When It Is Not About What You Eat

Shawna Oliver RN/NBC-HWC
2 min readMay 2, 2021

So many of the woman I coach have spent decades searching for the “perfect” weight loss plan and find themselves surprised when they have their consult and I don’t have a “diet” rule book for them to follow.

As a RN and a Board Certified Health Coach, I have all the suggestions and latest information in my brain ….but in almost every case so do they.

Because healthy eating patterns are renegotiating a relationship. We can’t just give food up like alcohol or cigarettes. Issues are often a reflection of not WHAT is eaten but WHY and HOW. You see IF food issues are psychological, all the instruction, tips, and tools in the world can’t resolve the root cause of weight struggles.

Secondly, willpower is finite, and not the path to nourishment. The traits often seen in women( and men) who struggle with eating regulation are often what helps them master other areas of life. The grit, the fortitude the pushing through. Unfortunately this is meant for short term, end goal use, not with something complex and perpetual like choosing sustenance multiple times a day.

They are often frustrated that they can succeed in so many areas but can’t seem to nail down this one issue. And sometimes that is the problem itself. Perfectionism. All or nothing thinking. People Pleasers. Those who avoid asking for help so people view them as exceptionally independent. Deficit thinking achievers that often notice what they have yet to do instead of all the amazing things they have already done.

A prominent issue is using food to numb uncomfortable feelings. I know this well as have been there.. Some questions to consider:

Do you regularly ignore and eat past your full signal?

Do you eat then mentally give yourself a hard time about what you ate?

Do you label all foods as ”good “or “bad “then judge yourself very harshly when eat bad foods?

Do you sneak foods and eat when others can’t see or are you always “grabbing and going” your meals?

Do you eat very restrained for periods then binge/overeat for periods after?

Eating issues are painful and difficult but CAN be successfully solved. I struggled with this all of my 20’s and a good part of my thirties. What makes it so heartbreaking is the never ending loop in our heads, and all these diet attempts, stealing precious time and attention from fully enjoying our life and the people in it.

The good news is it can be addressed. Self care, building in pleasure and breaks, stress management as well as changing self talk /negative food mindsets is a crucial piece of the puzzle.

Finally ,setting yourself up for a joyful permanent food relationship. As in every area I coach, my philosophy remains the same. Fill with the good and the negative necessarily has a lesser place. It is learnable, doable ………and life changing.

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Shawna Oliver RN/NBC-HWC

Shawna Oliver is an RN as well as a Board-Certified Well-being Coach and recent author of The Makings of a Powerful Bitch. She has her own coaching practice