Do you struggle with body image issues? Maybe you find yourself in front of your mirror and all you hear are negative messages and inner criticism. You don’t want to be stuck in this negative mindset, but you don’t know what to do to find your way out of it. In today’s episode you will hear my interview with Paige Bryant who has been on a journey of healing from body dysmorphia and negative body image issues. Tune in for inspiration, encouragement and some strategies you can put into place today.

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If you just listened to this episode and you are ready to walk away from diet culture, but you’re not sure what the next steps are. Book a free consult with me. You can do that by heading into the show notes or going to www.healthcoach4life.com/apply. I have a limited availability for one-on-one coaching, and if it’s for you, grab your spot now.

If you are ready to get off the diet roller-coaster, walk away from the scale as your health gauge, stop obsessing about food, and learn to trust your body, you are in the right place.

I offer private coaching to help you get into a peaceful relationship with food and feel more confident in your body—so that you can give more of you (your energy, focus and thoughts) to the rest of your life!

As a certified intuitive eating counselor, I’ll help you Relearn what your body wants and needs by breaking down the myths and lies diet culture has taught you. Reconnect with your body’s individual needs, including hunger, fullness and satisfaction.

I also help you Redefine your health as you discover what matters most to you.

My anti diet approach incorporates heathy at every size and addressing self talk as a key component to your success.


Jennifer: Hey ladies, welcome to the health life and more for women podcast. I’m your host, Jennifer D’Amato and it’s episode 105 and we are talking about body image today. I invited Paige Bryant to be a guest on the podcast. She did what a lot of you are doing. She changed her entire social media feed. She wanted to increase who she was seeing in the intuitive eating anti diet, body, positive space. And well, she found me, I found her and her story is relatable and I believe will speak to you if you’ve ever had body image issues. Now I know we’ve all, we’ve all struggled at some point in our life, and maybe even right now, you are struggling with body image issues. I believe this episode, this interview is going to just bring some, some things to the forefront of your mind. Maybe get you curious and give some even strategies and tools. I’ll tell you one of the ones page shares that helped her the most was doing some journaling. And I want to just remind you, if you go into the show notes, there’s a link to my morning motivation journal. Not only does it have gratitude, but it also has a section each morning to really put some focus on things about yourself that you’re grateful for specifically ways that you see yourself and your worth. Along with ways you can nourish yourself, which isn’t just about food. So if you’ve never checked out the morning motivation journal, you can hit pause, or maybe even keep listening, go down to the show notes, click on it, give it a look. And maybe this would be something that you also could incorporate into your morning. All right, for now though, let’s go hop into this interview with Paige Bryant and talk about body image and how that relates to intuitive eating. And what things you can do now to help you move out of that negative body image space. 

Welcome to the health life and more for women podcast. My name is Jennifer D’Amato a certified, intuitive eating counselor, coach mom of four, lover of all things pink, and I want you to live your best health and your best life. I believe the way we can all do that is by finally walking away from diet culture, by relearning what your body needs, reconnecting with your body’s biological signals and redefining what health is on your terms. This show will shed some light on sneaky ways diet culture has infiltrated your thoughts, your family, and your wellbeing. My heart is that no matter the episode, you walk away feeling informed, inspired, and encouraged.

Hey, Paige. Thanks so much for joining us here on the podcast today. I’m really excited to dive into this conversation about body dysmorphia, about body image. So welcome. 

Paige: Thank you, Jennifer. I am so honored to be here so excited. I can’t wait about our conversation. I know it’s going to get juicy, so I’m excited.

Jennifer: I think you’re right. I think it’s definitely going to get juicy before we dive into it, though. I would definitely love to, you know, give the audience just a little taste of who you are, where you are. And tell us a little bit about yourself. 

Paige: Yeah. So my name is Paige and I am currently a Floridian. I’m allowed to say that yet because I’ve only lived here a year and a half, but I like to think so after a year you can say born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. I have two little boys married try to sum it up as much as I can, because my story is pretty long. I used to be an elementary school teacher and started teaching fitness classes when I was an elementary school teacher. And then of course, you know, kind of naturally started coaching people along the side with fitness, nutrition, all those things.

But in the background I was silently struggling with eating disorders and body dysmorphia, which is a negative body image issues throughout my own recovery of that just kind of have transformed and am now living my life, you know, without the pursuit of weight loss and am happy and free and helping other women do the same and going to Disney World all the time and still teaching fitness classes, but in a completely different light, you know, just more for fun and enjoyment instead of weight loss. So that’s just, wow. That was the best summary I’ve ever given 

Jennifer: A podcast can do that to you. They can 

Paige: Really, like, I gotta be clear in case my nerves. 

Jennifer: I love this. I love your story. And I know, you know, before we started recording, you’ve shared so many pieces of that and I, I think there’s such a value, first of all, and just hearing that you can. Transform everything you can actually still keep fitness and the love of food, all of these things as part of who you are, but from a completely different perspective now. 

Paige: Absolutely. And it really, it really truly is a freeing experience. Whoever decided to call it food freedom and body freedom. I mean, just bow down to them because it really is that sense of being able to be free to live your life fully and enjoy it. I never felt like I wasn’t living, but I just felt like I was kind of living with my eyes closed, you know? And now I feel like I’m fully present and just I’m able to have, make experiences and memories without focusing on my body image, what I am or am not eating how many calories I’m burning, all those things that come along with diet culture. So truly a sense of freedom. Yeah. 

Jennifer: You said something. I think that really is true that you don’t see it until you see it. And then when you see it, you can’t unsee it. Yes. 

Paige: Yep. And you can get buried very. 

Jennifer: But you can get buried very deep and there’s still hope whether it’s food, freedom, intuitive eating, you’ve been in therapy, whatever it is that there’s hope for you to come out of that space. And I kind of want to talk about that space a little bit. My audience may not know what body dysmorphia is. So I’d love for you just to kind of share a little bit of your knowledge of that and how you came to know that was something that you were struggling with, because like you said, if you didn’t know. You didn’t know it till you knew it. So, absolutely. I would love you to for our audience. 

Paige: I was seeing a therapist at this time, which I, I highly recommend. Even if you don’t know, like you said, that you’re struggling with, with issues like that, because my therapist is the one that actually fully pointed out and diagnosed me with body dysmorphia. You know, I’d always had, I had a very large weight loss after high school and, you know, cause I started dieting and all those things like that. And my weight was fluctuating. I was a chronic diet are yo-yoing ups and downs and weight loss and weight gain, all the things that come along with that. And I never, I never saw myself the way that others saw me have very hard time shopping because I would always pick either clothes that were too large or too small for my body, because it wasn’t the way that I was viewing my body. So that’s one thing that kind of made me start to realize that something was just not right. But the biggest way that I, I learned that I was struggling with this with body dysmorphia and my therapist helped me, diagnose me with it was, do you know that statue? I can’t remember. I should’ve looked it up. I’m sorry, but that statue, that it looks like an obese body where there is a smaller woman inside chiseling. Oh, fat. 

Jennifer: I am familiar with that. 


Paige: used to say all the time, I feel like that’s me. I feel. I, I, I always viewed myself and I’m sorry if this is triggering to anyone, but I always viewed myself as I look so great from like the waist up, but I can’t do anything about below the waist. Like I, I’m a, I’m a curvy girl I’ve learned to love and accept my curves, but I’ve got curves, I’ve got hips. And I have a mommy telling me I’ve had babies and I felt like I was doing all the right things in my diet and I was exercising, but I just couldn’t get rid of that. And I couldn’t, and I saw myself as much larger. And at that time I viewed larger as bad. Obviously don’t do that anymore, but I always described myself as feeling like that statue. And I always felt trapped and my therapist said something about body dysmorphia and I immediately went on the defensive and was like, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Like I don’t, you know, no, no, no. But the more I thought about. I could started noticing other little things, like my things that my husband would say, you know, or anytime someone gives me a compliment and I could not accept fully that compliment. Even if I said, thank you deep down. I’m like, no, and I’m picking myself apart and thinking don’t you see what I see?

You know, things like that. Body dysmorphia is, is not being able to see your body the way that others see it. You know, another thing too, is looking back on older photos of yourself and remembering, oh, I just, I didn’t like the way I looked and I hated this. I hated this. I hated this. And then you went back and you’re like, man, like, why didn’t anybody tell me? I looked so great. You know, I look so happy. We just don’t see ourselves that way. So it’s truly viewing yourself in a different, in a, in a negative way. 

Jennifer: Yeah. Yeah. So what I’ve seen is also the word distorted kind of associated with it. There is, if you decide to, you know, head on Google and search Body dysmorphia, some images that come up are you know, a cartoon woman standing at a mirror as her body, as it is. And the mirror reflection, that is what she actually sees. And it is a completely distorted image. 

Paige: I talk about the mirror a lot and we actually talked to last night, I met with some girls we’re reading the book, intuitive, eating. Intuitive eating, there’s a chapter that talks about or there’s a section in this chapter that talks about body checking and that body checking and constantly looking in the mirror and nitpicking every little part. That was a huge thing. Huge, huge, huge thing for me. So, you know, just like getting rid of the mirrors and things like that, or some things that I had to do, and it was very hard, but yeah, it, it, the body checking is something that was, that I struggled with a lot and just not being able to Who I was, cause I can never see myself the way that others saw me.

Jennifer: Yeah. And I think we live in a society where we focus a lot on how we look, not how we feel and we associate how we look with how we feel. There’s like this intertwined thing happening, which if you’re stuck in that diet culture, body, dysmorphia, body image issues, even if you don’t fully identify with body dysmorphia, you have these negative perceptions of your body. If you’re so immersed in. You’ve intertwined. These things that you can’t see yourself in any other way, but a negative or a, I’ve got to pick this apart. I have these flaws, you know, there’s a like a scene from a movie now, listen, I’ll quote sitcoms on here all the time. I don’t often quote movies, but there’s a scene in the movie Mean Girls.

Paige: Oh, one of my favorite. 

Jennifer: Now there’s so many things about that movie. I know what happens when Katie, right, the main character goes to Regina, his house and these gorgeous, beautiful what we would in our culture, deem ideal body types, all this they get in front of. Yep. And they start picking themselves apart. I really believe that body image issues don’t discriminate. Oh, absolutely. Yeah. It’s not about the size of your body. 

Paige: Well, and it’s not even about your body. And then what I mean by that is it is all a mental disorder. It really is. And mental disorders, like you said, do not discriminate and they don’t have an ideal size, they, they truly come in all sizes. It’s not a one size fits all.

Jennifer: So I imagine part of the work you had to do was on your thoughts, right? That had to be where most of the work was done. 

Paige: Absolutely. Because, you know, going back to the mirror, standing in front of the mirror, I, especially if my husband was in the room, so let me lay it out for you at our old house. When we walked into the bedroom, you walked straight in and that had a giant like floor length mirror. That was right in front of me. I also had two. Go like walk directly in front of the mirror and turn to get to my side of the bed. And I didn’t have a home gym or anything like that. So when I worked out at home, I also worked out in front of the mirror. And so the, I just had a very, very, very negative relationship with the mirror, constantly staring at myself.

But all of the things that I was thinking, I never said out loud, you know? And so, and those things, the only person that had put those negative thoughts into my head was myself, you know, and just constantly beating myself up, picking apart every single thing. And one of the, one of the things that I started doing was, and it was really hard and it got to be really annoying, but it really did help, is for every negative thought that I had, I would not necessarily replace it, but I would add on three positive thoughts. So if I had a negative thought about my stomach, so I have. Two babies and I have the, you know, the little mommy pooch, the bow, whatever you want to call it. That’s covered in stretch marks.

And to me back then, my body was ruined right now. I know that I’m definitely not the only one with that kind of stomach and it’s beautiful. But back then, that’s all I could see that my thoughts were constantly centered around that. And so for any time I, I thought about my stomach or, or another part of my body, I would add on three positive thoughts and they don’t, they didn’t have to be anything big. They could have been something very small. My fingernails are looking at very great today. You know, like they gave me like the smallest thing, you know, and then also a gratitude journal along with that. And, and writing down, I know it sounds cheesey. People say all the time, like journal and write pipe there’s so, you know, I used to be a teacher and we learned when I was a teacher that there’s just something, when you. Pencil, actually not pen, but when you, why? 

Jennifer: But I say pen to paper to it, but it just flows out of our mouth. It does, 

Paige: It does, but it really is supposed to be a pencil. But anyway, you type pen or pencil, whatever I say, if you’re writing, you’re doing it right down to paper that it’s it’s does something to where you start to believe it more and you learn. And you memorize it more. It’s why we take notes, you know, and things like that. So having that gratitude journal where I was writing down, all, all positive things that I could think of was really helpful. And even, you know, about the, the areas about my, my body that I didn’t love instead of, you know, dismissing them. Because I noticed that when I was doing that, when I was dismissing those negative thoughts, or if I had those negative thoughts and I would dwell on them, but I would start to feel like a failure and I would start to feel like I’m just not doing this right. And why am I still struggling? Like I’m trying to focus on, you know, all the positive things, positive thoughts.

But instead I had to learn to almost start celebrating those negative thoughts because it made me realize that I’m, I’m human, first of all. And it’s okay if we have those negative thoughts. But it made me realize like how powerful our minds are. Why am I dwelling so much on these thoughts when there are so many other positive things about my life? I don’t, I don’t need to love every single thing. And if I have, you know, a few things that bother me, that I don’t love and I’m implementing all of these things like a gratitude journal and adding three more positives, I’m going to start to see the bigger picture and I’m gonna start to see the positive things instead of just being zoned in on those few negative things. So it was hard. It was a lot of practice, a lot of patience, a lot of gratitude, a lot of compassion. You know it, a lot of hard freaking work and I still have to do it today. Still have to do it. You know, it’s a lot easier. And now when I have those negatives thoughts, It’s a lot easier to, and I know how to handle them. Versus at the very beginning, it was a lot harder, you know, much more tears cause it is kind of like a personal therapy session. 

Jennifer: It’s layers. Yeah. One layer at a time. Which those make you cry. They make you choke up. You might even have to take a step back from that for a little while, while you’re working on that area. I love that you mentioned this process you used. It’s actually cognitive flexibility is that power of three that you’re doing. And it it’s something I use in my practice because what we do is first of all, acknowledge what you’re saying, those thoughts are going to happen. And I think right there, if we can have compassion for ourselves, when those thoughts come in, that their going to come then, then we can do the work and that power of three cognitive flexibility.

And there is something about that three. It can shift you out of that place and give you another place for your brain to focus. The other part you mentioned was time. I, you know, I hear from a lot of women, like, of course we want this to happen quickly because we don’t want to feel this way about our body. We don’t want to struggle with food anymore. We don’t want to be consumed with all these thoughts. But, if you’ve spent years and years in that space, it’s going to take time to work through that. I have an image. I want to know if you resonate with this. Okay. So when we’re working on our thoughts, you know, I, I teach my clients about saturation bombing. This is this method of you’re really needing to overload your brain with the thoughts you want to be thinking. So I said, picture a waterfall. Now I’ve been to Hawaii. I don’t know if you’ve had the pleasure of being going to Hawaii and the waterfalls there, but let me tell you sis, they are something else and they’ve been flowing for so long that they just flow naturally, right?

Just like the thoughts you have right now flow naturally what we’re doing with this cognitive flexibility and the saturation bombing is we want to take those new thoughts and we’re kind of like clogging up the waterfall and we’re going to redirect it. However you, and I both know we can picture these waterfalls and if I stop that and to redirect it somewhere else, it doesn’t flow as easily yet because those grooves haven’t been established, you need to really give it the time and the intentionality. Is that a word I just we’re going to use it. It’s a great word. Intentionality. I love that of really focusing and saturating yourself like that water coming down to make the new grooves for the new thoughts. I don’t know if that resonates with you or not. 

Paige: It made me think of when you were describing it. I don’t remember how old your kids are, but my kids right now are ten and seven and when they were younger, so not too long ago, but we went to a children’s museum and the very first room is a water room and they have it, it starts really high. And then it comes down really low. So it’s almost like a, like a stream, not necessarily waterfall, but it’s stream and it’s flowing put little boats on it and they had different paths and they had these little like blocks and different things that you could move. To make the water flow different directions. And I remember when you said talking about the grooves and stuff. I remember my son getting so frustrated because he had moved these things and all these other kids kept moving the stuff above him, moving his water. He couldn’t get his water to go the way that he wanted it to, because of all these other things blocking it. And that’s what made me think of.

Jennifer: Oh, that’s good. Okay. I actually think that transitions us into the next point. I wanted to address that you brought up about how these thoughts were your thoughts, how whenever we might have these thoughts, but especially in the current day, and it’s been this way for a while. Social media is having a huge impact on our thoughts. And I’m curious because you know, all of this for you has been unfolding in the last handful of years. What are your thoughts on social media? How do you handle that? Even in the transition, from where you were to where you are. 

Paige: Yes, because I was very much in the, so actually did a a Tik TOK or a reel, whatever I did both. So whichever one you like about social media and about how my homepage, my, my newsfeed used to look so different than it, the way it does now, you know, it used to be filled with quote, unquote, healthy recipes from this diet to that diet, all these different diets, it was filled with weight loss tips fitness routines, you know, all these bodybuilders and beautiful women. But it was, for me, it was a place that I could go to looking for my ideal and dream body, but it was giving me that false hope. You know, and was really making me fall deep into that comparison trap, which we all know is very dangerous. And social media is I feel like a very, very triggering place for a lot of people, especially when they’re trying to recover. You know, from an eating disorder or from body dysmorphia, or just get out of that diet culture Headspace. So one of the things that I did for myself and I always tell everybody is to go on a social media detox. 

Jennifer: Yep. 

Paige: You know, social media has some weird things with algorithms, you know, we know that there are some diets out there that are very sneaky and they like to use the words, food, freedom, intuitive eating, and things like that to try and, you know, make it look all shiny, like just a lifestyle change. You’ll see these ads and you’ll even see other people who are you know, trying to get out of diet culture, but they’re also using these words and it’s, it can be very confusing. So I think just being one, setting up boundaries, but to be very picky on what you want to see, because one thing I always say is you are the environment you create, just like you would not, I would not walk into a sports bar and sit down with a whole bunch of guys to have a conversation about the latest football game. Cause I am not comfortable with that. I don’t know anything about that. I don’t want to be there, but if I walked in and sat down, you know, I’ve put myself there, same thing with, you know, a big old group of bullies. If I, you know, I’m a mom and I have to teach my kids about this stuff all the time. And I’m like, you know, if you’re hanging out with a bunch of friends and they’re making fun of someone and you’re laughing with them, You’re just as guilty, you know?

And so we, we really have to be careful with where we put ourselves and the environment that we create for ourselves. And you are able to control that on social media. And it’s not talked about enough, but I know specifically on Tik TOK, if there is a video that pops up, you can hold your finger down on it and you can click I don’t like this type of content. I don’t want to see this anymore. And it was. Go away and, you know, the algorithm goes, okay, she doesn’t like that. So what else can we show her? But we really can control what we’re seeing. And, you know, there will be things, like I said, that will pop up here and now, but right now at the beginning of, of your journey, trying to get out of that, that mindset, maybe not necessarily break up a social media. I think there are some incredible things on social media. You know, we met through social media. 

Jennifer: And I was going to say, that’s really when you change your feed, which you know, I’m an Instagram girl. Yeah. I’ve been on Tik tok. I just, I can’t, it sucks me in, so I can’t go on there because it’s all the time. On Instagram. I don’t follow anyone. Who’s talking diet culture, whether they’re a big account or small, I think changing that feed and, and really, I think that’s, what’s really beautiful is when you change that, that was how we met. 

Paige: Yeah. I always tell people like, you know, you don’t have to just unfollow, unfollow, unfollow. There’s nothing wrong with unfollowing, by the way, there’s nothing wrong with blocking by the way that is setting boundaries. And that is part of self-care. But when you unfollow kind of like when you have to add on those three positive thoughts, go find positive accounts, use hashtags, like food, freedom, intuitive, eating self-love body, acceptance, you know, whatever it is, and go start following all of those people. Flood your homepage with the things that you want to see, the things that are going to truly make you feel your best and are going to inspire you on your journey. 

Jennifer: This is saturation bombing. This is what it is. It’s helping your thoughts to be saturated with the things you want. You know, I hear from clients all the time. I don’t believe it, yet. And you don’t, but you want to, so what you’re doing is, is spending time with those top five people, right? We know research shows us who we’re spending time with. Well, you’re spending time on social media and that the things you were seeing the most are affecting you. So if you are struggling with food, you’re struggling with your body. Just take a moment to look at it. What am I seeing on a regular basis? And you know, on Instagram, at least there’s this feature called mute and there’s people I care about deeply, but if they’re messaging 

Paige: family members, sometimes I’m lucky that I don’t have any family members that I have to do that. I know a lot of people that do. And they struggle with, like, they’re going to know that I have followed or blocked them. Then mute 

Jennifer: Then mute them. I mean, there’s a lot of options, but here’s, here’s what it does come down to whether you mute unfollow, whatever you’re curating your feed. It’s about your health. This is about your mental health, your emotional health, your physical health, your spiritual health that you need to decide what’s best for you. And if you’re like, I have to get off completely. I mean, I hear you. I don’t highly recommend that because then they miss out on Paige and I, but I think you can set boundaries. With family in conversations, girls’ night out all of those places and maybe the safest place and easiest place to start is your social media feed. I love that. So I don’t want to let this conversation go without at least as an intuitive eating counselor, addressing intuitive eating as part of your journey. And I love. You have seen those connections and that you’re finding value with intuitive eating on your own journey. I’d love you to share how do you see those things together with body image and intuitive eating? 

Paige: So for me, you know, I know I said that I moved to Florida. I live in Orlando, so I go to Disney world, Universal Studios, things like that one time, and we all know we can all be jealous. But if you, if you know much about Disney, you know, Disney is very big into snacks and drinks and food. And, you know, I have always loved a good eating experience, you know, a great restaurant and really good Mickey pretzel, like all the things, you know. And I used to have so much fear behind those foods thinking, okay, well, I can’t one, I would think either, you know, as black or white, I was like, I can’t have that. Or if I do have that, I’m gonna have to make up for it. And things like that. So now it’s so nice because I can go and I can enjoy myself and I can have a nice meal and, you know, have a Mickey pretzel or a Dole Whip, or, you know, whatever kind of snack that I want with, without that fear or without thinking, I’m going to have to burn this off, or I’m going to have to make sure that I don’t have any more carbs today.

Things like that. But every once in a while, there are some times when I noticed like, oh, I would have, could have, maybe I am still have kind of that diet mindset thinking, okay, well, if I eat all of this, how’s it going to make me feel I’m going to, you know, I can’t, or maybe I shouldn’t. So those, like I said, those thoughts still are there and they come and go, but it’s gotten a lot easier being able to manage those thoughts.

Jennifer: And what I hear you sharing about though is really walking out the intuitive eating principles, where if you want that pretzel or that delicious Disney goodie, there is no longer fear. There’s no longer guilt. There’s no longer punishment. And, and what I also hear you saying is you’re still on the journey. 

Paige: On the journey. And, and you know, one of the things we talk about intuitive eating is the pendulum swing a lot. And I find myself thinking, okay, Well, I actually had a really great conversation with a good friend the other day about vegetables. And she was like, I’m just still in this space where I have a very negative relationship with vegetables thinking like, okay, well, if I’m eating vegetables, then I’m trying, that must mean I’m trying to do this.

I’m trying to lose weight. I’m on this diet. I have to eat this and things like that. So finding that balance of food can be fun and I can enjoy all kinds of different vegetables, the way that I like them. And if I don’t have any vegetables in my day, It’s still healthy. I’m still me. I’m still working on myself. There’s not, I didn’t do anything wrong. I don’t have to start over. I don’t have to make up for it. But those, you know, going back to those body image issues, it was, food was always a big part of that. There was one time where I went on this trip with some girlfriends and we ate our faces off, you know, and it was delicious, like incredible food. It was amazing. But I remember making myself sick because I ate so much. Why? Because at that time it was okay. It was allowed, it was my last supper. I’m going to get as much as I can. And when I came home, how did I feel? You already know awful, awful. And I was so bloated. I was uncomfortable. I had guilt and shame and those feelings just flat out suck. They are not fun. And then that it just snowballs, you know? And so finding that, truly finding that balance of being able to go out of town or or, or even stay in town and go out to eat or at home or whatever it is and have enough that’s going to satisfy you. And you’re not going to be followed with all those negative feelings about your body. It’s so powerful. 

Jennifer: Yeah. Yeah. So I love that you’re hitting on some of these principles, like satisfaction and making peace with food. I mean, talk about how much more enjoyable experience that if you had been in this space, that that trip would have gone very differently. You know, you may not have felt that last supper, which is a concept of just, I got to get it all in now because I’m not going to allow myself to do this later. So I’m going to eat it all now. You know, it’s interesting how. You’re in diet culture. You’re completely completely immersed with those thoughts that these, this is how our vacations, our trips, our memories get so intertwined with food and our body. 

Paige: I tell you about this time. So I lost my mom to cancer in 2017. And instead of sitting in my sadness and allowing myself grief, I turned to diets. And my eating disorder was full-blown at that time, which I was struggled with binge eating and orthorexia. And I went on a little trip with my family that Christmas, because we just could not be at home that first Christmas. And so we went on. And I remember, I don’t want to, I’m not going to say the name of this diet, but I remember taking my little containers with me on this trip that was supposed to be so sad in a beautiful way, if that makes sense and just really be present with my family. And I remember I could not. I could not do that because I was so honestly, and I’m sorry if this offends anyone I was being so selfish and was so self centered on the way my body looked and had that thought that there is no way I can go on this trip and, you know, enjoy my time and be with my family and pause my diet.

I have to keep going. I have to continue. I have things. I have measurements I have to turn in. I have to show my, my plans. I have to show what I ate and you know, all these things and it almost ruined that trip for me. And I look back on that trip and think, wow, like I all my family was so supportive, but I know they were like really talking smack

Jennifer: And I love that you can reflect on it in such a much better space. Now I do think again, What I hear from you is how our emotions, you know, we have to address those because when we don’t sit with our emotions, when we avoid our emotions, you don’t have that real easy thing to control, whether you want to be out of control, right, and numb out because you’re eating or you want to hyper control. And I know you and I both identify with orthorexia where you want to hyper control your food because of your emotions. Ooh. It can go either way. And again, we want to cope without food. I just want, I want to be so clear. It doesn’t mean I’m not sad sometimes and just eat some freaking ice cream because I’m sad, love ice cream and it’s delicious and I’m talking real ice cream, not absolutely fake ice cream, real ice cream. Now that happens. And again, there now there’s not this guilt and shame and all of that that goes with. But we don’t want that to be our only coping mechanism. And we said 

Paige: Yes, because I did not, I didn’t start grieving the loss of my mom a good year until after she was gone. And I didn’t even realize it. I had no idea I was doing that because you know, food was bringing me comfort. You know, there was one, there was one point in time where I had made, I actually, it was during that, during that diet. And it was a very strict diet. We had to turn in our lab work. Like it was very strict and I had made my mom’s carrot cake, which was her like, that’s her number one recipe. My sister used it for her wedding. Like. Made my mom’s carrot cake, but I couldn’t have it. Wasn’t allowed to have that. And I remember throwing it away in the trash, in the, in the garage. And then later on sneaking out there, digging it out of the, of the garbage bin and eating it in the dark garage. Because that was just bawling, crying, because I missed my mom. It wasn’t about cake or the food, but it was bringing me that comfort that I did not know how to handle, you know.

Jennifer: Yeah, that’s so good. And I really appreciate you sharing because I think on some level that’s so relatable, whether it’s loss or it’s some other place where your emotions are not being dealt with, and you might know, but you might not which again, you know, Paige’s already mentioned here, therapy. There is no shame in therapy. There’s no shame in getting help in any aspect, whether it’s at that level where, you know, I, I do need somebody in a therapeutic setting or you might not be struggling at that level, but you want to come in and get some type of help, whether it’s coaching, intuitive, eating counseling, but there’s no shame in getting that help that you need. And imagine, I mean, Paige, I just think what a difference your life is now compared to then. 

Paige: And this may sound cliche and cheesy, but I feel like I’m actually alive now. I feel like I’m living now. I don’t feel like my children are watching me obsess over every single bite that I put into my mouth and seeing me take all these before and after photos and pictures and measurements. And you know, when I started this journey, that was one of the things my kids was one of the things that really not only made me realize that I was doing the right thing, but helped me keep going in my journey. Was, you know, things like we would start. I don’t even remember what it was, but my son said, you’re eating that? You can have that?

You know, and the fact we love donuts in our house. Donuts are a big thing in our house and the fact that I can go and take my kids to get a doughnut and eat donuts with them. And I honestly don’t even remember. I don’t even know what donut it was. What was the, what flavor we got, what we had. Now which that used to have been my main focus, you know, it was focused on like, what, what exactly. I can remember everything now. It’s like, I just remember us laughing and we took pictures and we made a funny tick tok. Like we just had so much fun, you know? And it’s like, I just felt like. I just felt like I woke up. 

Jennifer: Yeah. I love that. And I think, you know, I have a story where it’s my oldest who commented, why are you so tired all the time to take a nap every day? And I think as moms, when you, when you start seeing what I’m doing is having a direct impact on my kids. And I don’t want to pass that down. I don’t want this to be the legacy that gets handed down. It was a big wake up call for me. And I’m forever grateful that my kids didn’t know any better, but to say, what are you doing? Right. Absolutely. I love that. Paige this has been so enlightening and I am thankful for you.

Paige: Thank you. You too. 

Jennifer: I know there’s ladies that are listening that are going to be like, I’m going to go change my social media feed. Yes, follow me. Now tell them where they can find you on Instagram and give us your tik tok. Even if I’m not a big, because I need to see all the Disney things. Let’s be honest. I need to see. 

Paige: And you can see really fun things on tik tok too. So my, my handle is the same on all social media. It’s my name page, but then the letter P. Bryant. So PaigePBryant, cause my middle name starts with a P.

Jennifer: And I’ll be sure to link all of that in the show notes. So be sure to skip down into the show notes, find Paige, give her a follow, you’ll laugh for sure, because the girl is just all fun. I love it, but she brings some good messages. And I love that because it’ll, it’ll brighten your feed up no matter which platform you’re following her on. So definitely do that today. Hop in her DM’s and say, Hey, heard you on a podcast, loved it so much. Let her know that you appreciate her for taking some time out coming on here. Cause I know I’m really grateful Paige that we’ve met, that we spent time together on your page. We spend time together here on the podcast and I can imagine this is not our last go ’round girl. 

Paige: Absolutely. Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me. 

Jennifer: Thanks for coming on. We’ll talk soon. Okay. Hey ladies, I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but I’ve created a free private group for women, it’s called Health Over Weight. It’s on Facebook. And all you have to do is head into the show notes. Now, click join private group, and you can be invited into this space where other women are working on positive body image. They’re also working on the fundamentals of intuitive eating and just supporting one another. I go live each week. There’s a different topic and I want to invite you to. Into this group. So if you are ready to dip your toe in, or you’ve been on this journey for a while, and you’re just looking for added support and encouragement, come join us in this free private Facebook group for women. See you there.

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