In anticipation of their upcoming Intuitive Eating Series, Registered Dietitian Nutritionists Dalina Soto and Melissa Landry talk about how relationships between moms and daughters impact food guilt and body shame, how weight stigma within families can hurt (bad) and how to not let that hurt get the better of your desire to find food freedom.
Melissa’s shares part of her personal story with her Mom and together your co-hosts offer practical tips about moving forward toward feeling peaceful in your body.
We discuss: techniques for cultivating compassion for what our mothers did not know,
how to acknowledge the hurt others caused you (especially if you still want to be in a relationship with someone who hurt you, today), the importance of therapy and boundary setting work alongside the Intuitive Eating journey for our clients, and how to prioritize yourself so you can actually move on living life without food guilt and body shame
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This episode was sponsored by No More Guilt with Melissa Landry. Reminder that though we are dietitians, we’re not *YOUR* dietitian. Podcasts don’t constitute treatment. If you have concerns about your dieting behaviors, seek out guidance from a medical or mental health professional. And if you’re looking for the process, support, and focus you need to live life without food guilt apply for a coaching program from today’s sponsor. No More Guilt with Melissa Landry is currently enrolling clients into 1:1 programs, group programs, and, recently added a do-it-yourself learning format: the Ex-Dieter’s Guide to No More Guilt.
How did your Mother Impact your Relationship with food? transcript
Melissa Landry 00:04 Hi there, we are experts in intuitive eating for on again off again chronic dieters, and we are here to help you take the guilt and stress out of eating so you can become the first in your family to break the diet cycle, just like we are in our families. We want you to be who you are without food guilt. Be sure to follow us on Instagram. No more guilt for Melissa and your Latina nutritionist for Dalina. Are you ready? Let's break the diet cycle. Hey, it's me Melissa. Before we start, I want to let you know that this episode is brought to you by no more guilt with Melissa Landry. What you're about to listen to is not a professional coaching or counseling session. Each episode is a one time conversation meant for educational purposes. Look, we're dietitians. But we're not your dietician. Remember that podcasts don't constitute treatment. If you have concerns about your dieting behaviors, seek out guidance from a medical or mental health professional. And if you're looking for the process, support and focus you need to live life without food guilt apply for a coaching program from today's sponsor, me. I'm currently enrolling clients into one to one programs, group programs and I recently added a do it yourself format the x dieters guide to no more guilt. Apply for a program at Melissa Landry nutrition calm, I hope to meet you soon. Hello, delina. Hey, we are back for another episode. This time, we are talking about how our mothers impacted our relationship with food. And we want you to think a little bit about how your relationship impacted your relationship with food. Because we find gosh, this is such a common thing in clients. It matters. It makes an impact. Do you see this a lot where clients are kind of unpacking mom's stuff with food? Dalina Soto 01:50 Yes, all the time. I I'm thankful that I didn't have to deal with this. I think I've shared this a lot like I grew up in a very intuitive home, if you might, might say that it wasn't very riddled in diet culture. But yeah, so many of my clients deal with this. Yeah, Melissa Landry 02:08 I want this episode to really be about taking a step back and trying to almost look at it like an anthropologist or an observer, which may be hard for you if you're not fully healed in the process. So for a moment, I want to share a little bit about my story and what this was like for me. And then I want to talk through like what I hear all the time is people saying like, I feel bad. I know my mom was doing the best she could. But also, I can't continue to be in this relationship as it is and do my food freedom work at the same time. We talked a bit about this from the cultural lens, last episode, but today, I really want to talk about the more nuclear family specific to your mom kind of stuff. If you have if you do choose to have a relationship with your mom, at this point. Dalina Soto 02:53 Yeah. And I think for me, I always tell everyone, you can you can hold the space for the fact that your mom did what she did, because she thought that's what was best. And that's what she was taught. But you can also hold space for the fact that it hurt you and you can heal from it now and have a different relationship with your body in food. And with her shall you choose to? Melissa Landry 03:14 Yeah, exactly. So that's the route the line that you might find, eventually. And what I see with a lot of clients is that there is a lot of distress and hurt around this right now. We can some days feel like Oh, I feel so bad for her whatever. And some days feel like, Oh my God, if you say that, again, I'm gonna explode, I never want to see you again. And that kind of swing that pendulum swing can sometimes mirror that pendulum swing of whether or not we're committed to leaving diets behind. So I think for today's purposes, I want to really be clear that this might be something that evolves over years, it may change over time. I know you know the story of my mom and how kind of this impacted her. What I maybe haven't shared is how there was a period of time where I kind of did pull back in my relationship with my mother, because being around her sometimes felt too triggering, and I needed to do some work, figuring out who I was and what I cared about to get to the point where now I can tell this story and have compassion and talk openly with her in a way that isn't as sticky or hot or hot, distraught. You know what I mean? I want to make that open to other people. Because I went through that too. It was a hard thing. And it actually ultimately wound up helping me to get stronger and have more self esteem. And it wound up also helping my mom to understand how to be there for me in a different way than she had it. It's hard. It's a hard topic to tackle. I sat down with her and I asked her because I you know I'm at a point now where I do see how her experience impacted her ability to connect with us growing up and some of the perfectionism she placed on me and my sisters growing up, but I asked her, you know, like, because now I can doesn't feel as intense but like, why do you think doesn't really work for you? Like, why do you think that you kind of kept pursuing that or struggled with this? And her answer was I loved food too much. And this broke my heart. That answer to me, it sounded like oh my god, she blames herself for her size. it resonated with me, because I hear so many clients say this like, yeah, I never succeeded at dieting because I love food too much. Dalina Soto 05:33 Yeah. And I'm sure like, no, not a lot of food. juxtaposition of it, it's like no, right? Like, like, I'm sure she grew up eating delicious food and and, and blaming herself for liking the amazing food that your Nola made. Melissa Landry 05:48 Yeah. So I think this whole, like context, looking back is like, my grandmother comes to the States. And she's assimilating like, she wants to create safety for herself by looking apart. It's the 1940s and 50s. With all of the ridiculous if you ever Google ads from that horrible like the cabbage diet and all that crazy. Oh, yeah, like, right. Crazy, like weird diet one. Yeah. A lot of weird diets, a lot of like, weird, you know, sales of slimming garments. And, you know, there's a lot of stuff going on culturally, I'm sure back in Italy, there were some of those ideals as well. And to her being thin meant being good. And my mom is in a bigger body. And so my mom's going through it with my grandmother. Yeah. For her for us to not experience being in a bigger body. And we wouldn't go through what she went through. Yeah. So I know that, you know, like I can, I can rationally go like, okay, she's, she's coming in like, I want to protect my babies. Yes. using the tools that were used on me. Yeah. You know, my mom didn't explicitly put us on diets, but we also were naturally dinner kids. So I don't know what would have happened if we didn't look, we didn't look like she had hoped he would. And she never disparaged our bodies or nitpicked. But we saw her do it to herself, though. Yeah. Yeah. I wonder and I don't know if you've ever asked her this. But this she feels like she did a great job. Because you weren't in a bigger pot. Yeah. Yeah. Like just that give her some sort of like, I don't in the back, like I did something, right, because my kids didn't have to experience what I had to expand. Yeah, I think there's mixed parts of her where she feels that way. I do feel like she wanted us to not experience that phobia. I mean, that's the truth of it. And I think that that really is such a sad situation where a lot of parents feel, on the one hand, they want their kids to be who they are. But they recognize that allowing that may mean that there are some social consequences in our society. Yeah, that's why it's so important to me, when I work with people who are going through a food freedom journey and a bigger body than we actually talk about those, those social forces. How are we coping with them? How are we navigating them, because what I don't want is for you to take the message that my mom took, which is that she loved food too much that she's to blame for her bigger body. And in reality, she was made to feel blamed by her treatment, by the treatment she received in a bigger body. And so that's one of the things I really wanted this episode is if you as a child, maybe a parent or a loved one, Mom, whoever, whether or not it was well intentioned, that wasn't okay. And your body is not your fault. It is your tool, it is your asset is something to that you get to be in and experience your life in. And that's really what this food freedom journey can offer you Nexus being in your body, you know, the Bible is not an apology. You know, we do love that book, that book. I also want to say that I think I've had to overcome a little bit of like embarrassment sometimes, like, Oh, my God, are people gonna think that my family is like, my mom's not nice, or like, my family's messed up or like, Oh, my God, like, you know, we're not that kind of family. And I'm just gonna say right here, there's no such thing as that kind of family. All families have stuff that is okay. And I think that's part of kind of adulting or stepping into your adulthood is to reflect on that and decide how you want to move forward. So it's part of breaking generational trauma and why we go to therapy. Yeah, yeah, it's true. I love that therapy that talk that out. We write some space. Yes. I do love my mom. And I want to say that she is an extremely resilient woman. And I see this in my clients too, for like, what she was taught how she was treated and what was handed to her where she brought herself in life and how she continues to kind of push herself her way to grow. She's showing up on my Instagram. Hey, Nancy. I mean when I first heard Oh, she did pick the freakin backslash. This is a whole thing everyday she can send it I show you my new backsplash and like you mean the one you chose yesterday. It's like, Oh, I changed my mind. We're not doing that one anymore. Choosing the backsplash has been the great drama of 2021. so far. It's amazing that they waited 30 years to redo this kitchen. I totally get that this feels permanent at this point. Yeah, no, that's a big to do. I think she's going with like a light gray subway tile photo. So follow. It might have a gal. Yeah, I know. You have that as well like the subway style. Anyways, mad props to my mom. And I appreciate her for allowing me to share her story. You know, I asked her when I first started doing this work. How do you feel about me kind of sharing a story? Because I think it's important. I don't think a lot of people are talking about it. And at first she started to cry. And she said, Where are you at? The only thing that makes me sad about it is were you embarrassed of me? Were you embarrassed? Oh, I'm gonna cry. That was no as I hit me like a ton of bricks. And I said, Cod. No, I wanted you to show up a little more like, yeah, it made me sad that you couldn't be there in the ways that I needed. So that's some of the conversations we've been able to have. She gave permission to share these things and to share this story because she goes if it helps someone like me, I think that's super valuable. And to watch her sometimes take these messages on and practice them in her own way has been such a joy to just have her see things slightly differently. It's super powerful. Now, for you all out there. This might get the wheels turning for your own situation. Dalina brought up the beautiful balance of like, we can understand where they came from. But we also need to acknowledge the hurt. So let's start with the compassion side of you. I mean, you have, and maybe it's on around food, but like you also have a family Dalina who came to this country like trying to figure shit out. You don't need to give details, but I'm sure there were things like all parents that went well. And that didn't. Yeah. How do you cultivate that compassion for for what they went through? Like, how do you remind yourself and empathize sometimes? Yeah, like, like, for me, it's always been that struggle of like, my parents came from like, nothing. Or I should say my dad more, right? My mom lived a more privileged life, you would say in the Dominican Republic, and my dad did not. So they grew up in the same neighborhood, but they still have completely different upbringings. Economically, I would say. And so for me, it was always this struggle of like, I have to take care of them. I have been an adult, right, I think the way that it impacted. Growing up as a first generation child, was this idea of like, I had to be the adult because I had to translate. I had to make sure everything was done, right, because my parents didn't know English. And I think that it caused me and maybe now that I'm thinking about it, or we're discussing this out loud, maybe I didn't have time to fall for diet culture and worry about looking a certain way and jeans or whatever, because I was busy trying to figure out how am I going to help my parents do this? How am I going to help my parents achieve XYZ? How am I gonna help myself achieve what I want to achieve? Figure out college, figure out FAFSA figure out all of these things. So to me, like my body was like the least of my worries at that point. And I'm wondering if that was like a blessing in disguise. And on top of that, the fact that you know, I didn't add that Jyoti pocket holes, right. But I think for me, that compassion came from wanting to Oh, and I think that's why I'm such a helper now. Yeah, totally. I relate to that family. Yeah, right. Trying to help my family because I was the oldest and you know, how can I get us from point A to point B in a way not? I don't want to say economically because we've never had trouble that way. But more of like in the in the American dream, like navigating the Malays? How can we navigate kind of scary? And so I think that that's, that's the compassion that I hold also for them. And I think that's something that many immigrant children do list on top of the food. Yeah, for sure. And so these experiences like we're growing up and sometimes you're trying to like you're being led by your parents, but you're all leading your parents. Yes, in some instances Dalina. There, and that likely had an impact you but at the same time, there is a part of you that can step back and like at least this point, now that you've made more sense of the world and heard more stories. I know you do such a great job connecting with women like you like that matters when you can connect with other women who've gone through similar things has happened in my group call last night, everyone was sort of talking a little bit about some early experiences being put on diets. It does help make meaning of it when you talk about it. Like that's such a important part of processing. Dalina Soto 15:05 I think. Yeah. It's it's a lot of generational stuff that we have to process through on top of if you have to deal with the body and food and shopping, security sometimes Yeah, like, the food insecurities sometimes, right? Like today I posted about three things I learned. Growing up, you know about food growing up, and it was like one clean your plate? Because if you don't clean your plate, you don't love the cook. Melissa Landry 15:33 Right? Yep, Dalina Soto 15:34 new, there's always food at home. So you can't even get that satisfaction food, because it'll let you want to have some McDonald's. No, you're going home and eating some rice and beans. And three, were the love language. So there was so many disconnecting or disjointed messages coming at us, because we couldn't fully connect with our bodies, because we were being told a million different things. Melissa Landry 16:03 Yeah, these little lessons that you learned is kind of a cool way to develop compassion to think about like, okay, for the parts that hurt, what strengths were developed, what did I learn that that way of thinking, and we're going to get to the hurt side, guys. And remember, this is not the toxic positivity we talked about last season. Yeah. But if you can, just for a moment, balance, perspective building to say like, but there's takeaways you have from your experience, too, that helped you today and help you help other people. That's true for you listening as well, that was something from that, that gave you some sort of strength or sense of self, does that help you to understand this in a more objective way, why it happened, how it happened. The reason why I think compassion can be helpful is when you say, you know, my, maybe my mom didn't know the hurt or the impact this cause she thought she was protecting me, I can, I can understand that. Now you have an understanding that that belief is not something that was maybe coming from your mother or whoever's wisdom that was coming from a reactive space, a security space, a an emotional space at the I never double clicked on what I learned space. And so I do think the compassion has a little way of like, nudging and edging out that automatic acceptance of what our parents valued and allows us that differentiation of like, you can be you and be stuck in that place. And I can be me in my growing place. I think that is another level of compassion work is not just to say they were doing the best they could, but saying they're doing the best they could. And because of that, I can separate myself from that. I want to do better. I want to do the best that I can with what I know. No, I think that's super important. Acknowledging hurt is the other part. So at this current moment, even if you can rationally understand that you may harbor feelings of sadness, resentment, grief, anger, maybe even fear being around people fear of rejection. And I think this is where therapy is a nice adjunct to food freedom work, because if you uncover some of this stuff that does maybe need that level of skill or work, therapy can be really helpful, so you don't get stuck and you can experience the food freedom. We also have an intuitive eating the coping skills coping with kindness principle, we'll talk about that in more detail. But setting up a really strong pattern of self care. Dalina Soto 18:39 Understanding your emotions, and giving permission to feel them is huge in intuitive eating, dealing with the and messiness of all of it, and allowing them to surface. I think that that's the scariest part about some of this work is allowing yourself to feel the negative thoughts. Let them come up, let them surface acknowledge that they're there, but also acknowledge that they don't have to be true. Melissa Landry 18:59 Mm hmm. Yeah. A lot of times dieting can be a coping skill. So for example, I don't feel in control of the situation. I don't know. I feel free to projection field is it? I'm in a diet that's going to temporary temporarily give me control and you know, when you when you say, Okay, I'm going to do food freedom, guess what, you just set down your dieting tool that has served you for a lot of years. Now you gotta you can't just put that down and go okay, because you're gonna feel like you're flailing. Typically, these things are ongoing, uncertain areas in your life, this relationship stuff. So that's where the feel your feelings, coping skills, stuff comes in. critically important. We'll dive deeper this season. But the last one I want to talk about is boundaries and how you might consider that we talk about this a lot. It is worth considering and tailoring for your situation. For me, I've told you in the past boundaries as meant not hanging around as much not spending as much time because I was not in a place yet. To talk about what I even wanted, I couldn't even explain what I wanted yet from her. Yes, yeah. And I think I talked about this in season one with the family members that I've had to deal with, you know, doing really extreme diversity stuff. And I actually was telling Brian the other day, cuz we all met up again for like, the first time, right. And I wasn't angry, I wasn't good hugs were there. And you know, the jokes were there. And I was just like, whatever, like, I was able to kind of just, even more so than I was able to before, like, I've been able to make peace with the fact that that's who that person is, that that's who that person is going to continue to be. And that I can't change that person to believe. Yeah. And for where she's not hurting me, or anyone else really, in the process. So it is what it is. And I have to set that boundary with myself that I'm not gonna let conversations with her or comments about them. Right makes me angry, it's taking years to get here. And allowing that step back is because if you look at if you're keep going into triggering situations, imagine this like leading up to it, you're all worried about it, you're just out body, and there's the interaction itself, then there's after the interaction, you're ruminating, you're worrying about that. The amount of time you're spending, kind of healing that what happens around the trigger means you're disconnected from your body. You're not creating food, core intuitive eating skills. Yeah. A lot of people say to me, like, you know what the stuff with your mom, like, did you fix her stuff? And my response to that is like, that became less important to me. I don't, I don't aspire to do that anymore. That's my job. What did start to happen is that I healed my stuff. Dalina Soto 21:48 Mm hmm. Melissa Landry 21:48 I am spending more time connected with my body. So when I'm around people who maybe aren't there yet? Yeah, I'm much more self regulated. I don't have like, I'm not either, like totally passive, like whatever just should already, or are the other spectrum, which is like, rigid, rigid, reactive, you know, NF boundary work is on a spectrum, it's fluid, and you will not always get it right. But the hope for a lot of people, especially those who are still in fat phobic families who are in bigger bodies is to feel more even around this, or perhaps you're making choices to avoid and interact with it a little less. Yeah. So don't rush the process is what I really want you to know. I want you to have hope that this is possible. It has happened for me. And it's happened for clients, even and especially for those in bigger bodies, it is possible, you need to first and foremost focus on what is it going to take for you to get clear on what you want and what works for you before you can ever aspire to communicate it and set boundaries with other people. So prioritizing you is the most important thing. And the third, I told you this one might get a little heavy, but I hope it felt empowering to you're your own person. You're not your mom, even if you care for her. You're not heard. Yeah. And we can't fix people. I think this idea of like, did you fix her people asking you that? It's like, we don't fix people. Yeah, that's our job. No, our job because there was nothing wrong to begin with. Correct. We've just helped people find themselves again, right, find who they truly are. find themselves in whatever stage of life and whatever body they're in, and start living now instead of waiting to be fit. Right? That's the issue. Everybody can get fixed. But there's no magic answer. So the magic pill, some magic way of eating. Whoo, magic, right? That people try to sell you or tell you that it's going to work. But in reality, you never end up doing it. You never end up learning right? who you truly are in the process and in finding yourself. And I think that's that's the important part of this work is that you find yourself and feel comfortable to be yourself. Which to me, that is actually my goal, in interacting with, with family with friends is like how can I spend more time being myself being honest, trying to hear when I need something? Because for a long time I did not I'm sure that's true for you like my needs came secondary and a lot of time a lot of instances, how do I make my needs come first and feel okay with that more often, maybe not all the time more often. Dalina Soto 24:36 And that's something that I struggled with a lot in 2020 is my priority was I don't want my kids to get sick. Like in my head. I'm like, I don't care if I get it, but I don't want my kids to get it right. So I struggled a lot with how do I take care of myself because I felt like all I was doing was worrying about them, making sure they were safe. And I like just let myself fall. You know, and I didn't prioritize myself during this last year because I was so busy crying. Melissa Landry 25:06 Yeah. And that was a period of stress just like that. Just like when you're having family drama stuff you're on into times of stress. That's what we do we get into survival mode. And so this is this is your invitation not to get into survival mode, in a relationship with your mom or a loved one that, you know, they kind of raised you to feel this way, but you feel bad for them and you wish that you feel sad for them and you wish it was different for them. But also, what about me? If that stuff's coming up for you? Don't go into survival mode. Take a step back. Yeah. Practice some of the compassion. Practice the coping, practice the boundaries. Yeah. All right, we got to practice what we preach though. So I'm gonna hold you accountable. Will you hold me accountable to take care of myself? I mean, the way that I've started taking care of myself is I actually just leave and get my nails done. That’s my new take. I have a whole Pinterest lifetime You do? Yes, of nail designs. And every time I go, I pick one. Dalina Soto 26:08 I love to read. I was like, the lady's like old was like, You want that? Like, yeah, the poor lady. She's learning with me. We're like, we're like learning but Melissa Landry 26:17 that's that's how our relationship grows, you know, we gotta get to know one another that way for you. And I think anytime you can take space, maybe it's not getting your nails done, you know it just a little bit more space for yourself. It's gonna help all of this stuff make a little more sense. So when we go into the intuitive eating series, you may notice little words come up, especially we get to the food police stuff like those little messages are often not your own voice. So we will definitely be diving in on this some more, but I hope this helped to help you think about it. Hope you feel like you're ready to not fix this stuff, but move forward through it. Dalina Soto 26:56 Yes, yes, Melissa Landry 26:57 that was a good episode. Dalina Soto 26:58 We'd love a review wherever you found us so that you can help us help other women find us and find a better way to heal their relationship with food. Melissa Landry 27:12 It's the pay it forward method. Very helpful for us and for others. We love building this community. You know, we are watching the audience grow week after week, which is super exciting. It means you guys are sticking around it means you're continuing to learn with us. We love spending time with you this way. And until our next episode, we will see you on Instagram just like we found each other. Thanks for being here with us and being who you are. Love and break the diet cycle.