Thanks for joining us for episode 119 of The Ancestral RDs podcast. If you want to keep up with our podcasts, subscribe in iTunes and never miss an episode! Remember, please send us your question if you’d like us to answer it on the show.
Aglaée Jacob is a non-diet dietitian and heart and soul nutritionist. But it didn’t start out that way. After working for over 10 years as a Registered Dietitian, first as a diabetes educator and then has a digestive health expert and author, she was finally ready to reveal her terrible secret. A secret she was so ashamed of that she even hid it from herself for years.
Aglaée suffered from disordered eating for about two decades, which even reached the point of an eating disorder called binge eating disorder for many of those years. She’s now passionate about helping other women heal their relationship with food and their body with her unique Radicata SEED Protocol to help them break free from their 15 degree life and finally embrace a full 360 degree life.
If you’re ready for fresh insight into disordered eating behavior and revelation of how to find the root cause and begin to truly heal, this episode is sure to deliver.
Aglaée Jacob is with us to share her personal story of her struggle and recovery from disordered eating as she guides us through her holistic approach to healing by incorporating the body, mind, heart, and soul.
Just some of what we discussed with Aglaée is how prolonged elimination diets can lead to disordered eating, how fighting the body’s instinct for nourishment by under-eating stalls healing, and how disordered eating behaviors are symptoms that manifest as a result of unresolved deeper life issues and thought patterns.
You’ll come away with a revelation of how looking beyond food and the physical body can result in profound healing from disordered eating and transformation of lives.
Here is some of what we discussed with Aglaée:
- [00:03:46] How the desire to discover the secret to weight loss propelled Aglaée into the dietetics field, and the effect her education had on her eating behaviors
- [00:07:15] What made Aglaée share her struggles of her history of disordered eating
- [00:13:14] An explanation of the spectrum of disordered eating and what the difference is between disordered eating and an eating disorder
- [00:15:46] How prolonged elimination diets or restrictive eating plans for digestive conditions can lead to disordered eating
- [00:17:47] The role restrictive eating due to digestive issues played in Agalee’s disordered eating and the importance of investigating the underlying reason behind the desire to restrict foods
- [00:20:41] How under-eating and fighting the body’s instinct to eat stalls healing
- [00:23:06] The role body image plays in disordered eating behavior
- [00:26:31] How unresolved deeper life issues manifest as body image concerns
- [00:29:33] Aglaée’s approach to working with people to address the root of disordered eating
- [00:36:37] How becoming aware of her inner critic and dropping self-judgment helped Aglaée in her process of recovering from disordered eating
- [00:42:08] Aglaée’s message to get those dealing with disordered eating started on the journey of healing
- [00:45:49] The four components Aglaée addresses beyond food when working with clients
- [00:50:01] How not working on emotions and thoughts is a barrier to healing
- This episode is sponsored by Paleo Rehab
- Radicata Nutrition Transformation program
- Find Aglaée on Facebook and Instagram
- Radicata Nutrition Community Facebook group
Kelsey: Hi everyone! Welcome to episode 119 of The Ancestral RDs podcast. I’m Kelsey Kinney and with me as always is my cohost Laura Schoenfeld.
Laura: Hey everybody!
Kelsey: We’re Registered Dietitians with a passion for ancestral health, real food nutrition, and sharing evidence-based guidance that combines science with common sense. You can find me at KelseyKinney.com, and Laura at LauraSchoenfeldRD.com.
We have a great guest on our show today who’s going to share her insight into her own struggles and recovery from disordered eating and how she can help you recover as well. We’re so glad she’s joining us and we think you’ll really enjoy this episode.
Laura: If you’re enjoying the show, subscribe on iTunes so that way you never miss an episode. And while you’re in iTunes, leave us a positive review so that others can discover the show as well. And remember we want to answer your question, so head over to TheAncestralRDs.com to submit a health related question that we can answer or suggest a guest you’d love for us to interview on an upcoming show.
Kelsey: Before we get into our interview, here’s a quick word from our sponsor:
This episode is brought to you by Paleo Rehab, a five week online program designed to help you recover from HPA axis dysfunction, also known as adrenal fatigue. Is your perfect Paleo diet and lifestyle leaving you exhausted? Now is the time to start feeling the health and wellness you know you deserve. If you’re sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, and are ready to take back your health, then head over to MyPaleoRehab.com to get your free 28 page e-book on the 3 step plan for healing from adrenal fatigue. That’s www.MyPaleoRehab.com
Kelsey: Welcome back, everyone. We are so pleased to have with us today AglaéeJacob. Aglaée is a non-diet dietitian and heart and soul nutritionist. But it didn’t start out that way. After working for over 10 years as a Registered Dietitian, first as a diabetes educator and then has a digestive health expert and author, she was finally ready to reveal her terrible secret. A secret she was so ashamed of that she even hid it from herself for years. Aglaée suffered from disordered eating for about two decades, which even reached the point of an eating disorder called binge eating disorder for many of those years. She’s now passionate about helping other women heal their relationship with food and their body with her unique Radicata SEED Protocol to help them break free from their 15 degree life and finally embrace a full 360 degree life.
Aglaée: Hi! Thanks for having me!
Kelsey: We’re super excited to have you today because I think this is going to be a really great episode and it’s about a topic that I think is just so, so important to talk about these days. I know obviously you’ve worked in the dietetic field for a long time at this point, so what do you feel like drew you into this world in the first place?
Aglaée: Good question, yes. I was 15 when I made the decision of becoming a Dietician partly because I didn’t even know it was a thing, but my cousin was starting studying that so it kind of drew me in that direction. The main reason that I don’t really like talking about is actually because I thought that I would finally find the magic secret to lose weight and the perfect body. That was the main thing that drew me there.
Kelsey: It’s kind of funny you say that because I feel like going to school for nutrition and dietetics, that was something that I noticed with a lot of my classmates. I’m very fortunate to say that I’ve honestly never really dealt with disordered eating really. But it’s something that I would see in a lot of my classmates where you could kind of tell that they thought about food a little bit differently, there was this disordered way of thinking about it.
I think they went into it with the same idea that you did that it was going to fix all their problems if only they could learn all of this stuff about nutrition. I think that’s a really common story actually within the nutrition field, which is unfortunate and it’s a very sad thing, but I do think it’s very common.
As you went to school for that and you learned all this stuff, did you feel like it helped? I have to ask, of course.
Aglaée: It was a bit of a rollercoaster there were times where I thought, okay, now I know I just need to count calories, and do it this way, and those grams of this and that, and I need to do this. There was always that hope and that thrill of discovery, and learning something new, and hoping that that was it.
I remember at that time there was a big thing about… I can’t remember her name, but it was about the calorie density and how to add a ton of low calorie food to your meal to kind of dial in the calories, and it helps you feel fuller and longer, and all of that.
I was always discovering something new and thought that, okay, this is it! I will finally find what’s wrong with me and why I eat too much, and overeat, and emotionally eat. But then I would always feel disappointed and going lower, lower, lower in my self-esteem and my confidence, and even affected my credibility, how I felt credible to be able to help other people.
I don’t think that it was necessarily the best, the most helpful thing to help me know how to eat normally at all, unfortunately.
Kelsey: Yeah, and again I think that’s sadly a common story. You just realize that that isn’t the answer to all these sort of problems.
And even for those that aren’t going to dietetic school, if they are learning about nutrition on their own, they faced similar things, too. Right?
Kelsey: Yeah absolutely. Laura and I have known you for a few years now and we never knew that you struggled with disordered eating. What finally made you want to come out to the world and kind of share those struggles?
Aglaée: Yeah, came out of the closet.
Aglaée: Well I felt like there was something wrong with the way I ate and related to food, and all those ups and downs, and restricting and then over eating and bingeing. Actually all those times I thought, all those years even though I was in the “Paleo” community or eating that way… and of course when I found that, I thought it would fix everything because a lot of experts in that community would say that eating this way will take away all of your cravings and it’s impossible to over eat when you eat Paleo. Well, I’ve got some news for you, it’s not necessarily true. Actually I thought it was just because I was not trying hard enough. I felt like my disordered eating was normal and there was just, that it was something wrong with me that I had to fix.
Actually there was a long process. I worked with a therapist and life coaches, not necessarily on my relationship with food, but some issues related to body image, and my overall confidence, and trying to discover who I really am and how to be more better able to show up at that person that I want to be and create the life that I want to create for myself.
All of that kind of started healing my relationship with food quite naturally. And then actually it’s just a bit earlier this year in 2017 that I started looking back and seeing what a journey it had been. And then I said, yeah, that was pretty messed up. I can’t believe I went through all of that and I used to do that.
There was times where I would bake usually two batches of cookies because I was trying to have some left for my husband or the rest of the family. But I knew that if I would make only one batch, I would eat it all and I would have to make another one, so I would make two at once. I mean sometimes there would be leftovers and no one else was interested in the cookies, so I would throw them in the trash to try not eating them, but then would go back in the trash and get them out of the trash and eat them unless there was some kind of really disgusting stuff. But yeah, there’s not too much that would stop me from eating everything that was there.
When I started thinking about all of these food behaviors that I was so ashamed of, I started feeling more compassion for myself because I had come a long way and it just occurred to me like well, I need to check out that definition, those criteria for a binge eating disorder. I had looked at them like about 10 years ago when I was just starting working as a Dietitian. And of course you learn about some eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, but binge eating disorder was not something we talked about too much when I was in school about 12 years ago.
So I discovered that by myself and then it was just so much shame would come up when I would read those criteria still dealing with it. But now earlier this year, I just read them and said, yes, okay. I felt like it was like the final healing that needed to happen to just really acknowledge and recognize what was there and everything, all the steps that I took to move away from that.
Working as a Dietitian, I know there is just so, so many people struggling with… even though it’s not an eating disorder specifically, or binge eating disorder, or other form of disorder because it’s a whole spectrum. So I really felt like I needed to speak up, and it was time and I felt ready. I felt strong. We hear sometimes you shouldn’t share your wounds while they’re still bleeding, but I felt like my wounds were healed and I was ready to just share that and hopefully help others dealing with those same issues.
Yeah. And I think that’s honestly such a great thing because like you were saying, there’s a lot of shame that goes into some of these behaviors. Especially with something like binge eating disorder, I think there’s maybe even a different type of shame than somebody might experience from something like anorexia or bulimia.
I think it’s really great that you’re speaking out about it because for somebody else who’s struggling with that type of disordered eating, I think it’s really important to hear other people’s stories and see how they’ve gotten through it, how they’ve come out on the other side of that, and as we’re hoping to accomplish in this interview, sort of just hear that story, hear those steps that somebody else had to take to get through it.
Maybe your journey looks a little bit different, but it’s so nice to hear that somebody else has gone through this. They’re sharing everything that they felt, that they went through, and then you know kind of what to expect, at least somewhat, what that road is going to look like. And I think that really, really helps people.
Aglaée: Yes, that’s really my hope.
Kelsey: Yeah. You mentioned that disordered eating is a spectrum. One thing I wanted to ask you to explain is just the difference between disordered eating and an eating disorder. Is there a difference and can you talk a little bit more about that spectrum?
Aglaée: Yeah. I really see it as a whole spectrum. Like on one end that’s on the left side, you have normal eaters where there are still normal eaters and it sounds like you are. You’ve been one of those people. But I find that they’re in the minority nowadays with everything going on with the social media and all those diet books.
Kelsey: I’ll say I’m probably not a normal eater.I’m on the left end of the spectrum. I think you’re right, that’s a minority.
Aglaée: And then on the right hand, we have people meeting the criteria for eating disorder. They meet certain criteria, but there’s anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder. There’s other forms of eating disorders also. I think it’s just trying to put things in a box and we know that at this point it can really start interfering with the quality of life and those sort of things.
But anywhere in between those two extremes, there is that whole spectrum where a lot of people can feel like they’re out of control with food, where they feel they are crazy around food, where sometimes they feel like they are not autopilot and they end up like eating a whole bag of potato chips let’s say or a whole pint of ice cream and wonder how that even happened. It felt like they were abducted by an alien.
For some people it’s just going on that crazy roller coaster of trying to restrict to lose weight, or maybe trying to restrict because they want to heal certain health issues and follow elimination diet and all of that but end up restricting too much and it backfires at some point. Because if you’re starving the body, it will at some point start screaming and asking for more food and that results in over eating. So that whole roller coaster is not a really great place to be and so, so many people are living a version of that.
Kelsey: Yeah. I’m sure because you worked with digestive health clients previously, and that’s sort of where my focus is right now, but I see this a lot especially with digestive health clients because like you said, you go on these elimination diets or you do these very restrictive eating patterns to try to keep symptoms under control, so it feels like it’s this “good” thing to do because you’re trying to heal from something.
But at the end of the day, if you are restricting that intensely for a long period of time, most people are going to end up under-eating. And like you said, that causes the body to just scream out for more calories, more food. And then they can end up kind of being on the other end of the spectrum where they feel like they have this whole array of disordered eating symptoms because of this initial elimination diet or restrictive diet that they were using to try to heal from something else entirely. Did you see that a lot in your practice?
Aglaée: Yeah. Sometimes people may be quite “normal” eaters to start with, but that whole elimination diet process, we have that thought that more is better, so let’s take more, and more, and more, and more food out.
I wrote a book about it about how to do an elimination to heal your digestive health. When I wrote it, I wrote it in a way that’s quite restrictive, and of course I try to explain how to customize that depending on where you are at in your life. That not necessarily easy to do, but a little update: There is a revision coming with more options for that.
Other people may come into an elimination diet with already some form of disordered eating and that can often exacerbate those disordered behaviors.
Kelsey: Yeah. Did you feel like that played a role in your own disordered eating? I know you had digestive problems as well.
Aglaée: Yes. When I say I was trying to heal my own digestive issues, I had SIBO, and was starting to heal from a parasite, and dealing with leaky gut and a lot of food intolerances. I was already eating Paleo, but mostly primal so I was trying to eliminate cheese, and now nightshades and kind of do an AIP protocol. And then oh there’s FODMAPS too, I should remove that, and now the histamine, and trying to do everything at once.
In the back of my mind I was saying well, the more food I eliminate, maybe I will finally be able to lose weight at the same time. I feel like the main thing that can help us discover whether we’re doing something in a healthy way or maybe in a way that’s more leaning towards disordered eating is to look at that underlying motivation.
For many, many people it ends up coming from fear. If you really dig deep and go to the bottom of it, like why am I doing this? Why, why, why, why, why? It’s often the fear and what they’re running away from. That’s usually how we can tell that there might be a problem in the way we’re approaching this.
Kelsey: Right. I think that’s a really important point. I think that’s something that as a practitioner, and I’m sure you do this, too, when you’re working with somebody who does have a real disease that maybe they do need to consider at least some degree of restriction of some types of foods in their diet, you really need to make sure if they have come up with those restrictions and decided that there are certain things that they haven’t been eating for let’s say the last few months, what the motivation is behind that.
Because often it’s a mix of things, but there’s usually one that’s more so than the other. I think what you just mentioned, that fear and that idea that maybe this will help me lose weight as well, and that becomes the real underlying motivator rather than the healing that could potentially come about.
I think that those restrictive types of diets…and I’ll be the first to say that I use elimination diets in my practice. I use semi restrictive types of diets with my clients because they do help us to determine if there are food sensitivities and they can kind of help to reduce some symptoms in the meantime while we’re looking at underlying infections or other things that are going on.
But that said, you can take restriction too far and it ends up backfiring because not only is your body then going to scream out for more food, but also when your body is starved like that, I think it becomes really hard to heal from anything. How can your body heal when it’s got such a big stressor going on and then it’s not getting enough food? I’m sure you see that in your practice a lot too, right?
Aglaée: Yes. Food is kind of the building blocks to heal the body. You cannot heal if you’re starving and not getting enough of all those key nutrients that you need. And then there’s also that whole fear because many people feel like they’re kind of fighting against their body, fighting against their craving. The body is trying to survive and get us to eat more because we’re not getting the nutrients that we need.
So there’s that whole like feeling betrayed by our own body when our body feels hunger because we don’t want to eat. There’s that whole really complicated thing happening where that….I feel like that whole fear is really about trying to push our body, not trusting that our body can do what it should do and trying to control a little bit the whole process and micromanage everything.
I feel like there’s an incredible inner wisdom that we have in our body and if we can you know move away from the fear and lean more into that innate wisdom that our body has, then the healing process becomes so much easier. I mean not necessarily easy, but a lot smoother.
Kelsey: Yeah, and we’re not fighting against that all the time because as I’m sure you can imagine, anybody listening, that when you’re fighting against something, it just makes the whole process a lot harder. Whereas like you said, Aglaée, if you lean that inner wisdom, there’s not as much as much of an obstacle to overcome.
Aglaée: Instead of having your body as it enemy, it becomes an ally. That’s more powerful.
Kelsey: Right. I’d love to talk about the role that body image plays in disordered eating because I think you mentioned that your own body image certainly fed into your disordered eating and eventual eating disorder. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Aglaée: If you think about it, in our culture it’s so prevalent, there is just so much pressure for all women especially, but men also to look a certain way and everything that we see in the magazines, in the media. We see all these pictures of perfect bodies of women and men, and of course those are not even real bodies. They’re Photoshopped or these are people that are making this a full time job, and even then they are still Photoshopped or they have many, many different tools to make them look at the way they look.
We’re constantly comparing ourselves. Comparison is huge. For most of my clients dealing with body image issues, I don’t recommend any kind of detoxes, those kind of detoxes. But social media detox is always on the list of things I do recommend because being exposed constantly to those feeds and pictures of people that seem to have their perfect life, having all of their…I don’t know what kind of words I can use here, but everything together and just looking perfect.
And of course we know that when we take a picture, it’s just such a small, it doesn’t represent the whole thing. And we can always, most people will take a dozen, if not more, pictures to try that perfect pose where they look a certain way. So the body image issues, they’re just so entrenched.
Many of us have that belief that it’s kind of a prerequisite to look a certain way before making certain things happen in our life and I’ve thought that way for many, many years. Like if I can lose that many pounds or look a certain way, then this will happen, then this will become easier, then my book will sell more, then I’ll be able to be healthier, then I’ll have more friends, or whatever it is. It’s just that we put that barrier in there and it’s like we’re trying to get from point A to Point B, but having two points in between before we go to Point B where it’s just a totally unnecessary step.
I know self-love is something that people talk more about and I think that it’s still difficult for many of us to really understand what it is to love our body for certain people. It might feel like giving up, like just an excuse to stop trying, but I do think that it goes so much deeper than that. I’ve actually enrolled in a year-long program to become a self-love guide and it has been life changing in my own life, but also in the way that I work with the women I work with.
Those body image issues, they usually goes so much deeper. Just like food, like the way we relate to food, the way we behave with food because many people think that food is their problem when they overeat or their emotions, but it’s actually just a symptom. It’s a symptom of something that goes so much deeper.
And the same thing is true with body image issues. When we make our body the problem, it’s really because we don’t want to look deeper at the thing that really does hurt and that we’re not ready to face yet maybe. It just feels easier to say that it’s something wrong at our body instead of the other thing, or the many other things that are there waiting to be healed.
So putting it on our body just is a distraction really. I guess it makes our life a little bit easier because we’re kind of lying to ourself in a way in the short term. But then in the long term it becomes really, really draining, and soul sucking, and removes joy and so many of the good things that we could find otherwise.
Kelsey: Right. Would you say that focusing on your body image, for example, like you said, it’s a symptom. But do you feel like that gives somebody some potentially false sense of control over their life when they really…and I think this is maybe what you were kind of hinting at with what you just said…there’s other areas of their life that they are not happy with for some reason and they feel that that is kind of out of their control to deal with. They don’t know what to do about those things because they’re more complicated and something like losing weight seems like an easy thing to focus on and an easy thing that they could kind of control. Does that make sense?
Aglaée: Yes, totally. And it’s even something that’s encouraged by society and valued, and you get congratulated when you lose weight. So it feels so much easier to control it.
There’s so many people I work with, like they may hate their job, they may be an unhealthy relationship, they may feel isolated enough to feel like they have support network or a sense of community that they are longing for, or they may not really know what kind of things they enjoy doing, or they don’t know where they want to go in life. Those are really big questions.
If we start thinking about those things, then it can be overwhelming. It can be really scary. It can mean, okay, so if I start thinking about that, I’ll have to do this and that, and that becomes a really big mountain. So we go back, run away towards okay, I’ll control my weight. That feels a bit safer.
Kelsey: Right, exactly. I totally get that thinking about those bigger potential life changes can be very scary. I touch on that stuff in my work and it sounds like you do this a lot now. People may realize that those things are a problem, but they think they either can’t change them or that it’s too overwhelming to even think about changing it.
I’m curious as to how you deal with that. I think for me, it’s like it’s hard to talk to somebody who can’t recognize that that’s a problem necessarily, or they recognize it’s a problem, but they don’t know what to do about it or how to gain control over that. And so I’d love to hear from you about how you work with people on those huge life issues that are really at the root of what’s causing some of these symptoms like their disordered eating.
Aglaée: That’s not an easy thing to address because sometimes as a practitioner or even as a friend when you’re talking to someone, it can feel like pretty clear to you that this other person you should do this or that, or that there needs to be some major life changes to help that person feel better then stop needing to use food to fill that void or to use just that thrill of going from one diet to another or trying to lose weight. Again, those are just symptoms that we use to try to fill that void, but there is a deeper issue.
So yeah, you cannot really tell someone you should do this. This really is something that we have to help the other person see for themselves. It really depends on what kind of rapport we have, so it’s really important to have that trust and build that relationship, but then just trying to ask questions. My approach, I think it is probably the same with you, I don’t tell people what to do. I try to guide them, but I really do ask a ton of questions and I ask questions to try to just eliminate. If we stay focused on elimination diet and our health or body, that’s all we look at. And so those other questions can just start eliminating those other things that are maybe hiding in that dark corner inside of us that we don’t want to explore.
So maybe just asking about what is not working well in your life right now? And also giving people permission that if we look at that, we can do it without judgment. We can train people on how to be more compassionate with themselves. We can also explain that looking at these things doesn’t mean that we have to change anything right now, but just acknowledging them and becoming more aware of them. It’s just a first step, but just making sure that they understand that there is no obligation that they need to do anything about it because they still are in charge, they can make their own decisions.
But just trying to eliminate those areas that are maybe not working so well and then asking about what they’re getting out of it of staying in that situation. Let’s say it’s a job that they don’t like. Well maybe there’s some comfort, some security of staying in there. But then what is the cost of that could be another question. And then we start eliminating those other things.
There is one side of the things that that keeps us safe, but going out of our comfort zone is usually always scary. So just starting looking at the cost. If we stay in that job that we don’t like, yes, it’s safe. Yes, we know we have a paycheck coming. But the cost of it would be that we keep feeling miserable for the rest of our life and we don’t try to find that thing that gives us more purpose and meaning to our life and allow us to really use all of our skills and the things that we feel we’re good at, and maybe more be more creative, and all of these things.
Once we start shedding some light, some things start clicking and we don’t need to change anything, but just eliminating is huge and can slowly shift things and get the momentum going in a better direction.
Kelsey: I like that and I like the idea of just acknowledging the areas of your life that are problematic right now with no obligation to necessarily change them right now. Because I think a lot of people probably deep down, they know that there are areas of their life that they’re not happy with, but they don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it directly. They’re not necessarily hugely aware of those problems and exactly what about those areas of life are making them unhappy.
I think that awareness probably helps a lot because even if you’re not changing anything right away, you’re starting to think about it in a more productive way, in a way that acknowledges what’s going on in your life. And of course once you acknowledge something, I think you start to think about the ways that you can you can change that in a positive way.
Aglaée: I think it’s also important to be gentle with ourselves. And then this will keep happening as we grow and we grow. There will be other layers of it we’ll come to the limit of our present comfort zone and be ready to expand that.
Like just last year, last summer pretty much, I was feeling like hey, I love nutrition and food, but I really wanted to explore more of those body image issues and relationship with food. But I was still not sure how that would look like and I knew it was just scary to even think about it.
When I started with the support of a life coach to just explore that and just eliminate, then things started becoming more clear. I didn’t change anything right away. I just started taking that path of looking around and see, okay, what’s here? What could be here? And then slowly taking one step at a time. And then you are creating a new comfort zone that’s a lot larger than the first one you were in.
Kelsey: I want to hear a little bit more about your personal story of recovery. I was going to ask you with the areas that you were maybe unhappy with in your life, how did you come to recognize those and how much of a role did those play in your overall recovery journey do you think?
Aglaée: That’s a big question.
Kelsey: I know, probably a hard question.
Aglaée: Yes. But I think that the most healing and most recovery happened for me by becoming more aware of that inner mean girl or inner mean dude we all have that’s constantly criticizing and bullying ourselves. I think that sometimes it’s not necessarily about what you do, but all the thoughts and emotions that are around it that can just be draining you, exhausting you, making everything pretty dark.
Becoming more aware of that and being able to recognize when I had that negative self-talk and the really nasty things I would say to myself and trying to start rewiring my brain to think differently. Even without having to make huge changes in my life, just thinking differently, which led to different emotions. It doesn’t mean that it will lead to different behaviors right away, but with time if you do it gently, things start changing.
At first for the first part of my recovery, the big thing for me, what was huge is not focus on changing the behavior, not focus on no longer eating my emotions, or bingeing, or over-eating, but simply stopping judging. Well, I say simply, it’s not that simple, but not judging myself for it.
If I wanted to eat a lot of something, then I would do it, but try to be gentle with myself and tell myself like, okay Aglaée, I know you you’ve had a rough time or maybe you feel nervous about this and you’re eating this. That’s okay, it’s your choice. You can do whatever you want.
The more and more I started doing that, slowly things started shifting. I really do think that I started rewiring in my brain because those things are really hard at first, but it gets easier with time and then the ripple effect can be really huge.
I noticed that sometimes I started finding, like usually if I had bars of chocolate, one bar was one serving. But I started finding like parts of chocolate bars that I had left there or open bags of plantain chips, which used to be a “trigger food” for me, and things like that. It just started happening naturally just by dropping the judgment.
Kelsey: Interesting. I love that! Yeah, dropping the judgment, really important and probably easier said than done. But that awareness is the first step I’m sure is to be just like okay, I’m doing this, and thinking about the reasons why you’re doing it. And then just saying that, like you said, this is your choice. You can do that, that’s fine. We don’t need to change anything now, but I just I want to be aware when these things are happening, and why I think they’re happening, and just acknowledging those emotions that surround those types of behaviors.
Aglaée: I think that sometimes we just need to be a parent to ourselves and maybe becoming a parent helped me think more about that. But if a kid eats too much of ice cream or whatever, I think that they need to learn how it feels in their body.
What would you tell a little kid that had too much ice cream? Would you yell at him or her? Would you make him or her feel guilty or bad? Or punish him or her by not having the next meal? No. You would just try to be compassionate, give that kid a hug, and oh your tummy hurts, I know you probably had too much ice cream. Do you think it could be the ice cream that did that? What do you think you could do next time? Maybe just eat a little bit less? Okay. And again, just move on. There’s no need to be harsh, so harsh with ourselves all the time. So think of how you would talk to a little kid.
Kelsey: That’s a really great way of thinking about it because you’re right, you would talk so differently. I think I hear that example when we’re talking about this inner mean girl about would you ever say that to a friend? I like your thing better, talking to a child about this. You just have so much more compassion. Which you do of course with your friends, but I feel like that parent/child relationship makes it even more apparent.
Aglaée: Yeah, we all have that inside of us. We all have that inner child inside of us that needs to be talked to in that way, too.
Kelsey: Right, right. Exactly. We have a lot of listeners who are probably struggling with some form of disordered eating. If you could talk to them directly right now, what would you say and then what kind of tips would you give them to get started on this journey of healing that you’ve been through yourself?
Aglaée: I think that’s a wonderful question. I’m getting almost emotional. What comes to me is that you are not alone. I know it feels like you are. It feels like you’re crazy with food, it feels like you’re out of control, it feels like you’re failing all the time. I know you really want to be healthy. You really want to feel better.
But I think that where you need to look at right now is not trying so hard anymore and not trying so hard anymore to control your food and control every bite that goes into your body because the real healing that needs to happen right now if you’re feeling this way with food is really about how you talk to yourself and how you feel about yourself.
I know it might feel scary. It feels a lot easier to try to counter your calories or control the foods you eat. But let’s be honest here. How long have you been trying that? Weeks, months, years, maybe decades if you’re like me. And so far it hasn’t helped you get to where you want to go, right? So maybe it’s time to try something new.
Maybe it’s time to just…you don’t have to change anything as I said. Just take that flashlight. You can call it a loving truth illuminating flashlight, to use the words of my mentor Christina Arylo. But use that loving truth illuminating flashlight and just start shining it around inside your head to look at your thoughts in a different way. Look at those thoughts and become aware of are these thoughts really serving me? Are these thoughts really coming from me, or are they coming from my inner mean girl or inner mean dude?
I bet that a great percentage if not probably the majority of those thoughts are coming from your inner mean girl. So just know that those thoughts are not yours. They’re not you and you can start thinking differently.
It takes some work, it takes some effort. But I promise that the more and more you do that, it will become easier. And if you just do it that using that loving truth illumination flashlight and shine it on your thoughts, you’ll see more light coming into your whole body and your whole life.
It may sound too good to be true right now. You may feel like there’s nothing that can help you and it may sound too simple, too silly. I know, I’ve thought that. But it’s really that path you need to take. That what I would say.
Kelsey: That’s amazing. I hope that helps somebody out there, and I’m sure it will. With your whole journey as you’ve gone through this, I know it’s obviously changed not only the way you know you personally live your life, but also the way that you run your business and sort of who you focus on.
One thing I’ve been really happy to see you doing lately is first of all talking more about this stuff. Because again, like I said at the beginning of this interview, I just think that that storytelling is so important for people who are currently struggling. But you’ve also created a program surrounding these ideas that we talked about today. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Aglaée: Yeah. The way I work now with my clients, it’s always like the body is part of food and nutrition, but that’s only one of four components. The body is one component. Then we have the mind that’s all about our thoughts, the way we talk to ourselves, that inner mean girl stuff that I was talking about.
Then the heart is about the emotions. And sometimes for many, many people struggling with disordered eating, feeling their emotions is really scary. We’d rather numb ourselves with food or stuff it down with food. So that’s something that we try to nourish and nurture.
Then the fourth component is our soul. I say it doesn’t have to be religious or spiritual. It can be. But if not, it can also be seen as the integration of all of the other components that make your whole self. When we talk about holistic healing, there is the way you can look at all the different organs and all that work together in the body. But then I think that we really need to include the mind, the heart, and the soul as well to really make all of these things work together.
That’s what I do with my clients and it’s really incredible to witness the transformation that can occur. I just love it because I think that I just feel like we all get so much better results. It’s one thing I think that sometimes we just need nutrition advice, but including that part as a part of the whole package…the people working with me, the clients know that I’m like probably the least judgmental person on the planet. So we can talk freely about their food behaviors. They don’t feel judged and I think that that helps them not judging themselves so harshly.
And then we really use those different food behaviors as symptoms to learn how to use those things that happen in our life and the way we behave with food to go deeper and really find what’s really hiding underneath that. That’s what I love doing right now, and for a long time I think.
Kelsey: That’s amazing! I think that’s so great because it incorporates everything we talked about today, which is just is so important when it comes to disordered eating. Wherever you are on that spectrum, there’s always something underneath that behavior. Because like Aglaée has been saying, this is a symptom of something else going on. And if you don’t acknowledge what is causing a symptom… and that’s how we think about functional medicine, too, is if you don’t acknowledge the root cause of a symptom, you’re never really going to heal because you’re just covering up symptoms. You’re using Band-Aids.
What I love about your approach, Aglaée,is that you have taken that idea of functional medicine and holistic healing and you incorporated it into this program that you’ve created in a way that that goes even deeper. Because those emotions, those thought patterns, those can be root issues, too. I think we forget about that a lot of the time because we think that the root cause of some sort of symptom has to be some sort of physiology that’s happening.
Aglaée: We like to be able to see it. We like to be able to really see and measure the problem.
Kelsey: Exactly, yeah. So to think about thought patterns, and emotions, and your soul as being part of this whole picture that can be a root cause of a symptom is a novel idea first of all, I think. And I think it helps so many people as you’ve already seen because if you don’t acknowledge those things, I realize this sounds a little harsh, but I truly feel like some people will not be able to heal if they don’t look at those things. Would you agree with that?
Aglaée: Yeah. Unfortunately it’s the case. I see people struggling with the same health issues for years, and years, and years. It’s really, really hard to get into those emotions or thoughts. Some people just get stuck at that physical body level and are maybe not ready or willing to look deeper and that’s really a barrier to their own healing.
Kelsey: Yes. Yeah, absolutely. Well, I’m going to include a link to your website of course and the way that people can work with you because I think what you’re doing is really amazing.
Aglaée: Thank you.
Kelsey: I want people to start working with you that are listening now because I think you could really help them, so we’ll include a link. Where else can people find you online?
Aglaée: Radicatanutrition. That’s my handle for Instagram. RadicataNutrition.com is my web site. And then if you look on Facebook for the Radicata Nutrition Community, I’m quite active there and I offer free minute courses quite regularly, too. Some of your listeners might be interested in that.
Kelsey: Awesome. Great! Well, thank you so much, Aglaée. This was really, really wonderful and I’m sure you’ve helped a lot of our listeners start to think about those deeper root causes of some of the types of disordered eating behaviors and patterns that they may be incorporating into their life and what they can do to move past that.
Thank you so much for being here today. This was great and I’m sure we’ll probably want to have you on again sometime to talk even more about this stuff!
Aglaée: Thank you so much! That’s exactly why I’m here to do, to try to eliminate a little bit.
Kelsey: Perfect. Well, you take care, Aglaée. Thank you so much.
Aglaée: Thank you. Take care.