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The Running for Real Podcast

Nov 10, 2017

Food Glorious Food! That is how Renee McGregor started her book. That is how we should think of food and eating. It is one of our pleasures in life...yet in recent years, food has been tainted by guilt, frustration, and judgment.

Renee is here to discuss orthorexia, and how much anxiety our obsession with healthy eating can bring...and the isolation that follows, not just around eating, but within our day to day activities and way we feel about ourselves to the core.

Athletes are more susceptible to obsessive eating, as runners already need to be extreme and dedicated, meaning we will do almost anything to achieve our goals. We might not even realize it is happening initially, and may lead to feelings of being unable to eat unless we have exercised when injuries strike, food becomes very restricted.

Renee and I discuss social media, and how damaging it can be, especially if we are in a bad patch. She shares how many famous food bloggers have recently come out admitting that their social media profiles were all a lie, and they were in fact unhappy and unable to even eat those foods they promoted.

At this time in our lives, it becomes all too easy to base our sense of worth on how many likes or what people said about our shares online. Even if you are the most confident person in the world, social media can make you feel like you are not good enough.

This episode is all about learning how to rebuild yourself and rebuild your confidence to be comfortable with who you are, not the number of likes you get on a photo.

Renee DESTROYS the myth of carbs being bad for us, and tells us why they have been blamed for our health issues, which is why so many people are scared of them, and why cutting carbs is involved in almost every diet.

This is a good reminder that training hard is important, but so is down time, enjoying company of others, and being kind to yourself.

It is too easy for us to get that sense of failure if we try to eat healthy, but end up hungry soon later, it makes us feel like we have messed up, so we binge and feel bad about ourselves. This episode will help you see that thinking, understand that it is not true (and why we are so hungry so soon after), to leave you feeling good about yourself. Let's see if we can make it Food! Glorious Food! Again.

Today's Guest

Renee McGregor

Renee McGregor is a leading sports and eating disorder specialist dietitian.  She is accredited by the Health and Care Professions Council, the Sports and Exercise Nutrition Register, and is a member of the BDA’s Sports Nutrition Specialist Group.

What You Will Learn About

  • How what you see through food bloggers and clean eating websites is not necessarily the reality of how their life is actually like
  • How to handle social situations where food is involved if it feels like others are judging your food choices
  • Signs and symptoms you are (or a loved one is) showing, which could be major warning signs for orthorexia
  • Traits that are common within people who do struggle with eating disorders (and how you can stop the need to control and anxiety taking over your life if you have these traits)
  • How social media is making things worse AND better for our culture, and how comparison to others online is destroying our confidence
  • Why people initially feel better when they remove carbs...and why that does not last
  • Why we struggle to regulate our eating when we try to eat really healthy, and how our body reacts to to it, and we end up overeating, feeling terrible about ourselves


Inspirational Quotes

I realized how bad it had got, how bad the situation was and it was actually a very difficult experience.

It's not all it seems to be.

The term healthy eating can be interpreted in so many ways. This is where the problem lies...often it is about low carb or having juices or doing a detox. My heart starts to sink a little, as I know actually, healthy eating for me, when I am teaching people with disordered eating and dysfunctional relationships with food, healthy eating when I am educating them is about unrestrained eating, actually about understanding that yeah, the majority of the time, of course we want you to eat well, want you to eat whole grains, fruits and vegetables, we want you to eat dairy, but we want you to include everything in your diet. That does mean, if you quite fancy a piece of cake or you want a bowl of ice cream or a glass of wine, you don't beat yourself up about it.

It should be food glorious food, but actually, everyone is so fearful of food now, they don't know what they should have, they don't know if that is right, should I have it.

There is no real right or wrong, it is really about what is right for you as an individual. 

One of the problems with an eating disorder is that you never know when enough is enough, because nothing is ever enough. You are constantly in search of trying to be better.

I am a dietitian, I eat well the majority of the time, but I do also eat chocolate, have ice cream, eat cake, because actually those are important for me to actually be with my friends and family. To me, that is equally as important as putting those good things into my body.

With orthorexia it is more aesthetic, where as with anorexia and bulimia is that it is about calories and control.

It all comes back to the need to control the anxiety and the anxiety is usually fueled by a negative sense of self, that inability to like themselves, to be self compassionate.

You can only compare yourself to yourself.

Social media is a snapshot of someones life, it is not reality.

Carbs have been given such a negative press. We have gone from blaming fats for heart health to blaming carbs. The reality is, its not carbohydrate per say, its the type of carbohydrate you eat and the portion sizes you eat.

Its not that carbs are bad. No one food group is to blame for anything, it is a multifactorial system, and it is about understanding that your body needs something from every group to perform well.

A lot of the statements that have been made out there, have been made by people who have very little understanding of nutrition and biochemistry.

When people start depriving themselves of things they quite like, even if it is a one off, they are not allowing themselves to be compassionate and self caring.

Resources Mentioned

Last week's interview with Phil Maffetone

Renee's book: Orthorexia: When Healthy Eating Goes Bad

Bee Wilson

Madeleine Shaw

Renee's blog about the Clean Eating Debate 

Horizon program on a well known blogger

Anorexia and Bulimia Care

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