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Episode 13 is about disordered eating, something that both Megan and Alex have dealt with. With disordered eating being such a common issue in women of all ages and confusion about food philosophies in general, this is an important subject to address through living in sync with the cycle. Periods of starting new healthier habits and integrating those new habits within the context for real life makes this process easier and much more sustainable. You won’t hear about prescribed diets from us! Although we have a few of our favorites. Instead, we believe that a personalized approach to finding the perfect diet for your individual body is the most high-yield lesson you can learn for your health.

Important Links: to learn more about the 4 Phase Cycle Approach. to get our FREE Wild Feminine Cycle Guide to get started with everything you need to know about living in sync with your cycles. to join our 3 month Healthy Hormones Group Program. This program includes functional lab work with a complete hormone and neurotransmitter panel, with a personalized protocol created for each participant based on their results.

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Transcript for This Podcast

Hello, hello. This is Alex again. Welcome to our fourteenth class here, if I’m counting that correctly. We are going to – last week I talked about elimination diets. And dieting in general within the context of your cycle.

Today I wanted to talk about disordered eating. Because we are constantly talking to women who have a history of disordered eating. And it comes up all the time because Megan and I are fairly open about our history with disordered eating. Megan actually had bulimia and orthorexia. I think I fell more on the orthorexia spectrum, and have had various stages of disordered eating. I don’t know if I would go so far as to say I ever had anorexia, but while I’m a naturally lean person there have been times where I have been very very thin. And most of all, both of us have shared our experience with the fact that with disordered eating there is just, quite frankly, a lot of fear about all the food that goes into your body and what that relationship is like.

And so whether that is fear because you have so many health problems, so many autoimmune issues that you feel like you can’t eat anything so you’re constantly just like, “oh my god. What is the least bad thing that I can have. What’s going to hurt me the least.” Or you’ve listened to lots of health podcasts – like this one – and you’re like, “oh well that person said I have to do this diet. And this person said I have to do this diet.” And the two diets are completely different, and how can I possibly do both. So you end up eating some weird, very limited combination of the two that doesn’t really serve you, and short changes you on the nutrients that you take.

Or you have a flat out eating disorder where you feel most in control of your food. And that drives a lot of your coping mechanisms with stressors. It doesn’t matter, again, where you fall out in this. Or if you simply just feel like you have a torchered relationship with your weight and your food. This is everything that we’re going to talk about here.

We feel very strongly that none of our programs and anything that we advocate should be focus on a deprivation mindset. We very very much want to move away from that. And so Megan and I have personally discovered this. And then as we work with women, this has been reinforced more and more and more. And here’s the truth that I think we’ve realized most of all: When you try to do something that is good for you, but it puts you in that deprivation mindset, ultimately even though you’re doing a good thing, it will cause harm downstream in a way that you don’t necessarily intend or can anticipate. Because what you are essentially doing is causing your you and mentally to have so many parameters around you that the issues that you have not yet worked through will find a way to come out. And they will come out in such a way – when that is unconscious and you’re doing it kind of knee jerk reaction – you will eventually either sabotage yourself, or you will do something harmful, or you will do something really stupid. Okay?

So, and that is usually how that ends up happening. Think of when something is annoying you and someone comes in and you’re holding your tongue, your holding your tongue, you’re holding your tongue, and then you don’t have a way to blow it off. If you don’t go to the gym or you don’t scream in the car, or whatever and you get home and your partner says something annoying and you just yell at them finally. You know what I’m saying? Those are the things that end up coming out because they haven’t been addressed. And with food, I think, this comes out more and more. Because the only two end points for deprivation is either you get to the point where you’re so undernourished that a new problem emerges, or you’re so rigid and miserable that you abandon all of the parameters that you set out for yourself instead of some of them.

So with all of that I want to just give a concrete example.

I, like I’ve said, have a severe history of endometriosis – I have a history of severe endometriosis. And for up until recently we didn’t totally understand why endometriosis happened. And now more and more it’s being recognized as an autoimmune condition. And so for that reason a lot of practitioners and people will advocate doing a autoimmune protocol. Which is basically at it’s heart a fairly limited elimination diet that you, because autoimmune diseases have such a flare up of the immune system, that it takes a while to simmer down. A lot of times people end up doing the autoimmune protocol for a longer period of time. It’s not just a week, it’s sometimes people do this for a year. And just to get it out there, I have no problem with any elimination diet, don’t have a problem with the autoimmune diet.

But for me, I tried to do the autoimmune diet back when I had my – back when I had surgery, I had parts of both my ovaries removed, and a fallopian tube, and some other things – and so I thought, “well now is a really great time to do the autoimmune protocol,” because they have taken out a lot of the tissue that I had accrued in adolescents, back when I didn’t really know any better. And now that that was gone I thought, “well now is a great time to prevent it from coming back.” And that’s actually absolutely true and I still in my heart of hearts believe that, but for me autoimmune protocol ended up kicking off a huge mental thing where I was in constant deprivation mode. All I wanted to do was think about food. And think about all the food I couldn’t eat.

I started getting really obsessive about calorie counting – because I felt like I wasn’t going to ever have enough. I started sneaking things that I wouldn’t have even eaten on a normal diet, and hiding it because I felt guilty about it, and I didn’t want my mom – she was supporting me and helping me and I didn’t want her to be disappointed when she saw me breaking it. It just really put me in such a horrible mental place that I truly believe that the stress response that I was having to those thoughts, to those experiences – to not adequately working through my food related traumas, and the trials that kicked off all of these obsessive control over my food – that it really was doing more damage than not following the autoimmune protocol and eating my regular healthy diet. And so that is ultimately the decision I made.  

Now, do I probably have more scarring because I didn’t stick with the autoimmune protocol? I guess we’ll never know, but my guess is that yes, I probably have some more adhesions and endometiomas than if I had really stuck with it. But what the toll it would have taken for me to stick with that ultimately ended up not being worth it. And I am the only person that can make that decision for me. And so, you know, people like my mom who’s really rooting for me to do that, she really also felt like it was really important. She didn’t totally understand that why I didn’t want to do it anymore. Because she was like, “oh but you’re good at this stuff.” She’s seen me do all sorts of diet because I’m really good at depriving myself, and she was like, “why is this one different?” And it wasn’t that the diet was different. It was that I was different. I was not – I was no longer willing to constantly feel like I wasn’t enjoying myself. I wasn’t enjoying my life. I wasn’t – all I was doing was sitting and stressing about my food.

And so for that reason we want to be very very careful in how we approach things. And if there is something that someone recommends or asks you to do that doesn’t fit within your mental space right now, it’s perfectly ok to give yourself the permission to not do that right now. Okay?

And you don’t want to do it in a way, again, you’re not slinking back with your tail between your legs being like, “oh, I couldn’t do it. I suck.” The idea that you’re thinking is “I love myself too much to make myself this miserable, and I’m not willing to undergo this stress right now.” Now you want to address the underlying problems. And that is something that I’ve been working on. And my diet now looks, even a little bit in some ways at certain times, closer to the autoimmune protocol depending on what I’m doing. But I balance that out with as varied diet as I can because that is what I need. Just historically, and with everything that has happened in my life, that is what I want to go for and that is what works for me right now.

Now, I have no idea when you are listening to this. If you’re listening to this 5 years from now, from when I’ve recorded it. I don’t know. I don’t know what I’ll be doing. I imagine that as I get farther and farther away from those years where orthorexia and kind of obsession with having control over my food is farther away in my mind, I think that some of these things may change. Or I imagine that they change. But at the same time I am not necessarily worried about it. And it’s not something that I am willing to stress out about.

So I think this is going to be a shorter type class. There just some food for thought. I want you to be very cognisant if you have a disordered eating history or have struggled with dieting and beliefs about dieting in the past. When you make even positive changes, make sure that you are addressing the underlying experience that you have within that. Because it will help guide the best thing for you right now. So you will make lateral shifts. So it wasn’t that when I stopped doing the autoimmune protocol, it wasn’t that I went to eating crappy, it wasn’t that I gave up on everything and just said, “oh hell, my endometriosis can just be bad.” I didn’t do any of that. It was just that I realized that the benefits and the risks – the benefits didn’t outweigh the risks at this time. And that is all it told me. Right?

We want to be very cautious about making statements that build on negative beliefs that we have. So instead of saying, “the autoimmune protocol isn’t good for me right now,” I could have really spiraled into, “I don’t have any will power. This is why I always really suck at diets. Blah, blah, blah. I’m a horrible person.” All of that stuff. You want to draw the conclusion that you can actually make. And if that is, “this isn’t good for me right now,” then that is absolutely the decision that you have to make.

And then after that, what you maintain, the maininance portion of this, is that as you go and you say, “well you know, I’m eating this because I choose to,” you will explore that relationship further. What is it about taking away that food that causes that deprivation. What is it that sets you off. And with that idea, then you’re going to take on everything and begin to figure out the root causes. And that will ultimately get you results much more than actually forcing yourself to do something that you don’t feel good about. Okay?

So that is it for this podclass. We will be back talking about much more stuff about food. More stuff about movement. More stuff about rituals. So come on back and we’ll hit up all of those. I’ll see you later.

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