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Getting to the Core of Emotional Eating w/ Ali Shapiro

Today we’re talking with Ali Shapiro, MSOD, CHHC, a holistic nutritionist, integrated health coach, and cancer survivor. Ali is academically, practically, and empathetically aware of how the medical system, diet culture and body positivity movements all have their own flavor of crazy.

From her academic research, which she applied and tested over a decade of working with clients and groups, Ali has learned that what we traditionally thought of as eating issues actually have very little to do with food. This work has led Ali to create Truce with Food, run major corporate wellness programs, be a regular on television and a keynote speaker, and to host the top-ranked podcast, Insatiable.

In this episode, we’ll talk about:

  • Why health is about so much more than “willpower” and “discipline”
  • The 4 primary reasons people eat when they’re not hungry
  • The 3 stress responses that cause us to fall off track
  • How and why resilience plays a role in health and well being
  • Ali’s background and journey to helping people reclaim their health by healing their relationship with food
  • & MORE!

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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Speaker 1: The following podcast is a Dear Media Production.

Wendy Lopez: Hey, it’s Wendy.

Jessica Jones: It’s Jess, and you’re listening to the Food Heaven Podcast.

Wendy Lopez: Your online resource for a delicious and nutritious living.

Wendy Lopez: Hello everyone, welcome to another episode of the Food Heaven Podcast. Today we have a very special guest. We have Ali Shapiro, who’s a holistic nutritionist, integrative health coach and cancer survivor. Ali is academically, practically and empathetically aware of how the medical system, diet, culture and body, positivity movement all have their own flavor of crazy.

Jessica Jones: I know that’s right.

Wendy Lopez: From her academic research, which she applied and tested over a decade of working with clients and groups, Ali has learned that what we traditionally thought of as eating issues, actually have very little to do with food.

Jessica Jones: I am so excited to chat with Ali. We were actually both on this podcast called the Rebel Therapist. Where it’s actually a therapist who interviews different experts, mostly therapists, but also kind of people who are allies or in careers that are kind of similar. The host actually mentioned Ali and said that, we have similar philosophies and do similar work. She was like, “You guys should just meet up,” but we don’t live in the same city, so we did a Zoom meeting. I feel like, weren’t we talking for like an hour and a half, Ali?

Ali Shapiro: Yeah.

Jessica Jones: We’re just like…

Ali Shapiro: You were late for your call with Wendy.

Jessica Jones: I know. Yeah.

Ali Shapiro: I kept apologizing in advance.

Jessica Jones: Yeah, I was like, “Oh my God, I have to go.” It was great, and I was like, “Oh you have to come on the podcast,” because you have such a unique take on emotional eating. You mentioned a little bit on the call, but I was like, “Oh, we need to dive into that.” We’re super excited to have you. Welcome to the podcast Ali.

Ali Shapiro: Thanks, and thank you guys for being open to having this conversation.

Jessica Jones: Of course, so let’s just get started by talking about your background. I mean I always like to learn about our guest, and how you got into this work, helping people reclaim their health by healing their relationship with food.

Ali Shapiro: Yeah, I grew up, my dad was a health and phys-ed teacher, and my mom grew up on what was, it wasn’t called an organic farm back then. It was just a farm in the 50s, but I had this real interest in health. When I was 13, I was diagnosed with cancer. When you come out of that at 14, I had equated being thin with being healthy. It’s an easy mistake to make in our culture. I had struggled with my weight beforehand, but it really blew up after I had lost all this weight from chemo. Was over exercising, trying to eat healthy to keep cancer away.

Ali Shapiro: Fast forward about eight years and I was in my early 20s, and I had been diagnosed with depression. I had been going to see therapists. I think I was on my fourth antidepressant. I had been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome. I was having horrible heartburn. I got a colonoscopy at 22, nothing was there, but they still diagnosed me with that. I had acne return. I had taken Accutane and antibiotics in high school and college for this, and had my asthma from childhood, it had gotten worse. I had horrible allergies, just like those are just the A’s to start off with.

Ali Shapiro: I basically realized I had been trying everything that Western medicine could offer. Oh, I was also binging and emotionally eating at the same time. I was blaming myself and thinking like, “Oh if I could just,” at the time low fat was in style. I was like, “Oh if I could just eat vegetarian, low fat, all that kind of stuff, this would go away.” Basically realized that, well I didn’t have cancer, I wasn’t healthy. Realized I had defined being healthy as not having cancer, which is a great, I’m very like lucky and grateful to have that definition and I was still feeling really sick.

Ali Shapiro: I basically had found functional medicine. This was 17 years ago. It wasn’t really popular. I was living in Philly. There were a bunch of rebel health practitioners, who were starting to integrate it. I would later come to learn that functional medicine is basically what naturopaths and indigenous cultures have been doing forever. Now it has an American name, functional medicine.

Ali Shapiro: Basically using food as medicine rather than about calories or weight loss, I was able to reverse. I was able to reverse my IBS, my asthma that I had had since childhood, my acne and a good portion of my depression. At least I got physically well enough that I was really ready to look at the emotional stuff. That’s how I started and was like, people have to hear about this. How did I not know about this?

Ali Shapiro: If I’m someone who has all the incentive in the world to be healthy, because I almost died of a life threatening illness, I can’t believe it took me, it was so hard to find this and piece together. That was kind of the impetus.

Wendy Lopez: I mean, wow, you got diagnosed at such a young age with cancer. I’m also wondering, did that really have a strong impact, even now on the food choices that you make perhaps, because of a fear of it happening again? How has that affected you throughout the years?

Ali Shapiro: Yeah. Well, I mean, what I didn’t know at the time and I think is still very underappreciated and really has born out my approach to emotional eating is, I didn’t realize that I had had post traumatic stress disorder from that. All of my approaches at dieting, which would end in binging and just emotional eating, like really bad emotional eating, were actually trauma patterns that I had to heal. How we eat, it is a metaphor and an invitation into how we live. Not knowing that and thinking I had a willpower or a discipline issue, really wore away at myself ,trust in my body, trust in myself. I was like, “How can I not figure this out?”

Ali Shapiro: Again, when I had discovered functional medicine and felt so much better, I was like, “Oh this is amazing. I want to use food as medicine.” I feel empowered, but yet I was still binging and overeating, and so then I was like, “Really what’s wrong with me? I’ve had this taste of health, but I haven’t had really since I was 13 before I was diagnosed.” I didn’t realize the emotional eating and the binging was this attempt to basically repetition compulsion and attempt to heal that trauma.

Ali Shapiro: That really has been a major influence because when you wear away yourself trust, not just around food, but in your body, it starts to creep into every other area of your life.

Wendy Lopez: Yeah, and I love that you brought up willpower, because I think for a lot of people, there’s this idea that, if you put your mind to it, you can get it done. All of these deeper factors are usually not addressed when it comes to really learning what influences our eating habits and our eating choices. Can you talk about this idea of willpower and discipline?

Ali Shapiro: Yeah. Again, I have started to realize that, what we think of as a willpower or a discipline problem is a symptom, not a diagnosis. The same way that my binging was a symptom, not the problem to address, or my depression was a symptom of my gut being destroyed from chemo, we have to look at willpower and discipline as why are we falling off track? Why is this making complete sense? Especially if you look to other areas of your life and you’re relatively functional. It’s like what’s the inconsistency in this one area?

Ali Shapiro: What I basically realized is that, when we’re falling off track, to your point, you have to put your mind to it. Well, what are we actually putting our mind to? For 18 years I tried to learn a different diet. I tried to learn a different plan. What I really realized is there was this invisible emotional pattern happening. Where we have an emotion, that the emotion itself isn’t itself dangerous, but it was dangerous in the past for some reason. Then that in the same way that animals do fight, flight or freeze in the wild, we emotionally go into a fight, flight or freeze response.

Ali Shapiro: Then we have these behaviors. Sometimes it is eating, but we go into different behaviors, that then make our life more stressful. Then we eat in reaction to that pattern. We’re either eating for more energy, because that whole chain of events of trigger, stress response behaviors, and I can give you some concrete examples of those. We either eat to push through, because we need more energy or we have pushed through, and we think we deserve food or wine or Netflix because today was hard. Or, I realized with a lot of my clients uncertainty, what they often will label as anxiety, but the emotion is uncertainty.

Ali Shapiro: When they’re going through a certain transition in their life, what they say is, “You know what, I’m so stressed, I’m just going to get back to this. I’m going to get back to my healthy eating when I can focus on this.” It’s the uncertainty that’s triggering them to just say, “To hell with it and I’m going to eat whatever I can to get through this,” which is often not the best choices.

Ali Shapiro: That’s what I really realized was the root cause, was this emotional dominoes of trigger, stress response behaviors that’s completely invisible to the naked eye and to diet culture. That was really what was, is the root cause of why most people are falling off track.

Jessica Jones: I want to elaborate on that a little bit more, because when I talked to you, you mentioned that you talk about four primary reasons people eat when they aren’t hungry. You kind of mentioned them, but I want to go into a little bit more detail. From what I can remember you said, it’s when people are tired, when they’re feeling, not undervalued, yeah, can you go on to what they are?

Ali Shapiro: Yeah, and so I always tell my clients, “What’s at the tail end of, either when you start thinking about food or when you’re in the act of eating out of alignment with your goals?” Tired is one of them, anxious, but one of the things I try to get clients to start to realize is, the internal self-awareness. What is anxious? What do I really get anxious at? It’s often something uncertain, something, news you weren’t expecting to get, what not, feeling inadequate and then loneliness.

Ali Shapiro: Those four emotions because they were unsafe in the past, and if we haven’t dealt with the lack of safety that those situation, those emotions triggered in the past, we continue to feel like they’re dangerous today.

Wendy Lopez: It’s so important to do that self-reflection because a lot of times we’re just on automatic. It’s like something happens, we’re anxious, we eat, we’re stressed out and we do whatever it is that we do to cope. That self-awareness is really important, because you start seeing patterns. This way, I mean a lot of people, especially with emotional eating, they’ll tell us like, “I’m always gravitated towards this food when I’m stressed out or when I’m happy or when I’m sad.” Just really exploring that and then having a conversation about, “Okay, well, what are your other ways to explore that emotion aside from food,” is really important.

Ali Shapiro: Yeah, because if you think about it, I mean on a very primal level, food is attachment. When we’re first born, the way that we somatically, emotionally know that we’re safe as if we’re fed, right?

Wendy Lopez: Right.

Ali Shapiro: All you pretty much need is a bottle or a breast when you’re born, and that’s a huge sign you’re safe. It’s a natural response to turn to food to try to recreate that sense of safety. We’re trying to work with the reality of what food has come to mean for all of us, whether we’ve had huge trauma or not.

Wendy Lopez: Let me take a little second to tell you guys my long journey with deodorant. In college, we were in debate class, it was my freshman year as communications, and my debate was how deodorant was not good for you. Looking back now, I don’t know that I would make the same claim knowing what I do now, about reading through scientific literature. Based on me doing that speech, I stopped wearing deodorant legitimately for like 10 years. I wore essential oils. I was just doing the most and also the least at the very same time.

Wendy Lopez: After a while, literally after 10 years I was like, “Okay, I think it’s time to maybe explore what new deodorants are out there. Maybe there’s a good natural deodorant that I could try.” so I did. I went through so many different brands of natural deodorant, and I mean like almost all of them. They’ve never ever, ever, ever worked for me ever. Even if they work, maybe for like a day or two, it never last.

Wendy Lopez: In this week’s podcast sponsor reached out, they are a natural deodorant brand called Native. I was hesitant. I was like, “We’ll see. I’m not going to say for sure I can talk about it, unless I try it, at least for 15 days and I feel like it works well for me,” so I did that. I tried it. It’s been almost a month now, and when I tell you, this is literally one of my new favorite deodorants. Natural or not it works, even when I’m sweating.

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Wendy Lopez: I would love for you to get into the three stress responses that you touch on in your work, because I think they’ll be really useful for our listeners.

Ali Shapiro: Yeah, so we experience one of those tail emotions. We can feel all four of them, but we tend to have one that’s dominant, that’s really causing the stress eating or the challenge. Again, like I said, this emotion isn’t in itself dangerous, but we have almost residue memory in our nervous system that it’s dangerous. What we do is, we start to feel like that emotion is wrong. Why am I tired? Or it’s not good to feel inadequate, or I don’t know what to do. There’s a lot of doubt that comes with uncertainty. Or why am I lonely? I’m always going to be alone. It’s me. That wrongness sets up this psychological gearing up and battling.

Ali Shapiro: I adapted these stress responses from the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Model. What then happens is, if we feel wrong or afraid of doing the wrong thing or being the wrong thing, we’re basically in conflict. It can be real or perceived. The three protective, and these are protective stress responses. I’ll explain that after I give you the actual names of them.

Ali Shapiro: The first response is the competitor pattern. This is where we start to wonder, am I ahead or behind? Am I ahead or behind? Say we’re tired, and it’s like, “I need to leave work and go home,” but we’re like, “But I’m behind at work.” We then overwork, that is one response that we do. Another response is avoid, this is a really big one. Say we get a project at work or an email that catches us up guard, and we feel uncertain. What we tend to do is, build it up in our mind or we fill in the blanks based on what we think is happening. We really build up what’s being asked of us. We avoid either pushing back or saying no, and we avoid. Then we stress all about that, which often leads to eating.

Ali Shapiro: Then sometimes we also eat to procrastinate. That’s part of the avoid patterns, procrastinating. It’s like, “Oh God, I got to get to this thing and I’m going to procrastinate with chips or food.” Or there could be a feeling of someone asked you for something, and you feel inadequate or guilty saying no. The third stress response is called accommodating. When we’re accommodating, we basically accommodate the other person or the project or the experience, and forget about our own needs.

Ali Shapiro: If someone says like, they ask something of you and you’re like, “Oh I feel guilty saying no.” You say yes, but then it interrupts your schedule, it adds more stress to your plate. Then overtime we start to get resentful, we’re accommodating all the time, because our needs aren’t getting met. When your body and mind don’t get their basic needs met, you don’t feel safe, and so then you turn to food even more. It’s in the short-term and in the long-term that we start to turn to food.

Ali Shapiro: I want to emphasize that, the reason that these stress responses then they will create behaviors that are related to food or not related to food. The reason we eat is we eat when not when we feel out of control, but when we feel out of choice. These stress responses put us in all or nothing thinking, and that all or nothing thinking is what really makes us feel powerless. Then we think we just have to push through with food, and food’s kind of our reward for doing it. Or it’s going to help us, stimulate us to rise to the occasion, to get whatever the task is at hand done.

Jessica Jones: I have two followup questions to that, so if the first step, I’m assuming like in the work that you do or just helping people in general, is to be aware of what’s going on. How do you help people connect those dots? Or like let’s just say for our listeners, how can they connect those dots for themselves of what is actually happening for them, when they might be eating for emotional rather than physical reasons? Then once they connect the dots, then what would the next step be that you recommend?

Ali Shapiro: Yeah, so a big piece of this is awareness and clarity. I always say clarity is like a healing tool, because we are always taught that most of the time emotional eating is about the food. You can hear me eating and say, “Oh that makes a lot of sense,” but it’s really, I just love food too much. I really recommend people, start with tail just for a week. What’s at the tail end of, when you start thinking about food? Or and also again when you’re actually eating food?

Ali Shapiro: For example, one of my clients realized that she would eat a lot at night like after dinner was done, everything was set. She realized that she was rehashing the day and how uncertain she felt about everything, all the decisions that she had made. That’s kind of when she went to the fridge. I recommend for one week, just track and be curious about what’s at the tail end of when you start to think about food or when you’re eating.

Ali Shapiro: Then the second week, see if you go into compete, avoid or accommodate mode. The client that I was talking about that was eating at night, she was like, “I realized I had accommodated all day. I was basically asking myself, did I accommodate enough right? Where people happy with what I did, blah, blah, blah,” all those questions. Being able to label this stuff is half the battle, and our culture, we’re a culture that stays on the surface of things. We don’t understand systems, holistic perspectives.

Ali Shapiro: One of my favorite quotes is by Einstein that said, if he had an hour to save the world, he’d spend more time defining the problem than solving it. That clarity of just being able to label what emotion it is, and then what stress response you had, oftentimes is enough to start to turn the tide. You’re just like, “Oh this is what I’m doing. It’s not because I really want chips. It’s because this is what I’m feeling. The reason the feeling feel’s so intense, is because I’m viewing it through a win or lose lens, or an avoiding lens or an accommodating lens.”

Ali Shapiro: Those are definitely the first couple of steps that I think everyone needs to get started on. The more you can see how frequent and prevalent this is, the more incentive it is to actually go through the change process. Most people, when they start to pay attention or realize that they’re on the defensive about 90% of the time in their lives, which is shocking to people. Was shocking to me, because I didn’t think of myself as a very defensive person. I thought of myself as a risk taker and all this stuff in my life. But I realized I would take risks in the areas I was confident in. The areas I was really insecure in, this is where all of these kind of issues started to come. Yeah, so those are the first couple of steps.

Ali Shapiro: Then the third step, and I tell people this is like a labyrinth. This isn’t like a one, two, three formula. You keep walking this process and you get deeper and more powerful insights and changes each time. The third step is then to start to question, what do I need? Rather than just dismissing your needs, what do I need in this situation? Then getting clear on what the other person or the other situation needs, and I can give you some example, client examples of this.

Ali Shapiro: Often we assume what we need is brownies or alcohol. What we need is the self-reflection and awareness of what’s happening. Then we need to understand how can we be with those emotions and those feelings? Then we also have to figure out what does a situation, what does it really need versus what I’m probably perceiving in this story I’m making up in my mind? There’s a fourth stress response and it’s in adult development research, it’s called optimal conflict.

Ali Shapiro: Optimal conflict is when we have these challenges. If we can do this creative process, it’s called a collaboration and it’s really where we get creative. We actually get better results than if we hadn’t done the inquiry and the work for ourselves. I’ll give you an example of this. I had a client who was basically a chronic accommodator.

Ali Shapiro: She had a daughter who was going through a really, really tough time, and her daughter was always asking her to, “Can you watch my daughter?” Who was her granddaughter. The client really wanted to take care of her daughter, and she also would always have these plans to go grocery shopping or to do her self-care. She would feel really inadequate saying no and guilty. Then she would just go immediately into accommodator response, and say yes. Then at the end of the day feel like, “Oh I’m not getting to what I want to do. I’m not able to prioritize my health or anything.”

Ali Shapiro: We worked on it like, “Okay, well what do you need in that situation when your daughter’s asking for this request?” She was like, “What I really need to do is think about how this fits into my schedule. How can I make it work for me and her?” When we’re in the accommodator frame, we think either or. Either she gets her needs met and I’m disappointed, or I disappoint her and I get my needs met.

Ali Shapiro: When she asked her daughter about these requests that were coming in, she realized that she had a lot more time to get them done. That also she would say, we worked on her saying, “Well what’s really important to you about picking up the granddaughter?” It was like, “Oh well mostly that she’s on time and then she can just come back with you.” My client was picking up the grandchild and doing all these elaborate things, that weren’t necessarily what was really important to her daughter.

Ali Shapiro: What she realized was, she could actually still maintain her schedule, and she would be able to better plan for what was important for her daughter, so she could be there for her daughter and also get her own needs taken care of. Her day didn’t just feel like a series of stress anymore. She was able to build some health, self-care fulfillment into there, because it also did feel good to help take care of her granddaughter. Then she also became a lot more present for her granddaughter, and enjoyed that process more because she was taken care of as well.

Ali Shapiro: Overtime she was able to ask her daughter, “Hey, can you give me more notice? Let’s plan for this because it really stresses me out when I just get a last minute call, because I’m coming from work and all this stuff.” That’s one example of how you get a better outcome than just both people kind of getting what they need.

Wendy Lopez: That’s so helpful and yeah, the fact that you outlined that so we can see exactly what that looks like in practice for someone. Now I want to kind of shift gears a little bit and talk about resilience. I did a little research, and I noticed that you were on a podcast that I really like called What Works. It’s a business podcast, but you talked a little bit about health as well. You said that, as you got more resilient, you actually became healthier. Can you just talk about what role resilience plays in health and wellbeing?

Ali Shapiro: Yeah, so I think we all know a very concrete way that this happens is like, if you’ve ever lifted weights or you’ve ever trained for something. I mean, what you’re doing is you’re breaking down your muscle a little bit more each time. You’re pushing yourself just beyond your comfort zone, breaking the muscle down, and then it builds back up stronger than before. You can go further, be stronger, and not just for the race or to lift weights, but your posture gets better, life gets easier. You can lift groceries, all of these kinds of things.

Ali Shapiro: On an emotional level, what I realized is, when we can really look at stress in this optimal conflict lens, we can actually become healthier. Also expand our capacity for a range of emotions, and then we can start to understand what’s truly possible for our lives. A concrete example of this is, again, me looking at my own emotional trauma from having go through cancer. It was really tough. I had to do it in stages, but I got back a lot of the parts of me that were terrified and afraid. It increased my capacity to be with all sorts of emotions, not just happiness or sadness, but all of those like murky, muddle, gray, uncertain feelings. I was really able to learn that, when you can be with your feelings, they have so much insight. They have so much, I don’t want to say knowledge, but they help you understand what you need. They help you be more creative. When you get that stuff back, you can be more courageous to take risks. Then you can create a more meaningful life, something and you can go after what you really want.

Ali Shapiro: There’s some really interesting studies about biomarkers on a physiological level, and people who pursue meaning even when it’s hard. You guys both know, running your own ship, it’s intense. When we’re pursuing meaning, our health metrics actually get better versus when we’re just pursuing pleasure. I think that’s really important, because I think what we all think is what we want to be happy. My husband’s always like, “Why happiness? Contentment is more realistic.” I used to think that was a downer statement when I wasn’t good with being with a range of emotions. I think when we are content, we have this deep well of trust and resilience that we can pull from, even when things get hard. That’s how resilience gets us through, so that we can get to the next level of whatever our next level is.

Ali Shapiro: Sometimes it’s learning to rest more, doesn’t always mean more and more and more. Life, more and more, so that we’re more and more in choice with our lives.

Wendy Lopez: I love that you said that, because I think there’s just such a push for everyone to be happy. It’s like these are the five things that you can do to be happier today, and it’s like, “I don’t want to be happy all the time.”

Jessica Jones: So unhelpful.

Wendy Lopez: It’s so unrealistic.

Ali Shapiro: It’s unsustainable, yeah.

Jessica Jones: Yeah.

Wendy Lopez: Yeah. It’s just like I feel very disconnected from people who just seem to be happy all the time.

Ali Shapiro: Me too.

Wendy Lopez: I’m just like, “Oh my God you…”

Jessica Jones: “On drugs?”

Wendy Lopez: Yeah.

Jessica Jones: What’s happening?

Wendy Lopez: Are there any dimensions? Like what is going on? I love experiencing sadness, and I love crying and that could just be the cancer in me. I just love exploring different emotions and I think it’s healthy. I’m really happy you said that.

Ali Shapiro: Well, and don’t you feel… Like I had one client, I remember this was early in my career before I had done a lot of my own emotional work and was like freak, I would be so uncomfortable when people would cry. She cried, she’s like, “I’m sorry.” I’m saying it’s like, “No, it’s okay.” At the end I’m like, “How do you feel?” She’s like, “Amazing.” Crying is so cathartic. It’s cleansing.

Wendy Lopez: Exactly. Yeah, all about the crying. With people who are struggling with emotional eating, I’m just wondering like what would be a good first step? Something that is practical, especially for people that find themselves consistently in cycles of emotional eating. They might be having a hard time identifying what the triggers are, what would be a good first place to start?

Ali Shapiro: Yeah, well I think the first step is to, again, it’s just a mindset shift. I mean we use the word self-sabotage, inner critic, food rebel, all these kind of things in diet culture and really understanding that emotional eating is protective. Those stress responses I mentioned, they were really protective and productive in our past. They helped us get amazing things and survive situations. I think we need to make this mindset shift, that, “I’m not self-sabotaging, I don’t hate myself. This is just a really protective response and it’s not working anymore, and I need to learn new skills.”

Ali Shapiro: I wish someone would’ve told me that. I don’t know, when I was eight, when I started emotionally eating, when I was bullied. I just wished someone would have told me that, that this isn’t self-sabotage. You don’t hate yourself. It just, you need better tools. Again, I’m just going to come back to that clarity piece.

Ali Shapiro: I think if the tail exercise is hard, on the flip side, you can think about a time in your life when food didn’t feel like an issue. What difficult emotions were absent then, because that’s often people think it’s the diet that’s working or whatnot. What I help clients see is like, “No, your life was working, and so it was just easy. There was no stress to turn to food.” That might be a flip side way of thinking of this. You’re still like, to your point, your emotions are pretty marquee.

Jessica Jones: Yeah, I love that you also mentioned just people not being so judgmental of themselves. Acknowledging that the eating is doing something for you, and almost like being thankful or honoring it for what it’s done. Then realizing, “Yeah, okay, it’s been very helpful to help me cope with X, Y, and Z, but now I’m looking for other coping mechanisms that might be more in line with my health,” or you know, whatever the case may be. That was great. Now, one question that we’ve been asking all of our guests is, what does wellness mean to you?

Ali Shapiro: Oh, I love this question. Wellness to me is, are you taking in life? If we use, I know you guys are RDs, if we use some biology terms here, are you taking in life? Are you metabolizing it? Meaning, whatever’s coming in, are you able to absorb it and make something meaningful from it? I think one of the things I’ve learned in working with people who have chronic illness, some people who are super healthy, but not battling food is, it doesn’t matter if you have a diagnosis or not. It doesn’t matter what your weight is. It’s are you alive and taking chances, that’s what it means to me.

Wendy Lopez: Can you tell our listeners where they can learn more about your work and everything that you’re doing? Like Truce With Food, which we learned about through your website. Can you just share that with us?

Ali Shapiro: Yeah, so people can find me if they want to learn a little bit more about those stress patterns and some more tools to get out of them, they can take the comfort eating quiz on my website. Alishapiro.com and the comfort eating quiz is right there. Then I have my podcast Insatiable, and then Instagram seems to be where I like to hang out the most these days @alimshapiro, S-H-A-P-I-R-O and Ali’s A-L-I.

Jessica Jones: I’m going to take that quiz.

Wendy Lopez: Yeah, we’ve been taking all the quizzes.

Ali Shapiro: I bet you’re the competitor. I’m a competitor.

Wendy Lopez: I think I am. Actually I am the competitor. Oh my God.

Ali Shapiro: We have different patterns in different areas of our lives.

Jessica Jones: Yes.

Ali Shapiro: We do have a comfortable resting place.

Jessica Jones: Right, no, based on what you had said before, I’m definitely the competitor. I was going to say that, a lot of my patients are the other two. I think you said the avoider and what was the other one?

Wendy Lopez: The accommodator I think.

Jessica Jones: Yes, oh my God.

Wendy Lopez: I think I’m the accommodator.

Jessica Jones: Yeah, so I think you are the, I don’t know.

Wendy Lopez: I’m going to take the quiz.

Jessica Jones: Yeah take the quiz.

Wendy Lopez: I’ll let you know.

Jessica Jones: We’ll take it.

Wendy Lopez: It’s funny, because a lot of our guests they have quizzes and we’re all over the quizzes and trying to understand personality.

Jessica Jones: It’s so helpful.

Ali Shapiro: Yeah, and I will say, so one of the things that I’m really big on, this is kind of my adult development background is, these are about patterns. I think it’s important because patterns can change. I think sometimes when we look at archetypes, they pigeonhole us in a way. These are patterns that we can totally change and I just want to emphasize that.

Jessica Jones: Oh, yeah. Thank you, because I think sometimes there is this idea that you’re this and you’ll always be this and just don’t even try, so that’s helpful. Now we just want to say, again, thank you so much for being a part of our podcast. I definitely learned a lot and I feel like everything you said really was powerful.

Wendy Lopez: Resonated.

Jessica Jones: Resonated, so I know that this is going to be really helpful for people, and make sure to go check out her website and her signature programs that she has. She has a ton of different cool offerings. Yeah, thank you so much, Ali, this was great.

Ali Shapiro: Oh, thanks for having me, Wendy and Jessica. Take care.

Wendy Lopez: Bye.

Jessica Jones: Bye.

Ali Shapiro: Bye.

Wendy Lopez: Thank you so much for tuning into another episode of the Food Heaven Podcast. If you haven’t already, make sure that you drop us a review. Listen up to this listener review by Cold Brew Lover. “As an RD to be, I love what Wendy and Jess have done with their careers and have created. All RD should listen and learn from these two amazing ladies.”

Jessica Jones: I think I know who that is, hey girl, Rachel?

Wendy Lopez: Right, I’m like, hey Rachel.

Jessica Jones: Anyways, please do a solid like Rachel did and write a review as well. Also, make sure that you subscribe to our podcast, because it’s released every Wednesday. In each episode we cover tips and tricks for how to make lifelong changes, that help you live healthier, more balanced lives. We also interview leading experts in the field of health and nutrition, to pick their brains on how to cultivate a healthy life that you love. We hope you enjoyed this episode and we’ll catch you next time. Bye.

Wendy Lopez: Bye.

 

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