COMING JANUARY 2018!
Several people have expressed a desire to do the work of healing food and body obsession in a small group format. I love small groups as they capture much of the intimacy of one-on-one coaching while also capitalizing on group wisdom and momentum. I especially like the idea of a small group for this work because food and weight problems are not simply an individual issue—they are a systemic issue. When we go to work solving the problem solely on an individual level, we stay blind to key cultural elements that keep us stuck. In the light of one another’s presence, we can illuminate and dismantle the unconscious core beliefs that keep us spinning.
For these reasons, this January, I’ll be offering a small group coaching program centered on healing food and body obsession.
Dieting, food, and body obsession force us to go to war with our bodies and with ourselves. I’m here to tell you unequivocally that there is another way. My colleague Rachel Cole calls it “waging peace”. And that’s what this group is all about—coming into a peaceful relationship with food and with your body. If that sounds like an impossible dream, if you’ve tried everything under the sun and failed time and again, I hear you. And I imagine you may be exhausted and skeptical about trying yet another thing. Perhaps you’ve even tried “intuitive eating” and found yourself knee-deep in cookie dough for weeks on end. I get it. I went about as low as you can go with food craziness and if I can recover, anyone can. But you’re going to need a whole lot of support.
I can say with confidence that this approach is different because it’s not about going to war with yourself. Rather, it’s about meeting yourself right where you are, right at this moment. It’s about radical self-care rather than rigid self-control. It’s about increasing our tolerance for ease, pleasure and true nourishment. Eating and health really don’t need to be so hard!
Fair warning: this might be the most courageous work you will ever do. As such, it requires a willingness to tolerate the discomfort of uncertainty. Unlike diets, which start off exciting and sexy and move toward hungry and miserable, this work starts off scary and wobbly and moves toward ease and joy. It gets easier because you are moving toward deep self-trust rather than away from it. And that makes every step worthwhile.
For those of you coming from Bright Line Eating, you may wonder what the overlap is between this work and BLE. In truth, not much. While Susan and I share a friendship and a lot of mutual love and respect, we obviously take very different approaches when it comes to food and weight. I teach based on what’s worked for me and many, many others. I believe in a full recovery from food obsession and disordered eating. This podcast episode summarizes my take on the concept of food addiction.
My experience is that keeping the focus on weight loss always distracts us from the real work of learning to feed ourselves, on every level. Rigid food plans and restriction promote food obsession and bingeing behavior. This would be bad enough if it worked but the reality is that for the vast majority, it simply doesn’t. In the long run, weight loss attempts most predictably result in one thing: weight gain. There’s a ton of science to back this up. Here’s a good place to start. Or here. Or here.
It’s completely understandable and okay that you want to lose weight. None of this is to suggest that I am opposed weight loss; I’m not. People who are above their set point range often do lose weight, quite naturally, with the process of intuitive eating. (Here’s some research on intuitive eating.) But I am extremely concerned about the pursuit of weight loss because contrary to popular belief, it is making people not only fatter but less healthy (see aforementioned resources for evidence). If we want to find peace, we need to accept that our body will settle at the right weight for us as we learn to feed and care for it, with kindness. We are not all meant to be a size 4 or 8 or even 18. This kind of acceptance doesn’t come overnight. But, with time and support, it does come and its value far outweighs the price of admission.
So! All of that said, here’s some of what we’ll explore in this group, in no particular order:
- The cost/benefit of pursuing weight loss
- What we get from keeping our focus on weight and food (the hidden “payoff”)
- Rejecting the diet mentality (Principle One of 10 Intuitive Eating principles—it’s #1 for good reason)
- Grieving the loss of the “perfect body/perfect eating/perfect health” dream and all the time lost in pursuit of the impossible
- The relationship between restriction and bingeing, breaking free of the compliance/rebellion model
- Self-attunement (self-sensing, including hunger/fullness, yes/no, what do I want/need)
- Radical self-care
- Navigating difficult emotions without turning to food
- Feeding ourselves–creating structure and containment without rigidity
- What is enough?
- What is a “good” body?
- The intersection between the individual level and the systemic level. What does it mean to relate to your body (and all bodies) with respect?
- Re-inhabiting the body, entering the wilderness
- Redefining health
- Reclaiming desire, pleasure and satisfaction
- Examining our deeper hungers
Everyone is in a different place in their process. Some of you have already begun this deep work and will be raring to go. Others will be more tentative. And that’s perfect because we will all be learning from each other.
I invite you not to take anything I say at face value. This work is to be tested in the crucible of your own experience. My aim is always and only to shine the light on what’s true for you. Only you can know that.
We’ll meet on Zoom video conferencing so we can see each other’s faces and really get to know one another. We’ll meet weekly for 90 minutes for three months. I’ll do some teaching and lots of coaching. You’ll have email access to me between sessions, just like my one-on-one clients do. The group will be small enough (7 people max) to make room for everyone’s voice.
Your commitment is to show up with an open mind and an open heart for all the sessions. Sessions will be recorded so if you need to miss one or two, you can catch up. For group cohesion, it’s important that we all be all in.
The cost is $1200, a bit less than half of my one-to-one package. You can pay upfront or in installments. If that investment is prohibitive to you and you need to do this group, reach out and we can work something out.
If you’re ready to roll, you can sign up below. Questions? Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll set up a time to talk. You can ask me anything. Also, I’ve created a short little survey to see what days/times will work best for you. If this group isn’t a match for your needs but you want to do this work, I have a host of wonderful colleagues and resources I can refer you to.Please share this freely with anyone you think could benefit.
Finally, I just want to reiterate that if you’re suffering around food and your body, there really is light at the end of the tunnel. You don’t have to spend the rest of your life feeling crazy around food. I came through and you can too. It won’t be easy and it won’t be perfect and it won’t be nearly as seductive as the promise of the next weight loss/perfect health program. You will think it’s taking too long. You will need tons of support (that’s what we’re up to here).
And it will be worth it, it will be worth it times a million. Because unlike restricting and bingeing and dieting, all of which takes you further out into orbit, recovery is a process of reclamation. Every sloggy step brings you back home to yourself. And home, it turns out, is what we’re truly hungry for. Devastation is the secret doorway to awakening. As Mary O’Malley says, what’s in the way is the way.
If this rings for you and you’re ready to set yourself free, I do hope you’ll join us!
****Update: The current group is close to max capacity and I’ve had lots of people express a desire to participate. If there’s sufficient interest, I’ll consider a second group. If you’re considering it, please let me know by 12/31: email@example.com