body talk

3 Nutrition Tips That Changed My Life.

Nov 02, 2016

As promised, here’s the follow up to “What I eat on a typical Tuesday blog”! In this blog, we’re going to dig into the main points that my nutrition therapist has taught me.

A little less than a year ago, I attended a retreat where I witnessed a 16 year old, girl go into full panic about what she was going to eat. I saw this beautiful young girl obsess about what she ate and then she started talking about the next diet she was going to start so she can finally lose those last few pounds. My heart broke. I saw myself in this young woman, and I decided I had to do something to change it.

In previous blogs I have mentioned that food has always been a struggle for me. I have spent my entire life either dieting or bingeing. My “yo-yo” dieting had gotten so bad I realized I didn’t even know how to eat normally anymore. That is when I met nutrition therapist, Heather Lengyel, and my whole approach to eating changed. Heather gave me 3 nutrition tips that changed my life, and I promised to share them with you. Here they are!

1. Throw away all your diet books.


Heather told me that restriction of any food only leads to binging, PERIOD.

I had read just about every diet book put out there. From paleo to vegan, to cleansing to no wheat to no dairy, food combining, blood type... you name it, I’ve read it. With every book I was sure I was finally going to find the answer, and the diet that would make me look and feel the way I should. I would convince myself THIS time, the diet would work. They usually did for the first week or so. I would lose a few pounds and would say, “OH YEAH I feel great,” only to find myself completely bingeing on all the foods that were “off limits” over the weekend, and then I’d tell myself once again that I would get back on it Monday morning.

I had a friend who said to me, “I just did this amazing diet I felt great and lost a ton of weight. I’m going to get back on it when I get home from the dessert.” When I asked her, “If you felt so amazing why did you get off of it?” Her response was, “Well I couldn’t really be social. I didn’t want to go out because I couldn’t eat or drink anything so I found myself feeling very isolated and anti-social.”

It’s funny because when my friend said this, as normally in the past I would’ve asked, “Well what diet? Is there a book? I’ll do it with you when you get back! I learned that I gave a lot of power to food. When I denied myself, I couldn’t trust myself to eat. It meant food was in control, not ME. No amount of weight loss is worth that.

2. Listen to your body, eat what you want, and NO food is off limit.

Now this lesson was very hard for me to grasp. WHAT? I just threw away all my diet books and now you expect me to just listen to my body? NO WAY! My body tells me I want pizza, burgers, and movie theater popcorn all day every day!

I struggled with this concept so much that in the first month I wrote my therapist, Heather, a very scathing email calling her all kinds of names, telling her this concept will never work, I was going to prove her wrong, I was just going to get fat and to be honest, I did NOT like her at all!

It turned out after about a month of throwing tantrums, but following her instructions and eating all the foods I wanted (sandwiches, pizza, cheese) I found out that I ate these foods usually out of emotion. I never even really enjoyed food because I was so consumed with the fact of what I was eating. I always wanted to eat as much as I could because I didn’t know the next time I would be able to eat this “bad” food.

Then, one day I was craving sweets and instead of eating a whole pint of ice cream, I was satisfied with one piece of chocolate. I found out I don’t really like sandwiches all that much, and I found myself eating a salad with two slices of pizza instead of the entire pizza.  When I stopped labeling food as “good” or “bad” and let everything be just OK to eat, my body started to tell me what I really liked and didn’t like. I couldn’t believe my own body. I DO really like salads! I started to take back the power over food and instead of trying to numb myself out by eating, I found other ways to deal with my stress and issues. (I will cover my self-care methods in a future blog.)

3. Have macronutrients at every meal.

This might sound crazy, but I never used to eat oatmeal because I considered it to be like bread: WAY too many carbs. Oatmeal with 1 scoop of protein powder, 1 tablespoon of almond butter, cinnamon, and almond milk is now my new favorite breakfast. My body actually craves it in the morning and it keeps my full for at least 4 hours. Without following a diet, Heather explained to me the importance of macronutrients. That when you have a protein, fat, and a carb at a meal you tend to be more satisfied and your body can shut off the hunger signals so you won’t feel a continued poking to eat. She explained that each of these nutrients plays a specific role.

Carbs = Preferred source of Energy for the body

Protein = Helps rebuild tissue and cells and

Fats = brain function and hormone balance.

When one of these nutrients is missing, like when you’re depleted of carbs, the other nutrients can no longer do their full job.

These 3 tips have 100% changed my life, my relationship with food, and have taken away the power it once had!  BUT, for them to work and that to happen, there was one change that had to happen first, and that was ME.

One day, I was walking around my house saying out loud, “I’m so puffy, ugh I just feel so puffy, I ate too much last night, don’t I look puffy?” My husband eventually stopped me and said, “Jenny I don’t know if you’re walking around saying you’re puffy because you want me to say you’re not, but to be totally honest, you don’t look puffy and it’s really unattractive to listen to you walking around complaining about what you ate and hating your body. Aren’t you all about loving what you’ve got?”

At that moment I realized two things:

  1. I was not being authentic and living the way I was telling others to live
  2. If I keep this up, I will pass this on to my unborn child because all the women in my family speak negatively about themselves.

I now see Heather once a week. What started as nutrition therapy and has turned into so much more. I realized so much of my emotion, self worth, and stress were based around food, and that just like any kind of self improvement, in order to disrupt the dysfunction you NEED to put in the work!

I want to be clear that I am not judging the way anyone chooses to eat. If being vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free or paleo makes you feel awesome then that is your lifestyle! What I am trying to make clear is that we have to take back our power. We need to learn to trust and listen to our bodies. It isn’t easy; I have to work on this every day. Guilt and shame should not be connected to what we are eating. Food is just food. Whether it’s a salad or pizza, let’s stop labeling it, and let’s just eat and move on. Oh! and talking about food all the time, body shaming and food shaming ourselves will NOT change our bodies. Change comes from self-love, not self loathing.

I love you all and hope these blogs about my personal journey inspire you on your journey!



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