Visiting A Nutritionist

I remember when I first went to see a nutritionist after having lost all the weight. I was seeking support for the next phase of my journey: maintenance.

At that point in my life I felt sort of like I had trekked to the summit of Everest but had no knowledge of how to descend the mountain and return to life on the land. It was frightening to think that after all of the work I put into shedding half of myself, I might not be able to stay there for long.

After all, I had heard over and over, “Losing it is easy, keeping it off is the hard part.” And while I agree to a large extent, I also feel like that notion undermines the greatness of the impetus to change. It minimizes the journey. I just remember feeling afraid. I didn’t want to live the rest of my life on a diet.

So my first visit was an attempt to learn the meaning of the word “balance.” To learn to stop losing and start living in my current weight. The most interesting thing she said to me was “Many people can think of at least one time in their lives when they felt at ease with food, or at least that they had an appropriate relationship with it. They probably didn’t have to think too hard about what they’d eat and how it would fuel them, they just had a trust in themselves and their hunger/fullness cues. Children are excellent examples of having a natural food intuition. They eat when they are hungry and generally stop when they are full. But you have never had what one can consider a “normal” relationship with food. For you, it seems the earliest memories still involve overeating or eating for some other reason than hunger. So then I cannot tell you to return to a place of trust with food, a state of normal eating. You have to learn that now at 21.” What a fascinating and excellent point she made. I had a lot to learn about myself.

With her help I was able to learn to trust myself. I realized that in order to live a fulfilling life in all aspects, food had to be a friend, not an enemy. When I first admitted to myself that food had been my love affair/dependency for the majority of my life, I was angry. I felt that I had to get away from it, to not let it be the focus of my mind. But as I’ve heard someone say before, “Food addiction isn’t like addiction to alcohol or drugs where you can just remove it from your life. With food, you need it to live. You have to have it everyday.” This statement only brings to light the fact that the only way through food addiction is by making peace with it. Food is just food. Chocolate cake isn’t “bad,” carrots aren’t “good,” and Bavarian cream donuts didn’t make me morbidly obese. I was the one who abused the food and gave it character. So I learned to view food as a neutral entity, not positive or negative. And my eating Bavarian cream donuts, similarly, was not positive or negative. (Though I’d dare to say it was one hell of a positive). By shifting the emphasis from my emotional bondage with food to a focus on building a new and healthy relationship with it, I was able to start over. I regained an understanding that eating, while enjoyable, was not the end all be all to my happiness. Social gatherings involving food had less to do with the buffet and more to do with the social part. Vacations were times to enjoy new environments, make memories with people I love, and yes, to taste fun and new cuisine. I rediscovered the other parts of my life that had been overshadowed by the menu.

But what I truly understood in rebuilding this relationship with food in a peaceful way was that I didn’t miss the food, I missed the amount. My nutritionist at the time encouraged me to bring the foods that I used to enjoy before losing weight back into my life. My old friends. While losing, I didn’t eat many cupcakes or candy bars, foods that I love. I was so set on my goal that I had avoided them.  I began eating a cupcake a day. And after I had tried all the delicious varieties known to man (or bakeries), I began eating candy bars. Snickers (which surprisingly does satisfy), Reese’s, Milky Way, Butterfinger, and Kit Kat. Dear friends of mine. When those got old (c’mon they never got old), I switched to donuts. But soon enough, I realized Dunkin Donuts doesn’t carry Vanilla Kreme Filled in all of their locations, so with a sad heart I abandoned the donut phase. The point of this daily dessert was proving to myself that I wasn’t a monster around food. I would not eat with abandon anymore. I could have the foods I loved and not abuse them, and I didn’t have to live a life without them. And after a while of this healthy reintroduction to food, I felt safer about how I used it to nourish me. I still loved food but now I respected it. I respected myself. I discovered new foods and a whole world of nutrition, cooking, and enjoyment. New fruits and vegetables, eating a rainbow, the beauty of food presentation, books filled with recipes for nutritious, flavorful food. It was an exhilarating time.

I came to realize that in dieting, I thought I missed the foods themselves, when in reality I missed the quantity. I missed the abundance and the overeating. That’s when I knew I was using food to fill a void. I didn’t just want the taste of a warm brownie sundae, I wanted it to make me so full that I became numb and couldn’t think about anything but my distressed belly. I suppose whatever emotion I was feeling inside I wanted to stuff away. And truth be told, I never once felt any better in doing this. One hour later, the emotion was still there and food had not cured it. In learning that I missed the “over” part of overeating, I felt sort of free. It’s impossible to ignore the emotions when you don’t numb them anymore with massive quantities of food. Instead, I sat with the emotion. I let it be. That’s where the healing starts.

65 thoughts on “Visiting A Nutritionist

    1. Leslie

      I have reread this post a million times. I am 8 months on my journey, down 55 lbs and the post is staring to become more and more relevant. Now that the diet part is on auto pilot, I know what to eat and how to listen to my hunger; I’m faced with dealing with the emotional part. I had no idea how deeply dependent I was on binging for psychic relief! Last night at dinner some friends were picking my brain about how I’ve done it, if I had any tips. So I explained my approach, and one girl said “I could never do it, I love sugar too much!” Jokingly, the table chuckled and agreed.. I looked at her straight and said “I need to love myself more than I love sugar.” Kind of sucked the jovial energy out of the room for a few mintutes, but Weightloss is serious business. It’s about being honest and I am so over being the fat clown that jokes about her shortcomings.. Apparently I don’t have any patience for other girls playing the fat clown role either..

      Reply
  1. Fervent Foodie

    This is a great post, and I can relate to some of your comments about trying to fill a void with food. On days when I’m lonely or unhappy, I am much more likely to overindulge than on a day that’s busy and full of fun!

    Love your insight! Thanks!

    Reply
  2. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman

    I think just going to a nutritionist versus trying to figure it out on your own must have been a big step. And you’re so right: We can enjoy all foods, but that doesn’t mean we should eat them nonstop. It’s a hard balance to find, but you manage it so well.

    Reply
  3. Beth

    I love this post but I still struggle in this department majorly even though I’m very close my goal. I think maybe I should see a nutritionist because even though I try not to I still go back to thinking of things as good or bad, and I don’t really know if I trust myself with food yet!

    Reply
    1. delhia

      apa ami ei pithati aj korcehi.apnar deoya recipe motoi kintu pithar vitore olpo matro sira dhukeche,pitha sokto hoye ache.keno emon holo?apni banale ki pura ros dhuke?sirate ktokhon rakhte hobe apa?doya kore ektu bolle onek upkreto hotam.

      Reply
  4. Niki

    Thank you for this! I just discovered you as a contestant for the Next Foof Blog Star. I voted for you btw! :)

    I never in a million years would have guessed you lost 135 lbs from your picture. You just look like you’ve always looked that way. But bravo to you. I hope to be saying that someday, I’m about 115 lbs from that goal… I haven’t gone through your entire blog yet to see if you have more tips or inspiring thoughts about the weight loss process, but if you have anything, I’d love to hear it. Just this blog post alone has been an inspiration and I can’t wait to reads more, even if it is about the philosophy of muffins or the geneology of pickles! :)

    Reply
  5. Kristina (My Life a a Mrs)

    Came across your blog on Project Food Blog. What an inspiring story! I recently lost 25 pounds (still about 10 to go)… nothing compared to the goal you achieved, but it was really difficult for me. Thanks for the encouraging words :)

    Reply
  6. patty

    Could you tell me what HLS is. I have been reading these posts and people say when I was at HLS. I love this site, I just read the article in Woman’s World and when I was done I came directly to Can You Stay for Dinner. Thank you for all your hard work and Inspiration.
    Patty

    Reply
    1. Can You Stay for Dinner

      Hi Patty! HLS stands for Healthy Living Summit- a blogger conference focused on healthy living that was held at the beginning of August this year in Chicago (bloggers and readers were in attendence). It was the second conference put on by the same great group of bloggers. About 200 people were there, I believe. Thanks for reading!!

      Reply
    2. Vie

      Your enietrs over the last three weeks have been outstanding. I consider something in a blog to be outstanding when what I read is so compelling that I keep running it through my mind. Keep "throwing strikes".

      Reply
  7. Tim

    I appreciate you sharing your thoughts from beginning to . . . eternity. You really helped make sense of all the emotions a person faces when when they achieve their weight goal. Thank-you!

    Reply
    1. Can You Stay for Dinner

      Thank you Tim! It was such a wide range of emotions that I faced when I first lost it- mostly fear. I just want to be honest with people, because I think everyone has heard all about the greatness of being at a healthy weight, finally being thin. But I want to share that there are other parts too. Thank you again for your comment!

      Reply
  8. Pat

    I have been on many diets and would like to learn a lifestyle of eating and stop the yoyo dieting. This sounds great, but I’m limited to time to spend on cooking, Can you tell me a good way to get started?

    Reply
    1. Can You Stay for Dinner

      Hi Pat! Thank you for commenting! I would start by making as many meals as you can ahead of time. What I like to do is cook four or so meals on Sunday and then I’ll have them throughout the week. Try this: Roast a whole chicken on Sunday with a big pan of vegetables. Use the roasted chicken for dinner, then put it on a salad for lunches, mix it with light mayo or low fat sour cream and celery and dried cranberries to make chicken salad for sandwiches. The point is- make one meal that can serve many functions. I often pick 3 recipes to make, each one serving four people. Once they’re done cooking, I portion them into individual tupperware containers and then I have meals already prepared for the week ahead. It’s simple to reheat them for lunch and dinner! I hope this helps! Thanks again for stopping by!

      Reply
  9. Pingback: Weight Reflections of 2010 « Can You Stay for Dinner?

  10. Melanie

    I am almost having trouble finding the words to say. Your story made me cry. No. It made me bawl like a teenage girl who just got her heart broken (but in a good way). I am currently overweight, not by a lot, but more than I’d like. I am totally addicted to “over eating”. I stuff myself until I honestly am so full I can’t even keep my eyes open. I now can’t even go to bed without eating a huge meal before I lay down. I am stuck in such an ugly place, and need to get out. I need help, but the problem is, I don’t have the money to afford it! Any tips or advice on how to lose this weight and maybe finally be happy with myself? Please, I need some inspiration.
    Thank you so much, for even having this blog for me to stumble upon, and realize what I am doing to myself.
    -Melanie

    Reply
  11. Susan

    I just came across your blog today and I am in awe! I love your writing style and your insights on food/diet are amazing…
    I am currently in the middle of my weight loss journey and I know that that will one day be my maintenence journey. This time around I am trying to focus on “normal” eating. I am trying to schedule in times that I can enjoy some higher caloric foods because I enjoy them. I am trying to look at the bigger picture and towards the end where I have to learn to find a eating style that I will be able to maintain long term.
    I love what you wrote about your daily dessert and that foods are not “good” or “bad”… My ultimate goal is to be happy how I look and feel great in my skin while still enjoying my life.
    You are an amazing inspiration and I will definitely be following your blog for motivation and inspiration.
    Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  12. Leanne

    I feel like you’re taking my feelins & writing them for me.

    What powerful words.

    You truly have made a difference in my life starting this moment. THANK you.

    Reply
  13. Ashley

    THIS IS AMAZING!! I have had a food addiction/disordered eating for years. I have met with so many therapist, doctors, and nutritionist and NONE of them have been able to explain this to me like you did!! Thank you soooo much!! I only hope by continuing to read your blog I will find even more inspiration! You should write a book!

    Reply
  14. Erika

    I’ve been spending the past few months trying to figure out how to not only lose weight, but establish a healthy relationship with food. Now, I’m realizing that visiting a nutritionist is what I need to do. Thank you for this insight.

    Reply
  15. Beth

    Thank you. I identified with much of this. I’ve been using the Weight Watchers program for 4 years and have taken a few steps backwards, but am working to get back on track. This really helped refocus me.

    Reply
  16. Andrea P

    Hi there! I just found your blog and wanted you to know I loved reading this so much! So much great information and it’s so relatable. Thank you.

    Reply
  17. Jessica S.

    Thank you so much for this post, and for all your posts about your journey. You have such a beautiful way with words, and you help so many women by articulating your feelings, and showing us that we are not alone. Can’t wait for your book!

    Reply
  18. Caitlin Iannucci

    I just stumbled upon your website after staring at mouth-watering desserts on pinterest and I immediately became inspired. I recently lost 40 pounds through diet and exercise. I am currently 142 pounds and trying to figure out ways in which I will maintain this lifestyle forever. It feels awful to think that I will forever have to “diet.” I wish I could come to the mindset of treating food as just a part of life…instead of the center of my life. Right now I am extremely strict during the week and on the weekends I allow myself to splurge a little…well, a lot. The problem is is that on the weekends I am so excited about eating all of those delicious treats that I end up overeating and feeling sick. Like you, I am a complete chocoholic. I can’t walk by a chocolate chip cookie without having it. I cant drive by a bakery without dying to stop and get something. Food has taken over my mind. Before I started dieting, I never thought about it so much. I just ate. Now, I plan every bite, every meal. I can’t wait for the day where I don’t have to think about it anymore. The problem is I am terrified of gaining it back. You seem like you have gotten to the point where I want to be. You are an inspiration..thank you for your story and advice!

    Reply
    1. Kelly

      I swear I could have written this. When I was bigger I never thought about food. Now with my weight loss it’s on my mind ALL THE TIME!

      Reply
  19. carla

    oh my god THANK YOU STUMBLE UPON for making me stumble upon your blog ! you are my biggest inspiration yet. I am not obesse but i would like to shed like 10 pounds just to feel skinny and have a flat tummy.. I have a “slender figure” but not as slender as i wish ( i just want a flat belly ) . every summer i get into the gym and i start by hating it and then i love it but when i go back to school i hate it i really do and i overeat my eating passion : FROZEN YOGURT WITH A THOUSAND CHOCOLATE TOPPINGS .. if it were up to me i would make this my breakfast lunch dinner and in between .. but since i cant go to the gym i went to the nutritionist and im on a diet where i cant have many of these sweet things.. so when i get to my goal weight ill feel so scared of eating this again because of the times when i have binged its been like a frenzy i cut the diet one day and the eating wont stop i literally have no control when the binging starts and every time this happens i feel that ive gone back to the start and all the effort ive put in for a week or to go to the trash..so please if you have any words of wisdom i would be more than happy to hear them : ) please continue being this big inspiration you are AMAZING im 1,67 and weigh 130 and want to get to 120pounds

    Reply
  20. Stephanie

    You are such an inspiration! I love reading your blog & you remind me so much of myself in so many ways. This blog post in particular, really hit home. I’ve had a bad relationship with food for many years. I am one to have sectioned food to the categories of “good” & “bad”. & that just made me want to eat more. I love the healthy balance you have found with food, & your posts are helping me with mine as well! Thank you for sharing your journey with us!

    Reply
  21. Lynners

    Wow. Thank you for putting into words how I also feel, particularily these two sentences…

    “Social gatherings involving food had less to do with the buffet and more to do with the social part.”

    “I didn’t just want the taste of a warm brownie sundae, I wanted it to make me so full that I became numb and couldn’t think about anything but my distressed belly.”

    I’m 24, 5’0″, and weigh a whopping 230 lbs. I’m lost, and don’t know how to begin (again, because I’ve done the weight loss game before, le sigh).

    Your blog is encouraging, insightful, and I really hope it can help me.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  22. sryan

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, from beginning to end with us. It is truly inspiring. I have been on a weight loss journey myself for about 8 months and am currently down 45.6 lbs. I feel as thought I am beginning to hit a bit of a plateau and was thinking it may be winter and holidays and such, but after reading the last part of this posting, something really hit me. In the last paragraph, you talk about overeating to stuff away our emotions, and although I have obviously been working on portion control and calorie counting to lose the weight I have lost, with newly added stress from work and my marriage I believe that I may be turning to “stuffing away my emotions” again. I have never thought of it in that; how you write it out, that we are missing the “over” part of overeating because the emotions are still there, so we need to stop overeating, sit with the emotions, and let the healing begin-AMAZING. Thank you- I think a new level of healing can begin for me tonight now.

    Reply
  23. cherryl

    wow. the moment i started reading your post, im glued. you wrote it with so much passion, i can feel your pain and struggle in keeping the balance and im glad that you’re now looking at it positively. a lot of my friends have tried different diet techniques in order to lose weight to the point of depriving theirselves with the food they’ve crave to eat, or if they do, they’ll purge it (binge-purge) which isnt healthy. thanks to your blow by blow account on your visit with the nutritionist, i now understood what most of my friends went through.

    thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  24. Laurie

    You said it, it’s not the taste its the feeling of being stufffed. That’s me. I was on a program where you could eat anything you wanted as long as you only ate when you were hungry and stopped when you were full. I’d grieve. I finally went off because 3 bites and Id be full and would be so sad. I’ve started reading Geneen Roth. Thanks for your honesty.

    Reply
  25. NiciW in MO

    Divine Intervention that I found your blog??? I have been struggling with my weight loss all my life. Reading thru your blog today is like looking into a mirror of my life (except I haven’t got the weight off yet) I am trying so hard. Literally 10 minutes before I found this blog I just told a co-worker that I am such an emotional eater. My uncle died very unexpectedly last week and since then have “fallen off the wagon”. And I need help getting back on! Gonna keep on reading, as your blog is so inspiring, just what I have read!

    Reply
  26. Janine

    I came across your blog because I followed a link to your Petite Lasagnas (which I’m so going to try!)

    Just wanted to say that your story is very inspiring. It is an inspiration that I’m on the right track of trying to more healthy and more consciously. I don’t own a scale, but still, I noticed I started to lose some weight and, in general, to feel better. =)

    Wish you all the strength on your journey!

    Reply
  27. Melissa

    I realize you wrote this two years ago, but could you write a bit more on what it means to you to ‘sit with the emotion/ let it be’? If I’m trapped at my desk, upset, and the feeling doesn’t have anywhere to go, how do you ‘digest’ it?

    I value you posting your journey, thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  28. Debbie

    I enjoyed reading this. I understand it all. I eat till I’m full then keep eatting because it tastes so good. I eat till it hurts much too often. I even decide which food will be my last bite at each meal because I want the best taste left in my mouth. How many people think about which will be their last bite? That’s so crazy! But I am doing better. Over the last year I have lost 30 pounds. I need to loose at least 60 more to be healthy. I’m trying but it’s hard.

    Reply
  29. Cathy

    Thank you so much for writing this! I often struggle with eating until I feel sick. I think I understand a little better now and will start to make small changes. I LOVE your blog!
    Thank you again. Your site has opened my eyes to quite a few things.
    Thanks!!!!!

    Reply
  30. Frugal Expat

    I discovered your blog the other day and I really enjoyed reading your posts, very open and honest. Your achievement is an inspiration.

    I think I read already more than half of your blog posts.. really inspiring..

    Keep it up!

    Reply
  31. Trish

    Discovered your blog recently and enjoyed your post “depression” and this one, “meeting a nutritionist”. I too suffer from anxiety and depression, as well as battle weight. I would like to lose that dreaded 10 extra pounds, nothing compared to your goal, I know, but it seems as though we share the same struggles. I too want to feel full. So to make a long story short, I joined a gym, hired a personal trainer/nutritionist and wow, what a difference. Well the trainer moved away and now I feel as though everything I eat I’m waiting for the weight to reappear. I feel so guilty if I don’t go to they gym, which is often, ;) and even more guilty if I have a bite of icing from my daughter’s cupcake.

    Reading your blog helps me to realize that I’m not alone. :) Thank you so much and good luck on your journey.

    Reply
  32. Karen

    Thank you so much for writing this. I just discovered your blog and I can’t wait for your book to be done so I can read it! I too have been over weight my whole life (and still am) but I feel like I’m having breakthroughs to becoming a healthier me. I also was seeing a therapist who mainly concentrated on weight loss. Unfortunately she passed away about 4 months in to therapy but the lessons I learned from her and what I learned about myself in that time I think has made a huge impact on me and now I am doing things for me like exercising, not out of shame but because I want to be a stronger, healthier person and darn it, I want to run a 5 K one day. Reading this reminded me of what she was trying to get through my head – she told me not to diet and I just couldn’t fathom the thought because I didn’t (and unfortunately still don’t) trust myself with food but reading this makes me realize I need to keep working on trusting myself. I need to see food not as my enemy, but just as just food and I need to stop beating myself up every time I eat something with carbs. It’s such a hard road, but I’m so glad I’ve found this blog because I really relate to everything you write about.

    Reply
  33. Christina

    Love this!! I recently lost about 40 lbs and I can COMPLETELY relate to this. How did you go about choosing your nutritionist? I am going through some of the same things you did- fear of gaining all of my weight back- and I think a nutritionist would really help me too.

    Reply
  34. Erica

    I have been attempting to lose weight for almost as long as i can remember, certainly since I was at least 13. I am now 32, and can say that I have never had a healthy relationship with food. Until recently. I found your blog about 30 lbs into my journey, and I still have 100 to go. There is something wildly comforting about knowing another person who has lost what I need to, AND who DID NOT just recently gain this weight, and needs to ‘return to her former thin status”. What a relief to finally hear from someone like me, who doesn’t know a thin past, and is trying to discover this way of living from scratch. And you look terriffic. Maybe one of my reservations has always been that I don’t know how I will look (like a fat girl who has just lost a ton of weight, you know the look…) but if you look as goo as you do, maybe I can look that good, too! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Reply
  35. Sarah

    Oh my. Thank you for writing this lovely blog. I just ran across it today, and I couldn’t leave without saying thank you. Thank you for writing out your journey in your elegant way, and thank you for putting into words some things I have never admitted to myself. I was a skinny girl but a chronic overeater, and now I am a chubby girl who still overeats. Perhaps this new perspective will help.

    Reply
  36. Janice Szombathy

    The honesty in the way you write is refreshing. Most blogs I read are very general and vague. I am impressed with how you have lived and learned and overcome! I am sitting here reading through your blog wanting to binge on some emptiness to fill my stomach. Instead I am going to read your posts to get me through my desire to eat. Thank you for this blog because it has helped me today, and I will continue reading to gain insight and knowledge!
    God Bless,
    Janice

    Reply
  37. Grace

    But how do you stop at just one :0) That is my problem. Once my mouth has the flavor, it is so hard to stop.

    I think that is one of my biggest problems…the quantity not the quality. I feel like I am being jipped for some reason. Not sure why. I have been able to maintain my weight (after a 30lb loss), but it is a constant battle…hourly even!

    I accidentally found your website via your mini lasagnas. I love it and you are the cutest thing ever…I love your posts. Your take on food, life, etc.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings!

    Reply
  38. Anna

    Just found your blog and I love it :) Wondering if I could ask a personal question – I seem to have a very similar body shape to what you had and I’m really concerned about what will happen to my skin during my weight loss. Did you have issues with this or did you find your skin snapped back over time on your journey?
    Thanks

    Reply
  39. Birdie

    Oh my God. Tears. I’ve always told myself that I’m not an emotional eater but…when you put everything in that way…in that perspective…that’s what I’m going through and have gone through since forever…just I have nobody to really tell me what it’s like but now that I found this site…man this is like counseling. lol.

    Reply
  40. Amanda

    I have read this before, and now I”m reading it again as I’m seriously starting my weight loss journey. The idea of balance and moderation and trusting your cues are not just important to me now, these are things I want to teach my children. I have two beautiful daughters, and I so desperately want to teach them that cookies are amazing and delicious, and we can enjoy them in moderation. I don’t want them to carry around the shame that I associate with food. They are young, 2 and 4 months, so I have some time to get my deal together, but not too much longer. Thank you for writing this and givign me a glimpse of what it looks like to maintain a healthy relationship with food.

    Reply
  41. Sara

    I must say a huge thank you…. I discovered your blog via Pinterest today when I was having a bit of a blah day on my weightloss journey. I am only about 3 weeks in and have lost 6 pounds but I am beginning to develop feelings of anxiety around whether I can actually do this and anxiety around hitting some kind of plateau. I have spent the past few hours reading your blog and it has revitalized my resolve and my strength to keep going. Thank you for the wonderful words of inspiration, these have helped more then you know :)

    Reply
  42. Jessica

    Wow, I saved this blog because of the great looking recipes but I keep returning because of the posts about your journey. I’ve more recently (more the past 5 years) developed a bit of a food addiction and it has scared me. So I’ve become a little afraid of food. Your posts have really encouraged me to find that balance and to find out what it is that’s making food so friendly!
    Thank you for being so honest and for being such a wonderful writer!

    Reply

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