Hello, strangers. Long time no blog, eh? I believe this is the longest I’ve gone without blogging since I began. Basically, life happened. It’s been a terrifically busy semester, and when I wasn’t occupied with official responsibilities related to either of two my jobs, I was doing a lot of processing. Oh, processing, you are so all-consuming!
But I’m back! No promises as to how consistent I’ll be, but I’d like to get at least a few posts up during the exciting and festive month that is December!
I was also motivated to get back to it after I was contacted by one of my most favorite fellow lady-bloggers, Ms. Rande Moss. I started following Rande on her now-defunct blog, The Vegetable Centric Kitchen, which charted her journeys on some pretty extreme detoxes and cleanses. You see, like Rande, at that time, I too was seeking some kind of healing and peace from the food I consumed (or rather, the food I refused to consume). Her lovely personality shone through her posts, and so even though the topic was ultimately detrimental to Rande (as my journey through restrictive, “clean eating” programs became too), I was still a fan.
I lost track of Rande after she stopped posting, and after I took many steps away from uber-restrictive eating regiments; so you can imagine my delight when Rande resurfaced with a new blog, Rande Moss Wellness, a coaching business, and a wildly new approach to life and food. I was excited to learn that Rande and I had both given up “clean” food-obsession in favor of living fuller and richer lives. Rande’s new blog was incredibly refreshing and I became an immediate follower.
Rande reached out to me a few weeks ago to let me know that she had released a book called The Eat to Feel Good “Diet”: A Mini-Guide to Making Friends with Your Body. I was eager to read it and offered to do a review of the book, and then also requested if she might indulge the RGL community with an interview. So you, lucky readers, get a glimpse at this incredible book and more words from Rande herself!
First, the book: Please get this book. Seriously. I was hooked from the first page, when Rande states, “I think you’re here for something bigger than having a certain body. I think you’re here for wilder adventures than what’s for dinner…Everything you said you were going to be after you reached your body goals? You can be that now. You can embody that power and freedom now.” Omg, chills!
This sets the tone for the rest of the book, which provides six steps to ridding yourself of self-harming behavior around your body and food, and a path to—and I do not use this word lightly—liberation. Generally, I would reserve the word “liberation” for discussions of movements for social justice and revolution, but if you have a history of any kind of eating disorder or body dysmorphia you know that it can truly feel like you’re trapped in a deep and terrifying way. This book is a breath of fresh air amidst the noise of diet culture and body-shame.
Rande offers steps to take that are both emotionally inspiring as well as practical. I feel fortunate that I am very far removed from the thick of my disordered eating and body-hating days, but, on occasion, I still slip into negative self-talk and food-choice shame. I am so grateful to have a copy of this book to skim when I need a little reminder to, as she notes, “love [your body] in action, not just in theory.” She asks, very pragmatically, “What are things you can do to make your body feel loved?” That answer may change on a daily basis, but this is just one example of why I am glad I have this book on hand!
Another favorite key take away from Rande’s book that I carry with me is to eat whatever you want, but to really pay attention to how you feel after you eat certain food and let that guide you in the future. It’s incredibly exciting to realize that you choose the kale salad over the vegan diner food because you want to, not because you “should.” Let that reasoning—a reasoning built on self-love rather than self-hate—guide your choices, and watch the transformation occur!
I want to stop there so as to not give too much more away, but please do consider buying a (very affordable–only $3.99!) copy for yourself (and maybe gifting it to some special fabulous people in your life who could use some loving-kindness?).
And now, I’m very excited to bring you an interview with the author, blogger, and coach!
- I know we’ve both been really into some pretty strict diet/”lifestyle” programs, often revolving around juice, raw foods, and other really restrictive practices that are incredibly hard to get untangled from. So my question is, what was the thing that finally inspired you to give all that up? Was there a particular “aha” moment or was it gradual?
It was more cyclical than gradual. As in, I’d get intensely wrapped up in an extreme diet-lifestyle, push it beyond all reason, realize slowly that it wasn’t working and find my way out. That cycle was repeated an un-countable amount of times. In the last couple of years there have been piles of little “aha’s”. My Eating Psychology training was one, along with several blogs, books, and my own experience of coming back to my body. Once I started letting to of the rules and started trusting myself – there was no going back.
- You’ve explained that you deleted your old blog so as to not perpetuate the kind of choices you now find harmful. What did it feel like to do that, and have you gotten any negative responses from people who followed the blog?
It felt like relief! I hadn’t realized how uncomfortable I was, still proudly broadcasting “90 day juice fasts” to the world, until I took it down. I had slowly stopped posting and transitioned over to my current blog – the only complaint has been that people miss the recipes! My favorites have come along with me though (Dark Chocolate Sweet Potato Truffles anyone?).
- How did people in your life help you on this journey? And what can people do to help loved ones who might be showing orthorexic or other self-harming, obsessive tendencies?
I think I was very, very good at making it seem like I was healthy. I spoke confidently about the way I was living and I never got unhealthily skinny so the few worried voices never pushed too far. All that to say, nobody really knew how much I was struggling (with fatigue, food obsession, body image, and accumulating health issues) until I put it all behind me and started talking about the dark side. “Orthorexia” is such a funny word and I used to be pretty opposed to it. I was like a lot of people who think there can’t possibly be anything wrong with a fixation on health! And there’s certainly nothing wrong with taking care of ourselves, but for some of us, it becomes our whole world. If I could go back and tell my loved ones anything, it would be that someone is not OK when they can’t occasionally break their food plan to share dinner with you.
- How has giving up your old lifestyle benefitted you? What new projects and activities has it made room for?
Oh wow! Well for starters, listening to my body means SO much more physical and mental energy! For years, I was essentially starving myself to get to this state of supposed spiritual bliss…but I had so little focus because my thoughts were constantly swamped by food even though I had trained myself to not feel “hungry”. I thought there was something so wrong with me emotionally because I was such a “compulsive eater” but the truth was, I wasn’t connecting with my body enough to know that I actually needed to feed it. Bodies don’t respond well to tightly controlled meal plans (especially when 70% of those meals are green juice…). My life now includes a lot more connecting with people: I used to be so afraid of binge eating or straying from what I was “supposed” to be eating that I said “no” to a lot of things. I’m doing everything now, ESPECIALLY what I’m afraid of. I’ve written a little book called The Eat to Feel Good “Diet” which lists the 5 steps that helped me get out of my head and back into my body in terms of food choices. I’m also an Eating Psychology Coach and work with women who are tired of the dieting world, possibly struggling with emotional or compulsive eating, and want to learn to trust their bodies.
- What can people expect from your personal coaching sessions?
The word that lights me up the most is “freedom” so that’s what it all boils down to. People can expect to unwind their stories and beliefs about food and learn what it’s like to hear what their body actually wants. If there are frustrations like binge or emotional eating, we’ll take a really interesting approach that I call “befriending the binge” – which is rather counterintuitive but very effective! It’s a lot of fun, people come in quite wound up in food and leave with a much bigger perspective.
- What’s your current favorite meal? :)
I love this question :) I really have always loved food and it’s just crazy to me that I spent so many years thinking I needed to limit it as much as possible. It would have been much easier to answer back in the day though because I was only eating, like, vegetables. I eat so many delicious things now that it’s almost impossible to choose! Two recent things I’ve devoured that I used to be terribly afraid of are sushi and fruity yogurt. I’m laughing as I type that because it still sounds so “healthy” but I didn’t eat those things for years!
Let me know what you think of Rande’s interview and her book in the comments! (And/or, just say hey, because it’s been a while and I’ve missed you.) xoxo