Jan. 2, 2023

Heal Your Body and Mind with Food: A Trauma Healing Podcast with Lisa Dahl

Today we explore the intersection of food, trauma, and healing. I speak with Lisa Dahl in the field of nutrition, mental health, and trauma recovery to help you understand the impact that food can have on your physical and emotional well-being...
See show notes at: https://www.thinkunbrokenpodcast.com/heal-your-body-and-mind-with-food-trauma-healing-podcast/#show-notes

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Today we explore the intersection of food, trauma, and healing. I speak with Lisa Dahl in the field of nutrition, mental health, and trauma recovery to help you understand the impact that food can have on your physical and emotional well-being.

From understanding the connection between gut health and mental health to learning how to heal from disordered eating and past traumas, we cover a wide range of topics to help you take control of your health and well-being. Whether you're looking to improve your relationship with food, heal from past traumas, or simply want to learn more about the role that nutrition plays in overall health, this podcast is for you.

Tune in now to start your journey towards healing and self-care.

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Learn how to heal and overcome childhood trauma, narcissistic abuse, ptsd, cptsd, higher ACE scores, anxiety, depression, and mental health issues and illness. Learn tools that therapists, trauma coaches, mindset leaders, neuroscientists, and researchers use to help people heal and recover from mental health problems. Discover real and practical advice and guidance for how to understand and overcome childhood trauma, abuse, and narc abuse mental trauma. Heal your body and mind, stop limiting beliefs, end self-sabotage, and become the HERO of your own story.  

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Michael: Hey! What's up, Unbroken Nation! I hope that you're doing well wherever you are in the world today. Very excited to be back with you with another episode with my guest, Lisa Dahl, who is an intuitive eating and body image health coach. Lisa, my friend. How are you? What is happening in your world today?

Lisa: I am awesome and I am in the northeast, we are in a heat wave and I love the heat, so it is, I wait all year for these. So, I am a happy camper.

Michael: I get that. That's exactly why I went and lived in the south America and I've lived in the South Pacific and it's like the hotter I can be, the better but some people don't like it so, let's not trigger everybody before we get started and instead, I'm really excited for this conversation. I think it's a really important conversation, especially in mental health, to talk about body image, to talk about the way that we eat and it is a conversation that people have had before, but I think you and I are gonna go way deeper today, so I'm very much looking forward to it. For those who do not know you, tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, and how you got to where you are today.

Lisa: So, my background started when I was in elementary school and I remember being in third grade and I was in gym class, Mr. Lazarus, and he pulled me aside and he said, you know, I think you need to go to special gym, you're having trouble walking on the balance beam. And what that did was that it started to set me off of being picked last for every team sport, every school activity, and it was meant with love and kindness trying to quote unquote help me, it took me into a different place and I avoided sports for years and anything physical because I just felt so inadequate. Then it was compounded when I was in high school, I was a freshman and we were being weighed and measured by the school nurse, and all the kids were lined up and we were told a week ahead of time so, I kept thinking about it and thinking about it, skipping breakfast, hoping that, you know, my skipped breakfast would give me a better number on the scale. And looking at the sea of girls who all appeared to be in smaller, thinner, better bodies. And from there I was introduced not by my parents but my own thought process and started my long 40 plus year diet history. I was on Weight Watchers on and off for most of my life, always being uncomfortable in my skin unless I was at the low part of my diet cycle. And I have loved food, I am a former caterer, so I was great at preparing food and offering it as a place of connection and community with a lot of food rules. I lived with the good food, the bad food, and I always thought it was normal, it never seemed that it was quote unquote unhealthy because everyone around me was doing all of these same things. And when I left catering, six and a half years ago, I was going to be the weight loss coach because I knew so much about nutrition for my dieting days, and I could restrict and deprive better than most people I knew I was able to do the diet longer than most people. And I took great pride in that like that was something like, that was an accomplishment. And what I discovered is I started to work with my clients and sit across from them and it was, you know, share your progress day. And I could just feel their stress and it made me start to really look in and notice my stress and the guilt, and the shame and when I was loving my number, I would be weighing myself multiple times a day. And when I didn't, it was the fear of getting on this scale and the punishment of, you know, today's gonna be a better day. So, I started to naturally take weight loss off of the table, and then I came across a book called Health at Every Size because of my love of learning and reading and knowing what else is out there, I discovered this book and it turned everything that I knew to be true upside down, that there is no truth in a thinner body being a better body. There is no truth in being, having a thinner body, to have a healthier body, and all of the stuff just blew me away. And when I discovered all of these things that I was practicing and supporting were actually disordered eating patterns. And then from there, I discovered the community of intuitive eating and at that point I knew ethically and morally that I could never support another woman because that is primarily who I work with, but I could never support another person to go on another diet, and it really gave me a path to healing my life personally and it changed everything professionally with it. And now I am a hundred percent weight inclusive and I am known as the anti-diet coach.

Michael: Yeah, I love that. And as you were saying that, I wrote a note here, it says; “Food is food.” And I think a lot of people fall into that, that trap of good food versus bad food. And I mean like for sure, like don't fucking eat McDonald's every day but you know, there's something to be said about recognizing like food is meant to nourish you, to bring you health, to be medicine in a lot of case scenarios and that's not what we're taught. No one is educated on food in schools. When you're young, you eat the worst garbage possible through the school systems. And for a lot of people like myself growing up, being on WIC and food stamps in section eight, like I was like, give me whatever they got, I'm not complaining. But the problem with that is it was high dense carbohydrates that were not healthy, it was a lot of poisonous, you know, chemicals and byproducts and dyes and things like that. And so, I actually at like 10 years old, I was the chubby kid. Right? And I remember wearing boys' husky clothes like we would go to the store. I wouldn't fit into the regular kids' clothes, and I also wouldn't fit into the adults' clothes. And so, we have that special section in Walmart, you know, with the little sign that says Husky on the side. I'm like, fuck. And so like, that's what I'm wearing. And as young as 10 years old, I started doing dieting, now at 10 years old, you have no idea what you're doing, but I was just like, I think this is healthy food and I would work out all the time, but nothing would change. And I think it just gets trapped and ingrained in us at such a young age. I don't have kids, so I don't know if they do the weight and height thing still but I had the same experience as you on the polar opposite side of it being like, fuck, I'm gonna be the fattest kid in class again. Right. And that just torturing me emotionally. And as years would go by there's no question that I developed eating disorders because one I wrestled, which is probably one of the worst things that people can do, right? Because we're on the scale every single day. Two, what that ends up turning into is that I go, all right, cool. I'm not wrestling anymore, so I'm just gonna eat what I want. And now I'm 350 pounds morbidly obese, and then looking at life through, oh my God, I'm the fat kid again. Right? And now over time, I've learned to heal and step into that and so on and so forth. But one of the really interesting things that I often teach my clients, and this is where I'm going with you right now, I often teach my clients even though we talk about childhood trauma and abuse, somehow that damn scale comes up in conversation with like 70% of my clients, and the thing that I try to teach them is throw it away. And so, I'd love for you to kind of rewind for us a little bit. Let's go back to your childhood experiences. Let's talk about what was happening with you. So here you are, young, Lisa, getting ready to get on this scale for a week you've been thinking about it, you're consumed by it. Like what is happen physically, mentally, and emotionally for you, because this sets the precedent and foundation and I think if people understand causation and correlation, they can start to create change. So, let's rewind and let's talk about that.

Lisa: So, I refer to that as, you know, where did your bags get packed and who helped pack you pack those bags. And I just remember standing in line, stressing and being hyper focused on that scale and it was traumatizing. I didn't know, you know, how to label it at that time, but it is one of those things in my life that I always go back to and I can still visually see what that looked like and thinking about, you know, somebody is going to, not only am I gonna have to get on the scale and front of people, they're gonna say this number out loud and already, I mean like I grew up with Weight Watchers, miss America Pageant and snack wells, and parents that are tall. My father is six foot two, my mother is five ten. My brother is six two and I am five five. And I used to always say, well, if I could just gain a few more inches, I wouldn't have to think about this. So, I was already through diet culture, our society already in my mind, my body wasn't good enough and we need to understand where do those thoughts come from because they're just so not true and our whole world is so focused on how we look on self-value and how do we start to change that script. If it's okay, I'd love to go back to what you shared in your story, cuz there are so many things that I would love to talk about, if that would be, okay?

Michael: Let's do it.

Lisa: So, you know, first off is food insecurity. People don't understand that restriction and deprivation comes in different formats. And food insecurity is, it's been imposed on you of restriction and deprivation. When your body is in fear of being fed, when there is food for you, that is where the binge cycle kicks back in because your body doesn't trust that there is going to be another meal coming. So, it's the same thing when I'm working with people who are restricting and depriving our bodies, even though it, and that aspect, its self-imposed, but our bodies don't understand that it is a diet, that it is not a famine. You lived in total fear of where is that next meal coming from? It didn't matter about the quality of food whatever was in front of you was what you were going to eat. Then you further went into the wrestling world, which is the live and die by the scale. So you were self-imposed in restriction deprivation, gotta hit that weight so that I can compete, then when the season is over or in between matches, then you set yourself up for a binge cycle because once again, your body didn't trust you that there was going to be another meal coming. That is part of the bags that packed that packed for you as part of your environment and the choices that you made. But we don't really think about that until we notice the ramifications so much later. Then we go into the world of Husky, how do we shift the word husky to just be another adjective where in our world we say, well, thin is good, and fat is bad, and all of a sudden, we have that judgment. How do we also shift from there's no question that there's different nourishment in food, not gonna argue with that at all. How do we get away though from the moral value that we put on food, that food is neutral, food does not have a moral value because when we label food, good or bad, we automatically start to internalize, oh, you know, I was so bad. I had this donut. Oh, I was so good. I had an apple today. And then we start to embody what that experience feels like and it all starts to unravel because you can only contain that information before you are just so unhappy physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Michael: Yeah, absolutely. And one of the things that's really interesting about the journey is that because we're not taught these things in childhood. We're not taught these things in our teens. We're not taught these things in college. If you go to college or whatever, it's not taught in the media. What you do see in the media though, is the next diet, right? I can name 3 million different diets, right? And I think a lot of us can, all these different weight loss things, all this idea about looking at life through thin versus fat and being like, okay, this is my measure for validity in the world. This is how I should be seen, how I should be judged, and as long as I fall within this parameter, it's like that's how I'm going to have self-assuredness and confidence and love and other people's admiration. And then if you're lucky, you realize like, that's stupid and that actually doesn't make sense. But I think that there's this interesting space and time of not necessarily, not only not acknowledging it, but I think that one of the really disturbing aspects of weight on either side, body dysmorphia and disordered eating is people will default to, oh, this is in my DNA, this is in my genes, this is my body because of my family, my parents, my lineage. And I have found, and this is just for myself personally, that that's not true because like I look at my lifestyle at 350 versus today and I'm like, 220, I'm healthy, I work out, I eat good food, right? I don't consume a lot of the processed garbage. Now, a lot of that came through education, right? And thank God there are people like you who are educating us now, but it ultimately comes to like, you have to seek it, but before seeking it, I think that there's this place where you're just kind of in it, right? And so, this is fascinating to me, when you're a caterer, and you're in this world, like what is happening in your life? Because my thought goes to, we go to the thing that often tortures us to bring us a feeling of calm.

Lisa: It's an interesting question. And having gone through the experience of becoming a health and wellness coach and shifting from weight loss to an intuitive eating coach where weight loss is off of the table. I see, like I was a boutique caterer, and people would say, you know, well, nobody really eats at these events and I could say, you know, well, you didn't have the quote unquote right food, because that was the language that I knew then, and I created really beautiful, nourishing food that was also served with Gourmet Delicious, amazing desserts. And you know, this was a party that was filled with quote unquote guilty pleasures, but a lot of health mixed in. And when we are talking though about how we learn the genetics and all of those things that you just talked about, they are part of your story, we cannot discredit that. So, you have a shoe size, a man's shoe size of 10, you cannot change that. There are certain things about our genetics and our food insecurity and depression and anxiety and all of those things that we are part of and our family surroundings. We cannot change those things. What we can change are our daily actions and behaviors.

So, when I'm working with my clients, I take weight loss off of the table I call weight loss the destination. We don't focus on the destination. We focus on the journey and the adventure, the actions and the behaviors that we can make choices about on a daily basis or in real time, so that if I have a client who is making choices that starting to make her feel better, and she's finding movement that she enjoys. If she then lands on the scale and says, oh no, like I didn't lose weight this week, then all of this thing was a waste. We take that destination off so that we focus on the present. How are you feeling in your body now? How are you connecting? Because you can feel good, you can be healthy, you can be confident in a healthy body at every size. So, we take that stigma off of the table. Like I came from, because I restricted and deprived so many years, my intuitive journey is that I have gained because I don't even know I mean, I do know, but I don't ever share calories or what that looked like. If somebody is on a binge cycle and we all say emotional eating is this horrible thing, it's actually not a horrible thing. The binge is telling you that something is going on like how do we unpack what's going on emotionally and mentally, so that if you didn't have that skill to go to food to make you feel better, could you imagine how much harder, whatever you're going through is hard enough and you didn't have any resources.

So, we work to create additional tools in the toolbox so that food is, you can have cookies because they might make you feel better, and how else can we build that toolbox so that you just don't have one thing to go to so that you have a choice of, okay, this is what I'm experiencing, I've learned this can help work through it or process it, or here's a skill that I've learned to be able to sit with it and know that as you know, I feel the impact of whatever is hitting me. I've also learned with tools, how to let that stress or that anxiety, boredom, loneliness, whatever it is that you are experiencing, how do we under begin to understand that that tool will pass and we have other tools other than the cookie box that it is not, no, you can't have them, you know if they're not working, how do we find something else that, or other tools to support you.

Michael: Yeah, and it's amazing to me, like in the pause, like P A U S E, like in the pause of those moments between, like I look at it like being on the edge of a cliff, right? I'm like, all right, this thing that I really want, I'm gonna have to dive off this cliff to get, because I know that there's like a potential ramification on the other side, and I'm like, okay, if I can delay the instantaneous pleasure the need of the thing that I think is actually gonna be satiating. But in reality, I know it's not because my brain's craving dopamine in the moment, what I do is I just stand on the edge and I look down, I go, that's a long fall down there. Right? And that keeps me from the binge. Now that's train, that's a tool, that's something I've learned years and years and years of doing this work and getting healthy and just recognizing like, I've really convinced my brain there is no good food, there is no bad food, there is just food and the way I feel about it when I am consuming it and understanding what it feels like on the backside ‘cuz I promise you, there are days I'm having gummy bears, there are days I'm having pizza, but that's on the occasion that's not every day like it used to be and that just takes work. But again, I'm gonna rewind with this for a second cuz I really, really want to tie into something here.

I'll use myself as a reference. I used to believe that the reason that I needed to be on diets was because my body didn't like certain foods, and I came to discover like that wasn't true, I just didn't understand input-output. And so, I'm curious if, for you and your journey, and now like flipping the script on this, your reality was different than my reality like we're on the different side of the scale, for lack of a better way to phrase it. And so, as you're looking at, okay, I'm restrictive, I'm in this disordered phase what was the lead up to that book coming into your life? What was health at every size? What was the lead up to that? Were you cognizant that something was wrong? And if so, what are those telltale signs and what became the indicators for you?

Lisa: So, you know, and I have been on both sides of that scale like even though I could diet and restrict and binge, there was absolutely that typical rollercoaster of going on that other side. And what really was the precipice is that I just always having shifted careers later in life was part of me is always needing to learn, always knowing that there's something else out there. And because of that, somebody had shared this book and I devoured it, like all of a sudden, the diet rules, ‘cuz we are taught that the diet knows best. So, we have this diet that millions of people are following and then we are told over and over and over again. So, when you hear things over and over again, we believe them to be true. So often what happens is that people will say to me, well, I'm so out of control when I'm off of my diet. I don't know what to do. I feel awful because they're going from restriction to binge so they don't understand that it may not be about that particular food, it may be about the quantity of food, it might be how they're using that food, what is their stress, what is their emotions? Because all of these things go into it. So, when we are talking about how does food make you feel? There's a concept, there's a principle in the practice of intuitive eating called giving yourself permission to eat food. When we don't have permission to eat food, what happens is that we go into that last supper – type of mentality. And that last supper mentality is I broke my diet. I'm going to eat all of these things, which could be an entire gallon of ice cream, it could be an entire bag of chocolate chip cookies, and I'm gonna stop at 11:59 and 59 seconds because tomorrow morning when I wake up, I'm gonna go on my diet, or its New Year's Day, or it's Monday, whatever it is. And then we think that these foods make us feel bad. When you learn to give yourself permission to have food, you go through a process called habituation you know, when you're not starving, when you're not stuffed, when you are present. Let's say that it's ice cream. Nobody else is around, this is between you and your food. You're not hiding in the pantry. You're gonna take out your ice cream, you're gonna put it in your bawl, you're gonna sit. You're going to be present with that food, and you're gonna start to notice how do you feel while you're going through this eating experience? And you can eat as much as you want. So chance you're gonna eat the full thing for the first 3, 4, 5 days, maybe even the first week. When you know that you can have it tomorrow all of a sudden you don't have to finish it. You don't have to be part of that clean plate club. It changes how you respond and how you respect your food and your body, so that if I have a handful of M&M’s, big deal like, it doesn't matter if I eat the two-pound bag, I'm going to feel awful. Noticing that process, how do you feel with your hunger? What do you notice as you shift? When do you hit full? When do you fit over full? When you go to overflow asking those questions, what am I feeling? What do I need? Is this food still serving me? Learning to have that pause, which you have learned to do so well, and sometimes you get it right and sometimes you don't with the practice of intuitive eating, you cannot fail it. It's not like a diet where you are on it or off of it, every eating experience is an opportunity to learn and to see what you can discover about yourself. And some, we all make mistakes. There is no perfection in this world and certainly not with our relationship to food and body.

Michael: You know, I'm wondering like, what was the mindset shift for you? What was actually happening in real time in your life personally as you were starting to step into this new version of Lisa?

Lisa: It was really scary. It's exciting and freeing and really scary, and I'm very fortunate that my partner, who I've now been with for 11 years versus my ex-husband, who is very body conscious and we would have lots of conversations or commentary about me not eating always, you know, torturing a waitress, having a very challenging relationship on how much food I would eat or not eat, and always creating special meals. And even to the fact when I met his parents, they were concerned that I had an eating disorder, and I kind of like blew it off, like, how could that be, you know, I eat all these healthy, nutritious foods. And I was very fortunate that I had somebody and including my parents, like this was all in my head, I wasn't getting the judgment, but I was getting the positive reinforcement, which keeps you stuck in a disordered eating when somebody tells you, oh, you're so thin, you look so great, you know, all BS that has no value, but it makes you feel, as part of diet culture, you feel like you have thin privilege and all of a sudden you feel better than other people and I had to really take notice of, this is not true. This isn't like, how could I be thinking that I'm better than somebody because I have thin privilege? And all of those thoughts started to really come undone and I started to, you know, it was scary to start to eat again and to start to eat in front of other people. It's one thing when you are dieting and you're known for the person who can restrict and deprive, doesn't mean that I didn't go into the pantry and still eat, you know, I was always on the borderline of how much could I eat? Where you wouldn't notice the difference, but I would make sure that I was checking and balancing on that scale you know, if it went up an ounce, I made sure that I shut my mouth that day. So, I was very fortunate to have the support of my partner who always encouraged me to eat and to give me value that I was far more worthwhile than what my body looked like. And part of my challenge growing up is that I have a brother who is extraordinarily intellectual, competitive. And he is a world-class doctor and it all got wound up in, if I couldn't be this, if I couldn't have that same level of intellectual abilities, then at least I could do this really well. And it all started to unravel. And my partner is an MIT Ph.D guy, I mean, he's brilliant and to be seen as somebody who has a brain and a body and that it is a full person package and is not about what I look like or the size of my thoughts and all of those things that I thought were so important started to unravel.

Michael: It's powerful and I think that a big part of that is like recognizing support systems, right? I wrote a note here, it says; “Positive reinforcement can often lead to negative consequences.” And I think like a lot of that just comes down to no thy self and being able to understand what you're getting from that information that's coming in and to really kind of separate yourself from it and I think a big part of it for me has been able to sit and acknowledge and look at it and go, okay, is that true? Does that actually change my life? What is happening here? And really this is where this idea about being intuitive comes into, like, I think about it literally, I call it like, know thy self-eating ‘cuz like I know myself and if I want to, I will consume everything and face the consequence of it just for the mouth pleasure. And so, since I know that about myself, I go, okay, hold on. Wait a second, dude. As we get onto the other side of this, now you're in this process, there's always healing, right? For me, a lot of it came in therapy, a lot of it came in reading, a lot of it came in at one point, becoming a certified personal trainer, a nutritionist and that was really about understanding, ‘cuz I had no idea ‘cuz again, nobody fucking teaches us. And so that was for me about education first, on the other side of this, now looking at the way you serve, the way that you help, if I'm listening and I'm not clear at this point, like what intuitive eating means and I have these really negative experiences with my body, and that could be on the thin side or the muscular side or the heavy side, it doesn't really matter, but somehow people will give me positive reinforcement, but it just makes me feel more negative or continue to step into those behaviors I want to change like I know that what I'm doing to myself probably isn't the best. Where do I start?

Lisa: So, I refer to it as my body peace and food freedom methodology, which takes into account the practice of intuitive eating, mindful eating, the perspective of health at every size, non-judgmental self-awareness and self-compassion. And one of the things that people are always referring to is like if they're talking about somebody who's in a larger body and they'll say, well, you know, they have no self-esteem. And yes, self-esteem has value. I'm more concerned about their ability to offer themselves self-compassion. Self-compassion is there every day. Self-esteem, you're either on the high end or the low end. So, if you are struggling with your relationship to food and body, if you are seeing somebody who has a smaller body than you, your self-esteem is on the floor and you need to be scraped off with a spatula. If you see somebody who's in a larger body, all of a sudden, your self-esteem is great and you feel better about yourself. When we look at self-compassion, it shifts everything that it's not a weakness to offer yourself kindness. How do you talk to yourself and knowing that everybody struggles that's part of common humanity, so it's really important to distinguish between the two.

When I start working with a client, we go through the principles of intuitive eating and it is talking about recognizing where the diet culture, where your thoughts about dieting came in. Learning to connect your mind, your body with your food, learning to honor your hunger as dieters, we wanna ignore our hunger as long as we can. Think about it as learning your body if you have to pee you will go to every, you know, that's full sensation in your bladder and you know you have to pee and you will go to every end that you can to make sure that you have a proper place to relieve yourself. How do we start to notice and recognize our hunger in our bodies? Because what happens often when you're a dieter, you ignore your hunger, and then at the end of the day, you're starving and you say you have no self-control. What happens is that when you learn to honor your hunger and feel it and connect with your fullness, it starts to regulate itself naturally, and that was one of the biggest things that I learned to do, is that I was no longer counting calories, balancing macros, looking at the box on how much I was allowed to eat. Learning to give myself permission to eat food the last supper started to really diminish. Feeling your fullness, honor coping with your emotions, with kindness, respecting your body like you said, you know, here I am, like I know it's gonna taste good in my mouth. How do I want to feel? And you have learned to respect your body, that you wanna feel this way versus that way.

Movement that you enjoy versus shrinking your body. So, I was a militant exerciser, there was no room for negotiation. I would work out at five in the morning even if I was going hiking. To fast forward to today, my weekends are filled with hiking with my partner and my dog, I run a couple of times a week because it makes me feel good, I spend a couple of days doing strength training. If I wake up and my hip hurts, I will shift, I do things that make me feel good because each different thing gives me a different release of what I need to manage my stress, anxiety, and all of those things. I haven't weighed myself in several years. I have no intention; I focus on the joy. Nutrition comes last because as dieters, it's easy to get back into that, oh, I can only eat this, I can't eat gluten like all of a sudden, the rules can, can come back in.

Satisfaction is the hub of intuitive eating; it takes all these other principles and it is the core principle. And satisfaction is not just about the food. It is about how you are emotionally, mentally, physically, what is happening in your world. You could go into the best restaurant in the world, but if you're having a fight with your partner, your spouse, your mother, your father, you don't even know what you're tasting. There's no satisfaction. Understanding where you are with your emotions if you go in and you're starving and you haven't eaten all day, you don't even taste the food, your body is screaming you just want to eat it. Understanding what brings satisfaction to you and what brings satisfaction to me is gonna be different than what brings satisfaction to you.

Michael: Yeah, absolutely. One of the things I'm curious about in this is you used a couple words that I really, really love that I applied in my own life. One being respect and number two being honor. And you said, honor your hunger. And I thought to myself, well also honor your hunger, or in the moments of overeating, honor the truth of the moment that you're in. How do you manage the fear of doing the opposite, right? Because I think it's one thing to kind of be there and you're like, oh yeah, I'm gonna honor the fact that I'm hungry, so I'm gonna eat, or I'm gonna honor the fact that I'm full, so I'm gonna stop. But then here's this window of fear because it's unknown. How do you navigate that aspect of this?

Lisa: It's scary. I am not gonna tell you that it is something that's easy and it takes work and trust to get up there. And it's also knowing that there's a good chance that you're going to make a mistake, and I don't wanna use the word failure, because you cannot fail this. It is learning to develop that trust and it takes time, patience, practice and compassion. I would never so tell somebody who I meet today, oh, we're gonna give you self-permission to eat food. We have a lot of unpacking, a lot of work, learning to even know what those hunger signals and those fullness signals feel like, because often we're so disconnected that we don't know what's taking place during those times. So, it's learning to connect to your body, and there's practices that we can use to be able to understand what hunger feels like, it's not just always that your tummy grumbling. Sometimes it is lack of focus, sometimes it is your ability to be kind, sometimes you're, you know that word hungry. You have no ability to be patient, all of these things are these little tiny signals, and often when those hunger pangs hit in your way over the mark and then we go to, well, I have no self-control. When we learn to be able to feed ourselves, when we learn those early signals of hunger and that you are allow to eat. Even if you had breakfast at nine o'clock, you are allowed to have a snack at 10 o'clock. What is your body saying and noticing? Is it the food that that you need or do you need companionship? Do you need to go out and walk in nature? You need sunshine. Learning to understand what it is that you're feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally, is when you can start to really give yourself permission to eat and know that you will eat to over full, because that's how we learn, you cannot fail it.

Michael: And you have to have grace, right? Because like, you're gonna screw up like I screw up all the time. It's like, yeah, I know exactly where I like my body to be. I know where I want to feel. But there are days where I'm just like, I'm going to eat all freaking day. And it's like, even sometimes it's shocking, I'm like, oh my God, I'm still hungry. I'm still eating, but I'm just like, it's fine, it's fine, but my kind of framework for it has always been if it's something unhealthy that I'm craving, can I make it as healthy as possible for myself? Right. And that's been one of the things that's helped me tremendously.

Lisa: It's that and asking yourself, will it satisfy you? Because often, you know, we will make these snacks. I lived on rice cakes and peanut butter and jelly and more often just jelly because the peanut butter was too many calories, if it doesn't satisfy you, is your pattern to go from thing to thing to thing to finally get to that thing that will satisfy you. So, there's absolutely freedom to decide, you know, something that's gonna make you feel better based on whatever is happening? Or is it that diet mentality sneaking in and saying, well, I'm gonna have a little bit of this. I'm gonna have a little bit of this, and you really wanted that and you end up there anyway. So knowing what that journey looks like from past experiences is really helpful.

Michael: And that's what's so funny too, because I think about that in terms of whether I'm in the business aspect of coaching or in the personal development side of coaching. The hesitation to do the thing that you know you need to do always becomes the thing like that's the same thing here like if you want that, like give it to yourself. Like, don't hesitate, don't take it away, because eventually the road always still leaves there because you're sitting here just denying, denying, denying. But the truth is like, and I think that's one of the things that's really, really important about a healing journey in general, is if you are willing to give yourself the thing that you know you need to give yourself initially, then you can circumvent all the other bullshit on your way there, because you're just gonna find out what you need to know anyway.

Lisa: It’s a mind drum.

Michael: Yeah, a hundred percent mind drum is a great way to phrase it and you can be in the back and forth of that all day long, or you can just make a decision. Right. Lisa, my friend, this conversation's been absolutely incredible before I ask you my last question, can you please tell everyone where they can find you?

Lisa: Absolutely. lisadahlwellness.com

Michael: Amazing. Of course, we'll put the link in the show notes for the audience. My last question for you, my friend, what does it mean to you to be unbroken?

Lisa: It's an interesting question because when I work with my clients, the first thing that I tell them is that they are not broken and that we are working to heal wherever they have been, that this is a healing journey, this is not a broken journey and that you don't need to be fixed. You just need to learn how to be kind, compassionate, and to heal yourself. And I really work hard at having people understand that they are not broken.

Michael: Brilliantly said, my friend. Thank you so much for being here.

Unbroken Nation. Thank you for listening.

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And Until Next Time.

My friends, Be Unbroken.

I'll see ya.

Lisa DahlProfile Photo

Lisa Dahl

Intuitive Eating and Body Image Health Coach

Lisa offers her signature program, “Body Peace & Food Freedom,” to support women on their journey to break free from dieting and diet culture. Through a series of interactive group and individual coaching sessions, participants will engage in reflective practices that create healthy, sustainable relationships with food and their bodies. Lisa’s hallmark emphasis on mindfulness and self-compassion help women find a successful pathway to whole-body wellness.
Lisa has certifications in Intuitive Eating, Mindful Eating, health and wellness coaching, and personal training. She is a skilled group facilitator with credentials from The Body Positive and Gratefulness.org. Lisa’s coaching philosophy is to ditch the diet and focus on Progress, not Perfection. Learn more about Lisa at www.lisadahlwellness.com.

Michael UnbrokenProfile Photo

Michael Unbroken


Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.