In The Toxic "New Year, New You" Mentality, Jess and her guest, Janice Antoniewicz-Werner, RDN, discuss the damage caused by diet culture and what we can do to challenge the "cult"ural expectations to weigh less, exercise more, and "be healthy" at all costs. Janice provides fresh, and much needed, reboots for creating enjoyable and flexible relationships with food and movement. Relationships that don't result in fear, guilt, or shame.
Janice is a registered dietitian nutritionist. She has over 35 years of experience in the field of treating eating disorders. She has extensive training in Intuitive Eating and Mindful Eating. Her education includes a Bachelor of Science Degree in Dietetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master of Arts Degree in Counseling from Oakland University. She is a Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian (CEDRD). Janice specializes in assisting those struggling with disordered eating and individuals recovering from diet culture. She specializes in intuitive eating and is a Certified Intuitive Counselor. She promotes a Health at Every Size (HAES) philosophy.
Produced by Jessica Warpula Schultz
Music by Jason A. Schultz
Edited by Jessica Warpula Schultz
[00:00:00] welcome to Insight Mind Body Talk, a body-based mental health podcast. We're your hosts, Jessica Warpula Schultz and Jeanne Kolker. Whether you've tried everything to feel better and something is still missing or you've already discovered the wisdom of the body. This podcast will encourage and support you in healing old wounds, strengthening relationships, and developing your inner potential- all by accessing the mind body connection.
Please know, while we're excited to share and grow together. This podcast is not intended to be a substitute for mental health treatment. It doesn't replace the one-on-one relationship you have with a qualified healthcare professional and is not considered psychotherapy.
Thanks Jess. And thank you for listening. Now, let's begin a conversation about what happens when we take an integrative approach to improving our wellbeing. Welcome to Insight Mind Body Talk. My name is Jess, and I'm glad you. [00:01:00] Today's episode is part of what I would consider to be our ongoing pursuit of dismantling the diet industry and freeing people of the unrealistic and often harmful expectations that we can be and should be perfect.
And I know my guest today has the same agenda. In fact, it was her idea to name this episode, the toxic new year, new you mentality. My guest today is Janice Antoniewicz-Werner. Janice is a registered dietician nutritionist. She's passionate about helping people, helping clients make peace with food.
Janice specializes in assisting those struggling with disordered eating and individuals recovering from diet culture. She specializes in intuitive eating and is a certified, intuitive counter. She promotes a health at every size philosophy. Janice believes eating should [00:02:00] be enjoyable and flexible and not result in fear or guilt.
Her goal is to help her clients achieve a sane and peaceful relationship with. Janice has over 35 years of experience in the field of treating eating disorders. She has extensive training in intuitive eating and mindful eating her education includes a bachelor of science degree in dietetics from the university of Wisconsin, Madison and a master of arts degree in counseling from Oakland university.
She is a certified eating disorder, registered dietician. Janice welcome. I am so glad you're here with us today because of this work that we do, the calling out of diet culture is difficult and you know, it's really challenging. And the more that we do it, the more that the public hears about it and can hear the ideas we're going to [00:03:00] talk about today.
The better wouldn't you agree? I totally agree. First of all, thank you for having me because I am passionate about this. And, um, it can trigger me being really angry about it too, particularly this time of year, because I think this is the season where, um, food is available and people feel guilty about eating, but they want to enjoy it.
And then they talk about new year's resolutions and the industry that makes money off of that is. Really in the mix at this time of year. And you can see, you'll be starting to see ads for different weight loss programs, exercise programs. And so it's a really timely topic because, you know, if a person wants to do a reset and the relationship with food and exercise, this could be a really good time to start with.
Exactly. I, I completely agree. It's you're going to start seeing the ads everywhere. Even driving along the road, the gyms are advertising. You know how to become a better you. And you know, we're both, we both [00:04:00] come from, you know, I have some roots in the eating disorder support network here in Madison, you are a strong part of that network.
And, you know, we talk often about the messages that people are getting everywhere. We go about what we're supposed to be, what we're supposed to look like, who we're supposed to, how we get our power, you know, how we're acceptable and how the messages that so many people are getting are false and that it leads to often.
You know, disordered relationship with food, a disordered relationship with exercise with ourselves. And so you and I get really passionate about talking about health at every size as well. And we'll get to that later such an important philosophy. But let's, let's continue talking about the issue, really the damage that diet culture creates.
So how would you, for someone who's never heard about the, heard the phrase diet culture, how would you explain that Diane culture are the, is the messages that we get societal. [00:05:00] That, um, thin is always better. If you're, if you, if you are thin, be fearful about gaining weight, you should lose weight. There are right and wrong ways to eat.
The purpose of exercise is to control your body, you know, so it's all these messages with the underlying message that we're not good at. You know, it's always this pursuit of, you know, that on the surface it's well to look better and feel better. And, and, and, um, some of those things can be true if people are acting on healthful behaviors, but the underlying messages, you're not good enough.
You'll never be good enough. Keep losing weight, keep trying. And unfortunately, the sad, sad fact of that is people make a lot of money off of it. And so. It will continue unless you don't buy into it. You know? And that's, to me, the biggest thing is I like to have people look at the messages. Like once you're aware of what dye culture is, look how pervasive it is and where they're coming from, and then [00:06:00] challenge those messages with your own internal dialogue.
Uh, you know, that that doesn't fit for me. It's not it's. And it's also an external control that if you follow this diet, if you eat these foods, if you avoid those foods, if you move your body in this way, um, we'll tell you how to do it. A peaceful relationship with food is controlled internally. You know, you use your own hunger and fullness.
You use your own how the foods feel in your body, how moving your body feels. That's an internal job and the diet culture tells you it's external. They want to give you rules on how to run your health management or your weight management, um, that are, um, one size fits all. And, um, and, and you'll never measure.
Yeah, that's the thing we'll never measure up because these standards are set by someone who continually will I say someone, but you know, the fitness industry, the diet culture, you know, we could [00:07:00] really go deep into like, who else is involved in this process as well? Every so often letting us know we're not good enough or something's changed and we need to adapt now, and this is better, or that is better.
And then, you know, I just had mayor Chapman on the podcast a couple of weeks ago, talking about the cultural conditioning of, especially of, um, cisgendered women, but really it's everybody nowadays, no one can escape this idea that, you know, in a lot of times it's about that, then this is equates to help.
And wellbeing and a lot of behaviors that diet culture supports like, um, uh, utilizing a scale to know, like you said, external conditions using the scale to know if you're healthy or not, or how many times a week you're exercising equates to health, which isn't true, or what size your pants are or things of that nature where we just really have been.
[00:08:00] Culturally conditioned to think that that's what health is. And you know, now there's starting to be issues with overexercising and, you know, eating too healthy or being, you know, focused too much on the health. The good right. That's part of diet culture that there's good food and there's bad food and that's not true either.
Yeah, no. And it suggests that there's a perfect way to eat. You know, and I suppose that would extrapolate to perfectly up to exercise too, but the perfect way of eating there is no such thing. Um, and it's really ideally driven by the individual. What is, what works for you? You know, what feels good in your body, um, and including all foods that you want to eat.
Um, because food's tastes good. Why wouldn't we want to be a good tasting fruit, you know? And, and, um, and so this idea that if you enjoy eating, you should feel guilty about it too, is part of this whole [00:09:00] diet culture. And I think that's one of them. Um, one of the foundational pieces of intuitive eating is unconditional permission to eat that you allow yourself to eat what you want when you want in an amount that's satisfying without fewer guilt.
And you get there, you really have to focus on your own internal. And reject the diet culture rules, because they are telling you that there, this is the best way to eat. And there's like, there's a lot of them out there. You think people would, would recognize that there is no perfect way to eat because there's all these different diets too.
They're the perfect way to eat and it doesn't exist. It's I always find it interesting that the, um, the diet culture and the specific diets can be very seductive. And all and seem science-based, but when you delve into it there, you know, the science of nutrition is really pretty, um, in its infancy still, you know, still a lot to be [00:10:00] learned and things change all the time.
So if someone says this is a perfect way to eat, They're lying. It's not true. Um, and again, it's, it's developing your own internal sense, you know, what, what works for you as a person and so that you feel good about that and own it. The challenge is to block out all that other stuff that's going on. Well, and it's so challenging, you know, as a, um, I can't remember which one of my friends says it, but I have, you know, some colleagues who are, we're all recovering from being in the fitness industry, like I'm a personal trainer.
And yet back in the day, I used to think there was a prescribed correct way of doing something. And it was more until I became trauma informed and intuitive eating informed that there is so much. It's much more important to know what your body needs because you decided, and you've listened and you can tell when you're hungry or you can tell when you're full and what foods your body's craving, then to look [00:11:00] elsewhere.
Very very rare. Rarely do I encourage anyone at any point to kind of look at what they're doing, unless, you know, there's a couple adjustments, maybe that for health and wellbeing, which we'll get to, so some of these behaviors are important for health and wellbeing. For example, knowing if you're eating protein enough protein or something like that.
Right. But then the diet industry and the fitness industry takes it so far, just so that they can make money off of us so that they can feel, make us feel like there's something wrong with. Right. And the sole motivational factor is weight loss, you know, so it's not, not eating enough protein for, um, so you haven't enough of the right amino acids and muscles strong and to, you know, hair and nails and all the things that protein is used for.
Keep your organs repaired. It's about losing weight. Yeah. And, um, and, and that's the message. There is actually, I think a recovery from diet culture, like someone has to [00:12:00] reject diet culture. And, and from my observation and my experience, what I've noticed is when people get to the other side, it's almost like they feel that well, not almost, I do feel betrayed to a great degree.
They've been sold these things as the way to fix their life. You know, that's the inner messages that you get. If you're only thin your life would be perfect. Um, and, and often they're angry about it because, you know, it takes joy from your. To be feeling like you're not good enough, or you have to constantly be worried about what you eat or how you move your body.
And it's not a good place to be. Um, so there is a recovery from that, um, I think, and it's a process like anything else? Well, yeah. You know, and I often, I mean, I've experienced this, but so of my clients discussed it how hard it is to be in that place of knowing that counterculture, how you have to work every day, because so many [00:13:00] people don't understand what we're talking about.
So once you are on the other side and you realize that. Dysfunctional and harmful. This is your it's like, you're the only one who knows it in your circle or in your family. And it's just so challenging that every day you have to walk around with this understanding when the rest of the world. Not anyone's fault, but the cultural conditioning of the rest of the world still really supports diet culture or weight loss or good and bad foods and things of that nature.
So there's even that internal work. I think that's what you're saying too, of like coming to terms with it and being, you know, okay. Within you while you're surrounded by it every day, you kind of. Exactly because it occurs to me that the diet culture is of the cult culture isn't and it can be, it can feel a little lonely and [00:14:00] vulnerable to be on the other side.
You're not part of that cult, you know, that everybody else is doing. And this time of year in particular, I think it's hard to be on the other side. You'll hear at parties, people saying, or, you know, just socially, well, I shouldn't need this or I was really bad or, or I didn't eat all day so I could eat whatever I want.
And to me, that makes me sad because I know those people are trapped in that cult. Um, that isn't healthy. It doesn't give you joy and you know, then you have to decide, am I going to tackle this, or am I going to. It's um, uh, I often silently just wish them well, but the point is, is that the force is still on the other side.
The majority of our culture is immersed in diet culture. I do see. But it can feel a little lonely to be on the other side. [00:15:00] Yeah. And we'll talk more about that. Stay different ways of viewing it. Um, so that, that can kind of, you know, fight against that loneliness and so that you can feel more connected to other people who, who understand this as well, which I think is one of the key things of doing once, once you're, you know, Doing that work and you're, you know, crossing that other side and, you know, you've got to remind yourself and surround yourself in any way you can with other viewpoints that also support and are counterculture to the diet industry and fitness industries.
Exactly because there is a tendency to doubt oneself that, well, maybe the, and that's where the seductiveness of the diet culture comes in because it's so convincing. But then you hit in a really good point is like, it is helpful to immerse oneself in like podcasts like this, where you get the side that, that, um, reinforces what intuitively, you know, is the right thing.
You know, I think when people [00:16:00] get to the other side, They know better on that side, but it's hard. It's hard. It's hard. It's hard. So then let's move on to how diet culture, let's talk about the health industry a little bit. I think that's one of the reasons why it's so hard is that diet culture often is looked at as, you know, health and wellbeing.
Like these are behaviors that we. Pursue in order to improve our health outcomes. So what are your thoughts on that? How is the diet culture linked with the health industry? Well, it's all about money. Um, and so, you know, that makes it hard and they've gotten savvy, um, over the years, you know, like changing the names of diets.
So they, I sound more like their health, and so. It's important to stay on top of what is being said so that you can pick out, you know, what the, the diet culture pieces are and what they [00:17:00] are. Um, cause it is so seductive. And it really, I think, you know, when we start thinking about diet culture is.
You know, when it's masqueraded as health, that just leads to a more distorted relationship with food, right. And a more distorted or a distorted, not more but a distorted relationship with exercise, perhaps. And, you know, we could have a whole nother episode about bringing the medical industry into this because so many of my clients are traumatized or re-traumatized by, um, medical professionals telling them.
Weight loss is the only path to X, Y, or Z. I mean, pick any illness that's out there or any condition you may see your doctor for. And, you know, they want to weigh you and tell you that your size is what is the problem? You know, nothing else, nothing else that could be changed. So, um, and, and, um, people in larger bodies are treated differently to medical and you're right.
We could go off on a whole nother topic. [00:18:00] But the issue is the intention, you know, so there is some confusion, and this is how the diet, culture, diet industry hijacks health is that they promote it as wellness, but the intention or the goal is still weight loss. And so that's where it gets, um, because some of the same behaviors that a person would do to be healthy, a person could hijack to like fo uh, focus specifically on weight loss, like eating more fruits and vegetables.
Yeah, moving your body and the criminal part of that, this is what makes me really angry is people start believing those behaviors are punishments. So then when they are trying to make changes, they feel like, well, because I broke all these rules and did all this stuff bad. Now I have to punish myself by exercising or these foods when I die.
I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and because it's part of a deprivation scheme, then [00:19:00] they assign negative associations with healthful foods and that's so that in addition to, uh, uh, it requires establishing a different relationship with those foods or with moving your body to get, to get them on a more neutral.
And then. Plain. So that's, to me, what is so harmful about the wellness hijacking these behaviors, because they still instill this sort of negative connotation to doing helpful things, because you're, you need to punish yourself by eating broccoli because you had too many sweets and now you have to. And so, and then that keeps people from we're acting on those healthful behaviors.
Cause. I can eat broccoli, but I really want to have brownies. Well, the idea that you can have it all is, is challenging, is confounding because it breaks a lot of those rules. But, and I think too, that's, that's a part of the piece of this is being [00:20:00] aware of how the wellness culture can hijack healthful behaviors.
And you need the challenge that you need to challenge that, to get to that neutral place, to re-establish your own relationship with food, any type of food and movement or exercise, any type of movement. So that now you're deciding what to do. And, and like I said earlier, so much of that is when a person eats in a healthful way.
You know, whatever balance works for them, they feel good. And when people move their bodies in a way that they enjoy not punishment, they feel good. And that's the goal. That's the goal. Um, and that's, what's different from diet, culture, diet culture. The idea is, or what the promotion is, is you get to feel good when you're thin.
And you have to punish yourself to get there. Um, and it totally ignores how you feel [00:21:00] inside. And so, you know that to me, that's a, that's an important distinction. When a person is looking at making changes. To challenge a preconceived notion so that doesn't get in the way of them acting on behaviors that ultimately are good for them, but have this lingering reminiscence from diet culture, like eating foods that are good for you because you, because they make your body feel good.
And then it gives it nutrients that it. Not because you can't because they're low-calorie exactly, exactly. And, you know, I often talk with clients, I think I'm a non-traditional trainer in that I'll say, well, what are you, what would you enjoy doing? You should only do movement. You enjoy. And the what, not that, you know, that feels really scary to me.
I was like, or, oh, you didn't want to move last week. You know, so many people say, you know, I was bad and I was in no. You just had other things going on your capacity, your, you know, your bandwidth was full it's okay to [00:22:00] move when you want to move. And focus on other overall health behaviors when those are more important.
And Dr. Kelly McGonigal has a book called the Joy of Movement and she really traces back in time, how all the different cultures are, you know, around the world, really move for joy and how alive and connected we feel. And that if we can really harness. Um, moving our body in a way that helps us feel more alive.
That's the path we should pick, not the movement to punish or to lose weight or to, you know, get back on track. Right. Because it's the intention. It's the intention. If the intention is to experience more joy, you're going to orient to different things than you would if the intention was to lose weight.
And I also liked the idea of eating and moving as self. Like, how is this self care? You know, [00:23:00] how, when you choosing what you're putting into your body, which includes all foods, because up there is this really delicious food that, and when you're eating it and enjoying it, it makes you feel good that care.
And the same thing with, you know, there's this notion too, this is another diet culture of the future. It for exercise account. It has to be a certain length or duration and you probably need to sweat, or it does. And, and that eliminates a lot of movement for people. And then they just discount it like, well, and again, if the intention is to lose weight, that's how you might view what you should do for exercise versus what feels good.
I'm totally with you on that. It's like, how feels good? And if you need to take. Um, because you're tired this week. Well, that's good. Self-care it? Isn't good self care to push yourself to do something. Um, you know, so yeah, again, it's internally driven by the [00:24:00] individual. Um, and when you listen internally, you know, you're also creative.
I think, I always think about the brain right when we are forcing ourself to do 45 minutes, but we're starting to feel. Shut down or tired or irritable 30 minutes in, and it's no longer fun. Our brain is considering in our nervous system. That's a threat. Right. And what is it going to do with anything that feels threatening?
Well, it's not going to pursue that again. So the diet culture in a way, takes food, takes movement and makes it so much of a threat. I see so many people get overwhelmed by. By trying to take on all of these expectations that aren't coming from within. And then their system feels threatened. They don't want to do it.
They want to avoid it. And then it becomes a negative. That there's something wrong with them. You know, that they are not good enough or why they're lazy or things of that nature. And really all that's happening is their brain [00:25:00] and body responding really appropriately to something that is not fun, not enjoyable and feels threatening to their system.
So listening from within, I feel yet like that's for food and for movement. And really for, I don't know, most of life is to really do that from an intuitive place. Right, right. I mean, and that to me is what diet culture takes away is that it takes away, um, doing things that are actually helpful and fulfilling and rewarding.
Um, because just for that reason, you don't want to do it. It's assigned the next. That's it. You don't want to do it. Well, let's talk a little bit about what people, you know, knowing all of this, you know, and thinking about the new year, new you mentality and kind of trying to rebel against that, take our power back.
What do you think we can do about it? What can we do about our health and wellbeing? You know, when you and I met before you talked about. [00:26:00] Thinking about intentions, thinking about goals and a new way. Can you talk more to that? Yeah. So to me, that's the foundation of any change is like w what's your intention.
And if your intention is to feel better or to have a more peaceful relationship with food. Now, now we're talking, now we can get. Um, and so it starts with w you know, how it's as basic as, how do you want to eat, you know, paying attention to hunger? When are you getting hungry? Um, and when you, what you choose to eat, how does it feel in your body?
Um, and I will tell you most human beings need to eat about three times a day. You know, they need to eat something in the morning and it takes about four to five hours to digest a meal. And they'll probably get hungry about four to five hours later, and then another four to five hours. So it's, it becomes more of a pattern, but it's totally internally driven.
Um, and in the same thing with. [00:27:00] You know, when you, when you start eating, how do you know when to stop? Unless you're hungry when you start? So that's a good foundation. And then when you start eating, um, your body's going to tell you, you know, when, when, when I've had enough, now that doesn't mean that you might sometimes eat over that or eat under it, you know, cause this isn't a perfect process.
It's not about perfection and I guarantee you, your body will help you get it right. If you're paying attention to it, your body helps you. And I think it's, it's also helpful to think about this is another thing that diet culture teaches you, that hunger is. You know, you want to avoid because you know, most diets, all diets by definition are restrictive.
And so if you wouldn't babies get hungry and that becomes the enemy. And I think it's really empowering to look at hunger as a positive food tastes better when you are. Um, it, the hunger helps. That's your body working perfectly. It's telling you, Hey, it's time to eat. Um, and then, so that [00:28:00] connection can feel really empowering.
That whole idea of your body helps you. That's another thing, diet keto diet culture takes away from us as trusting your own body. And it's the, um, the comparison I often use is would you follow it? Somebody else's schedule on Wednesday. You know, it's not something that I can't urinate. No, that is perfect.
That is a really good actually, that's really good. Right. So your own body is so wonderful at telling you what it needs. If you mess up, you, you make a mistake, then eating, you eat too little or too much. Your body helps you, even it out. You know, if you under eat, it will, you'll get hungry sooner. If you eat a larger meal, it will take longer to get hungry.
Um, so your body, you can trust your body. Now it might take a while because you know, when you're not used to using your body in that way, and that's what. To [00:29:00] me a really perfect first step is just paying attention to hunger and fullness and how that feels in one spot. And the other piece of that is often people use the word hunger.
When they want to eat, whether it's physical hunger or another reason to eat. And so just paying attention to that too, I think is helpful to distinguish, you know, people use, um, food for non hunger reasons all the time, and it's not like it's a crime. Um, but you know, if you're using it as a coping strategy, for instance, um, you may want to investigate other coping strategies.
So you have rest less of a reliance on. If your reliance doesn't feel good to you, you know, and that's a very personal thing because the diet culture, what it does is it tells us there's a right or wrong way to do things. And if you're wrong that there it is a character flaw, like the quad that you can't and putting quotes on control your eating.
And [00:30:00] so it's, um, it, it's just the process of. Trusting your body. I'll be with that. And, and, and that's going to feel much better than trying to follow a bunch of rules that don't work for you. And then the worst part is people blame themselves when at work. So if you're using your own body, now it's a process.
It'll take time. Um, and it's really an ongoing process because a person's relationship. Well, for instance, um, if, if a person gets sick, let's say, well, you can't rely on hunger as much. Then you need to eat. Your body still needs food. Or often when people are stressed, they lose their appetite, but your body still needs food.
So it's, you know, there's some subtleties, so that whole intuitive eating piece. But, you know, it's a process. The more you pay attention, the more you learn about how your own body works and learn about how you use food. And then you can decide if that [00:31:00] works for you or if you'd like it to be different, but it's all up to the individual.
I love that. And you know, when I bring up, you know, internal trust and listening to the body, sometimes that is really scary for people. I mean, I've experienced that fear of like, well, what do you mean? I just listen to my. Body. Like what if I mess up or what if it's wrong? Or what if something bad happens?
And I love how you're talking about, you know, it will take time. It's kind of an experiment. You take it slow, but I do believe, and I know you believe in, you know, we were talking about health at every size a lot without naming it to Lindo Bacon. So Lindo talks about, you know, really that your body will take care of you.
We, it's just not a concept. We talk about very much in our culture that the body will heal. The body will tell the body will show you what it needs. If we slow down and live. Right, right. That's a [00:32:00] foreign concept in diet culture, and it also doesn't sell anything. So, you know, if you were using your own body and your own Intuit intuition, you're not going to buy something.
Or, you know, something online products or because you're deciding what works for you, which is how it works best. And the whole thing about trust is with eating. You'll always have an opportunity to get closer to what you need, and I encourage people to be curious, just be curious, there's not. You want to take the stress out as much as possible, um, which is also contrary to diet culture.
You know, there's these rigid rules and if you don't follow it, there's all this stress about it. Um, ideally eating is relaxed is such a natural thing. We literally do it almost from the moment we're born. It's something that we have a lot of experience doing. And then at some point we lose touch with that Intuit Intuit.[00:33:00]
Um, so it's there it's always been there. We relied on it for a long time until it got hijacked by diet culture. So it's going back to something that was once very natural. And I think that can be reassuring to look at it like, um, the other piece too, I'm involved off on a bit of a tangent here about comfort food.
Yeah, let's do it because, um, there's a whole category of food that are called comfort foods. Right. So people rely on for comfort. It's not like it's a crime. And when I was talking about like, you know, the, almost the first thing you do is that if you think about infants, that, um, when they cry, cause they're hungry, some bone picks them up in a warming.
And they give them food and it feels good and they stop crying. Well, of course, we're going to associate food with comfort. It's one of the very first things that make an association with, so to use food for comfort, it's very [00:34:00] natural. It only becomes a problem. If, if a person is their only reliance for comfort, or it becomes to an extent that they don't feel good about, but then the thing that it's okay, it is, I'm going to say, this is a statement it's so Katie use food for comfort and probably don't want it to be your only comfort.
Um, but it's okay to use it to enjoy food. You know, that whole. The whole idea that you don't need to feel guilty about whatever you eat, even if you decide in retrospect that wasn't a great choice. I mean, who hasn't had that experience? I was like, oh yeah, done that. And that's why I love you. I, so many people need to hear, you can eat food for comfort and there's nothing wrong.
You, you're not a bad person. You didn't fail. It's just such a natural part of our evolution. Like we've always done that, but you're right. You know, you'd just [00:35:00] be mindful about it. Be curious about it and you're completely correct as well as this. Only coping strategy. And if it is, or if you don't feel good that that's your coping strategy meet, you know, look into other ways to soothe the system.
But it's so natural. You're right. Our first attachment is with our mother and one of the very first ways that we feel safe and we feel, and we have attachment is through food and through feeding. So. So thinking about the new year, thinking about considering intentions setting goals, how would you recommend, um, someone pursue, you know, what if they did want to do make a long, you know, a health goal per se, how do they do that without it becoming, you know, influenced by diet culture?
Well, I think, um, I think it's helpful to look at what you think is working or not working in how you relate to [00:36:00] it or moving. And, um, and from an it's, um, I have this of admit that I picked up in a conference, an eating disorder conference, and I looked at that the other day and I must admit, it said balancing nutrition with pleasure.
And I thought that was such a nice concept. Of ideally what we try and do with eating, you know, you, you want to satisfy the pleasurable aspect of eating, but you also ideally want to give your food all the, or your body, all the nutrients that it. Um, and get that balance that works for you. So, you know, historically, most people don't eat enough fruits and vegetables.
And so like from a basic health wellness standpoint, I think that's always a good one. You know, how are you getting enough of those, the fruits and vegetables? Not because it's a diet thing, but because they're loaded with [00:37:00] nutrients, vitamin C vitamin a. Uh, fiber. Um, and so to me that that's sort of a basic thing.
When I, you know, it's like eating, looking at eating competence, you know, how are you fueling your body? And, you know, the facts are, most people don't eat enough fruits and vegetables. So that would be. Well, how, how has, how am I doing personally getting that fruits and vegetables? The other is fluid is particularly, you know, are you getting enough fluid?
You keep your body well-hydrated, which helps with elimination, with health, with keeping your skin from being too dry and just keeping all the, all the, all the metabolic processes in your body take place in water. So, you know, are you getting enough? So those to me are like two very simple things. That really do promote health.
Now the vegetable piece often that's, uh, has a negative association with diet culture. That's where, well, I could eat these foods. So this is your opportunity to look at it and know what am I body getting from these foods deal in finding really [00:38:00] delightful ways to prepare them. That's the other thing with diet culture, you have to eat.
Plain broccoli or playing whatever. And, um, you know, maybe you want a roast debt, put some olive oil on it and roasted that brings out sort of the sweetness and the, um, the vegetables. So prepare them in a way that tastes good, that you made. Um, so to me, those are two health benefits that everyone can benefit from.
And then the other piece is really paying attention and be curious about. How you're using food, like know, paying attention to hunger, paying attention to fullness and paying attention to why you might eat when you're not hungry. Like why, why, why is that just no judgment? Just pay attention. A lot of eating that a person might do is mindless.
Um, you know, you might walk by and there's some m&ms that you grab a handful, that's not criminal, but you, you want to be aware of what you're doing. And did you [00:39:00] enjoy. You know, when you ate, when you eat something, are you enjoying yet? So many times I'll grab like a, like something that's like sweet and yummy, and then it'll be almost gone and I'll notice, oh my, I didn't even pay attention to this really yummy Danish I was eating.
And the whole point was to enjoy the Danish. I'm just already moving on. You're right. So. When we are enjoying these different foods, are we being mindful and enjoying them versus mindlessly? Right. Which can be another, like if you're focusing on, okay, how do I want to relate to food differently is eating mindfully that, and you know, that's another thing people it's, it tends to be a black or white thing.
Oh, you need to eat mindfully all the time. No, no, no. Just pay attention and. Q1 when you're eating anything. And it doesn't mean that you have to eat every single morsel mindfully [00:40:00] that's again, those diet rules. One of the ones is, um, don't have the TV on or any distractions within when you're eating. Well, it's possible to eat mindfully and have something on in the background.
It truly is. So again, it's, it's what works for you. And the idea is to pay attention so that you're aware of what you're eating and are you, it does. It tastes good. Um, and this, the other thing that I, um, find really interesting, sorry, another tangent, but when people have binged on foods in the past, because it's not really about food, when they give themselves permission.
Unconditionally to eat. They found out they didn't even like those binge foods. I can't tell you the number of times when I really sat down and tasted it and I didn't even like it. Yeah. And so, so it's that mindfulness. So if, you know, if someone wants to just take away one thing, like, what do I want to do differently?
It's trying to eat mindfully, [00:41:00] um, slow down and enjoy and pay attention, um, and see what you really like. And don't. That's really beautiful. Just take the time and you're right. Get to know what you like and what you don't like, because we, we do, we have these ideas of what we want and anytime someone is prob not anytime, but a lot of times for us, if we're told we can't have something, we want it even more.
Right. That's probably part of the appeal. That's a lot of the appeal. So when you have permission, Anything you want, what truly tastes good? What brings my friend? Annie will say, you know, there's optimal foods and there's easy to go to foods, but then there's the foods that you're like. Hmm. Like it just meets all your needs down to the tip of your toes.
You know, what are those foods to, and are we really aware? What brings us that, that satisfaction and paying attention to that. Yeah. Yep. Yeah. [00:42:00] And to allow yourself a space as nonjudgmental about it, to just discover your, what you want your relationship to be, and it takes paying attention, whether it's eating mindfully or how your body feels, but, but curiosity without judging.
Um, and I think that's the biggest peak, but that's where, you know, it's really hard to block out the diet culture, you know, because it's been reinforced so much. So that is part of the process too, is to perhaps be aware that those thoughts surface, but, you know, but I, you know, use an internal dialogue, like, but I'm looking at this differently now.
Which brings us, you know, as we close, because again, we could talk about this for hours or I could, you know, you could, um, which we'll probably have you back because it's such a great topic and we can expand on it in so many different ways. What can people do? Let's close with things that people can do to.
You know, feel [00:43:00] better, a different, a counterculture way of existing in the world. You just started naming one of them, really just creating that internal mantra or that new internal narrative to that. Self-talk like, that's, you know, maybe that's what they're doing. And this is okay for me, you know, but what do you think are some other things that people can do?
Yeah. So one thing I think that's a really can be a simple thing, but pretty impactful. What research shows us is that how habit changes and if people feel good about what they're doing, because what that does is it releases dopamine in your brain and your brain is you're like, oh, I like that. That's a feel good chemical.
And so you want to do it again. So when you are acting on behaviors that are in your interest, Like I, you know, for instance, someone might say, um, I was really being mindful of what I was eating today that you give yourself an ad, a girl or an [00:44:00] attaboy to get that dopamine hit, because then you want to do it again.
And what you want to avoid doing is beating yourself up for things, because you're not going to want to, you know, it's not going to put you in a position where you can easily act on positive behavior. So really appreciate. Any, even little progress that oppression being that that is going to move you forward.
And when you are acting on you, if your goal is to get, let's say more water and you decide on a specific amount maybe, or fluids, let's say that's eight cups a day and you do that. Give yourself positive reinforcement. Hey, I did that. No matter how small it seems, because all these behaviors are hard to do and the more.
I think there's a lot of the eating and die culture that we've learned are, are simply. You know, a person they might be holdovers or diet culture. So it's helpful to question that, but then to disciple, what do you want your habits looking for going [00:45:00] forward to look like, and then be specific about how you want to accomplish that?
You know, like eating more fruits and vegetables to always have a vegetable with not always, don't do always and never a vegetable with one. Yeah. You know, every day, this week and see how that goes and then have a plan like, okay, so I have carrots and I have lettuce and I have whatever so that you have backup.
So you can be successful because that's what you want to do. And the biggest thing, I think justice, self-compassion B you know, people have this idea in their mind that the more they beat themselves up, the more they're going to act on positive behaviors. And that couldn't be farther from the truth. I'm shaking my head, like, no, you know?
Right, right. So self-compassionate because this whole, you know, people do it, you know, it's not a choice. People don't say, Hey, I'm going to be involved in diabetes. You know, you're initiated through a variety of means. And so working one's way out of that [00:46:00] takes time and patience. And it's a process and that works much better with self-compassion well, and research even shows that when we're compassionate, people who are compassionate with themselves, they reach their goals much quicker, their goals, they maintain them much longer.
And the people who are compassionate with themselves actually are. The yeah, they report that they just feel better the entire time. They don't beat themselves up about it. And that helps them move forward and continue on. And we're talking about long-term health behaviors of, you know, trying to take care of ourselves self care.
And I, I see it all the time. The number one stopper of any positive behavior or positive way of thinking is when we're not compassionate with ourselves, when. Because all that again, does is fire in our brain. That it's a threat, right. Who wants to be criticized even when we're internally doing it, which is another cultural thing that, you know, we think criticism.[00:47:00]
Yeah, we'd rather criticize someone then, you know, offer compassion or support or guidance and, you know, but the, the self criticism criticizing other people, it doesn't work. It just makes our brain not want to do that whatsoever. And so that compassion truly does help us reach our goals. It's not about giving yourself permission to do nothing.
We're not saying that we're saying, give yourself permission to be human it's just really about that kindness. Yeah. Yeah. I totally agree. Yeah. Well, Janice, thank you so much. I loved having you on today. Thank you. Yeah, you're very welcome.
It was wonderful. Thank you for having me. How can people learn more about you or find you because I know that they will want to. , they can contact you through the eating disorder support network as the sort of support network. Um, I do have a website, Janice Antoniewicz-Werner consultanting. Okay. And I'll have it in the [00:48:00] show notes. Then everyone can find you because you do have your own private practice where you offer services. I do I do. And I'm very happy to support people in this process.
It's like my personal goal is to help people be. Joyful and peaceful eaters. You are my number one person to send people to. Because I just know they're going to finally get, you know, the messages that they needed to hear for a really long time and the right kind of support around food.
So I'm just so grateful we have you in our community. Well, thank you. And likewise, thank you.
Thank you again for joining us on Insight Mind Body Talk, a body-centered mental health podcast. We hope today's episode was empowering and supported you in strengthening your mind-body connection We're your hosts Jeanne and Jess. Please join us again as we [00:49:00] continue to explore integrative approaches to wellbeing. Until then, take care.