INTUITION OVER IMPOSITION
About Cool with Food
We all have a relationship with food, because we all eat.
You’ll find the two extremes of your relationship with food on this spectrum:
On the left is the dangerous extreme of disordered eating, and on the right is the opposite extreme of being totally cool with food. No drama, no need for dieting; just a healthy, balanced way of eating that results in a healthy, balanced body.
In between is the varying degrees of being ‘weird with food’. This right here is The Diet Monster’s playground.
The lessons and trainings you’ll find on this website are designed to do more than just give you another ideal to strive for. We’ll help you make impactful change that will move you from where you are now, to being noticeably more peaceful and less conflicted around what you eat and how you feel in your body.
We don’t want to be thin. We want to be happy.
Our mission is to empower you to deconstruct your own diet mentality, and replace it with a healthy, sustainable way with food.
Supermodels and slim-fast solutions aren’t going anywhere. It’s up to us to learn how to thrive in an environment that’s crafted to make us feel like sh*t about our bodies so we buy things.
By inspiring and empowering individuals to make decisions in the moment which serve body-mind-spirit, we’re helping to dismantle diet culture and systematically reduce the power of The Diet Monster.
Diet culture is coming at us so hard these days
From the social media scroll-hole of #fitspo, Facetune, and #bodygoals, to advertising on every imaginable space, we are constantly brought down by unrealistic images of ‘ideal’ bodies.
Go out for lunch with your friends, and chances are the conversation revolves around who’s eating what. Someone’s on Whole30, and someone else is ‘cheating’ on their keto plan. When the server asks if anyone is having dessert… it prompts a mixed outcry of ‘no way, I’m on a diet’ combined with ‘YES! Can we PLEASE?’.
The whole culture of dieting is conflicting and confusing.
Influencers on one hand try to sell you waist trainers, flat tummy tea, and body makeup to be more ‘perfect’. On the other hand they tell you that diets are dumb, you should eat as much ice cream as you want, and if you don’t embrace your body exactly as it is, there’s something wrong with you.
The contradictions are endless.
So what can you do about it?
Believe it or not, there IS a middle ground where you can eat well without dieting, feel good in your own skin, and also break free from obsessing with your weight, your workouts, and wondering what the f*ck you’re going to eat for dinner!
Once you learn some key mindset shifts, you will finally find the freedom to live your life and focus on more important things… like realizing your full potential and having more fun.
With that said, there’s nothing wrong with having a sincere desire to eat better, get fit, and feel amazing in your body. The danger comes when you get stuck in the diet cycle (more on that later), where you find yourself buying endless diet products, trying new fad workouts, and downloading countless online personal training PDFs.
That’s all part of Diet World, and believe me, no one is truly happy there.
When you’re not wrapped up in the extremes of diet culture, you have so much more freedom and space to find real joy in your life, and maybe even do some cool sh*t you were too stressed out to do before!
When you’re not starting and stopping new diets every Monday, you can find a middle ground where your body can settle into a rhythm; with food, with sleep, with exercise, and even with work. That’s what your body really wants!
And THAT, MY FRIEND, IS WHAT WE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU DO.
The Diet Monster bit me hard, and early… but still not as early as what’s happening to young girls through social media these days.
My first diet was when I was around 13.
As I’ve worked in this space, I’ve realized that each of us has a story around the first time we felt our bodies needed to change, and our first attempts to make it happen.
For some, an airbrushed model in a magazine, a favourite actress’s physique on T.V., or even a (perhaps well-intended?) comment from a family member started the ball rolling around body insecurities and dieting.
For me, it was a day in fifth grade that I’ll never forget. I wrote the whole story for you here. But had that day never happened, something else would have come along to tell me that my body was not good enough as it was, and that I should diet so I could lose weight and be more acceptable, desirable, and pleasant to behold.
Because that’s just what we deal with as women, every single day, and everywhere we go. We are told that thin=happy, and that dieting=thin, and the hilarious part (it’s not hilarious at all) is that both are so far from the truth.
In my early 20s, as a junior marketing associate for a top radio station, I felt the pressure to look a certain way, and jumped from Atkins to 12-week gym programs to rigorous calorie counting episodes to make it happen.
I even tried diet pills that were banned in certain countries, and can remember lying sideways on my bed staring at the ceiling with my finger on my pulse wondering if I was having a heart attack.
My obsession took a more socially acceptable path when I got turned on to Bikram Yoga and veganism. I became a certified Bikram Yoga teacher in 2005, and opened a studio of my own in 2007 at the age of 26. Looking back now, I can see that I pushed myself brutally hard in every conceivable area of my life - from school to career to health - but none more than my impossible body ideals.
As a studio owner and yoga champion, I modelled for yoga apparel brands, posed for photoshoots, was regularly featured in magazines and newspapers, and even wrote my own column called “On Health and Yoga”.
Little did I know, this was when my diet mentality was at is worst.
I was vegan, raw, HCRV, and vegetarian. I did juice fasts all the time, brought measuring tape with me on trips so I’d stay ‘on track’, and subsisted for weeks on the Master Cleanse.
At the time, I didn’t feel I was being weird with food. That’s just the way it was; for me and my community, diet culture was just a way of life.
I travelled the world doing yoga competitions and advanced seminars where the thin and bendy were the most celebrated in the community. I had no insight whatsoever into the body ideals and food rigidity I was perpetuating. I thought being thin was all I needed to make everything else happen for me.
That is until I discovered Vipassana meditation, and started learning how to listen objectively to my thoughts.
One morning, when I was getting ready to take a leap and sell my studio to pursue my writing career, I realized that I was thinking about what I was not going to eat that day before I even opened my eyes. I’d had a similar experience in my calorie counting days; I remember waking up feeling irritated and exhausted knowing that I only had a 400 calorie allowance for breakfast. Ugh.
There was a voice inside my head telling me “Today, there will be no gluten, no dairy, no sugar, no processed food, no alcohol, and no carbs after 2pm. No cookies, no muffins, no bread… and JEN - NO COOKIES!”.
I’ve since named this voice… it’s called The Diet Monster.
After we sold the yoga studio, I sought help for a problem that became more and more apparent to me as I got to know myself better, and became more attuned to my thoughts and feelings around food and my body. I saw an eating disorder therapist every week for a year, attended workshops and read books to further understand our cultural preoccupation with being thin, and started to write down the ideas and breakthroughs I was having in my own book with the working title “The Diet Monster”.
I went back to school to get my diploma in natural nutrition, and obtained a designation as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, or R.H.N.
In 2016, a big publisher in N.Y.C. was interested in my book, and just as I was gearing up to take everything to the next level… I became very ill. Like, very ill. I’ll write about it and tell the whole story soon, but for now, suffice to say I’ve been on hiatus for 3 years. God it’s hard to even write that. But it’s true.
As I near the end of this health-related nightmare, I’m coming back to you with a whole new perspective, and a whole new angle on this story.
I had no idea just how misdirected I was in my pursuit of ‘real health’ until health as I knew it became a sad and distant memory.
While I painfully worked my way through a horrific health condition, I would have given anything to go back to my yoga-studio-owning, diet-promoting self and whisper in her ear:
“It’s all a lie. The illusion of the ideal body and all this ridiculous focus on food is just a scam to keep you unhappy with yourself so you stay small and buy things. Drop it. You’re so fortunate just the way you are. Allow yourself to settle into a simple way of eating that you enjoy and that makes you feel good. Live your life and do what you’ve always wanted to do because dieting is a distraction that will eat at you from the inside out until there’s nothing left of your heart except the part that cares what other people think.”
What I’ve chosen to do with all of this intel is create a course to help liberate you from the ongoing struggle and trappings of diet mentality.
This does not mean giving up on healthy eating - I cannot be more clear about that. It means choosing to honour yourself in your decisions, without the labels and impositions from agendas that do not serve you.
If you connect with my story… if you see yourself in my journey and you just know that your life would be better without the constant focus on food and body, then please stay in touch and let’s tackle this monster together.
Ditch Diet Drama
STOP BEING WEIRD WITH FOOD.
Are you DONE with constantly being on and off diets and cleanses all the time? Ready to get on with your life?