I have always had an unhealthy relationship with food. Binge eating and bulimia plagued me throughout my teens and later in life. Slimming pills. Fasting. Weight Watchers. Lighter Life. You name it, I have tried it. I received treatment for an eating disorder in my early twenties. Whenever my mental state spiralled bad habits would creep back.
While I have been okay for a while now, I still struggle at times. Emotional Eating is not my friend. Feeling down, hello ice-cream! Feeling good, a reward of pizza. I am shit at planning my meals. Logically I know what I should be eating, when I should be eating and how I should be eating. Reality tells a different story.
Last week I was introduced to Stop Fighting Food with the gorgeous and inspiring Isabel Foxen Duke. I watched her first video immediately. Everything she said resonated with me. I for one can not take being held hostage by the food crazies any more! Let me ask you this…
Meet Isabel Foxen Duke.
How has your own personal journey influenced your work?
My work has been almost entirely influenced by my personal journey, in addition to the personal journeys of my clients. I struggled with food — both “undereating,” “overeating,” and all the mental tyranny that goes with those things for many years, before finding my way out. While I’ve learned from many, many teachers over the years, I do not share information that has not made a personal difference in my life and my relationship with food — I feel it would be dishonest to do so.
How does your work help others?
I give women a way out of the crazy. The degree to which women are ruled by food (again, both undereating and overeating, and constantly trying to “manage” food) is totally epidemic. Most people don’t realize how debilitating it really is for the average woman. The “food noise” in the US and increasingly around the world is completely overwhelming, and overwhelm doesn’t help anyone make healthful choices around food. In fact it does the opposite – it keeps most women in a constant swing back and forth between under and over-eating.
‘Stop Fighting Food’, what’s it all about?
Stop Fighting Food is a free video training series that I developed to give women concrete skills and ideas that can help them break out of this “diet-binge cycle” or simply the “feeling-crazy-around-food cycle,” which can exist in a lot of forms and encompasses much more than simply eating too much or too little. Stop Fighting Food offers a new way of thinking about food, which ultimately increases a woman’s chances of actually making healthy choices (rather than simply “knowing what they are” but feeling incapable of “sticking to them”), and gives women very concrete steps to end all the mental clutter around food that really can drive us totally mad. Stop Fighting Food is about women finally making peace with food, rather than trying to fight it constantly…and ultimately lose every battle.
Tell us about your Master Class?
My Master Class is a more advanced level group coaching program for those who are committed to mastering the principles of Stop Fighting Food. You’ll have to sign up for the free video training series here if you want more information about that :)
What are your thoughts on conventional diets?
My thoughts are that they’re unsustainable at best, they generally teach us to ignore our body’s hunger signals which can cause a lot of mental and physical health problems for women in the long and short-term, and they almost always lead to binge-eating eventually.
And, the food fear of social situations?
It’s unfortunate that women feel so constrained by their relationship with food that they can’t fully enjoy their life and the blessings in it. Everyone should be able to enjoy holidays, birthdays, and going out with friends without constant stress and worry about what they can or can not eat there. Those are the moments that make life worth living! Let’s not spend one more day missing those joys, because we don’t trust ourselves not to inhale the buffet.
What is your key message?
I want women to realize that obsessing about food in order to achieve a big happy life isn’t getting them anywhere – it’s not moving them towards freedom, happiness, successful relationships, and ultimately, it’s not necessarily making them thin either. Diet mentality only creates volatility with food, not sustainable “control.” If we want to be able to make healthful choices sustainably, we’re going to have to start thinking about food differently — rather than continue to do the same things over and over again expecting different results.
What does Holistic living mean to you?
Holistic living is about living a life that is full, and rich and enjoyable whilst also honoring your body. Neither your mind nor your body should rule over the other with an iron fist. They are partners, and our choices should honor the needs of each, or both will be negatively affected.
What is your message to cynics, sceptics, and the intrigued?
Notice where your bias lies. Most people hold steadfastly to diets even though they know diets have never worked for more than 98% of the population for any sustainable period of time. It’s pretty-widely accepted in the medical community that diets lead to binge-eating, yet doctors and nutritionists will still prescribe diets as “treatment” for obesity. Why is this? We live in an aggressive diet-culture, largely influenced by commerce, that bombards us with opposite messages all day long. It’s incredibly difficult for all of us to extricate ourselves from cultural bias, even in the face of facts.
For more information about my philosophy and how I help women “end the crazy” around food, I highly recommend checking out my free video training series here.