcast so that more women can find it and join the conversation about drinking less and living more.
ABOUT THE HELLO SOMEDAY PODCAST
The Hello Someday Podcast helps busy and successful women build a life they love without alcohol. Host Casey McGuire Davidson, a certified life coach and creator of The Free 30 Day Guide to Quitting Drinking – 30 Tips For Your First Month Alcohol-Free, brings together her experience of quitting drinking while navigating work and motherhood, along with the voices of experts in personal development, self-care, addiction and recovery and self-improvement.
Whether you know you want to stop drinking and live an alcohol free life, are sober curious, or are in recovery this podcast is for you.
In each episode Casey will share the tried and true secrets of how to drink less and live more.
Learn how to let go of alcohol as a coping mechanism, how to shift your mindset about sobriety and change your drinking habits, how to create healthy routines to cope with anxiety, people pleasing and perfectionism, the importance of self-care in early sobriety, and why you don’t need to be an alcoholic to live an alcohol free life.
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