Episode 30: Ditching Your Food Rules with Colleen Christensen
Episode 30: Ditching Your Food Rules with Colleen Christensen
The concept of intuitive eating is undoubtedly trending right now, yet the question remains, how do we do it? Where do we start? This week Alyssa talks with Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Colleen Christensen to dive into her intuitive eating journey and the specifics of how to begin.
Alyssa Scolari: [00:00:23]
What’s up, everybody. Welcome to another fun, fantastic episode of Light After Trauma, where talking about trauma does not have to be so doom and gloom. I am honored as always to share this space with all of you and I am eternally grateful to all of the listeners out there. So we are coming in hot and heavy with another awesome professional and expert on my favorite topic, intuitive eating. I know, you know how much I love this topic and we have with us here today, Colleen Christiansen, her Instagram handle is it’s @no.food.rules. Okay. So I discovered Colleen on Instagram, I started following her when I made the decision to start to try intuitive eating.
And one of the first things I did was I unfollowed all of the people on social media who made me feel terrible about myself, which if you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend. It’s life-changing. And then I discovered Colleen and I have been following her for quite some time watching her really just develop this safe space where it’s okay to enjoy all foods. She is crushing it on Tik-Tok. She is hysterical, and I just love everything that she does. So hello, Colleen and welcome.
Colleen Christensen [00:02:25]
Hello. Thank you for that sweet intro. I’m super excited to be here and be chatting about this with you.
Alyssa Scolari: [00:02:31]
Of course I meant every word of it. Your platform has helped me so much in my intuitive eating journey. So I love what you’re doing. Would you be able to just share like a little bit more about the work that you do, like on a day to day basis?
Colleen Christensen [00:02:49]
Absolutely. So I am a registered dietician and I teach intuitive eating and food freedom, and really finding this liberation from diet culture, right. Not following these fad diets or counting anything, really learning how to listen to your body. And like we’ve said, eat intuitively and yeah. The thing is we all have an innate ability to eat intuitively.
That’s how we were born, as babies, we are able to say, when we’re hungry, we cry. When we’re full, we turn our cheeks away. We were done ,right? And throughout life, that’s taken away from us by diet culture. And we start to question ourselves, what should I be eating?
What shouldn’t I be eating? Should I be trying to change the way that my body looks? And through all of that, this is a learned ,right. Diet culture is a learned thing. We lose touch with our ability to listen to our bodies. So my work is to help people get back to that and get back to learning how to eat intuitively, which is so much more than just, okay: eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, eat all of the foods that you want.
Yes, that’s important, but it’s really about, and I think that (for) a lot of people, this is a big misconception. It’s about marrying our internal knowledge, those cravings, our wants our desires with the external world of nutrition and health and finding a balance between those and really understanding the way different foods tastes with different foods that we like, how they make us feel.
And that’s how we’re able to intuitively fuel our bodies without following these diets. Do it so in a way that feels good, both mentally and physically. I help people get back to that point. And for me, the reason that I even got into this career is because I really struggled with food myself. And I’ll be honest with you.
I say this all the time. I never expected this to be my career, that I would be helping other people learn how to do this too. I’m just going to give you a little bit of a backstory about my story. I kind of started with having food rules as a way to cope in college. Like so many people. And I started off being very restrictive.
And for me, that was a way to gain that control, to feel like I was good at something. And then after a couple of years of just having that all encompassing, just obsession with food and my body, I swung from being very restrictive to going into kind of like binge mode. Like I went from one end of the spectrum to other end.
And after I did a lot of this work and understanding it, that’s very normal. But this was way before intuitive eating and understanding the way diets affect our bodies was a thing. So I thought I was crazy going through this and trying to navigate: okay. How do I just freaking eat normally again? And it took me years, to be honest, it was a lot of trial and error.
Like I said, this was before intuitive eating. I’m so thankful that it’s gained so much popularity lately, but this was way before that. So I did tons of trial and error, and throughout this, I have figured out, okay, this is what worked for me. (These) processes has allowed me to find this balance that we’re all looking for.
And like I said, still, at this point, I never expected this to be my career. I was like, great. I’m living with food, freedom. It’s fabulous. And then the further along that I got in that, this was my normal, eating was normal, again, people were asking me about it and I just realized that I had to step into the role that I didn’t have when I was going through this and really help people find this way faster because it was so much, like I said, trial and error to figure out, okay, how do I actually get to this? Why is this happening? Is this normal that I just got to the point where I’m like, okay, I want to help people get to this faster, a lot less confusing, (and) complicated than what I had to go through.
So that’s what I do today. And I love that you said the humor part because that’s definitely a big part of who I am. This issue of diet culture and finding…getting to a place where we can eat intuitively it’s scary because it’s so drastically different than what we’re taught to believe, that we should try to change our bodies, that we should eat as little as possible and it can be scary. So I always try to create an environment that yes, I’m going to help you, I’m going to educate you and help you along this journey, but let’s also do it in a way where we’re taking that pressure off ourself.
That we’re laughing, that we, because for me, that was one of the things that was … always say that when you start to eat intuitively your life is just going to bleed into other areas of your life and you’re going to be, cause you’re not hungry all the time. You’re not stressing about food.
You are able to live more. And so I just love to encompass that in there and show that: Hey food doesn’t have to be scary. You can get through this. And so I love that you put the little humor bits in there.
Alyssa Scolari: [00:07:34]
Yeah. Yes. That’s exactly what you do is you just make it …I think the term intuitive eating is very scary.
Colleen Christensen [00:07:41]
Yes, it is.
Alyssa Scolari: [00:07:43]
You truly embody the freedom that comes with intuitive eating. Like that is the vibe all over. You’re just all over your page, all over your platform. I love that because even in the most difficult days, because and I, of course, do want to talk about this.
It’s not easy, but even in the most difficult days on your intuitive eating journey, it’s: Oh, look at the freedom that comes like, look like, Colleen is having dessert every night. Look at that, like some form of chocolate. But, yeah, it’s just, I don’t know. It’s even on the hardest days you provide a light right, in the journey because it’s very difficult. So you actually didn’t start with your restrictive behaviors, if I understood that correctly, until you got to college.
Colleen Christensen [00:08:35]
Alyssa Scolari: [00:08:37]
So what did you originally go to college thinking that you were going to be doing?
Colleen Christensen [00:08:42]
I went to college to be a registered dietician. So this was my path all along. And I, to be honest with you, in high school, I was always the jock. I was never quite, what you call studious. And when I got to college, dietetics is a very rigorous program. It’s very science based. And I knew that this was what I wanted to do.
I’ve always loved food. I’ve always loved the science behind things and nutrition and that sort of things, but it was never anything extreme until I started to use that as a way to cope with the stress, the anxiety of school. And I felt like it was something I could control when I felt stressed about a test or whatever in college, so much stuff goes on. I felt like that was a place that I could come back to and feel like I was good at something, to be honest that’s for me what it was like, a lot of people feel like: Oh, I really want that donut. I honestly felt like I was being good if I didn’t do it.
And when I was so nervous about my grades, I was so nervous about other things. I was like, yeah maybe I’m not the smartest person. Although I studied my behind off and I became a absolute nerd in college. I have to say I don’t know what switched. I think it was because I was studying something I enjoyed, but I felt like it was something I was good at.
.And I feel like a lot of people feel that way too, because as humans, we want that, we want that validation that we’re doing something right. We like to have goals to work towards. And I think that’s one thing that makes dieting and diet culture so attractive to people. And I always say diet culture serves a purpose in our life.
It’s a lot of times, it’s a way to bond with people, right? Because you do a diet, you do it with a friend. It’s a way for you to talk about things. Or like I said, it’s a way for you to feel like: Oh, I’m working towards a goal or I’m feeling, quote unquote, good about something. And that’s really what it was for me. Is that it started off as that small : Oh, this is something I could control. And then it starts to spiral. And I think that’s so often how it starts, where people just want to gain some sort of that control, whether you’re counting points, you’re following, different lifestyles, whatever it is then we start to feel like, Oh, like we feel that almost like sense of gratification at the end of the day, if we did our points, or if our macros fell into place or whatever it is, it’s about so much more than the food.
Alyssa Scolari: [00:11:05]
Absolutely. I love that you said that because it’s so much about restrictive eating and even overeating or binge eating or bulemia is about control. So I can not control my circumstances. I can’t control that. I feel I’m not up to par with where I’m at in college. I feel like I’m not the best that I’m not as good as everyone else.
But what I can control is this, so I can control the fact that everybody else is going to eat that donut. And I am not going to eat that donut. And that is where I’m going to take my power back. And that becomes so dangerous because you ends up never being satisfied, obviously both literally and figuratively, because there will always be somebody else who also isn’t going to eat that donut.
So then not only do you need to not eat that donut, but then you need to lose five pounds. And then somebody else will have lost five pounds. So now you need to lose 10 pounds and you will never ever be satisfied.
Colleen Christensen [00:12:14]
It’s never enough. And that was really, after a few years of that, I was, I can’t keep living this way. Like I envisioned: Oh, I’ll get to a certain weight or you’ll get to a certain whatever your goal is. But when you get there, it’s not enough exactly, like you said.
And that’s when I just realized that something had to change. So I then broke my food rules and I went from one end of the spectrum to the other end of the spectrum. And I would eat enormous amounts of food. I’m not talking about two bowls of cereal. I’m talking about like multiple boxes at a time.
And now that I know that was stemmed from my restriction and that was a normal biological response and had intuitive eating been this thing and this dissembling diet culture had been a thing back then it would have helped so much. So I just think that the more that we talk about this stuff, the more that we are able to… for me one, I always say it’s important to find your why. And a lot of people talk about this as well of why do you want to do that? One of my biggest motivators has been, I have this vision for myself: where it’s me and my husband right now. And in the future. I want to be able to sit down with our future kids at the breakfast table and have pancakes and pour the maple syrup and put whipped cream on them.
That was something that I could not do with my food rules. So that was something for me that I want to have this vision of raising intuitive eaters and having them not struggle like this. So that was definitely something that was important for me is that the more that we do this work, the more that we are able to bring up a generation that won’t have to hopefully struggle as much as we have.
Alyssa Scolari: [00:13:53]
Yes. And that we’ll be able to better ignore the diet culture, because there are so many diets in disguise out there, which like, I know I have talked about this on other podcasts, which is like the Noom diet, right? How it’s like not a diet. Are you familiar with that one? How they just say, they’re not a diet. So can you talk a little bit about, and I think you pretty much did this: but why is it that diets ultimately don’t work because I think people believe that if they just stay on Weight Watchers or stay on Keto for the rest of their lives or Paleo, there’ll be fine. Why doesn’t that work?
Colleen Christensen [00:14:37]
Absolutely. So one reason is that no one will ever be able to tell you exactly what your body needs, because that’s going to ebb and flow from day to day, that’s going to ebb and flow throughout our lives. I always say that, especially with intuitive eating, there’s no bumper sticker at the end of it because I am going to be different next week than I am today, next year.
It’s continual learning how to adapt to what your body needs and when you follow diets, they don’t take that into consideration. So that’s one of the reasons that diets typically are going to fail is that they’re not taking you into account and another reason is that typically diets, the goal is to intentionally lose weight.
And when we focus on just losing weight and not listening to our bodies, a lot of times diets may quote unquote work in the short term, meaning that you get to the goal of losing weight. However, our weights, our bodies have what we call a set point weight, where they want to be, where they’re going to function optimally, and think of this as like a thermostat that our bodies have within them that, okay, this is the range that makes me feel good.
So I’m going to do what I can to keep myself in this range. If you go too low, it’s going to turn that thermostat up. Because it wants to get you back to that point. So we feel like we fail. If we go on a diet and then we regain weight back, which happens the majority of the time. When in reality, that’s really just your body protecting you from the starvation that it thinks is happening from not giving your body enough energy.
I think that there’s so many reasons why these diets don’t work. And also a lot of times they don’t take into consideration that food is more than just nutrients. Food, I always say some foods nourish our bodies more and some nourish our souls more and we need and deserve both of those. If you’re just looking at food for the specific nutrients in them, food should be emotional.
We deserve to enjoy it. And if you’re not taking that into account, that’s going to a lot of times cause kind of that all or nothing mentality. When you finally do allow yourself to have that food that you were restricting or that you weren’t allowing yourself because you didn’t think it was nutrient dense enough.
It’s the analogy that I always say of, if you tell a kid not to press the big red button, all they’re going to want to do is press the big red button. Same thing goes for those diets. It’s going to actually increase the perceived reward that your brain has of that food and make you want it even more.
So that restriction is a lot of times what causes us to enter that binge cycle, that restrict binge cycle. And it’s just as vicious merry-go-round we go on.
Alyssa Scolari: [00:17:15]
Yup. Absolutely. I love that so much because I think that there are so many people who, I treat eating disorders in my practice, and there are so many people who will come in kids, adults, and the like, and they will say, I wish I could just learn to eat to live instead of live,to eat. And I’m like no.
Cause when you say that I’m like: But Ben and Jerry’s and Talenti ice cream! That’s so sad!
Colleen Christensen [00:17:45]
I think about that too. Like I said, food should be emotional. We want to enjoy it. I’m thinking about just random, weekends with my husband when we have lazy mornings have pancakes and stuff like that. So much more than just about the nutrients of the food, or when we go get ice cream on a whim, things like: that’s living that’s life. And it just makes me really sad that some people take away the emotion from it. And I did this myself eating the exact same thing, because it’s easy to put into MyFitnessPal, or just not allowing yourself that enjoyment.
You deserve that as a human being, that is you’re right. And that’s one thing that I recommend to a lot of people as they’re going through this process, if you’re having those feelings of almost feeling guilty for enjoying food and eating food that nourishes your soul, maybe more than your body is to have a monitor affirmation to say I deserve this.
This is literally my human right to enjoy food. And because you really do, you enjoy it. And I would not want to live a life where I just saw food not as enjoyment to me. That’s just so sad.
Alyssa Scolari: [00:18:48]
So sad. I know. And to think that I used to do that. It’s funny because I was on Facebook earlier today and this post, popped up on my timeline and it was a photo of me when I was at my sickest and most restrictive and I looked back and it was the first time that I looked back at myself with compassion and actually sadness and thought: Oh my dear Lord was I thin?
Absolutely. Was I happy? No. I was eating lettuce withbalsamic vinegar and. It was a nightmare and I was so deprived and you can see this sort of hollowness in my eyes. That
Colleen Christensen [00:19:39]
Oh my gosh. Yes.
Alyssa Scolari: [00:19:42]
it is only a hollow…and I say this all the time, like it is only a hollowness that can be formed by like a grilled chicken and lettuce diet.
Colleen Christensen [00:19:53]
Yes. Oh my gosh. I relate to that so much. I have, obviously pictures everyone does, on their time hop, come back up. And at first it can be very triggering at first when you look at those pictures, cause especially in the, if you’re in the beginning of this phase of learning how to eat intuitively, if you can turn that off, definitely do it.
You over time, you build up what I call your suit of armor against diet culture. And so my suit of armor after doing this for years is pretty strong. So when I see those pictures, I don’t think of things like, Oh, my body looked this way. I look at what I remember the feelings were. I remember the feelings of the pictures and feeling like I was not happy.
Then I was thinking about food. I couldn’t even tell you what went on at the event because I was too obsessed with how did my body look, how many calories were in that drink, whatever it might’ve been that I was thinking about. So that’s one thing. If you’re struggling with that, definitely think about what was actually going on in the picture, but to your point about that hollowness, that is one thing that I feel like I look and I feel, and people talk about this all the time too, just totally different because I have life, and my skin isn’t dead. Like my hair has grown. Like it’s thicker. It’s stronger. You have, you’re nourished. It’s crazy what it does. And my skin just doesn’t look like it’s hanging around me or like you have that deadness in your eyes, you’re actually living and you can actually see that.
Alyssa Scolari: [00:21:11]
And I, yeah, I looked so robotic because even in the picture, the way I am and the way I am leaning is that I’m clearly trying to hide my body. And I’m clearly trying to pose in a way that would make me look the best instead of just smiling, like everybody else in the picture. I am the one that’s hollowed out eyes twisted in some kind of like mechanical way.
Colleen Christensen [00:21:40]
At the time, it seems Oh, this makes so much sense, but then you look back, you’re like, what position is?!
Alyssa Scolari: [00:21:46]
Absolutely. I’m like, how did my hips do that? Cause I don’t think my hips do that today, but it’s, that is the journey of intuitive eating is that you do get to a point where you’re able to look at those pictures. I think that even a year ago, I would not have been able to look at that picture without, sobbing and going: see, I need to be on Weight Watchers. This is what I needed to do. And now I look at that picture and I’m like, Aw, like poor me. I had no clue, which leads me to my next question, because I think people talk about intuitive eating, but. I don’t think anybody, or at least the people who come into my office, when we talk about what that looks like and how we’re going to start that process.
I don’t think many people are prepared for it. So you actually did a Tik-Tok on this, which I think was phenomenal. And it was like you talking about what intuitive eating is. Like when you first start out and you have like a container of ice cream and it’s all over your face. And I’m like, Oh, I relate to that so hard.
My nutritionist. Had me eating ice cream every day of my life. And at first I was going all in. I was not stopping until my spoon hit the bottom of that pint. So could you talk a little bit about what those beginning steps are like for those who start out on their intuitive eating journey?
Colleen Christensen [00:23:23]
Absolutely. So it’s going to feel overwhelming at first. I’ll just say that. And then there’s a couple of different kind of like facets to think about. So what was very overwhelming for me is that I felt like I was trying to do all of the things at once. And that was where I felt like I was just binge eating honestly for years.
So the way that I teach is to break it down into steps and I say, it’s okay. Because especially when you think about this, it’s okay, I have all these lists of fear, foods or foods that I’m not allowing myself. It’s very scary to look at that and think, okay, all of a sudden, boom, go eat them all.
That can seem scary. So what I say is it’s okay to just take baby steps and chunk it down. So the first thing that I recommend is to start giving your body adequate consistent energy. So that means giving your body meals and snacks throughout the day. And what that does is it’s going to allow it to get hunger cues back.
It’s going to allow it to get to the place where it can have conversations with you and say, this feels good. This doesn’t. So that’s the first step. If you have to focus on one thing at first, just start with giving your body that adequate consistent energy throughout the day.
And then what I recommend is going into, okay. Now let me hash out my food rules. So these can be very sneaky. So you could have a food rule of obviously things like I don’t allow myself to eat X, Y, Z, that’s a food rule. But if you maybe allow yourself, so let’s take ice cream, for example, maybe you say I buy ice cream, I eat ice cream, but I feel guilty.
Or I think it’s quote unquote bad. That’s also a food rule that has that kind of morality food rule. So it’s really any foods that you’re deeming. Okay. Bad or you bet you’re feeling guilty eating. I say, just flesh them out on paper, write them out. Again, don’t worry about anything, but just like word vomiting all of your food rules onto paper.
And then the way that I recommend is to start from easiest to break to hardest to break. And again, just start with one, don’t go necessarily right to the hardest food rule to break, because that can feel very overwhelming at first because essentially, from there, what you want to do is exactly what you just described as essentially exposure therapy to your food rules.
And you want to normalize that. Let’s talk, maybe ice cream is a food that you allow yourself. So maybe that’s shorter down on your list and you really work that in as much as you can. So then you’d maybe have some after dinner, maybe you honestly throw a little bit on your oatmeal in the morning, make a little a la mode, oatmeal.
That’s totally fine. You want to really just gain that exposure to that food, and then you want to work on doing that until you start to feel more comfortable eating it, and then it’s okay, I’m working through this one. You gain that confidence, right? You’re like I doing this and then go to the next one.
And then what if you work this way is that it’s going to snowball and you’re going to be like, I’m starting to break multiple food rules at once and you gain that confidence. But I find that a lot of people get so caught up in “Oh my gosh, I have to be totally prepared,” when I’m like, just take one step and go in that right direction towards intuitive eating, because I don’t want anyone to wait until conditions are perfect.
Cause it’s never going to be that way. So I find that explaining it, firstly, that way is very helpful. And then you’re like you said, gonna want to eat a lot of that ice cream at first. You’re going to want it. I feel like people have this, and I had it too, that you’re going to be able to sit down to a, I’m going to say chocolate cake because I literally ate an entire chocolate cake.
I’ve eaten in chocolate cake twice in my life, anentire chocolate cake. I’ve eaten one when I was in high school. I, fun fact, took cake decorating class, who takes cake decorating classes in high school? I did.
Alyssa Scolari: [00:26:51]
That sounds like fun!
Colleen Christensen [00:26:52]
It was really fun. But then the other time was I was when I was breaking my food rules and I literally ate an entire chocolate cake.
And I just remember, I did not know that this was normal part of the process. I’m not saying everyone has to go eat a chocolate cake guys, but I’m saying that I didn’t understand that pull towards eat more and more of that chocolate cake was going to be there because, it’s like telling a, five-year-old not to press the big red button.
They’re just going to want to press it. And if you tell them not to press that big red button for a long time, they’re really going to want to press it. So, I really wanted to eat that chocolate cake. And I just remember after it, I was like, am I just eating an entire cake for the rest of my life.
What is this? And the more that you allow yourself to, okay,” I’m going to keep exposing myself to this food. I’m going to keep giving myself, allowing myself to eat this food.” You start to make those connections. And this is very important because this is something that I did not do at first and a lot of people because it’s hard to do because we’re not used to reflecting on our food choices and how they make us feel and away from what diet culture wants us to, because it’s easier just to follow a plan and wipe your hands of it and that’s that.
Versus, okay, let me dig into this a little bit is to, if you do, eat a bunch of ice cream, then allow yourself to a) realize that this is part of the process and then b) ask yourself, okay, did I enjoy that? Was it comfortable? Was I present at that time? Did I check out,? Allow yourself to learn from that experience.
And that is how you start to develop: “Oh, maybe. Maybe it didn’t feel super great. Maybe it did check out maybe next time. I’ll try to stay a little more present during it.” And it’s very hard at first because you still have that primal urge to eat all of these foods. But as you go through and you show your body:” Hey, this ice cream, you can have it.”
It’s then going to start to tell you, okay, I’m starting to become satisfied or that pull starts to weaken. And that is how you get to the point to where, right now I have multiple, we always have ice cream on hand, but we have multiple ice creams that our freezer, usually we have a big old family size tub, and it’s fine.
There’s no pull no restriction. It’s just there. And I make a lot of recipes and we have multiple…I’m always testing like a brownie or a cookie or something like that. And my counter is just always full of that food. And sometimes I just get overwhelmed with gratitude that like, this is just normal.
I can have this on my counter and not have to worry, “Am I going to eat the whole thing or I can’t eat any of that today?” It’s literally just there. And if I want, when I grab it and if I don’t, but the idea that you can just flip that switch on and say: “okay, this is, I’m intuitive eating now. Boom! I’m going to eat one. You know what I want and leave it when I don’t” Is unrealistic, because if there’s a lot of that work that you have to do, and I don’t say that to scare anyone obviously, but I always just want to be an open book and say, “Hey, you’re probably going to want to eat a lot of those brownies at first, but know that’s not going to be forever.”
Alyssa Scolari: [00:29:44]
Yes. Part of that process is opening the flood gates to the foods that have been closed off in your life for so long, again, little at a time, but it still feels… when you’ve been telling yourself that you’re only allowed to have Ben and Jerry’s on Saturday night, for years. And because you’re on a diet that allows you to have one cheat meal every Saturday night, that includes dessert. When you are suddenly like, “Oh, I can eat ice cream every day,” you are likely to eat past fullness or past what you may have really wanted because you’re just, your body has been in starvation mode and deprivation mode. So it’s like a biological response. You’re like, “I’m going to hoard this.”
Now I’m going to eat all of the ice cream. But eventually if you trust the process over time, it becomes, I couldn’t have said it better myself: just this overwhelming feeling of gratitude where, you know, for me, 10 years ago, I was begging my mother and father to not bring home potato chips, cookies, ice cream.
I would become enraged. If they would bring them home. I would say, hide this from me. And now I go downstairs and I’m like, I have two boxes of Oreos in my pantry. I’ve got probably four pints of Ben and Jerry’s, we’ve got bread, and I’m like, it’s gratitude. And it’s lifesaving because then you make space, and this is where it can become tied to trauma because you tend to make space for the other things in your life that you were distracting from with food. Those things start to come up, but then you start to work through them and then you actually allow yourself space to enjoy your life.
Colleen Christensen [00:31:38]
Alyssa Scolari: [00:31:40]
The way you put it is, “yes, it’s difficult, but it’s, you go slow and it’s worth it.” It is so worth it on the other side.
Colleen Christensen [00:31:48]
Absolutely. Absolutely. I’m thinking about it too, especially right now when we’re recording this around Valentine’s Day. So I think back my now husband and I have, we dated in college when I was really struggling, and I used to remember he would buy me a box of chocolates and I would just get angry and stressed and anxious about it.
And now bring on the chocolates.That’s this is great. It’s just those small things in life that you just get so grateful for.
Alyssa Scolari: [00:32:15]
Yeah, so grateful to be able to enjoy good food and to not have to feel like you need to pay a diet company or the diet industry to tell you what you’ve already known all along.
Colleen Christensen [00:32:33]
Absolutely. I think that’s one of the things that makes it very hard for people. My past self included to really invest in any sort of help with this is because we’re like, I should know how to do this. Like I should know how to eat. Like it’s different if you’re telling someone to give you a specific plan, but do I really need someone to help learn to listen to my body?
That’s how I felt. I was like, I should know how to do this, but anyone listening, like it’s not your fault. It’s literally diet culture’s fault. That’s literally robbed you of that. So we can flip the script on ourselves and feel like I should know how to do this, but with society the way that it is today.
Like it’s not your fault.
Alyssa Scolari: [00:33:12]
Not your fault. There’s so much noise out there that’s all about, glamorizing, thin this, glamorizing a certain body type, and diets, it’s nobody’s fault. It’s just, the noise is so loud that we forget how to listen to ourselves and sometimes we need help with that. And that’s okay. Now you have, so sociEATy.
Colleen Christensen [00:33:37]
SociEATy is spelled E,A,T, Y cause we like to eat.
Alyssa Scolari: [00:33:42]
Oh man, I okay. That’s the best play on words. I’m a sucker for a good pun. So I love it. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Colleen Christensen [00:33:51]
Absolutely. So the SociEATy is really a community that I’ve created. And it’s where I not only do all of my teaching, it’s, like I said, I’ve struggled with this for years. And when it came down to it, really, this method of: first allowing yourself to get to a place of adequate energy, then breaking your food rules, then body image and nutrition.
All of this stuff has really been what’s allowed me to find a freedom. So that’s what I teach inside of the SociEATy. But then I always ask myself whenever I’m trying to create anything, anything in my business is what did I need at that point? Because my goal is to like, we’ve said guys, food freedom is absolutely amazing and life-changing, how can I help someone get there faster, easier than it was for me.
So for me, I felt so alone during this process, because like I said, it was way before intuitive eating was this big thing. A lot of my friends either or still in diet culture or they had been, blessed to never really struggle with food or their weight.
And I just felt like I was very isolated and bless my now husband. He was so great throughout it all, but he had never struggled either. He didn’t know what to say. He didn’t know necessarily how to, help me through this. And it was something that I just felt like I needed other people to relate to.
So it’s also a community where you…we have so many amazing women from literally all over the world who come to together and just support each other. So we have a private Facebook group that people post in literally all day, every day, just asking for support, because like we said, this is hard.
There’s going to be days when you’re like, I’m just having a really crummy day. I need a pick me up. And that’s a place that you can go for that. And I just think that there’s so much value in that. We have group coaching sessions where I answer all the questions, because again, something that I felt was, am I doing this right?
Is this normal? Like sometimes we just need to have those questions answered. So we have those, we have different accountability calls. We have just random brunch zoom calls or we’ll just hang out. And I just think that, look, if you’ve talked about it in the very beginning, that’s detoxing, what I call your social media and you truly are your environment.
There’s so many studies saying that even at the grocery store, what’s at eye level, what is what you’re more likely to purchase. No matter if the thing right below it is a better quality and for a more affordable price, simply if it’s in your eyesight, you’re more likely to adapt to that. Same thing goes with diet culture.
If that’s what you are, even if you’re not necessarily engaging in it. So if it’s in your social media feed, you’re so much more likely to have those thoughts about food, the way that diet culture wants you to. So it’s really creating this community that can help use that to your advantage and help you find this food freedom faster by filling your feed with just like you said, all that inspiration, that community and that guidance, because when I just think about it, my bottom line with my mission is to help people find this freedom faster, because I can’t tell you how amazing it is to have my husband say, “Hey, I’m going to cook a lasagna” and I’ll be like, “Sweet, that sounds delicious.” And I’m going to go sit my butt on the couch while you go cook that.
And it’s going to be great. That to me is so worth it.
Alyssa Scolari: [00:37:10]
Yes. And not feeling and I used to do this too, where if my husband, if David would cook, I would be like, okay what are you putting on that? And then I would be
Colleen Christensen [00:37:18]
Alyssa Scolari: [00:37:19]
are you putting that much salt in that? And I don’t know how, I don’t know how he didn’t lose his mind, but I was a monster.
Colleen Christensen [00:37:27]
I know. I know.
Alyssa Scolari: [00:37:27]
Now he’s like, “I’m cooking dinner” and I’m like, “Great.”
Colleen Christensen [00:37:30]
Yeah. I have to say he’s becoming quite the little chef. Like he’s giving me a run for my money. But like he, every Wednesday he’s okay, I’m going to cook dinner. I have no idea what that’s going to be. I remember specifically one time he made Alfredo and again, I was like, “cool, I’m going to go downstairs, watch TV, you do your thing.”
And I come up and ate Alfredo so delicious. And then I was putting it away. Cause if he makes dinner, I’m always like, okay honey, I’ll do the dishes. So packing everything up. And I look and an entire carton of heavy whipping cream was in the (trash) , that would’ve freaked me out years ago. Instantly calculating you know, how many calories was that? How many grams of fat? And I was just kinda Oh, that’s, it was delicious. Whatever.
Alyssa Scolari: [00:38:12]
Colleen Christensen [00:38:12]
That moment, I was like, this is what freedom is like. And to be able to know that this tastes delicious and would I want to eat that every single day, it probably wouldn’t necessarily make me feel super great to eat that much heavy whipping cream every day.
But to not stress about it and to know that my body’s going to tell me when things don’t feel right and what it wants and that yes, some days I’m going to crave that super rich, delicious Alfredo, and other days it’s going to be like, “Hey, some carrots and hummus sounds great for a snack.”
It sounds so crazy to get to that point, but it’s so possible.
Alyssa Scolari: [00:38:47]
Yes, it really is. And I love that with the SociEATy, like the community that you’re building, because having that sense of community really is lifesaving. I personally have found the intuitive eating process to be extremely isolating because all of my…it’s just like fighting. I don’t know. It just feels like I’m punching a brick wall, expecting it to crack and it’s not. All of my family and all of my friends are just like “Weight Watchers” and, “Oh my God, my knees, hurt, and I’m sure it’s because of my weight and my weight doesn’t help and this and that.”
“And I gained 10 pounds over Christmas” and I’m like, okay. And you’ll lose it. You will lose it in the summer time. It’s so upsetting and very lonely. So this idea that you’re creating a community where people can build each other up based off of intuitive eating principles is awesome.
Colleen Christensen [00:39:44]
Absolutely. I’m so glad. So glad you think that.
Alyssa Scolari: [00:39:47]
Yeah, I do. And now, if people want to get involved, where can they go?
Colleen Christensen [00:39:51]
Yeah. So Instagram is where I am most active. I myself am @no.food.rules. Find a lot of the funny stuff there. And then the SociEATy itself also has an Instagram account. So it’s @SociEATy spelled E,A,T,Y. And with those places, you can find all the updates and, links to everything there.
So I think that’s always the easiest place to go and get connected and start filling your feed with all those things that are going to inspire you and help you on this journey because yes, social media can be such a downer and cause that comparisonitis, but we can also use it to our advantage and use it as a tool to help our journeys.
Alyssa Scolari: [00:40:31]
Yes. Yep, absolutely. And I will, for the listeners out there, I will pop the Instagram handles in the show notes so that you have it. And then lastly, could you just talk a little bit about your future career goals for the new year.
Colleen Christensen [00:40:51]
Yes. So we have a lot going on in the SociEATy itself. So we are doing tons of new updates, more calls, just so many more offerings in side of the actual membership. And then we are also starting a podcast ourself. So I’m super excited about that. We’re going to be having a lot of different… I’ll be doing solo episodes, we’ll have different experts on.
And then also a lot of just real women sharing their stories as they’re going through this. Because again, I always just think what would have helped me during this process. And for that, it was just knowing that I’m not alone knowing that these things that I’m thinking are these struggles that I’m going through are normal and just to have a place to go and just get that reminder that you’re on the right path, that you’re doing the right thing, that you’re not alone.
So I’m super excited about that to launch later this month in February.
Alyssa Scolari: [00:41:41]
That’s exciting. Do you have a name picked out for the podcast?
Colleen Christensen [00:41:45]
It’s going to be the SociEATy Podcast. And again, be sure to follow us on Instagram. You’ll get all the updates. We’ll have weekly episodes and you’ll be able to stay in touch there.
Alyssa Scolari: [00:41:53]
Yay. Oh, that’s so exciting.
Colleen Christensen [00:41:57]
Alyssa Scolari: [00:41:58]
Oh, you’re doing such great things. I can’t thank you enough for coming on and for sharing you are amazing and have been hugely helpful in my intuitive eating journey. Even though this is the first time we are meeting face-to-face. So I hope you know that you’re having a really big effect on people.
I show my husband your Tik-Toks a lot, and he’s always “Yeah. That’s you”
Colleen Christensen [00:42:23]
Too funny, you’re the sweetest.
Alyssa Scolari: [00:42:25]
Thank you for all you do. And thank you for coming on the show today and to all the listeners out there. Get ready because now you’ve got another awesome podcast coming your way that you’re going to get to listen to.
So yeah. Thank you.
Colleen Christensen [00:42:38]
Thank you for having me.