For years, Summer didn’t even consider her dieting to be a “problem”. How could it be? A self proclaimed “good girl’ – she was convinced clean eating and weight loss were good girl things to do. Her takeaway when diets failed her? SHE was the problem. Coming from a family of generational dieters, and eager to do whatever it took to get dieting “right”, Summer eventually wound up in a scary, restrictive on-and-off dieting pattern. 

Today, Summer speaks about her experiences with chronic dieting recovery, including insights from her 1:1 coaching work with Melissa inside the No More Guilt Coaching program. This episode will help you:

  • make meaning of the sadly, all-too-common generational diet trauma experience of dieting with your Mother as a teen
  • unpack how magazines like “Seventeen” and “Shape” normalized disordered body ideals and dieting practices
  • explore why so many people say “it’s not that bad” about their disordered eating (as Summer shares the scary dieting moment that ultimately brought her to Intuitive Eating)
  • figure out the difference between true Intuitive Eating and just “tricking yourself” you are doing it (but actually you are still dieting)

You will love Summer’s simple tips on what she did to finally stop snapping back into diet culture in a never ending spiral, and learn what she loves most about her newfound food freedom, just 7 months after starting her work with Melissa inside the No More Guilt Coaching program.

If you loved this episode, let me know! Your review helps keep this show going, so if you have a moment – review the pod, or, share this episode with a friend. I’d be so grateful!

Episode Resources:

Get Melissa’s free 3 step guide to eat without guilt:

Join the Break the Diet Cycle Podcast Community in Instagram:

Connect with Melissa on Instagram: @no.more.guilt

Follow Break the Diet Cycle on Apple Podcasts

Follow Break the Diet Cycle on Spotify

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.

losing the weight of generational diet trauma transcript

Melissa Landry  0:02  
Hi there, I'm Melissa, a registered dietitian specialize in intuitive eating for on again off again, chronic dieters, and I'm here to help you take the guilt and stress out of eating so you can be the first in your family to break the diet cycle. I'm interested in helping you unlearn generational diet trauma, so you can be who you are without food guilt. Be sure to follow on Instagram at no more guilt for more support between these episodes. Are you ready? Let's jump in. Summer, welcome to the podcast today.
Summer  0:36  
Hi, Melissa. I'm so happy to see you. Again.
Melissa Landry  0:39  
We were chatting before we got together about how we might tell your story because you have been through a lot. And you have a lot of perspectives on both dieting and intuitive eating. So we're gonna go through that as best we can, as best we can sum up that journey. Before we do. Can you let us know a little bit more about you?
Summer  0:58  
Well, I live in Oregon, but I'm from Texas. I'm a writer, and an editor and I have a dog I love and I've you and a wonderful husband. And now we're just out here live in Oregon live camping and hiking and learning to enjoy the rain.
Melissa Landry  1:16  
Yes, yes, I know. I understand. It's a little gloomy sometimes. 
Summer  1:21  
The cycle you have to get used to but it's kind of cool. During the summer you live outside and it's beautiful. And then you hibernate in the winter. 
Melissa Landry  1:30  
You are so many things summer and that's one of the things I loved enjoying a loved learning about you through our process was that there are a lot of sides to you and parts to you that you really wanted to nurture and get to know. But unfortunately dieting and fears of weight gain and all of that sometimes made it hard to access that. I'm so excited to share how you accept more into yourself over these past three months. Let's go back in time for a moment. Is that okay? Can we like get in the Time Machine of how this all started for you? Yes, let's What is your earliest memory of dieting? How did your whole dieting cycle really begin?
Summer  2:07  
You know, my mom dieted. But we also ate really great food. But my dad would say funny things to my mom. Like, remember, salad dressing is not a beverage. And like my little dad. And I, I knew like we have the Jane Fonda Workout on video. And I got really into that one summer, when I was 12, I was gifted a subscription to 17 magazine that really like, did rock my world so much. I just couldn't wait to be a teenager and looking at that magazine. And what the life of a teenager would be like was really, really exciting. I mean, it influenced me so much that my college major was actually magazine journalism. That's how deep, but by that time, I'd realized how I'd been socialized. And that was so interesting to me the way the magazine taught me how to be a teenager what was expected of me. Yeah, but I didn't think of about changing my body. I just thought about, you know, working with it and being into fashion and, you know, makeup and stuff. So it wasn't until I was 16. And we moved when I was 16. And it was hard. I didn't have my friends anymore. And I was trying to make new friends. And it was a really challenging time. And by that time, I was always tall, I'd always kind of stood out, back row, middle and every school photograph. And you know, there were times when oh, we're going to do this dance recital. But the costume doesn't come in your size, because it's for kids, you know, and I'd have to get this adult version that was kind of different. I just knew I was tall. It didn't seem like something bad. Exactly. Just different. But it was hard. It got hard to find clothes. We used to not have tall sizes. It was in the world. They just tall women. I don't know, I guess women used to sell their own clothes. I know my mom was frustrated too with dressing room meltdowns, but it just never occurred to me to lose weight. But one day my mom took me for a walk and told me that she saw me struggling to make friends and she knew that she had struggled also, and she didn't want me to go through that and she thought I needed it would be easier if I lost weight. And I protested and said I don't think I need to lose weight. And she said that I couldn't see it because it was all behind me. Like telling me I had a fat ass.
Melissa Landry  4:53  
and introducing this like oh there's parts of you that you can't see. I can see yes So, how did that make you feel? Do you remember what that was? Like I could hear the rebellion. You were definitely like, What confusion? What was that like for you at the time?
Summer  5:09  
I was totally stunned because I critiqued my body in the mirror every day with two mirrors front to back. I mean, I really did care about fashion and how I looked, but I thought everything was fine. So that was really surprising. And I think that really planted a seed to not trust what I saw in the mirror that, you know, that was a major seed that got planted. And then when we got home, when I found out what the diet was going to be, it wasn't some kind of moderate, like, I don't even know what change would have made. We just, I feel like we ate really normal three meals a day, and sometimes mom made chocolate chip cookies, like nothing pretty standard. 
Melissa Landry  5:53  
It seemed standard to you.
Summer  5:55  
Yeah, it seems standard. But what about I found out the diet was going to be this liquid diet. It was the diet that Oprah had done that this was the era and my mom had gotten it from her doctor. And, you know, I want to say that my mom is like a pretty person. She's just a really beautiful, blonde, Texas cheerleader type. It's, it's always amazing to me that she had so much insecurity and blamed her whatever struggles she had in school on the way she looked, because she really fits that standard beauty mold. So and it's funny to me that the doctor gave her this hardcore liquid diet. I mean, I guess nobody should be doing it. And I'm not a doctor, but it's hardcore. But I don't know what he why he thought my mom was a candidate. But so finding out I wasn't going to eat have food to eat was pretty shocking. Like, whoa, my brain that bad. I'm not even allowed to eat. Whoa. And I'm a I'm a good girl. So I followed the rules. I was like, Okay, I won't eat. So for a month, we I didn't. And I've since learned that that diet is less than 900 calories. So it's just, it's really hard. So after that, yeah. Oh, and then what was weird, I lost weight. And I got all these compliments. Right? That was wild. And I could go shopping in the store with my friends and fit into clothes there. And it just, it just hadn't occurred to me that, you know, losing weight would change things. 
Melissa Landry  7:46  
Well, you can see how the message gets formed. You have a caregiver who says, I see you're hurting, and here's gonna be the solution, follow my lead. And you're confused, but you do it. And then what she says, to some extent comes through, you're having a better experience in the dressing room, people are giving you favorable compliments, certainly doesn't solve everything in life, but it made it a little bit easier on you for a little while. And that is such a bittersweet thing. I think for kids that go through that experience, where you get the reward, but you're still hurting in a different way and more deeply. It's it's such a confusing thing to go through.
Summer  8:30  
Yeah, it was like, Okay, I guess this is important. So after that, I was onboard because of course, I gained that weight back once I started actually eating after. So it just became a cycle and it was always in high school really dangerous. It was you know, thin, thin. And thankfully, Nutrisystem was huge. We did Nutrisystem for months. And every time I gained a little bit more weight, but then the weight loss after I did, the diet was bigger. And it was always like once I got back down to that low weight. Oh, this is where my body's supposed to be. That's how I felt, right? Because then the compliments would come and I could wear straight sizes and it just felt really important. Um, so although my mom put me on that first diet and the first few diets, I was definitely her diet buddy. I took over that role, and I was always after that. Just always on a diet. And I at this point, I haven't restricted for seven months. And that is the I believe that is the longest I've gone without restricting since I was 16. It's kind of incredible.
Melissa Landry  9:52  
You can see in your face like the pride and we're going to talk a little bit about that process and what that feels like for you but In this moment, I can see there's a new type of amazement coming in shock coming over you that there's this possibility that after so long you can, you could do things differently than you were taught.
Summer  10:11  
Yeah. So then after, you know, in my 20s I, oh, I subscribed to Shape magazine, that was my big thing. And I was all about, well, I'm going to work out and you know, eat healthy. And I'm not going to do these crazy diets, like my mom taught me, I'm going to be sensible.
Melissa Landry  10:27  
Do it the right way.
Summer  10:29  
Yeah, exactly the right way. 
Melissa Landry  10:31  
Isn't that true, though? I think as diet culture evolves, and people started to kind of catch up like, well, these extremes certainly aren't healthy or positive as body positive messages start coming in. The magazines changed their tune. Oh, yeah. Like, if you're gonna do it, don't do it so hard. Right, that's not the right way to do it. Like there was an educated way to do it or something. But it's still the same diet. And it definitely took over maybe more educated middle class women in a different way. Because there was more status around doing it in a way where you didn't trigger yourself. It's just gaslighting to me. The way that it's position like, well, if you if you had that, that symptom, you know, feeling restrictive or too into it, then maybe you're doing it the wrong way. And that's just not true. It doesn't matter. The restriction triggers that stuff. And folks, no matter how it's done,
Summer  11:26  
and then I fell into this whole clean eating where I didn't even think it was a diet, just this lifestyle. 
Melissa Landry  11:33  
Yeah. So tell us a little bit about that transition. It seems like maybe again, your your love of journalism and magazines was kind of guiding the way a little bit here. And as the messages evolved, so did you so what did that look like? I'm thinking more like your 20s and your 30s? It sounds like that's when this started to evolve and shape shift a bit.
Summer  11:52  
Yeah, exactly. My, well, I look at my 20s they were marked by so much extreme insecurity and sadness. Because I was always failing myself, I thought, and it's sad to me to realize how, how my 20s They didn't have to be that way. And then totally separate from all this eating. One day I went vegetarian. And that was seriously just overnight, I was meditating a lot. It, it was just one day, I woke up and I was like, I cannot eat meat anymore. So I went vegetarian, and I had no idea how to eat. And I gained 15 pounds, didn't know how to diet without a chicken breast, you know,
Melissa Landry  12:41  
the classic standard diet is no longer on the table.
Summer  12:45  
So that was shocking. And, and then I found all of these diet doctors who were vegetarian and promoted, like losing weight this way. And I thought, Oh, this is so great. I can be vegetarian. And they're teaching me that it's actually the healthiest way to live. And it's this silver bullet. And then right around that time Forks Over Knives came out this movie. 
Melissa Landry  13:11  
I remember that documentary? 
Summer  13:13  
Yes. And it was oh, this, you know, cures every disease. And that standard American diet is what's causing the obesity epidemic. And that whole huge conversation I got swept up in, you know, if Michael Pollan telling us how to eat and what are we feeding our kids in schools? I don't have kids. But I've definitely watched that conversation unfold. And I thought, Oh, this is the answer. And this must be why I've struggled my whole life because of that standard American diet. Now I'm really smart, and I've really got it figured out. And we all need to save the animals, too. So this is just the best way
Melissa Landry  13:55  
I can see the banner flagging and, like, follow me, we're gonna change the world, you know, there's morality tied up in it. And that can feel confusing, you know, when you you're sorting out, what's your next step around food and your relationship to yourself? 
Summer  14:11  
You know it wasn't a silver bullet, a magic bullet. It didn't. It was really, it's hard to stick to, even though you're not restricting calories, and that it's really promoted as this abundance, you can eat all you want, but only have these foods only in these good foods. On the one hand, for the first time, I was really eating a lot, which was great. But on the other hand, it said of all that good food, bad food mentality, and it took me it was a good 10 years before I could even see that that was a diet. I really bought into the standard American diet foods being so bad for you and they're causing all the problems. And you have to eat these really clean, unprocessed Whole Foods as they come out of the earth all this Jive
Melissa Landry  15:02  
there was that was the time of like would your grandmother recognize this food? There was a lot of like, side eye judgey grandmother know what a Cheeto is then don't eat it and it's like oh, like they're that like that is some standard like my grandmother would regret grandmother would wouldn't recognize a lot of things that are beneficial in today's. There are lots of technologies and things that have changed. Of course everything has its impact, and its pros and cons. But what I like hard and fast judgment that our grandmothers need to have recognized everything on our plate.
Summer  15:36  
You nailed it, I realized one day like I still I had dieted my way up to what I felt was a very high weight. And I couldn't believe after everything I done and all the diets and I done a sprint triathlon and trained for a marathon and been in yoga teacher training, all exercise to and yet by anyone's standard of the beauty standard. Here I was, in a in a body that most people would look at and be like, well, you just need to improve your eating, and you need to exercise and feeling like such a failure. Because I had done all that I remember I had read this book, eat what you love, love what you eat. And this woman said, Your body knows what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat. I thought no way. There is no way my body knows that. And one day I was making lunch. And I really only felt comfortable eating brown rice, tofu and broccoli. Those were the only foods I felt confident. And I was so confused about what to eat. And I was looking at these foods and thinking about my weight. And I felt like well, something's driving my weight. And it's either the brown rice or the tofu. So I'm going to have to give one of those up. And that I heard that thought and right then I stepped back and I said out loud. My body knows what to eat, when to eat and how much. And it was so revelatory. I thought lightning was going to split the sky and strike me down. It just seems so taboo to think that it's I only can convey that because I remember the feeling. But I don't know why I would think that I it's so far from me. Now I'm such a different person now. But I remember being really kind of scared
Melissa Landry  17:23  
when I hear you say that I think of how many conversations we had summer where you revealed yourself to be an amazing self advocate. And that's a voice that we developed together and made it a little bit stronger around food to develop that trust that really wasn't there that was kind of made me feeling uncertain back then. And when I hear that now I'm like, oh, yeah, that was the first time your rebel ally or your inner self advocate was like you who it was trying to have your back in a way that no one really showed you how to have your back. You had that within you. So it's so cool to hear the way that it said hello. And also acknowledging that doesn't mean that it stuck around or it felt permanent or strong just yet you had to do a lot of work to cultivate that side of you. But how cool that it just popped up for you in that moment of need.
Summer  18:13  
Now that is cool. I'm still cultivating that voice and it is still an amazing gift. So that's cool to realize that.
Melissa Landry  18:22  
the vibes of like, wait a minute back off back off from the self harming behavior. We've got to trust ourselves. That inner voice is just the people listening right now or like yeah, lol I don't trust myself right now that is 100% true. That is something that has to be cultivated. And I see so many people wait to start the process because they go I'll start intuitive eating when I feel like I can trust myself and they don't realize actually you've got to that's a skill to be practice that doesn't just come and that's why I love sharing clients stories because you can you can justify or say you know what, I didn't feel that confident about this. In the beginning I felt taboo I felt scared to say this stuff out loud. Because I had always
Summer  19:03  
Because I had always either been dieting or binging like preparing to go on the next round of dieting It was sort of a drag to realize I just wanted to eat frozen pizza I was like really? I used to be this exciting interesting person who liked fun interesting foods and restaurants and I was so burned out by then I could only think oh that's just get a frozen pizza and and then that evolved into wanting to like cook a bunch of French food. I went through this whole phase of a decadent cooking and it I guess I kind of bounced around in that until my husband was diagnosed with type two diabetes and you know I hadn't really done serious work on intuitive eating I had just said okay, I'm not going to die it I'm an intuitive eater now and I read the book but I didn't do work with it. So when he was diagnosed, I went back to the I was plant based doctors and they were coming out with books about reversing diabetes. And I said do this and I thought, Okay, this is how we're going to live now. And we dove really into the whole food plant based life finally he was a partner with me on it instead of fighting me because he did not like being big.
Melissa Landry  20:21  
See, Texan as well. What? 
Summer  20:23  
No he's not. He's an American.
Melissa Landry  20:27  
That's my people. I know we've shared a little bit yes. Okay. i They have some strong beliefs about what how much and when you should be eating? I would say all Italian Americans, at least the ones I grew up with,
Summer  20:39  
he does come from he's got some food culture in his background. Do you even know I thought I stopped dieting in 2012. I was still back in that good food bad food mentality for a decade. And it was, it was so confusing thing. I still am sort of like, what how did I trick myself into thinking I wasn't dieting. And it wasn't until 2020. When I had got a hysterectomy, a wonderful life changing. Amazing. So glad I did it, hysterectomy and I saw myself really restricting as soon as that surgery was over, I thought, Oh, I'm gonna get really thin, I had that thought. And I got so into, I was pushing myself to try to start walking more after the surgery just right after the surgery and restricting my food, even though I was recovering from surgery. And when I saw that, you know, it's just a week or so of that I thought, this is stupid, I'm recovering. My body needs nutrition. I cannot be pushing myself on these walks, I realize I need help. It really scared me to see that mindset takeover. And it was another year of trying to do it on my own. By this time, there was the ice workbook. So I did that. And it really helped. But I was bouncing back and forth it just for two years until I found you, Melissa. I couldn't. I couldn't make it work. I couldn't, there were things I couldn't figure out. And the weight gain was driving me crazy. And I kept like gaining and losing the same 20 pounds, and finally contacted you. And it's been really great ever since. I mean, I've had a skirmish with Halloween candy recently, but I totally coached myself through it and feel great about where I am with it. 
Melissa Landry  22:36  
Yeah. And that's honest to you, right? Like, we're just because you go through a program and you learn deeper skills, and you have maybe longer, more confident periods isn't mean you won't, you know, ebb and flow through that process. That's an important thing to keep in mind. This isn't this isn't a magic bullet. This is not something that you do it, you learn it and life is like, Oh my God, I know what it just makes it maybe feel a little bit more confident, makes it feel more accepting, makes it feel more empowering, that definitely started to happen for you. It's so amazing to hear you talk about your intuitive, early Intuitive Eating years, because a lot of people struggle with that feeling of like, I'm not dieting anymore, right? They set this hard boundary with dieting, which is critically important, you have to do it that has to happen at some point. But that doesn't mean that they've learned how to heal some of those early diet traumas, the connections that they've made between being good and being healthy and being thin and eating in a certain way. That's something that might need reframing, which we did the feeling of how do I include, you know, palatable, satisfying foods, but also honor how my body feels? How do I do both of those things? These are questions that sometimes need a little bit of feedback, need a couple points in the right direction, because you've just never had a model. You've never had someone in your life who has shown you how to use information and intuition together. That's the real skill is blending those two.
Summer  24:05  
I do want to say because yeah, it was such a long road. And I sometimes feel amazed that I stuck with trying to not diet, even though I was dieting. And something that really influenced impacted me was reading the Minnesota starvation study and reading what happens to people on ultra low calorie diets and realizing that that or that first diet was a leg of starvation, and that it did impact me mentally and understanding there was a whole mental health component going on. I was so focused on just body size for so long. Right. So right recognizing the mental health aspect and how dangerous eating disorders are. That that gave me A lot of compassion for myself and a deep desire to address things and to heal. Heal that early traumatizing experience.
Melissa Landry  25:12  
I'm so glad that's so important to say many people look at this, like another set of steps, perhaps. And that can also slow the healing process. When we think about this Minnesota starvation study, I think specifically referring to if folks haven't heard of this, where they voluntarily put them on low calorie diets. And the folks that went through this study, were experiencing longer term obsessions with foods, preoccupation with food, competitiveness with food, there was all of this psychological stuff that went on that really mirrors what happens to dieters when they voluntarily starve themselves. And so when you think about the mental health implications, what were the specific things that maybe made it harder to not just take the workbook and go, Oh, I see the steps of intuitive eating, you know, a salute. Here I go, What made it hard to take that workbook and put it into practice, when you consider your past experiences? Was there anything in particular that felt like it was getting in the way? 
Summer  26:17  
Yeah, I wanted rules, I still want to make rules. And I have to remind myself not to turn, the point of this is not to make rules about Halloween candy, for instance, the workbook was just so fun and interesting, except the food voices, I never understood that I couldn't figure it out. And it was in working with you, that I recognize these voices in my head are not common sense. I thought they were just my common sense, my higher wisdom, they are not. There's a whole bunch of things going on, and some are destructive, and some are very helpful. So that was, you know, my biggest struggle with trying to do it on my own.
Melissa Landry  27:01  
The book doesn't always give explicit examples of what it sounds and feels like. And that's actually the work is figuring out, for example, the food police voice. Some people call it the eating disorder voice or the inner critic, there's many things to call it. But this is the one that just judges you, and makes everything black and white and good and bad. And understanding the language of that voice, what it feels like in your body that requires practice to slow down. And very often when you surface it with someone else, you're getting the feedback to separate it from you and not listen to it and follow it off the ledge every time. And you made a quick study of that summary. You know, we probably spent the first couple of sessions introducing that and identifying that. And I watched you feel much more empowered to say, I think I identified it on my own. And here's what I did differently. And we were able to get practice in a way that was so so different once we could identify those inner voices for you. So that's a great example of how the reactive diet trauma brain, it's hard to work with that if you don't have practice, understanding it and not reacting to it any longer.
Summer  28:04  
Yeah, it is hard. And just the most recent experience I had with Halloween candy, and I couldn't understand I was judging it. But I didn't recognize it as the food police really, it took me a while to catch on to what was happening. And to recognize that that diet, rebel had been activated again and was like, come on, now. You, you can have it have a bunch, it's here. And my little quiet revel owl, I was like, it's not feeling good. But I was hearing it, it took a while to figure it out.
Melissa Landry  28:45  
And this wasn't an experience we got to practice together. So you know, I always tell people with seasonality of when you learn it. It can sometimes be that this is the first time you've gone through Halloween with this skill set. Next Halloween will feel different. You have to go through this one. And that may be true for the upcoming holidays as well. All of this is a practice. What did you find helped you to practice? So when you think about the last seven months, what were some of the things that you found most helpful to get that quality practice in?
Summer  29:18  
Oh, maintain permission. I mean, I just have like a vow almost to maintain permission. So no matter what, I'll have a diet Brian saying, you know this Halloween candy is not even vegan. So you should probably have a rule to automatically candy. Yeah, but I've got this vow or I'm gonna maintain permission and whether it's vegan or not, or high calorie or not. I'm gonna maintain. Yeah. So much. Yeah, that keeps you in it. So then you have to figure it out. Because what I learned this last time, it would have been so easy to just opt out of figuring it out and be like, Oh, I'm just gonna throw all this candy away or give it away, maintaining the permission and recognizing I can always go by that candy anyway, until I figure out its role in my life, whether it has a role or not like, it just keeps you doing the work, you can't what I've found with working with you, every time I wanted to just turn away and stop this crazy roller coaster and say, I need a food roll. Because this is scary. And I don't know what to do about my weight, that that was exactly the point when I needed to stick with it the most. And always, always, on the other side of that was a humongous life changing recognition of a wisdom that I wasn't recognizing in myself,
Melissa Landry  30:50  
you could trust yourself. And you always could just some things got in the way. And that is a really powerful thing to share with people who maybe are feeling a little lost and out of control. Leaning in during that time gives you experiences to learn. It's kind of like when like a little kids like learning to ride a bike or something and they take the training wheels off. It's so tempting to want to put the training wheels back on that's what dieting is. It's training wheels to make you feel in control around because you don't think you can trust yourself.
Summer  31:21  
Yeah, absolutely. And I, I circled I came to this vow of maintaining permission because I circled around it for years, and especially the last two years of trying to be really working hard to be an intuitive eater, it comes up again, it's just gonna keep I realized it was just gonna keep coming up. So I needed to figure it out.
Melissa Landry  31:43  
What made you ready to address it head on? Because for sounds like for years, you were sort of leaning into intuitive eating and then it kind of got a little scary, then you'd lean back out or you'd get confused. Like, is this intuitive eating? Is this is this there was a little bit of ebbing and flowing? Am I hearing that it was the hysterectomy moment that was the moment that made it feel like no, I really need to really lean into this once and for all because it seems like there was this click moment for you. Where coaching was part of that, to really be accountable to leading into it. So tell me what was that moment where you felt safe or ready to actually lean in and vow that permission and that practice?
Summer  32:24  
Yes, that is the moment that scared me that I thought this is so unhealthy for me and I wasn't super thin. You know, when you look at someone who's maybe restricting too much, you think they're gonna be very thin. I wasn't. I'm not by any means. But I recognize such a scary restrictive mindset coming in. And I had spent hours literally hours on YouTube, trying to figure out from these plant based people. Can I eat nuts? This was the most burning question of my life. Can I eat nuts. And so finally just it all appeared to me is so dysfunctional. And I guess it was reminiscent of that moment when I was trying to decide if I should give up tofu or brown rice. I guess it echoed that. That's when I thought I got to find a way to make peace. I wanted peace. And with myself,
Melissa Landry  33:23  
it seems like all of us have these inner trip wires of what's okay, yeah, you had some trip wires around this tofu thing and exercising too early during a surgical recovery. And those were very clear. No, no, no, this is we're taking it too far. There was all this gray area that was also too far. And it was hard for you to know or acknowledge it then. And that's the part I think so many people can relate to. Once they've recovered from this, they can see how much bullshit they just accepted and thought they deserved. That's what they thought was maybe even good in there were some have that. And it was never ever true. And so I'm curious what you would say to somebody who maybe is going well, I'm not down to two foods yet. I'm not. I'm not exercising as I'm recovering from a surgery yet. I'm not that bad. What do you say to someone who's saying I'm not that bad?
Summer  34:22  
Oh, the thing is, the focus on your body is taking you away from life. It's it's not necessary and you're you are so much more than thinking about food and what you look like and we didn't even get into body image. But whatever you are internalizing that makes you think that you need to change something about your body is is incorrect. It's just So it's an illusion. That's, that's my biggest takeaway. And what what I see that keeps people so stuck is they feel that the way they look is really the most important thing about them. And we all care what we look like. But to a large extent you can't change is one big joke? That, yes. I would just say why? Why do you restrict this food? What is your hope for restricting this food? And whatever it is I, you know, to be, what three inches? Have your hips be three inches smaller? Is that really worth it? I mean, that's what it's come down to me. It's literally inches. And yeah, so now my life has opened up so much. I just spent so much time on this problem. That was never a problem. And if you go around thinking that you're a problem, your life is going to be really difficult. It just, it's incredible how it promises you diet, culture promises you everything that it's promises, it's going to solve all these problems that it's actually creating, glad to have my life back. Now it's it's all every day is another piece of myself coming back finding I have more time,
Melissa Landry  36:31  
that part. So yes, there is a part where you still practice the skills and I can hear that honesty that you're sharing with people, this doesn't mean that you never think about it, or you don't have to work your skills or care for yourself through it. With that happening. What are some of the differences in your life now that you have not restricted for seven months.
Summer  36:50  
We just took a trip and so many things about travel were so much easier because of this word. And so that shined a light on how much everything has changed. And especially my husband does still follow a plant based diet. And in comparison to him, he was really caught up and like, what are we going to eat? Where are we going to eat? Should I travel with food, and it was so great for me to feel so relaxed about the whole trip. And I knew there would be food around. Even though you know being vegan, it can be hard to find food. But thanks to the work you and I did Melissa I know now Yes, being vegan is a pain in the ass. And most of the time I accept that pain in the ass. But sometimes I just I need to eat. And it's important to nourish myself. So it's great to not have to plan every single thing. It's one less thing you have to micromanage in your life. But then packing for this trip and planning to see people I've done a lot of body image work mostly to retrain my eye by like following people on social media and just making it a practice to look at my self in the mirror and say, Yeah, that's what this outfit is supposed to look like, every time I look, I get dressed, I look. And I say yeah, that's what it's supposed to look like that I think I used to expect I would look like whatever model I'd seen wearing this. And then I didn't look like the model. So I had a problem with that. But now I don't say no on me, this is what it's supposed to look like. So all that work and feeling so free with food made me go into this trip really relaxed and happy. And I couldn't wait to see people and I didn't care what they thought if they thought anything about how I looked because that wasn't even the point of the trip. The point of the trip is to get together and see people and I just I for my whole life I had made it about what I looked like and did I look acceptable. That is like holding a weight over your head all the time. It's exhausting to worry all the time if you look acceptable or not.
Melissa Landry  39:10  
And now your values are leading the way and this this doesn't just show up with food it shows up with how you are in social settings how you plan out your next adventures your your general flexibility. You're the little girl who got inspired by magazines and wound up going to get a journalism degree like that's you love fashion and culture and art, you know what you're about. And once this wasn't infected by food and body image struggles, I've just watched you continue to step into that and to feel excited what's next in your life because you're not going to have the weight over your head any longer.
Summer  39:51  
Yeah, and you know, on the topic of values and valuing fashion. It is. It was really painful to be left out of the fashion crowd versation but it doesn't. Now I just, I do feel so excited about fashion because I can wear whatever I want, without thinking about doesn't make me look then. And that's something that's opening up for me now to is being able to express myself more just embracing the way things look on me and not feeling disappointed, like, oh, I can't participate. Yeah, I cannot. In fact, I have a unique viewpoint with a unique body. That's mine, and it's gonna wear fashion this way. It's great. Yeah, that's great to be able to live your values instead of those, all those fears. I still would be so lost if you hadn't helped me untangle the restriction of veganism from the restriction of dieting. That that has been such a revelation that helps me every day to live that value. That's very important to me. But I can be flexible with it now.
Melissa Landry  41:03  
I'm just really glad that you are, where you are, and that you're continuing to learn. Thank you so much for being here on the podcast with me today.
Summer  41:11  
Thanks for having me. It was wonderful to catch up.
Melissa Landry  41:15  
I just edited this episode. And Good golly, there are a lot of insights in this one for you, man, for any of you out there who are struggling to figure out intuitive eating on your own. In fact, I want to let you know if you're newer to the podcast, a few of the topics that come up, specifically the food voices skill we were talking about. If you're going oh my gosh, I want to learn more about that. Open up previous episodes from past seasons, we talk about a lot of these skills in a more like technical in depth way. So you can check out any of the past episodes and just kind of spot pull out things that you need. And of course, if you're ready for that step by step support, I'm here to help you can apply for coaching at Melissa Landry And we can talk about a path similar to the one that summer took. How is everyone's calendars looking, I'm going to tell you I looked at mine this week, I will go a Christmas tree shop after work one day, we're going to try to decorate. We're going to try to get everything all ready for the holidays this week. If you yourself are doing anything fun. Please use this podcast as a way to take inspiration and ideas and just get going get practicing them in your real life. Even if you don't eventually become a client of mine or work with me. I would love for this podcast not to be something that keeps you in research mode. We got to get out of research mode absorbing more information about Intuitive Eating is not going to put you in a place like summer or Patrice last week. We're actually practicing and getting feedback and insights and learning and growing. So if you've anything fun this week, as I do related to holidays or end of the year, practice, practice intuitive eating. Permission to eat that summer taught you is a really great start. So if you want to keep it simple. That's enough. back next week with another episode. Until next time, be good to your good body.
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