Disordered Eating & Our Relationship With Food - PCOS Diva
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202 – DISORDERED EATING & OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD [PODCAST WITH LYDIA KNIGHT]

 

 

 

Binge eating can be a common issue with PCOS because of hormonal imbalances. Binge eating is also considered a disordered eating habit. Disordered eating is a circumstance that affects up to 75% of women.

On today’s podcast, Dr. Vinu talks with Lydia Knight about how our relationship with food affects our eating habits, how to change our disordered eating habits and take effective action. Lydia Knight is a certified health coach and eating disorder expert.

Tune in as they discuss:

  • Our relationship with food The connection between emotions and food
  • The different types of eating disorders
  • How to break an eating disordered habit
  • How to take effective action Fasting pros and cons with disordered eating

 

 

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Resources Mentioned:

The She Center Programs

The She Center Facebook Group

podcast.theshecenter.org/pcosdiva

 

FULL TRANSCRIPT

Hello everyone and welcome to another PCOS diva podcast. This is your host Dr. Vinu Jyothi. I am a preventive medicine specialist and a member of the PCOS Team.

Today we are going to be talking about a topic that I think is going to hit home for so many women listening. I can probably guarantee that when most of you go to the doctor’s office, we hear you need to lose weight. Either you need to go on a low carb or ketogenic or a paleo diet. You know, whatever the doctor thinks is the best approach for managing your PCOS lifestyle. I think for a lot of us the thought of just going on a strict diet. It sends us in exactly the opposite direction and can lead to a lot of stress eating and emotional eating. I have brought in an expert today to talk to us about ways that we can avoid that pitfall.

I want to introduce everyone to Lydia Knight. Welcome Lydia.

Hello, so wonderful to be on your podcast. Thank you for that beautiful introduction and super excited for our conversation today.

 

Dr. Vinu Jyothi:

Absolutely. And let me introduce you to our audience.

Lydia Knight is the mission and founder of Mission Center is revolutionizing our culture by empowering individuals to move from self centered, self fulfilling and contribute the highest gifts you can imagine created of the Empower prosper in rice programs. Media embodies Effective Altruism initiatives that uplift women and children globally. She is a certified health coach, an eating disorder expert and recipient of the sacred service award. This groundbreaking approach has worked on a lot of recognition. So Lydia, I am really excited to be talking to you today. And you know, let’s start off with Yeah, I was just thinking about, you know, a podcast today and I was like, well sleepers hunger, you know, they’re all you know, basic requirements of life. But how did we end up developing such a complicated relationship? With food? You know?

 

Lydia Knight:
It’s a great question. Absolutely. It’s one of the things that can be so complex and feel sometimes powerless and sometimes overly exciting or inconvenient or we just have so much emotional charge around food. When you think about it. It’s something that we had an association with pretty much every day our entire lives. So emotional experiences, ups and downs and memories are all very centered and connected around that. And then the other side about it is that you have biology that really prioritizes us being nourished. Like we come from a lineage of human beings that are all here because they didn’t starve a lot in our biology that signals to us how important it is to eat too much to nourish ourselves to have energy to have pleasure, and it can feel like Battle sometimes. So it can be complex and also be very simplified in a way that we are very empowered. But yeah, pretty much everyone has a complex relationship with food. It’s been around

 

Dr. Vinu Jyothi:

since a reward. Right? Absolutely. Yes. And, you know, the audience you know, he was he was, you know, some of them have been fighting some of them are struggling you know, the PCOS. And a lot of women with PCOS, it could be either due to the hormone imbalance that is of the process itself, and then the also the blood sugar fluctuations. There’s even statistics that say up to 90% of women with PCOS have some kinds of eating disorder. So, exactly. So this, you know, so how did you get introduced to eating disorders, you know, what’s your story and all that stuff?

 

Lydia Knight:
Yeah. Thank you so much for asking. So I had myself for a very long time for many years. And it was what I felt so out of control, like into food, but not all the time, because I was a health coach and as a healthy person. And so most of the time I would feel very controlled and I was extremely intentional. And then there would be times I would just start eating and I felt like I could stop I felt totally powerless. I just kept going and going until I was physically in pain. Now, at the time I thought that I was just my own personal brand crazy like it really freaked me out. Like honestly, especially somebody who would assemble career. If you like something like this. I think this is very, very relatable I know intellectually, that it will change your life if you can see our life in a better and healthier way. But we see ourselves doing the opposite make it extremely confusing. So I had no idea that I had an eating disorder. I just thought it was really happening and I just had to fix it somehow and move on and never do it again. UNC Chapel Hill study came out that talks about 75% of women struggle with a sort of knee. And it’s really hard to know about that because a lot of people don’t know that they haven’t eat disorder. They think they’re just that dieting or they like sugar too much or they have no willpower. That is really something that can be directly transformed when we know how to do it. But 90% of people PCOS something like this is something where you know certain ways lifestyle, living health challenges, whatever it is higher. So it’s really important to understand that it’s not hopeless that you can absolutely shift and change but a lot of traditional thinking is about that. It is some sort of disease that we can never end but we know that there is hope, no matter what your health or your lifestyle is to really have a very peaceful and healthy relationship with food. It’s it’s just

 

Dr. Vinu Jyothi:

that is such a horrible thing to say because a lot of us just accepted to the way I am, you know, oh, maybe something’s wrong with me, but then you have hope you could change the way you’re thinking about food. You know, we spend so much mental energy, thinking about it and thinking about food, and then it ends up being counterintuitive when you are eating more than when you plan for me, you know, so it’s a lot of resources and energy that goes into it, you know. So, the other the other follow up question I had whenever I’m feeling emotional. I know a lot of women do we tend to eat our feelings, you know, it’s literally like discomfort and you want to eat something you’re stressed you’re angry and the food becomes a company in control and you can contract is that something you see often?

 

Lydia Knight:
Great question. So the connection between emotions and food is something that is extremely associated because we are emotional beings. And so almost all the time, especially when you want something for comfort or something or something to wind down at the end of the day, and it is associated with emotions. So although those things are connected, it goes back to the same theme that we’ve been touching on which is just because something is presence doesn’t mean that it’s controlling you. It just means that there’s a factor so yes, it’s a hard day you feel high emotions that you feel shame, or anger or you feel anxiety, and you might find a pattern of but I feel this way then I need something sweet. And what’s happening there is that it’s not like eating something is changing our emotions, like yes, it shifts our state but it’s it’s not something that’s soothing or helpful. It’s it’s something that regulates where it’s like a high or a low, it has to feel more really it’s somewhere in the middle. But the wonderful and amazing things about emotions and how we experience them is that we can learn that emotions don’t hurt us and that we can fully experience our emotions that you move through us that we don’t need to seek to change or alter that we can just let ourselves experience the emotion and we don’t need to eat over it or we don’t need to try them on ourselves in some way. So all those things are very associated with the tools and patterns we can change those patterns in our life so that when we feel emotions, that’s what they are. We feel emotions instead of having to feel like we have to do something about it to feel a different way and that’s that’s life changing.

 

Dr. Vinu Jyothi:

Oh yeah, jeven when you say, wow, it sounds very simple. Just experience the emotion, right? Whether it is angry, distressed, sometimes if you just sit and realize, Okay, I am stressed. You know, it’s part of my day and realize that we just experienced that and then you make a good solution. You know, that’s a beautiful way to look at, you know, to just experience that emotion. You very beautifully portrayed and  I can really relate to that.

When we say eating disorders, right, we say like affordable value, or, you know, is it just you know, people who binge eat or emotion is that the only type or you know, what is an eating disorder?

 

Lydia Knight:
Yeah, this is a really great question, because a lot of times there’s there’s charged around our stigma around it. Where we will need to look at what that is because we don’t want that label. And actually, we need definitions for things right. So to be recoverable, good insurance, certainly whatever. When it comes to our real human experience, it’s more useful to look at what is our experience, how is it impacting our life, and to not so much leave it as a label that language is important so we can understand the different varieties of how we need other people to feel like us. We share a fairly will we can connect that way. But really the only difference between disordered eating and eating disorder is how frequent and how severe it is. And so when you say what are you experiencing, oftentimes there’s a cycle associated with it. So like with binge eating, it’s eating a large amount of food and certain times we look through the definition of it, and then there’s been like Alenia where we’re doing something about that, right, where there is a binge, and there’s some sort of purge to be extremely dangerous. So it was really hard to understand anytime you protect food, whether it’s through vomiting some other way, but especially through purging through vomiting that can instantly stop my heart so that can be instant death. And sometimes you can think of it as like, oh, you know if I overdid it, but that’s it. We got to do it. normalized, even though you’re talking about people that sometimes can be super dangerous, and things like anorexia, where it’s just the restriction. So there’s usually a cycle of there’s an engine of restriction that can look like different things. But the real issue is that when we do those behaviors repeatedly, it turns into a habit, and that actually drives the disordered eating or eating disorders getting on where you’re at. It’s a habit that drives it a habit. And so that’s something that’s really helpful as I was like, you can break that habit, but it feels so personal, about that cycle. So those are the elements you want to look at. There’s a whole spectrum of your personal experiences

 

Dr. Vinu Jyothi:

that say, Yes, you know, like you said, I do I have disordered eating, or more than that, if you have an eating disorder, they will discharge next, what would be your strategy for them to you know, take that next step and kind of dig into deeper into what that is and you know, what kind of solution should they be looking at?

Lydia Knight:
Yeah, well, first of all, just celebrate. Once you have that awareness, and you take action around it, that is the very, very best thing you can do. Because the only way that we stay stuck is when we do the awareness was like when I want to continue to learn how to be more aware versus taking action. So just taking action is a fantastic professionalism. So first, we have the awareness right, and then need to take action. And if that action is an effective action, that leads to transformation, where it’s no longer just at raising awareness, action and transformation, but the only way that transformation happens is if that action is effective. So that’s why it’s so important to not do this on your own right. We we live in a world where there’s so much information out there, but information is not transformation. So I would really look at if you want to be done with this, once you have the awareness take action in a way where you’re partnering, celebrates effective action, where the action is going to lead to something lasting versus mentality of Well, I just want to work on this for the rest of my life and it might never get better but just manage it. That’s a lot of mentality around disorders. But would that be effective action that it can lead to a transformation where you can say I used to struggle with this, I don’t anymore. And that can be using on to bigger goals in life.

 

Dr. Vinu Jyothi:

Beautifully said. it’s not just the awareness and also taking action. And we live in a world now where everything just happened so quickly, new information. You don’t have to wait for the library. You don’t have to wait to go there. So everyone is looking for these fast solutions. Nobody wants these, like in the middle of their action. I want them to sell stuff. You know, we live in such a fast paced world. And what would you say to people that you know, just want immediate transformation, whatever action you looking into put in?

Speaker 2
That is really important thing to investigate like, the questions because what’s really interesting is that the most effective solutions are oftentimes pretty rapid. When you’re doing something that has a lot of expertise behind it where it doesn’t optimize that a lot of types of solutions can happen quite quickly. But there’s also a whole just sort of like, you know, get rich fast enough like for instance like just like retire. Those things you want to be very aware of and sadly especially when it comes to women and their health, there are so many things out there that too, so much more harm than they do good. And a lot of times there’s going to be some sort of promise especially rapidly lost as a huge, huge, huge red flag or something where it’s been started about really fast because that actually that restricted dieting that rapid weight loss often comes from is because it’s 18 times more likelihood to have disorder. So something actually makes the problem worse long term. Like have had a trust where Okay, is this something that is trying to pull me in for something fast? It doesn’t talk about how we maintain this or how we make this long term what what are we going to do after we lost that but you know, if we’re not having a long term plan, and that’s definitely a red flag, but if you find something that is effective, where you can see the long term plan, long term plan is to just be struggling forever, where it’s like alright, chapter one, we’re gonna work on these things. And this is how we’re gonna make that last. That’s something that you can trust because a lot of times, especially when it comes to food and eating, especially with this sort of conversation, there’s this mentality of it’s gonna be forever but she doesn’t need to. So for instance, I mean we had clients come to us that after 40 years of struggling with an eating disorder, we’re completely free and have been for five, seven years now. And they were free within two weeks, 14 days or five weeks of working with us. So it can happen very quickly. There’s a lot of factors in place so that you have something really, really effective. So it’s sort of there’s a similar feeling successful and sweet. Have something you have a long term plan.

 

Dr. Vinu Jyothi:

And whenever people think about changes in accounting, and then they think I’m not going to be a deprovision and die people to my life, is that what the term is like, you know, and then that kind of spirals out into you know, oh, tomorrow something tomorrow is gonna be the first day and the first days never here, you know, that kind of fear that feeds into like, Oh, I’m gonna postpone this because this is going to be died in preparation. That’s what I’m looking towards. So how can you have a money? mindset shift? We’re not looking at this as you know, a punishment or deprivation and wanting something good that you believe in yourself, right?

Lydia Knight:
Yeah, this is a really important thing to look at, because you have a reaction to deprivation. And that’s, that’s natural. So it’s important to like, everything’s right if you have a negative reaction to deprivation, and what we’ve been talking about is permanent to freedom without restricting anything. Because as soon as we feel restricted as soon as we cut something out something that you feel deprived in it creates cravings for those things. So it really is a paradigm shift where you are doing the things that are nourishing and healthy for you not to try to temporarily do something to force your body to do something else. But it really is about changing those patterns. And I won’t even say it’s a lifestyle change because there’s so many restrictive diets that have been marketed as a lifestyle. But it is it’s a reasonable habits isn’t the relationship with yourself, and you can eat in a way that really serves you and your health without being in a state of deprivation. But there’s quite a bit of unlearning that goes along with it when we think about eating more vegetables. So many of us have a strong association with restrictive dieting to the point that our brain sees it in the same way. Even though you might have been through the diet. You can also be professionals because it’s something that is nourishing you’re choosing to do so it’s about working with your brain and your biology to do things that serve you really well without setting off those parts of your brain in biology that react to restriction and so being in that place, there’s a learning that happens there new patterns, it doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it’s so incredibly important to that that’s really what it consists of. Does that make sense?

 

Dr. Vinu Jyothi:

yeah, it does.

when you say you know munching, eating, and then you know, not restrictive, so you know what are all the different values of keto diets and values, and people want to vegetarian nobody wants to be eaten, and they start considering your diet, because it’s not like a temporary fix. And then you’re always depriving yourself and trying to go back or you know, is that something that’s sustainable, then you could do it?

Lydia Knight:
Yeah, I think that if it were sustainable, and we could do it and y’all would have done like 1886. Setting is, you know, 95% failure, you got a couple more years and the failure isn’t set up to fail. And so a good way to be able to determine where your intentions are coming from. Again, this is a skill this is something we want to change but to put it simply in principle for you can ask yourself, if I knew that no matter this is gonna bring up some motions for some people, but just read through it and roll with it. Because there’s an important truth on the other side of this is if I knew that no matter how I need, I would say the same size and I would not lose it. Then how would I How would I show up? Because that’s those are the wires that get cross where it’s, oh, I want to eat this way because it’s healthy. But like 90% of that in the storm of our brain is like, I really wanna be there and I’m gonna want to lose weight. And as soon as we go into our bodies, that doesn’t mean that their bodies won’t respond. We’re going to accept lately, you know, being at a place where it’s healthier for us to be a little weaken our bodies will be our focus focusing on weight loss. If our focus is something that is essentially starvation on our bodies, then our bodies are going to react that way. So people that come from a place like it are supposed to be vegetarian because of course, like that’s their belief in life and it doesn’t matter what we eat, or some can be vegetarian or vegan or whatever it is because they’re really, really hoping that it’s actually going to untangle those things to really see where your intentions and desires are coming from and make it very, very sustainable. It’s a skill but it’s something you can’t practice

 

Dr. Vinu Jyothi:

Absolutely, I identify with that, because my husband is a vegetarian, by choice. He just has no desire for texture, you know, he’s not forcing himself it’s either been overcome something natural, but as you know, some Australian power, vegetarian, just as an example of depriving yourself of something that you always enjoy, and always be at the back of your mind. So what do you say, you know, if that’s what you want to do, and that’s what he likes to do two different things. That it is going from coming from different perspective, you know, so another thing I want to ask you if you’re this comes from a personal space because I always practice intermittent fasting, and I always thought it was really beneficial to me. And I also know it helps them in a lot of conditions. And also it helps with diabetes and keeping your insulin levels, you know, throughout the day keeps it pretty normal. Pretty. So that said, could that end up being restricted diet or is it just you know, you take the regular food, it’s more restrictive timing, because I’ve always heard two schools of thought, you know, intermittent fasting is just restrictive dieting, and other people say well you’re just making a little bit sharper, but then you don’t perceive yourself. So I am really curious to know your take on that.

Lydia Knight:
Yes, this is this is important because there are lots of ways to be healthy, and intermittent fasting has incredible health benefits, like many other things, and you only get some benefits if you actually do the thing, and it’s sustainable. So I bring this up, because a lot of times people can get in a cycle of intermittent fasting for the health benefits. But when you look back at what’s actually happening, it’s not happening right? It’s the whole day without eating because fasting things at night with the promise that whenever it’s asked, it’s about getting it tomorrow, so it’s okay, so it’s an unhealthy cycle. But it works really best for people who have zero issue with their relationship with food. If you already have a relationship with food, you would never want to change that you are totally, totally good with and it’s a great place to play with the way that you’re eating to have it be beneficial for you just have like a terrible example here. Like how many of us know sugar is not good for us, and have sort of like, Oh, I hope you shouldn’t have decided for me, but when we tried to restrict it or decline it and we’re actually eating a lot more sugar. So you need to look at what’s actually happening in your behavior and not getting so stuck on like oh, this is supposed to be really happy. Like, am I doing it with ease, and I can see myself doing this for years to come. And there’s no sort of like waiting to find start eating this other way again, if you can see that total ease and they do things and certain things that are healthy. But the issue is that there are a lot of women that approach and fasting with a really disordered relationship with food already. And that’s an attractive way to eat. Because it’s sort of a way of not having to eat for a while, right? It’s the substance that we can like I’m gonna be absent for booze, you’re gonna have to eat so it can be attractive to people that struggle with food because the way to control themselves more but there’s a huge backfire when it comes to that. So yes, it can be incredibly beneficial and healthy only if you’re actually doing an absolutely column with it. You actually already worked on your relationships that was absolutely the most successful.

 

Dr. Vinu Jyothi:

No, don’t get this word on that, you know, because I want to say that you know, so as long as you corrected them, and like you said we have that easy relationship with food that seems like a perfect thing, or else I can definitely see how it can backfire. Your

Lydia Knight:
parallel example there is running a healthy behavior totally. But if you have a broken leg, going for a run every morning, it’s not going to serve you even though it’s a healthy behavior. You need to kill your leg first have a good foundation. You’ve got to look at your process

 

Dr. Vinu Jyothi:

in a one size fits all, you know, every person has to look at it for themselves and see you know, with stemming from the fact that you know, there’s never gonna be one solution that just works for everyone. That’s right, that’s going to happen. So we absolutely are. So this this has been an idiom. So what would you say to women that are listening and you know, they’re not thinking a different perspective on how to look at how to stop making that complicated relationship and kind of just simplifying, which which is you think about a mental note. It just makes it so much easier. And you know, what, what would you say more just add on to this?

Lydia Knight:
Yeah. Great. Great to look at that because, you know, on my heart, for say is that so many of our clients with PCOS there is this mentality of it’s a struggle, right? Like your your cravings, your insulin resistance, all of these things are coming up about waking. All of these things that make it feel more more hopeless or more difficult or because I have PCOS is a struggle and all of that is so valid, like our initial experiences are valid, but oftentimes is a shift of focus that makes all the difference. So to have a parallel example here, if someone has a temper, right, like you can look at the factors that you don’t have control over, you can say, Oh, well, my mother was with anger and she has these neuro chemicals or you know, hormonal makeup onto me or I have these circumstances that make me feel angry. And yes, there are things that you don’t have power over. But when you focus on the things you do have power over, like yes, you might have because of PCOS, craving for them, or sugar. And you also have the power to work with your habits and to work with your money and to work with your patterns to be able to change that despite some struggle. So to really focusing on spices and that one acknowledge that it’s not very simple, but it’s not easy. Like the truth of things are things that really matter in a difference oftentimes, are the most and the hardest things that we’ve ever done, because we’re really bringing ourselves to a truth of our power and our personal path. I think it’s a really important thing to look at. Because in my own story, I don’t struggle with food at all, which feels like a miracle because there are times where I didn’t want to keep living because I thought that the last breath I would still be thinking about food and that hamster wheel round and round. And to know that you can really have that shift when you have the right support when you have people in contrast around you. So that’s

 

Dr. Vinu Jyothi:

that’s such a great message, you know, because your pleadings and so we have some things that are going into PCOS. But there’s a need to embrace that and you know, there’s a way to focus on the things and change mindset. That was a beautiful message. And our listeners would like to know more about you. Can you give us a way to reach you and other resources?

Lydia Knight:
Yes, absolutely. So, on a PC recipe books out there, we have something really fun for your community in particular, we have a collection of some of our best resources for you guys. So we have a really fun quiz that you can find out your relationship status goes to food, and our master class is under the beautiful cookies. It’ll be that way to take action like we talked about. So we have those on a special page for you guys. If you go to podcast dot the she center.org forward slash PCOS diva, then we’ll have a collection of those resources for you. So that would be a really fun thing to experience and we should update that. As you go there just remember to celebrate that. So many people stop after listening or they stop at the observing to go there to take action to really think of what is your next step is incredible celebration and just give yourself lots lots of credit, as you

 

Dr. Vinu Jyothi:

know absolutely. So that would be awesome video. Thank you so much. It was real pressure documented technology information.

Unknown Speaker
Thank you so much for having me on.

 

Dr. Vinu Jyothi:

Thank you. Thank you. Definitely, really well. Thank you so much. I will see read information. I’m sure it’s gonna be really valuable to our listeners. Wonderful.

 

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