049. Can you lose weight without it being obsessive? ft. Cassie Black; @fatlossdietitian

Cassie Black, @fatlossdietitian

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Ryann Nicole


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📲 Instagram: @fatlossdietitian

📲 Tiktok: @fatlossdietitian

Episode Transcript

Ryann

Hello, everybody. I have another super special guest today. And this is going to be a little bit of a different episode, but one that everybody who is currently struggling with food needs to hear because the reality is if you’re struggling with food, odds are you’re struggling with your body as well. So I have Cassie here, otherwise known as Fat Loss Dietitian, and we are going to be chatting about weight loss, losing weight, can you do it without being obsessive, can you do it if you’re struggling with food all of that stuff? So Cassie Thank you so much for taking the time and coming on today

Cassie

You’re welcome. I’m happy to be here.

Ryann

Yeah, well before we dive in so I usually do speed round questions at the end but I want to put them at the beginning this time because I feel like I want Everybody just to get to know you a little bit better before diving into the good stuff. So I’m just gonna start off by asking you like a few like very basic questions for everybody to get to know you a little bit better. So where are you from?

Cassie

I’m from Atlanta, Georgia.

Ryann

And what is the snack that you absolutely cannot live without?

Cassie

Spicy peanuts.

Ryann

Spicy peanuts? I don’t think I’ve ever had those.

Cassie

They’re amazing. They’re a Cobra.

Ryann

How spicy are they?

Cassie

They’re not so spicy, like kind of mild.

Ryann

Oh, so good. OK, fill in the blank. The thing I know way too much about is…

Cassie

Calories, probably, to be honest with you.

Ryann

True, true. What is your number one beauty product?

Cassie

Mascara.

Ryann

Agreed. What kind do you use?

Cassie

I’ve been trying out the Thrive Cosmetics one, and it’s really great.

Ryann

Oh, I haven’t tried those yet. I’ll have to check it out. Okay, you just won a contest and now you get an endless supply of a product of your choice. What would you choose?

Cassie

This is a good question. Probably one bars. They’re my favorite. Favorite protein bar.

Ryann

What flavor is your favorite?

Cassie

The s’mores one. It’s seasonal right now so you can get that on Amazon if you want to.

Ryann

Oh my gosh. Okay, I’ll have to check that out. What is your favorite way to move your body?

Cassie

Walking. I feel like it’s just like really decompressing. I love it.

Ryann

So underrated. How do you take your coffee?

Cassie

Iced with cream and I like to add a little bit of Splenda.

Ryann

Crunchy or smooth peanut butter?

Cassie

Smooth, for sure.

Ryann

How many alarms do you snooze before you get up in the morning?

Cassie

At least five.

Ryann

And what does food freedom mean to you?

Cassie

To me it means the ability to like really decide what I want and enjoy that versus feeling like I have to have all of The things all the time if that makes sense.

Ryann

Totally. I love that so much Thank you. All right Cassie. So for anybody that doesn’t know you is just hearing about you What is your story? You’re a dietician Specifically a weight loss dietician. What got you interested in dietetics, how did you get here?

Cassie

Yeah, I love it. So I was an obese child actually and in high school that just kind of came to a head for me like I just was tired of feeling like I didn’t want to participate or I didn’t want to try out for sports teams because I didn’t want to like be put on the spot. I didn’t like to give presentations like I Like, I just really felt like limited by my weight at the time. And so I like, I actually started dieting probably about the age of like 12. So like Weight Watchers, diet pills, things like that. And by 16, I was just like, I’m just gonna, you know, do this. And I didn’t realize at the time that I did that in like, like a pretty restrictive and a little bit unhealthy way. So that kind of ties into my journey a little bit later.

But in college, I went three years without like knowing what I wanted to do. So I’m entering into like my third year of like undecided and everybody keeps asking, what are you going to do? What are you going to do? And I’m just like, I mean, I don’t know, like nothing, nothing sounds good. I don’t know what I’m going to do. And I was talking with my mom. And at the time, even to that point, like four years after I lost the bulk of my weight or whatever, everybody just asked me all the time, like, how did you lose weight? What did you do? What’s your secret? Blah, blah, blah.

Like, wanted my advice on, you know, if something was healthy for them or not healthy and what type of exercise they should do. And just all of these questions that everybody felt like I should know the answer to because I successfully lost weight. And I was just like, you know, mom, like, why can’t, wouldn’t it be cool if I could make it into a career? Like, wouldn’t that be so cool? And she was like, well, you totally could. And I’m like, okay, but at, you know, I was at a local university at the time. Like, that’s not like a major. And it’s so funny, like, when I look back, it’s like, it’s so small minded that I believe that every single university had the same thing. I mean, I’m just like, that’s not a thing, you know, but then I did like, try to get into it.

So I initially started with my first university and they’re like, Oh, you do public wellness or whatever, and we’re going to put you in that.” And then they dropped the major and so then that like put me in this place of anxiety. So I’m like, what am I going to do? So anyways, eventually, like, I figured it all out. I transferred to the University of Georgia because I was able to study dietetics there. And when I got there, I, they were teaching me all kinds of things that I didn’t want to know. So that was really upsetting initially, because they’re teaching me like food service management and clinical dietetics and things like that. And that’s not what I wanted. Like I knew that I wanted to help women lose weight because it changed my life so much.

And then from there, just through my studies and everything, I did realize that some of what I did in high school was a little bit unhealthy. And there were like not only unhealthy for my body, but unhealthy for my mindset around food as well. And so I think what I wanted to do evolved from like just helping helping women lose weight to helping women lose weight in a healthy, sustainable way for their body and their mindset. Because I now know what it’s like to feel trapped in your body, but I also know what it’s like to feel super restricted around food, and I know that life’s too short for either one. So I just want to help women gain confidence back and feel more like participating and showing up as their best self, but I also want them to feel really good about how they’re doing that.

Ryann

Yeah. Oh my gosh. Thank you so much for sharing. So it sounds like when you went on that first major diet with the bulk of your weight loss, it kind of turned into, and correct me if I’m wrong, like a little bit of food obsession. So did you struggle with binge eating at all? Or was it more just like, you know, food fears and just like really establishing kind of that food obsession?

Cassie

Yeah, that’s a good question. I would say probably a little bit of both. I’m not so sure that like I maybe would say like binge eating and like the traditional, like maybe not diagnosable, but for sure like went through periods of like restriction and then like like it was like a week, week to weekend type of thing for me. So I would just be like very restrictive during the week and then on the weekend kind of have that like taxi to go do what I want and then you feel pretty.

Ryann

So from that, when did you realize that what you were doing was becoming kind of problematic and what did you start to change to kind of build that healthier relationship with food?

Cassie

Yeah, so I think for me, when did I realize that? I would say sometime probably when I was at UGA so probably through just formal education about like, you know Food your relationship with food things like that And the biggest the biggest thing that that changed for me was being more inclusive You know like I realized that so much of that negative mindset when I was feeling all the time was coming from a place of food exclusion and so I really like to Talk about you’ll hear me if you follow me on Instagram talk about how I like to add instead of take away, or add things, you know. So I don’t know if that answers your question, but that was the biggest shift for me.

Ryann

Totally, totally, I love that, and I’m sure we’ll dive into that in a little bit. But going off of that, I would love to know, especially with your line of work, and from your own personal experience, do you think it’s possible for one to lose weight without it becoming obsessive? And if you do, and I know you do, because this is what you do, what is the approach that you take to help people lose weight without it becoming obsessive?

Cassie

Yeah, absolutely. I definitely think it’s possible to lose weight without becoming obsessive. Just be really intentional about it. So the way that I do this with my clients is to really shift the focus away from calorie counting and engaging in restrictive behaviors towards an approach that’s more centered around like building your plate for fat loss and then also adopting more of an 80-20 mindset around food. And when I say 80-20 mindset around food, I know not everybody really knows exactly what that is. So I’ll explain that just a little. So 80-20 is, the idea behind 80-20 is that 80% of the time you’re really focusing on being intentional with healthy habits.

So making sure for me and my approach and philosophy for fat loss is like making sure you have protein, fiber, and fat on your plate at most mealtimes, intentionally moving your body in a fun way that you enjoy, of course, like always. Things like that, managing stress, sleep, all those vital healthy behaviors you’re doing most of the time, but 20% of the time we are like guiltlessly allowing room for life because they’re just, you know, there are life things and for an approach to be sustainable, we have to find a way to allow those things in without like giving ourselves constant grief over that.

Ryann

And the first one that you said, moving away from calories, I love that so much. So if someone comes to you and they have been glued to MyFitnessPal for a really long time. How do you help someone kind of start to pull away from that? Because it sounds like you take an approach where you’re trying to help them learn their hunger and fullness and like stress their body cues. So how do you help someone move from the obsessive calorie counting when their goal is weight loss and into that body trust?

Cassie

Yeah, exactly. I mean, that’s a really good question. So the first thing that I do, because I think before we get into like really focusing on hunger and fullness, because we have to establish some type of structure to replace the calorie counting. So for me, this means encouraging clients to use my build your plate method when choosing food. And that’s again, like constructing your plate using like certain parameters I give you for putting like protein, fiber, fat, and then starchy carbs on your plate. And this really does give clients a sense that they are doing the right thing, you know, while trying to lose fat without relying on calorie counting.

I also have an app that I use with my clients, and I think this is helpful as well because, you know, of course you’re used to using that app all the time to count calories. So we do, I do use an app, but it’s very different from my fitness pal because I really like upload a picture. Like I don’t wanna see your calories, I don’t want you to see your calories. Like I’m here looking at what you’re doing and I’ll provide feedback, but like do the picture. So those two things I think help kind of rip the bandaid off a little.

Ryann

Totally, totally. And I love that so much because I feel like that really forms this lifestyle approach where it’s like, you don’t wanna be counting calories forever and I feel like the problem with that is that if you rely on that so much, then when you get to your quote goal or where you feel comfortable or whatever, then it’s like you haven’t learned how to do it without the calorie counting. And I think that that really does contribute to a lot of that obsession. And so I really love how just in the beginning you pull away from that because I always tell my clients, you know, it’s not about the food. It’s always about the behaviors around food. And so like when we can move away from that and move into learning to trust our bodies from early on, and I love that you do that from early on. Oh my gosh, it just brings this approach where it is like, okay, like this is not just like a one and done thing. This is, we are truly rebuilding lifestyle habits.

Cassie

Exactly. So that it becomes more sustainable because it’s intuitive, you know, because counting calories, like I don’t care if you are like me, I did it for so long, like in my relationship, in my journey that like, I, like when I said, what do you know too much about? And you said, I said calorie counting. Like I, I have a catalog in my brain, you know And like even if you have done it for so long or you’re so practiced at it that you have that cat That catalog it doesn’t mean it’s intuitive You know what? I mean like but when you shift away from the calorie counting it you it would count you were able to adapt intuitive Behaviors that make you no longer need the calorie.

Ryann

Yeah. Yeah. Do you feel like because you know you did that for so long, did that catalog become quieter or go away? Let me reframe. So I feel like a lot of people come to me and they’re like I want to move into letting go of the obsession and letting go of the calorie counting. However those numbers are so burned in my brain. I cannot like I just look at food and it just like comes up. And so I was wondering for you, like, I know, like for me it was just simply time and just reframing, but like for you, do you feel like that has kind of gotten quieter?

Cassie

Oh, for sure, yeah. I wouldn’t say I’ve forgotten it, but I would say that like, because I focus too on building my plate so that I make sure I’m giving my body the right things, I’m able to look at food in a different way and say, I know my body needs that. I know my body needs this fuel. I know that it knows what to do with this fuel even more than that. So, I don’t know. Now when I think about calories, like if a client’s asking me about something or we’re talking about something, I almost surprise myself. I’m like, how do I know that?

Ryann

Yeah, yeah, yeah, totally. So in the beginning, I know that you talked a lot about when you were moving into this restrictive mindset and obsessive into a more healthier mindset, like one of the biggest things that you started with was food inclusion. So I think that that goes very, very closely with black and white thinking this black and white mindset that like, these foods are good, these foods are bad, like I can have these, I can’t have these, like these are off limits, these are not. So how do you address that black and white mindset with weight loss around clients and what does that black and white mindset mean to you and how could that really keep somebody stuck with their weight loss?

Cassie

Yeah, absolutely. So I definitely agree with what you were saying about black and white mindset. So for me, this is either like believing that foods are good or bad or also like kind of going about life on a diet or off a diet. And then usually when you’re on a diet, that means like having a very restrictive mindset around food while being off a diet implies having like little to no inhibitions around food at all. And the result of that is yo-yo dieting, right? Kind of due to the fact that you’re constantly gaining and losing those same 10 pounds because you’re either restricting or just not at all, you know? And then that keeps you in the same spot.

So I think that’s definitely how people get stuck on that. I call it the dieting merry-go-round. But yeah, I help clients overcome this by really taking the moralization out of food. Like there is no good or bad food and all foods really can fit when you’re following that 80-20 approach. So really just like, instead of thinking like, oh, I ate a piece of cake that’s so bad. We reframe that in a way that like, I enjoyed that cake with my loved ones and it was really good and I have room for that. That’s part of my 20%.

Ryann

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And I love the reframe and the taking away from the morality. You know, I think that is the hugest piece in the sense of no longer is it I’m eating this, I’m being good, I’m on the diet, and I’m eating this, I’m being bad, and I’m off the diet. It is kind of just like the consistency piece. And I think that, you know, I always like to kind of like say like, if you zoomed out, like what do you see is the larger picture, and it really is that consistency that matters. And that black and white mindset is so hard. I totally, totally, you know, relate to that, especially as like a type A perfectionist with anything in life.

And I think that just like slowly reminding yourself that I’m okay and that reframe of like, no, this wasn’t bad because I enjoyed it with my loved ones and this doesn’t make me bad is so huge. So I want to ask you because I know that you just said like, you know, part of that is like on the diet, off the diet. So is the approach that you take, like you frame it as you’re not going on a diet so that it doesn’t fall into that or tell me more about that.

Cassie

Yeah. So I definitely never call my approach with clients a diet. I feel as though it’s more like a lifestyle, right? Because we’re not restricting anything. We’re learning how to balance your plate in a sustainable way. And also, we’re like really checking in heavily on mindset all the time. Because like if you feel restricted or you feel unhappy about what you’re doing, it’s not sustainable. So I truly believe that the outcome of my program is a sustainable relationship, lifestyle type of situation with food. So in my opinion, it’s not a diet.

Ryann

Yeah. So if somebody comes to you that is clearly struggling with food in the sense of binge eating, kind of like dabbling with eating disorders, but has the desire to lose weight, do you believe that someone can lose weight or focus on weight loss and heal that simultaneously? Or do you feel like that has to be healed first?

Cassie

Yeah, that’s a really good question. So I do have some clients that I feel like kind of fall into the first, you know, the category that you were describing and and to be honest with you that’s something that surprises me because I didn’t necessarily believe that I wanted to work with women who were struggling with issues like that but I’ve learned that it’s such a vital part of the process to address those issues. And I can’t imagine doing it any other way than all together, because for me, it all flows together, right?

We’re working not only on rebuilding that relationship with food and the mindset around food and things like that, but also really diving deep into the emotional roots of some of your food issues. I hesitate to say issue struggles, but you know that on a check-in call for me with clients like all of that goes all together like it’s just it paints the full picture. So I guess to answer your question, I don’t think that you can do I don’t think that you can have those issues and just like lose like lose weight without like addressing the issues, but I definitely think you can do it together.

Ryann

Right, right. So with those clients that come in that let’s say are like struggling with binge eating. Is it like, okay, let’s kind of address this before we really focus on diving into the weight loss kind of thing?

Cassie

Well, so we really don’t focus on the weight loss at first. I know that sounds like really crazy. So they come to me, it’s funny, they come to me because they want to lose weight and then we realize these other issues. Like I have a client right now who is struggling with just like historically like just eating way too little. Like it comes from like a long like family like her mom did it, her mom spends hours a day in the gym and just all of these things and so she just really believes that she should work out a lot and not eat very much and whatever and so what that looks like for her or what that was looking like for her was just like really not eating a lot throughout the day and then by the evening time, like kind of like we almost got an out of body experience for her because it’s like she doesn’t want it to happen, you know, but then she’s just like ends up with a peanut butter jar, like eating like half the jar the end of the night.

And so though we are focusing on like for her, like implementing the strategies that I encourage her to have like, you know, for the long term, like protein, fiber, fat at meal times, those types of things. For her, it looks like eating more throughout the day so that we can work on that, like, I guess, binging thing at night time too, you know? So, I don’t, I think you’re kind of asking me, like, what comes first, the chicken or the egg? For me, it’s almost like, I’m not, you know, it’s hard to say.

Ryann

Yeah, it is, it is. But it sounds like, you know, with her and just in general, like, there’s no way that someone can just like start focusing on their food and a way to lose weight without that mindset piece.

Cassie

Oh, absolutely not. No. I mean, because like, even I mean, when I talk about this all the time, like, people say like willpower is like, you know, bullshit or whatever, for lack of a better term. And I think that it is, but I think we have willpower up to a certain point and then after that your body’s like Instincts kick in and you don’t like I think that that’s a lot of like what drives some of those like binge behaviors Is that your body is just like I will find a way to get the energy that I need Somehow some way so if we can kind of work on like that You know giving your body what it needs throughout the throughout the day or whatever periods that you’re struggling with, then we can work on reducing that binge behavior and then mindset stuff kind of follows too. It’s a weird give and take, this balance. But you definitely have to have both, I believe, or at least work on the relationship too.

Ryann

Totally. So I’m really curious to know, I’m a firm believer in this idea of your happy weight, where you, I want to say, like, I kind of separate it from set point weight because I believe, like, set point weight is one of those things where it’s, like, where your body naturally settles when you are truly just treating food as fuel. And then happy weight is more of, like, where your body naturally settles, where you’re living a lifestyle where you feel good that also makes you happy, right?

So like, if I was eating just food as fuel, like I may be 10 pounds less and that might be my quote set point weight, but like right now I’m at my happy weight because I enjoy like having creamer in my coffee or like going on spontaneous dinner dates or like living my life. So when somebody comes to you with a specific number in mind, do you focus on that number? Do you pull away from that number and kind of just go and tell me more about that?

Cassie

Yeah, you know, it’s funny because I always thought when people like came to work with me, they would have that in mind. And actually very few of my clients do. So they’re really like, by the time they work with me, I think that they’ve been like, through all of these like, like, like terrible dieting situations and just relation, you know, history with like dieting, whatever. And then they’re just like, it’s not about the number for me. It’s about like how I feel in my body. It’s about how I fit in my clothes and things like that. And that makes it a lot easier. But even the clients who do have like a number in mind, I think it’s like we work to like really just address like the relationship with food and things like that, they care a lot less about that number. I have a client who definitely came to me because she would like to lose weight.

And obviously, that’s a huge goal for most of my clients, just maybe not with that weight loss number in mind. But she even said the other day, she’s like, this is like a thousand percent worth it, even if I don’t lose a single pound just because of like the freedom and peace that I feel around food and like that I know I know like when we reach that point like my job is done like the rest will come and I think that like when you have fixed your relationship with food and you do feel that peace and freedom around food then like you truly care a little bit less like there’s less emotion tied to the weight if that makes sense and then you’re a little bit more free mentally to let your body do what it’s going to do and I think that because you have fixed your relationship with food or found a better place in your relationship with food that your consistency will be more on point and like if there is weight to lose or adjust or level out that like that’s going to happen over time.

Ryann

Totally and I think that comes back to this idea that your smallest weight might not be your happiest weight. And I know for me, when I went into weight loss over and over and over again with a specific number in mind, it was always that was the number that would solve all of my problems and I would finally be happy. And when I get there, you know, everything’s going to be perfect. And then getting there and having things not be perfect, it goes right back into that obsession of, well, maybe it’s a little bit smaller or maybe it’s 10 pounds less or whatever.

And so I love that, you know, the number isn’t really even anything that you focus on. And that point where it’s like, I was going to ask, when do you know that you’re done? Like, when do you know that you’re done and how you just mentioned it really has nothing to do with the weight and everything to do with how you feel and your mindset around food.

Cassie

Yeah, yeah absolutely. It has so much to do with that and I would say that like a good that’s a good question about like how I know that I’m done. I definitely think it’s like comments like that about like feeling more in control around food or feeling that peace or freedom around food, but it’s also like developing that intuitive nature around food too. So like when clients can like build their meals in any setting, you know, regardless of like what’s going on and feel good about that, like, you know, not feel deprived, not feel restricted, feel like they’ve made good choices. And then like, after the eating event itself, like not feel crappy because they’ve overdone or you know, like once we reach that point like then it’s also that’s another sign That like hey, you guys are you ready to do it by yourself?

Ryann

Yeah Do you ever have – I’m this is just out of curiosity – Do you ever have anybody come to you? Asking for weight loss help that you’re like, you don’t need to lose weight and this makes me kind of uncomfortable. How do you handle that situation?

Cassie

Yeah, that’s a good question. So I definitely do an application first before I like consider working with someone. And then from there, I would usually like to hop on a call just to make sure it’s a good fit and make sure we kind of understand the goals and like, you know, what I could do to help and not help. So usually if I get someone that I just feel like really doesn’t have weight to lose, but maybe would still like to. To me, that’s something that like it depends on their goals. So if they have weight to lose, but maybe would like to, and I feel like the issue is more about like that relationship with food or something like that, and there is a way that I can help them get a more balanced relationship with food and have a positive outcome, then that’s something that I’m transparent about. But if it’s something a complete, like just like they’re hung up on that, then I usually refer to somebody that I know helps them work through those types of issues. Like, because some it’s body dysmorphia, right? So I mean, and that’s something that I can help clients with. But if you’re just like, really believe that you have a lot of weight to lose, and I know that like, I’m not going to be able to help you because you don’t have that weight to lose, then like, I’m never going to try to help you do something that I don’t think you can achieve.

Ryann

So totally. So how do you help with body dysmorphia? Like what I know obviously there’s a lot more to that but just like in general if somebody was struggling with body dysmorphia what are some things that you kind of do with your clients to help with that?

Cassie

So I focus on the mean girl voice a lot so I call that that voice inside your head that tells you like oh I look fat today or oh I’m you know like you’re so bad because you ate that cookie today or you know, whatever those like horrible ugly thoughts are that you say to yourself like that’s your mean girl voice. And so we really focus on like replacing those mean girl voice thoughts with your best friend voice. So if you were talking to your best friend right now, what would you say to your best friend? Yes, or even just like replacing those negative thoughts, even if you just want to like simplify it a little bit more like with a positive thought like, my legs look fat today. Instead, then my legs are strong and they carry me around. And I may not love how they look but I’m proud of them for – or something like that.

And like what you talk about, Ryann, like I don’t have to love my body in order to accept it. And that doesn’t mean that you don’t want to change it, but we can’t just go around like hating ourselves, you know? So like really working on that like inner inner monologue I think is super helpful for just kind of chipping away at that body dysmorphia. I’m not saying it’s like an overnight thing, but just like chipping away.

Ryann

Oh my gosh, so much. That self-talk is everything. I mean, just like how you feel overall. Like if you have this voice going over and over and over in your head saying terrible things, first of all, you just automatically feel down because how could you feel happy when you have this voice in your head all day long telling you terrible things? And then also what took me so long to learn is that shame is not a motivator. And like shaming yourself to do something works the opposite way that you want it to. And to actually build that healthy relationship with your body and to get on track to building this body that you love and getting to your happy weight, like it has to start with acceptance.

I remember when I started working through this and I went to a therapist and the very first thing that she said, because my primary focus was like, I want to stop binge eating and I want to lose weight. And she was like, Ryann, you have to accept the body that you have to get the body that you want. And I think that that goes right back to that idea of I constantly was like, when I get to that number, then that’s going to solve all my problems. And the reality is, is if we can’t accept this current body now, then we’re in that headspace of that smaller body is what’s going to solve all of my problems. Instead of being in the headspace of, okay, I accept my body, and being in maybe a smaller body would help me move better with my kids and feel more energized and give me more life.

And so I think that, you know, I don’t even know where that came out of or what the actual question was, but I think that everything that you just said was just, was just so good. And I think that people need to hear, and I know that smaller me needed to hear. Oh, self-talk. Yes. Yes.

Cassie

Yeah, definitely. No, I think we all need a little bit more positive self-talk in our life because I mean, you know, that whole like, oh, I’ll be happy when the weight comes off or I’ll be happy at this size or whatever, like that implies that like your life is not worth living right now, you know? And like it is, like even if like there are things that you would like to work towards or change like with your body, like that’s no different than like working towards a degree or like working for a promotion at work. Like that doesn’t mean that like you’re not like here living right now just because you’re working towards other goals, you know, with your body.

Ryann

One thing that I was just thinking of that I would love for you to kind of maybe touch more on and kind of clarify. I know for me and a lot of just diet culture talk is to lose weight, you need to eat less. However, I know that at some point just eating less actually kind of works the opposite way that you want it to in the sense that it harms more than helps you. So, with that said, why is that the case? Like what happens if you’re truly not giving your body enough energy?

Cassie

Yeah, so you’re asking why, like, if you don’t eat enough, you may not lose weight or why it can be detrimental to weight loss?

Ryann

Yeah.

Cassie

Yeah, absolutely. So what happens is, like, you may say you’re kind of eating less than optimally for a little while for at first. You may see that weight loss, like, initially, like your body responds to that, what, you know, at the beginning. But eventually, after prolonged periods of just not eating enough, your body starts to feel scared because you’re not providing it the fuel that it needs. And so then it has to come up with a way for you to survive because that’s your body’s main goal is to keep you alive. So it kind of like halts the metabolism. It’s like slow down, like let’s adapt to what she is giving us to eat because right now like the metabolism is working at a higher pace and requires more energy than you’re giving it. And that’s like not sustainable to your body.

So it slows the metabolism to kind of meet your energy needs and then like the energy that you were eating, you know, under eating, whatever that number looked like and you know, you don’t have to put a number on it, but like whatever, it becomes your maintenance calories. So from there, like that’s like what you have to eat to maintain your body weight versus like that was the amount you were eating before that was allowing you to lose weight. And so then that becomes an issue because like, you know, that amount that you were eating before is really unsustainable, but now your body’s adapted to it.

And that can mean, that can even mean weight gain as well because your body can take the energy that you are giving it and actually store it as fat because it’s scared that you’re not like gonna give it enough food in general and it doesn’t know when you may be able to give it enough food. So it’s like slowing the metabolism and trying to store fat when it can because it’s acting out of like a place of like panic. I mean it really believes that you may be starved and so it’s trying to save you. I don’t know if that makes sense.

Ryann

Yeah, no, it’s so interesting because it’s not, I mean going back to that black and white, it’s not so black and white of just like eat less and you’ll get what you want. And that’s why I think that so many, well, so many things can happen when you just go into just, I’m just going to eat less and it can become really problematic. So going off of that, how, how does one know that they’re eating, quote, enough just in general, let’s say, and then eating enough even if weight loss is their goal.

Cassie

Yeah, so I think I think a good way to answer that question is to talk about like some signs that you might be not eating quite enough and then then I’ll get to the second part of the question. So there’s a lot of different signs that you may not be eating enough and that could include things like constant thoughts of food like just like when is my next meal? What am I gonna have for dinner? Like, what’s my next snack? What will I eat tomorrow? Like just constantly like thinking about food all the time.

And then always feeling hungry, like never feeling like a meal ever satisfies you and you just always feel a sense of hunger. Feeling cold all the time, that’s a good indication that like maybe you aren’t eating enough because that may indicate that your metabolism has like kind of slowed a little bit if you feel cold a lot. Low energy levels, constipation, and even anxiety, which I think is interesting because like that kind of speaks to your body’s sense of panic as well, but like it’s showing up in your mind. And then one of the really big signs that I see commonly with my clients is the excessive nighttime snacking, and I think that comes from a place of like eating way too little throughout the day, and then eventually your body does develop that like, you know, like drive, like I am going to get the energy I need. And then you start eating all these things at nighttime as well.

But another huge one is just like feeling like you’re eating hardly anything throughout the day and just like not seeing that weight loss, like maybe exercising all the time, you know, just like, you know, you’re not eating a lot, but yet your body is not losing weight or you’re even gaining weight. Those are good examples of like signs that you may not be eating quite enough. And to make sure that you are eating enough even if you want to lose weight. Again, I go back to that building your plate method, making sure that you have 20 to 30 grams of protein on your plate at mealtimes and 15 to 25 grams of fat and kind of focusing on like making sure half your plate is full of fiber foods, so fruits, vegetables, whole grains, things like that on your plate.

And then listening to hunger cues from there, you know, you see, I give like ranges for different things and that’s the approach that I take with my clients so that we can find their sweet spot based on their hunger and fullness cues. And what’s really funny is that like if you listen to your body, it’s going to tell you what it means. So that allows, you know, your body to find its happy weight, like you said, but also for you not to like starve yourself, you know, kind of in that process.

Ryann

Yes, oh my gosh, yes. And I know that in the beginning that’s hard and I think that goes back to the beginning piece that you said of just like starting with some structure and then you can move into listening to those cues. But I think that that’s super huge to recognize and especially as you’re rebuilding your relationship with food, making sure that you are eating enough and realizing that just because you’re eating more doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to gain weight. And also in the beginning, based on what you said and just the science, it sounds like there might be a little fluctuation, but for the most part, does it usually kind of like, let’s say somebody has been restricting for a long time, like low calories and that base, I don’t know, what is it? Like your base metabolic.

Cassie

Basal metabolic rate.

Ryann

Okay, so let’s say that that is lower than what it was before, so you have them start to increase a little bit. Do you see weight fluctuation in that? Like, what do you typically see?

Cassie

Yeah, so many of my clients have such a horrible relationship with the scale that they know without me even telling them that they don’t really need it. We, I wouldn’t say that measuring like weight is something that is consistently done with all of my guys, especially in the beginning. It may be that like we kind of like throw the scale out in the beginning and then later on like come back to it. So I would say though the ones that do weigh, I see stagnant weight more than anything. So I find that to be really ironic. And so they’ll get really frustrated, especially if they are like users of the scale and they’re like I feel better I feel leaner I feel all these like really great things you know better energy better digestion things like that but I’m not losing weight and I’m like okay in theory though like you’re eating more than you were before and they’re like yeah like so much more and I like you know feel so much better about it and all this stuff and I’m like okay but like in theory if you were eating more and this weren’t working you’d be gaining weight, right?

And they’re like, yeah, and I’m like, but you’re not like your way to stay in the space. So like, that’s a good indication. But yes, you’re totally right. You can gain weight in the beginning. And I know how hard that is, like mentally to accept, but you have to think about what you’re gaining, you know, from that exchange too. So I think you have to go into it with an open mind and really focus on your wins throughout the process. You know, like what is going really well? What do you feel really good about? Because the scale doesn’t always tell the tale. I actually had someone who was just following me, not even a client, other day, tell me that she started following just like kind of what I put out on Instagram and hasn’t lost any weight, but lost like four inches or something like that. She’s just like, no doubt that it works. So like the scale just is not the best

Ryann

I just say get rid of it. It’s not helpful It doesn’t tell you anything more than your clothes will tell you right like I’m always like that have clothes you’ll know there Yeah, so I highly recommend Let’s say somebody Is on this journey, and they just have an off day, emotional, or they didn’t eat enough or whatever, and it leads into that binge or overeat. How do you help your clients, or what do you recommend are some things that somebody does after a binge or an overeat to get back to feeling better?

Cassie

So I really like to encourage clients to use it as a learning experience. Like, you know, if you’re unhappy with the outcome of a food encounter, and only you know if you are, start by reflecting on what you can do differently to avoid feeling that way in the future. You know, I really, and that’s not as like a thing to do out of punishment or anything, but just genuinely like, I don’t like this, so what can I do differently now to prevent feeling this way? And then the next thing I really would encourage you to do is just remind yourself that it’s okay to not be perfect and you don’t have to get it right 100% of the time to be on track.

You know, this is like, you have to, and that comes from like changing your mindset around what you’re doing from like a short-term Goal, I eat a weight loss into like a long-term goal like this is how I want my relationship with food to look like Long-term I’m in this for the long term and if you can accept that then I think you can accept the imperfection a little bit More so from there just committing to do your best, you know to do better next time and then give yourself so much grace and move on.

Ryann

Oh my gosh.

Cassie

Move on.

Ryann

And I love that reflection piece and it’s funny that you say that because I literally just did a post on it this morning of, you know, if we can take these binges and overeats and learn from them without judgment, just curiosity, it’s never a failure. It’s like, okay, great. Now I know when I feel that way, I just need to be a little bit more aware, if I don’t eat enough, like it’s just a reminder of what happens or if I’m in this circumstance, next time I’m going to do this and that puts us so much further. So, in the grand scheme of things, like sometimes it’s almost a good thing because it helps us learn this information that we probably wouldn’t have known otherwise unless that happens.

Cassie

Exactly. Yeah, I mean you have to have that to like move forward and you know it’s just like any other thing in life like you kind of have to like fall down to get back up a little bit you know what I mean so.

Ryann

Yeah. Oh my gosh well I could seriously pick your brain forever but just out of respect for time the last question I have for you is what advice do you have for somebody trying to heal their relationship with food and has the desire to lose weight someone in that kind of like tweener boat?

Cassie

Yeah, absolutely. I think, I’m going to go back to some of the things I’ve already said, but just focus on thinking of food with an 80-20 mindset is really, I mean, in my opinion, the best place to start because this is going to help you have some inclusion with food.

It’s also going to help you just move away from that restrictive mindset that you may find yourself in right now. And if you’re struggling to do this on your own, maybe consider reaching out to a professional. I talk with so many women all the time who are like, I really feel like I should know how to do this on my own. I really feel like this should be something that’s intuitive. But like, I went to school for more than six years for this and there are days when it doesn’t feel intuitive to me. So like letting somebody else help you and your journey is, I mean, everything.

Ryann

Totally. And I 100% agree. I know For me when I was kind of in that boat, I was like, you know If I can have somebody get me there faster after I’ve already spent Ten plus years dealing with it. That was worth it Like I always say look at all of the time that you have been trying and not that you couldn’t do this on your own, but if you have the ability to be able to work with someone to get you there faster, highly recommend.

Cassie

Or just to help you see things that you can’t see for yourself, you know? And sometimes there are things that you need to change that just feel impossible to change on your own. So I just think that like, you know, also I mean I love that how long have you tried to do this on your own, but also how much money have you spent trying to do it on your own.

Ryann

Right, oh my gosh, so true, so true. Cassie, where can everybody find you if they wanna connect to you, reach out, ask you more questions, where you at?

Cassie

Yeah, the best place to find me is Instagram, at FatlossDietitian.

Ryann

And is it just one word?

Cassie

Yep.

Ryann

Perfect, and that’ll be linked in the show notes in the description below. Cassie, thank you so much. That was amazing. And again, I wouldn’t welcome just any weight loss professional on here because I do work specifically with the mindset and the healing of the binge eating, but I love your approach so much. And as I share out there all of the time, I’m not anti-weight loss. However, I’m just anti-weight loss being like the number one thing in your life.

And I truly believe that you take that approach as well. And so I really wanted to be able to share this information for those who do maybe have some weight to lose or wanna have some weight to lose in the sense of, you know, I want to feel better, I want to feel more energized, I can’t do anything in this body, not necessarily from an aesthetic piece, and I just love the approach that you take. So thank you so much again for sharing all of that, and I’m just so grateful for you and your page.

Cassie

Yeah, thank you so much for having me. It was an honor to be here today.

Ryann Nicole

Licensed Therapist, Certified Nutritionist, and Virtual Wellness Coach

Ryann is a licensed therapist and virtual wellness coach who has assisted individuals worldwide in establishing a healthier relationship with food and their bodies.

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Ryann is a licensed therapist and virtual wellness coach who has assisted individuals worldwide in establishing a healthier relationship with food and their bodies.