Tag Archives: eating psychology

Live Your Life, Love Your Food

There was a time in my life where I was obsessed with food, and like all obsessions, this one took some time to unravel.

When I was being good, I was following someone else’s plan about how and what I should eat. Certain foods were off-limits, though if I’m honest with myself, I wasn’t entirely sure why. I expended a lot of time and energy to follow this plan.

My life looked something like this:

I’d use my Sundays to pre-select, shop, and prep my meals and snacks for at least the next 3-5 days. In addition, I’d diligently enter all the recipes into MyFitnessPal so they’d be ready for me to track, and plan my exercise schedule for the week (because of course that affected my allotted calories). I actually grew to enjoy these Sundays, throwing on some music and cooking up a storm.

But I can’t say I really did much else those days.

Weekdays were challenging, especially as the days turned into evenings, and Mondays into Fridays.

I loved Monday, because every week was the opportunity for a new start. I’d feel all motivated and ready from my Sunday “food chore” day!

And breakfasts were always easy for me. I was home–maybe I’d done a yoga practice or some exercise in the morning; so I felt content and confident for the day. (If I’d slept well….)

By lunchtimes I’d likely have been in 2-3 meetings, few of which I was truly interested in, some of them high-stress or contentious for whatever reason. Lunch looked like sifting through emails that had been piling up OR running off to another meeting. (Noon was often the only time people on a project team were “free”, because of all the other meetings they were in!) Team members scampered through the cafeteria, dashed into the conference room, and then scarfed down their food to get on with it. Initially I did the same with the healthy food I brought.

By 3 or 4 pm, I’d likely have some free time in my office to eat my snack. So I’d pull one of those Fiber One bars out of the box in my desk drawer–you know, that healthy bar with all the chocolate pieces in it!–and devour it while trying to catch up on things that had happened while I’d been in more meetings. But I wasn’t satisfied, so I’d eat another. Pretty soon the box I’d brought for the week would be empty.

Sometimes this would happen early in the week. Other times I’d have a streak of good days, and the cycle wouldn’t start until later. But it was always the same once I’d gone on a binge…:

I’d realize and track what I’d done, to see how badly I’d gone over my calorie allotment for the day. “Well shit,” I’d think. “Today’s a bust. Screw it then.”

More tight deadlines, more difficult meetings, more challenging conversations, and then traffic on the way home.

Then I’d not necessarily eat what I’d prepared for dinner. And if I did, I’d eat something else too. And something else after that.

I needed to unwind from the day!

One of my favorites was BudiBars. At one point, I’d buy a case–as in, for the month–and store the box in my garage so that every time I ate one, I’d have to run up and down the stairs. Unfortunately, this didn’t prevent me from eating the whole box within a couple days. They ARE healthy, right?

Sunday I’d repeat the process. Monday I’d reset. Can you guess what happened? Yup. I kept gaining (rather than maintaining or losing) weight. I knew this, because I’d weigh myself every morning: buck naked, at the exact same time (just to be sure).

I was frustrated because I was putting in SO much effort. I was trying so hard not to eat certain things. Internally, I’d tell myself I was “fat and disgusting” over and over again, thinking it might finally sink in and I’d stop eating things I didn’t want to eat. On more positive days, I might tell myself I could overcome this, that I could be strong.

And it started to feel like there was some internal demon who made me eat way too much no matter how hard I resisted!

Can you feel this? It really sucked.

This cycle caused me to study Eating Psychology, and become a coach. And now I know there are SEVERAL reasons why all this didn’t work for me…and why it actually worked AGAINST me.

Boy do I wish I had known these reasons BEFORE!!  So much of my life could have been different. So much time saved, so much energy put to other uses. I don’t regret this phase of my life because it taught me a ton, but you know, it would have been nice to have been able to focus on other things: tending to relationships, contributing to the world, that sort of thing!

Among the pile of reasons this way of living wasn’t working was that I was not receiving any PLEASURE from my food. Apart from the prep-time, I was barely looking at it, and I certainly wasn’t tasting it.

Do you get pleasure from your food? Does it look amazing? Does it taste even more amazing? 

  • If not, you’re not taking full advantage of your calorie-burning and metabolic potential — and I’d love for you to get some inspiration!
  • If you are, I’d love for you to help me show others how healthy food can be mouth-wateringly pleasurable.

Read more about and sign up for my FREE Healthy Pleasures Photo Challenge (starts June 1)!


Good food will heal what ails you

One of the ways I work with people as an Eating Psychology Coach is to get them back in touch with how pleasurable food can be. In the Chakras Tune-up workshop this past weekend, we talked about how second (sacral) chakra issues revolve around pleasure, and how the energy in this part of the body is frequently blocked by guilt.

Perfect example: say you eat an amount of chocolate that you don’t think you should have (or something else you find pleasurable but “forbidden”). What might you feel afterwards? Guilt! And sometimes then comes the punishment, like over-exercising, or restricting food (i.e. pleasure) even more. But there was a good reason for the chocolate, wasn’t there? Maybe you can’t point your finger on it initially, but if get quiet for a minute or more, I’ll bet you can find it.

We cannot live without being open to experiencing pleasure. (And this is coming from someone who has had her fair share of pain.) So today when I happened to be in a state of pain (more mental than physical, yet due to physical issues), I got myself to cooking.

It didn’t have to be much, or take a lot of time, but what it had to be was SPECIAL. So I took the extra time I gained today by having to cancel all my “stuff” to cook some oatmeal over the stove (i.e. the old-fashioned way, sans microwave). I combined it with some ghee and vanilla almond milk, and topped with with some shredded almonds and a few prunes. (I happen to really like prunes. 🙂 ) Instead of putting it in a bowl, I picked a nice tea cup, and ate it while nestled under a blanket, propped up on the biggest pile of pillows ever, on the sofa.

IMG_1684Then for lunch, I was reminded of a Facebook post I saw some time ago about cooking scallops in a bit of vermouth with butter. (I believe it was a Paleo recipe.)  My lovely partner was kind enough to get me my standard order of “6 large scallops” from the seafood counter at Central Market yesterday, and we happen to have vermouth and Kerrygold! I also threw in some garlic and ginger for good measure.

Now given what I’m dealing with, let me tell you that there are likely several people who would scoff at the use of the alcohol as well as the dairy. But you know what? I know my body, and I know that when something happens to slow me down, avoiding things I enjoy just means I deprive myself of even more pleasure and don’t heal any faster. So why not enjoy something, when I’m restricted in so many other ways? That’s my philosophy anyway!

When people come to me dealing with an issue about food, food generally isn’t the issue. It’s how they’re approaching life. I never “take away” someone’s treat.  The treat is there for a reason. Sometimes you don’t need it. Sometimes you do. The trick is that when you have the treat, you take the time to enjoy it.

What’s for dinner?


Please don’t lose your love for food

A few weeks ago I attended a Hatha yoga class, and as I was leaving, I heard half a parting conversation between two ladies. The woman closest to me (who I actually didn’t see as she was behind me), said:

“Get something delicious OK? I don’t want anything healthy!”

I’m pretty sure the other woman acknowledged her request. My heart went out to this woman, truly. I felt sad that was the choice she thought she had to make: between having food that’s healthy and food that’s delicious.

I hear/see this a lot. When an acquaintance’s mother had a scare with her heart, she was told to lose weight and go on a diet. I still recall her saying, “yeah, my food is terrible and bland now. I hate eating.” I have a close friend who’d rather take a pill than bother cooking for herself. A client once described a “miserable” dinner of cheese and crackers, after which a bag of dark chocolate covered almonds really was divine!

Since we eat (probably) three meals a day, I feel very strongly that eating and food is a part of life that should be pleasurable. Did you know that 40-60% of your digestive capacity (meaning your body’s ability to digest, absorb nutrients from, and eliminate) is in your head? They call it cephalic phase digestive response (CPDR). Meaning, if your mind doesn’t register pleasure from your food from its beautiful appearance, its savory taste, the length of time it takes you to eat it, the way you describe it, etc. etc., you are affecting your health no matter WHAT you eat.

I’d call myself a health nut. And I’d also call myself a foodie.

  • Because of some health issues I’ve had in the past year, I’m now gluten free, dairy free, corn free, egg free, and spinach free (I used to eat spinach all.the.time, but it’s a high oxalate food).
  • I’m big on making cooking simple (I don’t have any more time than you all do)!  I also used to live off TV dinners because I’d never learned to cook.
  • And…I regularly go out to eat with my partner (who doesn’t follow any dietary restrictions).

In sum, I ENJOY BEING HEALTHY and I LOVE FOOD.

I’ll be running my popular Emotional Eating workshop several times at the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016. Check out my Workshops page for more information and to register.

Please, let me help you find this balance so you can stop obsessing about food and get on with enjoying your life!


How Playing with Triphala Is Helping My Sleep

As part of my advanced yoga teacher training, I just completed my read of “The Book of Ayurveda: A Holistic Approach to Health and Longevity” by Judith H. Morrison. It was a really nice book. Easy to read in small doses and informative. Lots of photos, graphics, and lists to make everything more interesting.

Between my 200 hour training at Kripalu and my “Introduction to Ayurveda” workshop, I felt I had a lot of knowledge before reading the book, but I undeniably learned even more. As part of deeper experimentation, I ordered some Triphala powder from Banyan Botanicals, deciding I wasn’t going to mess around with the pills anymore. I was going HARD CORE (trying to get some of my pitta back, you see 😉 !

Anyway, on page 129 Judith lists out several different ways to prepare the Triphala powder. To start, I boiled some water and brewed 1/2 tsp of the powder for 5 minutes, like tea. (The instructions on the bag said I could use 1/4 or 1/2 tsp.)  With or without drinking “the dregs”, I thought it was gross. The boyfriend wholeheartedly agreed. The L.A. Story Steve Martin quote, “It’s exactly like licking a shag carpet” randomly came to mind. Truly.


The next day I decided to try 1/4 tsp and the method of soaking it in room temperature water ALL DAY. I thought that this just HAD to be more disgusting; even though it was a bit smaller dose, it would have a longer time to steep. Oddly, we both agreed it was actually quite drinkable.

Day 3, I decided that I’d just mix that 1/4 tsp into “tepid” water and drink. Who needs all that soaking anyway? Hmmmph. MUCH better when soaked. This was back to the shag carpet.

When I went back to the book, I noticed that Judith DOES say that the strongest preparation is via simmering (which I haven’t yet tried, and am not sure I dare) and the weakest by soaking. Guess I like my Triphala weak!

Regardless, drinking even the weak version before bed HAS seemed to help me sleep a little bit better. In fact, some nights I notice that drinking just half the cup makes me feel tired. And that’s totally worth putting some powder in a mug and letting it sit on the counter for 8 hours!

So, playing quickly with Triphala is helping my sleep, and reminding me that I need to watch some silly movies again. 🙂


Stop beating yourself up…

heart…over what you weigh

…over what you eat

…over your lack of willpower

…over a stupid scale

…over how you seem to sabotage yourself every time you think you’re close to meeting your goals.

There’s a better, simpler, and kinder way.

Learn how to love yourself and your body through Eating Psychology Coaching.

Mention “2014HOLIDAYSPECIAL” when you contact me and receive TWO Eating Psychology Coaching sessions for the price of ONE!

Offer good for sessions booked by January 31, 2015.

Interested in learning a new way to navigate the holiday food frenzy?

copper DessertEmail info at ajourneyintohealth dot com with subject “HOLIDAYSPECIAL” to get TWO Eating Psychology Coaching sessions for the price of ONE.

Offer good for pre-paid sessions booked by January 31, 2015.

Virtual sessions can be easy! And, you can also pass this deal along to friends and family.

Upcoming Workshop Announcement!

Mind-Body Nutrition for Busy People:
Explore 5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Relationship with Food & Your Body


When: Sunday, June 8, 2014 1-4 pm

Where: Broadstone Crossing Apartments (Common Room)
12430 Metric Blvd, Austin TX 78758

  • Spend too much time & energy on what’s wrong with your body?
  • Tried everything when it comes to losing weight & keeping it off?
  • Know what you should eat, but just can’t find the time?
  • Challenged by unwanted, emotionally-based eating habits?

. . .Or, just curious about what mind-body nutrition can do for you?

Join Kali Patrick as she leads you through an informative journey into 5 new, practical, & time-saving approaches to help you improve your eating habits, reduce your stress, make peace with your body, and become more of the person you were truly meant to be!

In this interactive workshop, you’ll learn:

  • The physiological effects of stress on metabolism & calorie burning
  • How to naturally modulate your appetite through eating rhythm
  • The profound impact of the cephalic phase digestive response
  • Ways to overcome toxic beliefs about food & body that limit weight loss potential
  • Mind-body techniques for overcoming body image challenges

You’ll also receive informative handouts & recommendations for further reading.

Cost: $30 pre-registration*, $40 at the door

Call 617.699.2389 or email info (at) ajourneyintohealth (dot) com to reserve your space.
*Due to the interactive nature of the workshop, space is limited to 12 & pre-registration is recommended.

About Kali Patrick, Mind-body Wellness Consultant at A Journey Into Health:

Kali integrates eating psychology, nutrition, yoga, meditation, Ayurveda & Reiki to help busy people improve their overall health & wellness. Her prior experience working in high-tech corporations taught her not only how to facilitate informative & fun group discussions, but also helped her understand how our fast-paced, stress-based culture makes it easy to develop unwanted eating habits & difficult to make time to care for ourselves, even when we want to.

For more information about Kali, visit www.ajourneyintohealth.com.

Does the number on your bathroom scale wreak havoc on your mood?

Mine used to.

Isabelle Tierney’s recent post, titled “God in Facebook Form” got me thinking about another way many of us end up seeking validation: seeing a particular number on the bathroom scale.

During a particularly difficult time in my life (when I was under a lot of stress and feeling pretty trapped), I developed a pretty serious obsession with my weight. My rationale was that in 8th grade I was 5 feet tall and 100 lbs. Going on birth control at 16 gained me 3 pounds, but I was OK with that. Fast forward 20+ years later, and you’d find me incredibly focused on getting back down to that specific number of 103 (since obviously I wasn’t getting any taller). I think I was around 110 lbs when all that started. When I hit rock bottom, I’d gotten myself up to 120 lbs–all by trying ridiculously hard to get the long and lean body I envied, weighing myself every day (sometimes more than once). That extra weight wasn’t muscle either: it was from the binging and overeating caused by how the number on the scale contributed to my already fragile mood.

When I started studying to become an Eating Psychology Coach, one of the first things that Marc David, the founder and primary teacher in the training said, was that we should get rid of the scale. In addition to the fact that there are normal fluctuations in body weight, he alluded to the psychological impact that seeing a particular number can have on us. In my case, if I weighed less than I had previously, or I was closer to my goal weight, stepping on the scale would have a positive effect on my mood. I’d find myself smiling, and being happy and confident in my body until my next weigh in. If I weighed more or hadn’t made any progress, I’d feel terrible. I’d go through my day thinking I was “fat and disgusting” (and I can’t count how many times I said that phrase aloud, further putting it “out there” into the Universe and making it seem more real)!

At first I found myself very reluctant to give up this mood-altering ritual. But eventually, the scale went into the closet. I pulled it out once a week instead of stepping on it every day, but I found that even the decreased frequency seemed to have the same effect on my mood. Weight down, mood up. Weight up, mood down. So back in the closet it went, and as I started to really internalize that I could love my body as it is (yet still exercise and eat well to be strong, flexible, and healthy),

I’m happy to report that it’s been over a month since the difference between a number in my brain and the one on a little square device has had any power over my mood, my confidence, or my life. Do I still think about weighing myself sometimes? Of course. Do I do it? Nope. Instead I remind myself that I can give my gifts to the world because of what is inside of me; and if that doesn’t work, I do something I know will make me feel good, like yoga. (And oftentimes, those self-care activities are exactly what I need to be as healthy as I can be! Funny how that works.)