Reconnecting with the Past to Address Your Food Insecurity or Overwhelming Focus on Dieting and your Body


Manage episode 208814109 series 1141871
By Betsy Thurston MPH RD, Integrative Health Coach, and Registered Dietitian. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
Reconnecting with the Past to Address Your Food Insecurity or Overwhelming Focus on Dieting and your Body

In this episode, I discuss how our experiences in our younger years shape our body image and relationship with food. Many of these experiences may have contributed to how you behave and feel around food and your body as an adult. Using the model of internal family systems, you can reconnect with your experiences and find more inner peace. In time, you will be less triggered by comments or experiences that once made your body contract or freeze and your mind ruminate.

Tune in to the episode to learn how you might work on your relationship with food and your body by exploring the root of your food insecurity or your overactive need to diet.

Also, consider joining my online class to help you learn how to help yourself get out of stressful eating habits. For more information go to

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:
  1. Identify when and how your food insecurity started.
  2. Discover how reconnecting with your past experiences can help you in your journey to healing.
  3. Learn how helpful it can be to have more understanding and compassion for yourself and your inner child.
Resources Episode Highlights Feeling Flawed and Having Food Insecurity

As an adult, you may have developed an image or belief that you are flawed because of your body and how you feel and act around food. You don’t trust yourself around food, and you might avoid it as much as you can. You might also have periods of secretly overeating. Shame and fear of judgment might happen daily.

Getting to the Root of the Problem

When there’s a fear of being fat or a history of long-term dieting, more often than not, there is an initial source of wounding. And this is often rooted in childhood experiences or sometimes times in college or early adulthood.

You may have been surrounded by real or perceived judgments around your body, or you might have been flooded with internal judgment. Other people’s fear for their own bodies may have been projected onto you. These experiences may be traumatizing and have resulted in you feeling inadequate, creating an internal obsession over your weight and body.

Explore the Past

We can always explore the past with awareness of the present. Tapping into the memories of your younger years could help you heal from issues surrounding your weight and body.

By learning to connect with the root of your fears and food insecurity, you gain more understanding and compassion for yourself in your journey to recovery.

Separate Threat from Trigger

Growing up surrounded by body critics may have led you to watch your food intake and obsess over every little change in your body. For instance, a slight hint of being bloated might set you into panic and hypervigilance. Yet feeling bloated is completely normal; it’s a part of digestion.

The part of your mind that takes over in this way actually believes you’re in grave danger. It wants to save you from the early memories of shame and hurt. But these parts can create hyper vigilance and dieting habits, which can be very demanding and destructive. It's important to learn how to separate the threat from the trigger and calm the internal noise in your head.

Connect with the Quiet Space Within You

One of my clients came to me when she was in her late 30s. She’d been on every diet on the planet. But she still felt defeated and disappointed. She knew it was very exhausting to live in deep fear of having a certain body type and obsessing over what she was eating.

What we started to do was to talk about the practicalities of food and a bit on intuitive eating. Then we were led to memories of when she was a little girl who’d experienced being bullied about her body. She was able to get in touch with this critical energy from a curious place.

Through a specific process, she reconnected with her inner child, and this allowed her to understand and re-experience what happened in a new way. This child realized that forever more, she was not alone, and she also knew that she was heard. In the weeks after this experience she was able to relax and eat intuitively much better.

Be Compassionate with Yourself

Another client grew up in a household where the fabric of the conversation, with her mother, in particular, was on dieting. Food and the ‘perfect’ body were overvalued. Along with this, she felt as if she wasn’t paid much attention to as a child.

As a result, this client was stuck in a world of stressful eating habits. The solution began with her spending time to find the little girl who was shamed for her body and only found comfort in food. Taking care of this little girl brought her much healing. She was able to find compassion not only for her present self but also for the child she was.

Very successful people with the secret eating problem

A different client had a problem with binge eating. She felt great shame for being successful in her career, yet secretly having a problem with overeating food. She would follow a diet and rebuke herself if she fell off the track, and then the cycle would continue.

But it was through working with a sense of quietness and compassion that she was able to open a space for curiosity and realize the origins of the problem. She was able to process her problem by reflecting on the abuse she experienced as a child. The feelings of loneliness and helplessness around eating shifted to understanding and calmness.

5 Powerful Quotes from this Episode

“If you've been dieting for your whole life, and here you are listening to this podcast, I want you to take in hopefully, that another diet is really not going to get you anywhere, we really need to get to the bottom of the problem in order to fix the problem.”

“I can guarantee you that no matter what happened as a child, on some level, you were just doing your best. You're just a kid seeking love. That's all anybody ever wants.”

“It's about connecting with a sensation of feeling alone, or scared or overwhelmed, or helpless, and letting that part be heard, and come out of hiding, and connect with another part within that's listening.”

“We have an infinite ability deep within us for healing and peace. It's there; we all are self-healing. It's a matter of finding it. It is. Peace is always available. Calm within is always available.”

“We all need to look at the areas in ourselves where we believe we are not enough. I think it's universal… And if we all could work towards healing, our inner children, all of us, imagine how the world would be a better place. We can heal this planet, because then, we're not so stuck in fear and caught up in our heads and worrying all the time. We can be so much more available to life.”

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Have any questions or want to enroll in my class or schedule an appointment? You can email me at or visit my website.

To making peace with eating,


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