In this episode, Audra explores the significance of building trust within ourselves and our bodies to achieve body freedom. She emphasizes that many individuals struggle with a deep distrust of their bodies, which can hinder their ability to develop a healthy relationship with food and their physical selves.

Building inner trust involves learning to rely on ourselves and our bodies. This means recognizing that our bodies possess their own wisdom and understanding that we can depend on them to guide us in making choices that promote our overall well-being. It requires letting go of societal expectations and judgments about our bodies and instead tuning into our own internal cues and intuition.

This goes way deeper than just achieving a perfect size or appearance. It is a multifaceted concept that requires specific skills. This includes cultivating a positive mindset, engaging in emotional processing and regulation, and learning to regulate the nervous system. It also demands courage, as we live in a world that often teaches us to despise and reject our bodies.

By building trust in ourselves and our bodies, we can begin to cultivate body freedom.

Listen to the podcast to learn how to begin.

Full Episode Transcript:

Hello. Hello, everybody. Welcome to the hello body freedom podcast. This is your host, Audra, and I am very excited to be here with you today. We are going to be diving into understanding what the heck is food freedom anyways.  The name of my company is called hello body freedom. And for so many of us, it is a painful relationship with the body.

It is also a painful relationship as it relates to food as well. So, inside of Hello Body Freedom, we work a lot with how to actually have a relationship with food that feels free, that feels neutral, that feels normal, and most of us have had in the past and sometimes still have just a wacky messed up, dysfunctional relationship with food, right? And with body as well. But we’re going to dive into. Today we’re going to really dive into food freedom and what that actually is. And we are also going to be diving into what it is not and understanding kind of our hello body freedom philosophy here and how it all works.

In part two of this which will be a different podcast, we’ll really dive into what body freedom is. Cause here’s the deal. What most people think of is food freedom. When they hear the words food freedom often I get, Oh that just means that I’m going to eat whatever I want, whenever I want.

And not necessarily.  You guys can help me, like you can, leave a comment or reach out and let me know what you think. But when I hear body freedom, a lot of people think, Oh, that just means I love my body and everything is perfect with my body.

And I have this, it’s everything’s good. Everything fits right. And, that’s not necessarily body freedom either. So, we have these kind of weird ideas of what freedom really is when it comes to our relationship with food and body. And I am hoping that I can dispel all of this for you right here 

in this podcast. At least starting with food, we’ll get the body part later. Okay. So, let’s start to talk a little bit about what food freedom is and what it is not. So, I like to look at this from the standpoint of the fact that I have been working in this world for 25 plus years, helping women in terms of health, fitness, and nutrition.

It’s a very similar story over and over again around I have to eat this very particular way and this is where diet culture starts to come into play and create some problems for all of us. So, I have two different types of people that end up in my life, two different types of women.

One style is somebody who I call that they are lost and stuck into the shackles of restriction, the shackles of restriction, especially around food where you have been on diets for as long as you can remember. You have a lot of rules, a lot of food rules.

A lot of this food is good and this food is bad. All right. And then on the other side of that, I have some women who have never been in diet culture or more likely what the story is they have finally given diets, dieting and diet culture, the middle finger.  And that might feel good.

And what I call that particular style of woman is it’s more around rebellion. So one is lost in restriction and the other is lost in rebellion. And I want to offer to you that I don’t think that either equals freedom. So let’s go ahead and dive into, and you might even identify as both because a lot of times what we do is we end up on diets.

We end up dieting and it’s usually very rigid and very strict and you can only follow this particular foods or this or that, right? You have the counterpoints or whatever the thing. And ultimately, eventually we’re just like, screw this. And then we get, we go in the. 180 degree opposite direction of eating whatever we want, whenever we want, very rebellious, very whatever, right?

And so let’s go ahead and dive into both of those in a way where we can start to have a conversation about it and understand how neither are helpful. They’re not helpful. So right off the bat, let’s dive into the type of a woman who’s really lost in knowing that the only way I can lose weight or feel good in my body or get healthy or, get over, get my diabetes, reverse my diabetes clean up my leaky gut, I have to restrict.

I have to go on these diets, I have to follow this exact food plan, whatever the thing might be. So let’s talk about how painful the shackles of restriction are, and let’s talk about how it even happens, how we get into this restrictive mode, okay? First and foremost, it usually happens because our own internal being, we end up going down what I call a shame spiral.

This usually happens because we like something triggers us into feeling that our bodies are not enough. It’s not okay. We’re not thin enough. We’re not healthy enough, whatever it might be. Okay. And usually, this happens because let’s say You caught a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and it like triggered you.

You’re like, Oh, or you put some clothes on and they didn’t fit and you didn’t like something happened internally in your body where it was like a shame spiral. It’s this is unacceptable. This isn’t okay. Or maybe somebody tagged you on Facebook, right? And you didn’t ever ask to be tagged on Facebook and whatever that family picture was and.

You’re looking and you’re mortified because you’re like, Oh my gosh, my belly or my arms or whatever the thing is, right? Something triggered you into not feeling okay. Into a sense of something’s got to change. And what happens in that moment is we make a strong decision that something has to be done about this.

We’ve got to deal with this. All right. And here enters diet culture. All right. This is where this lovely multibillion-dollar industry that basically feeds on our insecurities. It feeds on the fact that we are not feeling good in our body and we are on a mission to do something about it. And here’s the truth when you’re feeling out of control with food or you’re feeling out of control with your health or out of control with your body When you finally have a plan and you look at the diet, whatever that thing is It actually feels good at first, right?

It feels good at first because there is a sense of control because now you’re doing something about it. When beforehand you might’ve felt like you were stuck, that you just kept self-sabotaging, I keep eating cookies every night, I keep eating ice cream every night. And then you end up on a diet plan that goes guess what?

We’re not going to eat cookies or ice cream. And you decide because of the way you’re feeling, right? You have a lot of motivation in this moment. That you decide, damn it, this is going to work. And then you actually are able to stop eating the cookies and ice cream and it feels good, right? You’re starting to feel a little bit better.

You’re starting to look a little bit better, whatever the thing might be, and that sense of control does feel good. But here’s what happens at some point when you decide that dieting is your answer. What ends up happening is we get really stuck ultimately dieting. sets you up to binge. The reason it sets you up to binge is because it is restricting in one way or the other.

So most diets quote unquote work in the short term because they massively restrict calories. All right. And any time you massively restrict the amount of food that you are eating, it physiologically sets you up for a binge. All right. It’s not lack of willpower. It’s none of that. It’s literally

when if you just don’t eat enough for a long period of time, your body will figure it out and you will binge and you will think there’s something wrong with me. Oh my God, I binge eat. Yeah, because you haven’t been eating for the last month. Of course your body is doing that, right? That’s a very normal physiological thing to have happen.

The other thing that when you go on that diet plan, what ends up happening is that  very often you end up cutting out entire food groups. And so when you are cutting out all the carbs or you’re cutting out all the fat or whatever the thing is that you’re cutting out, what that does is it leads to psychological restriction.

I want you to think about this. Whenever you started your diet on a Monday. What did you do the weekend before? I know what you did the weekend before. You don’t even have to answer me. I know. Cause I used to do it all the time. I would go to the grocery store. I would be getting buying all the food for the diet that I’m going to go on.

I would be like, okay, but then you know what? I know I’m going to start that diet on Monday. So, I’m going to add this in the cart and this in the cart and I’m eating stuff while I’m shopping. And then I get in the car and I pick out those cookies and I eat them on the way home. And then I’m like, that’s okay.

Because guess what? Monday I’m going to start eating clean, right? It’s literally. The psychological aspect of knowing I’m not allowed to eat these foods creates overeating and binging behaviors. Research shows that just that story I told you that , we end up massively overeating before we go on a diet you end up consuming more calories overall, which is another one of the reasons why you end up gaining the weight back in the first place.

It’s crazy. Okay. So cutting out entire food groups leads to overeating. It leads to binging. Okay. And if we can really understand that when you are undereating in a dramatic way, like dieting, it’s like you go underwater and you’re holding your breath and you’ve been underwater for a really long time and you can tell Oh my God, man, I need some air.

I need some air. I need some air. And then you jump up to the top and then what do you do? You. Okay. You just take in that air like as fast as you can get it right. That is a normal physiological response. And guess what? When you have been under-eating so dramatically, guess what that does? It creates the normal physiological response of overeating. Okay.

And so it’s very normal that you would overeat when you are stuck in this world of going on a food plan or a diet. All right. The other thing that’s very important to point out here in terms of living in the space of restriction and maybe why it hasn’t worked for you so far is that when you are following rigid rules.

What it ends up doing, you’re following a diet plan you’re following somebody else’s expertise and guidance of exactly what to eat and exactly what to do. What this ultimately ends up doing is it creates a disconnection in your own body. Instead of you learning how to trust your own inner instincts of eating, what you end up doing is trusting the expert, trusting the food plan.

Oh, if this person just told me to eat this, I guess I’m just going to follow them. And ultimately this not trusting your own self, your own body, your own connection and inner attunement with your body becomes one of the biggest problems, I think, because then you are not connected to your own body’s inner self.

internal cues. And when you cannot connect to your cues, it just leads to overeating. It leads to under eating. It leads to getting so hungry. You’re hangry because you’ve been ignoring your hunger for 10 minutes or 20 minutes or an hour or a day. You know what I mean? And this disconnection is part of the question, the problem.

And I really want to reiterate that like dieting, going and following a food plan. This behavior is very deeply steeped in diet culture. So let’s just have a conversation about what diet culture is. So we can all be on the same page here. Diet culture is a set of beliefs that value thinness, appearance, and shape above your own health and wellbeing.

Okay. Diet culture places an extreme importance on restricting calories, on cutting out whole entire food groups. It labels foods as good or bad and it ultimately normalizes negative self talk. It makes it normal for you to beat the shit out of yourselves. And that’s one of the biggest problems that we have here.

Okay. This whole separation of self, this disconnection from yourself, it ends up creating an all or nothing thinking. When you think this food is good and this food is bad, it creates black and white, all or nothing perfectionistic thinking. All right. And guess what? When you are lost in this, if then, and If not this, then that this is good and this is bad that also is connected to overeating.

It’s connected to emotional eating and it’s connected to binge eating, all of which will create a disconnection in the body, not feeling good in the body. And yes, expanding your size over and over again. Okay. Diet culture is evil. The diet industry is a big problem.  90% of women. And I think the actual stats are more like 97% of women.

Just when you have 90 to 97% of women on this planet saying that they do not like their bodies. We have some major body image issues out there. If you do not like your body, you have an image of your body that is unacceptable to you. Guess what? You’re also going to have, you are going to have diets and diet culture leaking in the corners, like checking everything out.

They literally take advantage of our vulnerabilities, they take advantage of our insecurities that we have around our bodies and they go, Oh, we’re going to fix you. Just follow this food plan and  everything’s going to fit. But here’s the truth. What research shows like cross longitudinal studies over the course of freaking decades show conclusively.

That 90 to 97% of all weight loss diets fail. And what that means is that 90 to 97% of all of you that are trying the food plan, who you’re back on keto, you’re back on whatever the thing is that you’re into this time, right? That you might lose the weight, but 90 to 97% of every person that does it is going to gain the weight back.

And of those people. The 90 to 97%, pretty much everybody that gained the weight back one third to two thirds of those people will just end up heavier than they’re started. I know this was my story for ever. Okay. There was also a study that followed weight watchers, dieters over a very long term span and the average dieter already regained half the weight that they had lost inside of two years.

So this is like no joke, my friends, this is a problem. Okay. This is a huge thing. Now, a lot of my clients come to me and say that they started dieting when they were teenagers. They come to me to say that their mom put them in Weight Watchers classes or meetings when they were in junior high.

And so, what you want to know is that the younger you are, when you start dieting, the sooner that you end up in that Restrict binge cycle. You’re massively restricting because that’s what the diet tells you to do and which automatically leads to overeating. Okay. And then again, research shows us that the more often you keep swinging back and forth and back and forth, you’re just going to gain the weight back over and over again.

Okay. Diets and dieting create food, preoccupation and obsession, right? It literally creates this. And I can’t tell you, I did it too. And a client’s over, they’re like, I’m just so sick of this. I just, it’s you’ve lost your freedom. It’s like your entire psyche is just sitting around your obsession around your body, your obsession around dieting, your obsession around food.

It’s there’s just more on this planet that we’re supposed to be doing party people besides thinking about food and our body and losing weight all the time. And dieting and diet culture keeps you in that cycle for a lifetime if you cannot figure out how to get out of it. All right. It creates overeating habits.

It creates black-and-white thinking. It literally disrupts your own internal ability to attune to yourself. So that way you can pay attention and know and trust your own hunger and your own, like enough cues in your body’s satisfied. And yeah, quite frankly, it just robs us of skills that we were born with y’all.

I don’t know what to tell you, but when you were born, you did not come out of your mama with a measuring cup attached to you. Oh, we better measure the exact amount of milk that goes in there. It’s just not how it happens. Like it’s insane that we think we’re supposed to measure all of our things.

This is not normal relationship with food. And then we end up down this diet train where we lose the weight and gain the weight back again, over and over again. All right. That is the shackles of restriction. And the longer you stay in restriction, what can end up happening is we go screw this.

We flip our middle fingers up in the sky and we go, I am done with this. I can’t even take it. And we swing over into this world of rebellion. I don’t need this diet anymore. And here’s what I want to say about that. Because again, neither of these are freedom. People think, oh, then I’m just going to eat whatever I want when I want.

That is freedom. And let me tell you, at first it feels like freedom. For me and my story when I finally let it go, it was around 2011 at this point,  the first thing I thought is I will eat whatever I want, no matter what. This is what I’m going to do. And I’m never if, even the thought of this food is going to make me thin or skinny or this is diet food, I’m refusing to eat that food.

Okay. So I went a really long time eating like lasagna and tapioca vanilla tapioca pudding and and ice cream. And quite frankly, it felt really good to give my middle finger to diet culture and dieting.  And it does feel like freedom. It does feel like anything. Like when I was a teenager and I left home and I’m like, see you later, man, I’m going to live my own life.

It felt like freedom, right? Truth be told is that it only feels like freedom for a while. So again, I have another set of clients over here that have been living in this place of rebellion where they eat whatever they want, whenever they want. With however they’re feeling, I’m hungry, I’m hungry, I eat, I’m not hungry, I eat, I’m bored, I eat, I’m lonely, I’m eat, I’m anxious, I eat, I’m stressed, I eat, I feel like it, I eat, it tastes good, I eat it’s like there’s never a reason to not eat, so I’m just gonna keep on eating and keep on eating, right?

But over time this is what I say inside of Hello Body Freedom to our clients all the time. It’s literally like you let a six year old be in charge of everything that you have been eating. And I want you to think about that because if my inner six year old is in charge of everything I’m eating

I’m going to feel a little crappy, right? I’m going to be eating a lot of boxed cookies and cakes and candy and all the things, a lot of sugar, and I will likely not feel good. And what this ends up leading to is it ends up leading to feeling like sugar addicted and like white flour, white sugar processed food.

Like it’s a sense of I, it’s like a cycle. It’s a physiological cycle of like you crave it. And so you just keep eating it. It also leads to exhaustion. It leads to feeling brain foggy. It leads to your joints feeling achy. Yes. It can lead to holding on to extra weight, not feeling good. And that’s not freedom party people.

I don’t know what to tell you. That is not freedom. Okay. So let’s talk about what freedom is because it is not on either side of that, right? I think of this insanity that diet culture has created in terms of restriction, obviously is not freedom. But this other place of just eat whatever and whenever at the whims is also not freedom.

It’s just not freedom. And quite frankly, I love the body positive movement that we have had. I love the body positive humans out there that are like, F you.  I swear, I’ve seen Instagram profiles where there’s like doughnuts in their hands and doughnuts. And I’m like, go get them girl.

But at some point, and I’m telling you, I did it too. I literally did it too, but there came a point where it’s two sides of the same coin where food freedom is not that. Food freedom is not that. I think and I believe that freedom around food is in between. What it does is it allows for all foods, but that does not mean that we eat whatever the hell we want, whenever we want, at the whims of whatever we freaking feel like, right?

That is called emotional eating. And a lot of my clients that I work with have been stuck in emotional eating and they can’t get out of it cause they don’t have the skillset yet. That’s why they become my clients. So we can get out of it a lot faster than they would on their own. But ultimately it doesn’t feel good.

It feels like a trap.  It’s, yes, we allow for all foods. We don’t restrict foods, but we’re going to learn a different relationship with food. One of my newer clients that came in,  she said this one quote that made her realize like in a huge way, she’s Oh my God, when I’m happy, I eat when I’m sad, I eat when I’m stressed, I eat right when I’m angry, I eat when I’m lonely, I eat.

She just kept going on an entire list and she’s My God, it has nothing to do with hunger. It has absolutely nothing to do with hunger. And that was like a huge wake-up call for her because that’s not freedom. It’s not freedom. It is using a substance essentially because I’m feeling a certain thing in my body and I’m going to use food in relation to that feeling that I’m having, I’m using substance food in relation to that feeling I’m having.

So let’s talk about what food freedom is. What we do is we learn how to say yes to food and no to food in just the right balance for what we are going through in our life right now. And I know that sounds a little willy-nilly, but the truth of the matter is so many of us have been steeped in diet culture for so long.

We’re so scared. To feel what it’s like to learn a new way of being in a relationship with food. This is yes and this is no, right? Because that process requires getting it right sometimes and getting it wrong sometimes, right? And the truth of the matter is food freedom is connected to your own body’s physical cues.

Okay. And this is very important to understand because what diet culture has done is it has disconnected us. The more we have followed diet plans, we have learned how to completely ignore our hunger. And then once we get off the diet, we eat so much until we’re over full. So now the only cues that we can really tune into is extreme hunger.

Now we’re hangry. So we’re going to eat everything, out of the house and home. And then we eat so much that we’re so stuffed. But the truth is there are other body cues before we get to hangry and before we get to completely overstuffed, but we just. I haven’t connected to those in so long, right?

And so when we learn how to reconnect with our body cues, that is power. That is power. And it takes time. But here’s the truth. It’s not the same as learning some diet plan. It’s not the same as learning how to make this recipe or do this thing. No, you were innately born with body cues. This is just how we are.

Every single one of us. Even if you’re freaking 300 pounds, even if you are struggling with diabetes, even if you are struggling with blood sugar dysregulation, you can reconnect to your body cues and then you can learn a totally different relationship with food. And that is learning how to say yes to food and learning how to say no in just the right balance when it’s appropriate with a yes, when it’s appropriate for no.

And my friends that is freedom. That is true food freedom. Okay. The level of freedom that I experienced now, and I will tell you, it’s now I’m recording this in 2023, 2023, and it was 2011 that I started this journey.  Any client comes into Hello Body Freedom it’s the very, very first thing we start them on because it takes a bit of time. You’re going to get it right and you’re going to get it wrong, but the more that we make it a priority in our life to connect to hunger and eat because of hunger and to stop at enough. And the more practice we get at getting it right, and then getting it wrong.

And then getting it right. The more you are learning how to build that inner trust, you are learning that it is you that you can trust. It is your own body that you can trust. And so many of us have such distrust over our body. Now that’s when we start to talk about body freedom. What that really means to have body freedom, because it’s not about that perfect size.

Then I’ll be free in my body, right?  No, body freedom is a whole other skill set that requires mindset, that requires emotional processing and regulation, that requires nervous system regulation and quite frankly a lot of courage in a world that has been teaching us that our bodies are unacceptable that we have learned that to hate our bodies right in a world that has taught us that to finally come into a place where we are free from that.

That is body freedom. Now we will go deeper into that in another episode, but I hope you guys enjoyed this episode. I hope you understand a little bit more about what body freedom is not. Understanding that the shackles of restriction is not healthy or happy or a place to be. Please for the love of all kittens and puppies on the planet like just stop dieting, please and on the other side of that the pain of rebellion and just eating everything All the time.

It can feel good for a while. The same way a diet can feel good for a while, but neither of these are true food freedom. It is in between. And it is one of the first skill sets that we learn inside of hello body freedom. So with that said, thank you so much being here. If you have not taken on the challenge, the five-day path to food and body freedom challenge, you are missing out.

Make sure to do that. You can see that in the show notes will be links there. And thank you guys so much for tuning in and I’ll see you next time. 

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