Voice Over 0:01
You’re listening to the slumber party podcast with your host Amanda Jewssn, a mom of two girls, a child and infant sleep expert and general sleep lover. If you’re a tired parent who is desperate for answers, or just someone who loves sleep, this podcast was created just for you. Each episode is packed full of tips and tricks to help you maintain your sanity, as well as your social life during the early stages of parenthood. So grab your headphones, it’s time to get comfy.
Hello, everybody. Welcome back to The slumber party podcast. I’m your host, Amanda Jewson. As you know, on this podcast, we do talk about baby sleeping child sleep a lot. But I also like to do a little combination of talking about things that matter to new parents. And as I tend to do, I’ve invited someone that I’m working with personally at the very moment to talk about our bodies. And I know this is I’m choosing my words very carefully because I have a lot of personal feelings about this. Karin Norden is a PhD change psychology expert, which I really really love and founder of the brain body Alliance. The brain body Alliance provides intensive compassion first health coaching for women who want to learn to love the way they eat, feel and live using her expertise and gross growth, not gross, not gross growth, mindset, behavior change and client communication. Karin helps her clients to adjust their eating patterns, create meaningful yet manageable routines and rituals and transform their lives through compassion over criticism. And as one of her clients, I can attest to all of this. So welcome, Karen. How are you?
Thank you. I’m doing great. I’m really excited to be on this podcast and to chat with you.
Well, yeah, I mean, I we were talking about this earlier, and I think I’ve wanted to have you on the podcast because I am someone who’s like us was a serial dater. I’ve talked about this on my podcast before. I did literally every horrible thing that you could do everything. I’ve done low carb, keto, no carb, or low fat. I did. And I hate mentioning company names. So I won’t but I did. This something that we talked about I did a weight loss program here in Ontario, I think it is just an Ontario thing. Where it is a medically supervised. So they say, if you’re watching this, I’m making air quotes. If you’re listening, you can’t hear the air quotes. So I’m telling you, I’m doing them. So as medically supervisor is a doctor in the facility. They basically give you the 12 shots to make sure that your body doesn’t think that you’re starving, and you eat four to 600 calories a day. Do you lose weight? Yes. Does it make you insane? Yes. So these are all things I did in my in my 20s basically, I was on a diet, essentially, up until the moment I got pregnant with my first daughter. And then I was like, Oh, well, this is amazing. I’m just gonna eat whatever the hell I want. Because I’m pregnant. And I gained 60 pounds in my pregnancy. I and it was fine. Like honestly, I was like, fine, I’m pregnant, whatever. But then my daughter came out and I was like, Oh my god, I don’t ever want her to see me like this. I don’t want her to see that I’ve been dieting or that there’s something ever wrong with your body. And I really had a whole change about that. So I basically took a full two years off of any sort of conscious eating thing ever. And then I had my second daughter. And I noticed after I had some I had some pretty significant postpartum anxiety, probably a sprinkle of postpartum depression. But I remember seeing this ad for another wonderful non diety coach. That was like, I just I just knew that my food was impacting my mood and I wasn’t eating like well and I don’t even like to use like judgments but I was eating food that afterwards made me feel sluggish, tired. It really I was like I’m, I’m at one with my body. I’m comfortable with it. And I really was if I lose weight, great, great. I am done doing this whole thing for a year. I had lost A lot of weight probably like 25 pounds really slowly over the year. And it stuck it stuck at night. And it was just like a way of thinking about food. I eat all the foods as I say, I don’t ever restrict anything. And then Sorry, I’m giving everyone that background, I will let you talk hard. But I want it. I feel like this is important. I feel like this is the important thing. So then I was like, you know, I am a pretty Earth conscious, I’m afraid about climate change in the environment. I use cloth diapers with my children, both of them, I did it, I do all the things. And so veganism was something that came up for me over and over about like an earth conscious decision. And last January, I really decided to take the plunge.
And I didn’t really think about it, like I still ate all the foods. They were just vegan, and I didn’t. I didn’t think of it as a diet. I didn’t do it to lose weight. I didn’t it was just like, oh, like I read this book called done. The longevity diet, which talks about how veganism can be a pathway to like living to 100 right. So like, Yeah, do I like the idea of living to 100? Yes, but beyond that there was nothing like I hope I have a Beachbody. I just want to be really clear that it was never a diety thing. So I had noticed that I’m in. So where are we now? We started working together in November, right? Yeah, yep. Yeah. So the original program that I had worked on was called precision nutrition. And I liked it. And I thought like, okay, November, I just got to a point where I was uncomfortable in my body, I felt really sluggish again. I was doing weird. diety shit. So I was like, I haven’t talked about this, like with anyone except like close friends. Um, I was eating a vegan diet during the week, and I was bingeing on food on the weekend, which is a behavior that I haven’t done in years. And I was like, something is wrong, something is weird. And I don’t know how to explain what it is that like when I did this, like, the precision nutrition program before, I never really had cravings for food, because I did all the things. So anyway, I hire you, I look into this. And someone had said, like, Look, you can do precision nutrition again. Or you can work one on one with this, this coach who works for precision nutrition. And if you like that she can probably lead you down that road. And I was like, Yeah, okay, that makes sense. Through our work, like it took two months to get there. It was never, like I said to you, I just want to like, I would sure losing the weight I gained weight I gained probably about 15 pounds is here, but also like, who hasn’t pandemic life, I don’t really care. But I was like, I just feel like shit. And I, I don’t know how to stop feeling out of control about food. Like that was the big thing. And I hadn’t felt like that in a while. And you have been instrumental in like, kind of leading me back to why that is probably the case. First off, I remember being like, Hey, I once did this diet that that medically supervised diet, where I ate four to 600 calories a day. And then when I stopped doing the diet, I was totally at a control of my food. It’s kind of how I’m feeling now. Okay, let’s pause. That’s a trauma. That’s a food trauma. That kid I didn’t know that. That’s pretty significant. Anyway, I guess I want to kind of like we don’t have to talk about me specifically. But I would like to share what you do because I think that I don’t think that anyone needs to lose weight. I really reject the idea of like bounce back culture after you have the baby like get back into your jeans or bounce back. It’s like you grew a child in your body and I don’t know that you’ll ever go back. But I do think that there is something in the middle of like, I feel maybe out of control. I don’t know what’s going on. How can I eat in a way that feels good to me? That is it like weight loss see or diety so tell me. Wow, I’ve taught for nine minutes. Wow.
Well, it’s, I read you, I’m glad you did because I think it’s important for them, everybody who’s listening to this to know the backstory. And I think that your backstory in particular is really relatable and is the case with the majority of my clients, they have a history of these sort of crazy, hyper restrictive diets. And that history, whether or not you’re trying to diet now is going to influence your relationship with food, right. So that’s, that’s the first thing I want to hit on is that like, everybody has a relationship with food. And you have to think of it as a relationship, like you would with a friend or a partner, or whoever. And if that relationship is back and forth all the time, and it’s hyper restrictive, and it’s I’m only gonna do certain things at certain times, and I’m going to be really careful with my effort. And if it has all these rules around it, it’s not going to be a healthy relationship. And so that’s the first thing I want to recognize is that with you, it’s not necessarily about weight at all, like you came to me, because you were feeling out of control. And I remember you saying in the first session, like, I want to feel in control, and I challenged that, and I pushed back because I was like, Is it really control you want? Or is it peace? Right? Because for most people, it’s not that you want to feel in control around food, like you’re hyper, you know, careful about what you put in your mouth, it’s that you want to be able to like, go into a social setting, or like have a night off, where you’re out to dinner and feel at peace.
Yeah, yeah. I remember the first thing Oh, we talked about, like, I have an obsession with pizza. That’s not normal. I understand. It did take up the majority of our first conversation, and you were like, just have pizza whenever you want. And I was like, where I am mentally, right now means I can’t it means that like, if the pizza is at my house, I don’t stop until the pizza is gone. Which is like so crazy for me. And I think what we were able to unpack was that original restrictive diet that I had when I was 20 years old. 19 years old. I did that diet. I can’t believe they even took me on. But anyway, I was an official adult. But I did that diet when I was 19. And we had kind of uncovered that with my veganism. The idea that there were foods that were off, off like the list, I couldn’t eat x, y and Zed I had to look at every ingredient. I had to be choosy when I went to restaurants I had to that is all of the behavior that I was exhibiting when I was dieting anytime I was dieting. And so my body like you had said, my body does it know that you’re making a decision for the planet? I had come to this, you didn’t tell me you shouldn’t be vegan. You never said that. Ever, once. You were like, let’s get more protein. Let’s try this. Let’s try that. And then I was like, I think it was two weeks before the holidays. I was like, I’ve been craving eggs. And I was looking at my husband having an egg. And I was like, I want that. And it really made me think I’m restricting myself somehow, like this is I’m not whatever I’m eating or whatever I’m doing if it’s mental, or if it’s that I’m truly not getting the nutrients I need. Something’s up. So I’m going to just try eating all the foods again, and I’m going to report back and how I feel. So I remember over the holidays, we just like took a two week break where I ate all the foods. And it was like, it was a huge change. Like I don’t binge. Yeah, anymore. Like, which is sorry, go ahead.
No, I was just gonna say and that experience is so common. And it is like I’m well versed in the evidence, right? So just like we studied chemistry, just like we study physics, we also study behavior, and we study health behavior. And what evidence actually shows us is that restrictions and categories around food, so good, bad, clean junk, which I hear a lot of women use. Those actually make it much harder to eat healthy, they mess with our mental health. And they actually drive up our cravings for those particular like, not allowed types of foods. And so oftentimes, women come to me, they’re trying to change their weight somehow, which I’ll get to that at some point, I’m sure. And yeah, I will. They’ll have all these restrictions. They’ll be doing interesting. Fasting, where they’ll be doing clean eating, and they’re not succeeding with it. And as soon as we remove the restrictions, we let go of all the boundaries, we let go of the labels, and we focus on making decisions that fuel our physical health and our emotional health at the same time, that’s when everything becomes easier. You cannot willpower, your way to good eating, you cannot restrict your way to good eating, it will backfire. And it is, in some cases, very traumatic.
Totally. And I think that, well, what what your Instagram bio handle is is like feminist, feminist weight loss. And I was like, tell me more about that. Because I think that, you know, I would hate, I think like bodies and body positivity and like, you can be beautiful at any shape or size. And I think that it’s, it’s really not, I’m like, Sure, it’s great that I fit into my jeans again, so I don’t have to buy new jeans, but I would have bought new genes, which is what I said at the start of this. I just felt like so much of like weight loss or even like, you know, you think about As for myself, would you? You don’t have to answer this. But have you ever been on like, obviously you’ve been on a diet, right? Yes, yes, yes. Yes, yes. Okay. So like, when I’ve been on a diet, and I have been skinny, skinny air quotes, okay. I’ve been at my thinnest. I’ve never been happy in that moment. I’ve never been in a place where I’m like, Oh, look at all the like, that doesn’t happen. I also think that like, what I exactly what you said, Do you want to lose weight? Or do you want peace, I just wanted peace with my food. I want to be able to like, not feel like on Friday night, I want to order dinner 2.0. And like, it feels like gross, like I was going to bed like digesting food in my stomach overnight. Now, whether that’s because it’s triggering that trauma of me literally starving myself at 19. I like paid for an eating disorder, a medically supervised eating disorder. My body is going to remember that. And anytime there’s a restriction, my body’s going to be like, well, we got to get in this. Like, we don’t know, when we’re getting food again. The last time this happened, it was 600 calories a day, which is like not sustainable. So I feel like there’s there’s so much more to food than just losing weight. And it’s never about the food, I don’t think
Yeah, and I want to talk about what you said about weight for a minute. Because I, I consider myself to be a weight neutral coach. And what that means is that I don’t believe that all weight loss is positive. I don’t believe that all weight loss is negative. I don’t believe that all weight gain is positive. Same thing, right. And like I’ve personally been through situations where I lost an enormous amount of weight my the summer after my freshman year. And it was because I was working at a daycare. I was on my feet all day. And I decided just to basically not eat right, like it was seriously disordered eating. Yeah, and I lost weight. And that’s not good. Weight loss. Yeah. But then if you look for years later, I also worked at a daycare. I was getting up early in the morning to go work out before work at the daycare purely so I could avoid traffic because I didn’t want to drive to the other city. And yeah, I was eating super nutrient dense foods. And I was busy. I was feeling my body well, and I was feeling really good. And I also lost weight that summer. And if you look at those two situations, both same outcome, two totally different mentalities, two totally different situations. And so that’s why i don’t think i think weight is neutral. And I don’t think you should ever tell anybody that they have to lose weight for any reason.
Well, and weight loss is not equal health, which is something that I think a lot of people discuss in, which is like, I think a big part of it just kind of happened at the same time, like I did piane. And I did resolve my relationship with food. And that was like, the biggest thing that came out. I was also the thinnest I’ve ever been in my adult life. And that wasn’t because of me. And it was because I was so incredibly anxious. I wasn’t eating. So like, I’ve never been unhappier during my thinness time. Now I like I always say like, yes, the weight loss was a byproduct, the weight loss was me not eating, because I felt like barfing all day, because I literally thought I was dying for two years. And it’s like, and people were like, Wow, you look so good, good for you. And it’s like, oh, and I mean, since then, in the last, this is why I don’t care about weight gain, I’ve probably gained 15 pounds from that time, but I’ve also not tried to lose it. Because I’m like, Oh, this is my happy weight. This is how I know that I’m actually happy. And I’m, I’m I’m, like better and I’m healing. Because I can eat and maybe my body is so comfortable. I eat too much, which is not something that was happening before. So it doesn’t equal like this good thing.
Yeah. And I think you touched on something important too, which is that you have to take a look at the way that you’re viewing weight loss in other people. So when someone you know loses weight, if your immediate instinct is to say, Oh, my gosh, great job, I would really encourage you as like a practical takeaway from this podcast to stop doing that. Because you could be congratulating someone for an illness, or an eating disorder or a stressful life event, right? You don’t know what that is. And all of those things. If you’re looking at someone else’s weight change or weight loss in particular, and you’re viewing it as automatically positive, that is internalized fat phobia, that is fat phobia. And so you need to look at your relationship, regardless of your weight. You need to look at your relationship with fatness and with fat phobia. And that will tell you a lot about how you’re treating yourself when it comes to your own way. Yeah.
Yeah. And I think like, for me, it did get to a point where I was like, Oh, I’m uncomfortable in my body. It wasn’t like, I mean, what, I think I’ve shared this with you. I don’t know what but like, at my like, biggest body times is when I’m like, I look good. I don’t know why I don’t look in the mirror and hate my body. I’m like, oh, it is what it is. I it’s more that like, oh, when they sit down, like I’m not really comfortable. Or I’m going for a walk and I’m really huffing and puffing right now. Like, I probably should increase my workout stuff. I think there’s a difference. So there’s this like spot in the middle then where I think I would have been okay with the weight loss for those reasons. But I also don’t wanna, I don’t want to say that I need to do that to be a good person or like to, do you know what I’m saying? There’s this like, spot in the middle where it’s also okay to want to lose weight. Yeah, it’s if, but it’s not, I think it’s important to know that you don’t have to. And that won’t like I mean, this is kind of off topic. But like, my daughter, I don’t even want to share it now. I’m not going to share it. I was like, I will, when my kids are at this the the part where I am sharing things that I would be embarrassed about later on. That’s what I’m going to shut it off. And I think we’re we might be at that age. But what I’ll say is like, you know, kids have insecurities and about whatever. And I would hate to like ever show my daughter that like, Okay, what we need to change it then if this is it, it’s like, No, your body is beautiful the way it is right now. And I just wish that. Yeah, it’s a weird spot. I don’t know what I’m trying to say there. But I feel like kind of like conflicted in the middle.
Yeah. So there’s two things. One is that if you are pursuing healthy, compassionate weight loss, your number one goal is supporting your body, your number one goal is not weight loss. So when someone comes to me and says, Hey, I want to lose weight. I’m always like, that’s great. But why? Like, what Yeah, your future self who’s five pounds lighter, or 10 pounds lighter, 40 pounds lighter, or whatever it is, like, what is so different about that person that we’re seeking her, like what is actually the draw there. And when we figure that out, it’s usually like, I can run around with my kids. I don’t feel bloated after I eat, I feel energized when I wake up in the morning. And all of those outcomes we create by making healthy choices by adding more fruits and vegetables by eating more protein by adding a walk not by deprivation, not by restriction or by taking away entire food groups. And so when you do it in that way, it’s really positive and I want to say one more thing. Before I know you have something to say, but that is that
I always have something to say. No, I
mean, I grew up, I grew up with a parent who a mom who was really aware of food. And I mean, I can tell you the caloric content of anything, like I can look at a food, and I know how many calories are in that thing. I know whether you can fit it into a low carb diet, or into keto, or into whatever. And like, that’s not knowledge that has ever been helpful for me. And so I would really encourage people, especially moms with young kids, like even if your daughter is really, really, really young, she’s going to pick up on the way you’re approaching your body and the way you’re approaching weight loss. And if you approach it in a way that’s like, let’s eat more vegetables to get strong, let’s eat more protein, to feel energy, she’s going to pick up on that, and she’s going to be empowered. But if you approach it in a way that’s like, I can’t eat that, then that’s, that can translate into into hurtful things.
Yeah, I’ve been so conscious of that, especially after having two girls. And we don’t really, I mean, even now, I don’t really talk about anything related to like weight, or if I work out, it’s because I want to be strong, which is true, I don’t even like it since you know, having my second kid like I work out for so many other reasons, not related to weight loss. Just you know, fitness and health and cardiovascular reasons and mental health and all of that stuff. But we I always say like, I just I exercise to feel good and feel strong. And like, I’m also not obsessed about it. And I also feel like what what’s funny is like, we have never talked about foods being healthier, unhealthy, or we’ll see something like this is really healthy, it’ll make you feel good. That’s it. And it’s funny the messages kids get in school, like yeah, oh, we shouldn’t eat too much sugar, it’s bad for you. And I’m like, Who says that? Like food is food. And what we’ve really got to the point of is, you know, some may disagree with us, we definitely have taken away candy and sugar from our kids, because they can’t help themselves. But a lot of the time, we say like, if you eat all of that candy, you’re gonna feel sick, which is true, which always happens. So in the end, there’ll be like, No, I won’t know. Really guess we know because of that. But now they’ll be like, Oh, we don’t really want to eat all that much. Because we will feel sick after we always let them have whatever they want. I mean, because I don’t want to ever feed them the lesson that foods are bad or good, and that you have to make all of these changes. So, Karen, I know that I spoke for nine of the 30 minutes that we have today. But I really think that I just wanted to kind of number one share this part of my story, because I think it wasn’t obvious to me when I worked with you that like any sort of restriction was triggering that like diet brain in me. Yeah. And I also think that I don’t think a lot of people think that there’s anything in the middle of like, okay, I would like to change this. Do I have to do keto? keto? Do I have to do intermittent fasting? Like, no, you can do something really, really, really, really balanced? And I’ve loved working with you. So how can people find you if they want to? If they can?
Yes, yes, they can absolutely. Find me. My Instagram handle is just my name. So it’s Caren Nardin PhD. I believe that will be in the show notes. So I do two things right now on the nutrition side of things. I also work as a curriculum consultant. So that’s how we were actually eventually connected because I write for precision nutritions curriculum team, I help them on the health change side of things. But if you want to get ahold of me, you can find me on Instagram, all the links are there. And I do private individual coaching, which currently is totally booked. So I have a group program called the body brain Alliance cohort. It’s an eight week group program and we go through all of the basic nutrition information so you can be really empowered with the science. But we also go through mental techniques, things like routine forming things like brain, what I call brain modeling, so like adjusting your thoughts in a different way. Cognitive Behavioral techniques for adjusting your relationship with food, all of that stuff and kind of a fast paced eight Groups slash course situation. So that link, the waitlist link for the next opening of body brain Alliance is always in my bio. And then I will also mention, I do have a free Facebook group. It’s called New Year no bullshit. And every month everyday group sets Yeah, we set like two or three monthly habits, just little things. It’s a diet culture free space Do you cannot discuss intentional weight loss in that group. It’s just about pursuing health in meaningful, manageable ways. So the link to sign up for that is in my bio as well. And I admit people at the beginning and end of each month so that they’re ready to go with the whole group.
Amazing. Well, carne You are a breath of fresh as they say, and you’ve really really helped me figure out my shed and so if you have shit I highly recommend Karin and good luck everyone sleep well if you do a you know, if you’re here to be like great. I really enjoyed that conversation. But my baby still doesn’t sleep. Head over to babies asleep calm for my blog. You can head over to my Instagram at babies best sleep for all of those sleep tips. And as always, you can book a free 15 minute discovery call if you are thinking about working with myself or a member of our team. We can help you get back to sleep once you’re eating well.
All right. Have a good one, everyone. Bye