052. What To Know About Raising Intuitive Eaters! ft. Elle Mace; @Iamellemace

Elle Mace; @Iamellemace

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Ryann Nicole


Connect with Elle

📲 Instagram: @lamellemace

Episode Transcript

Ryann

I am so excited. I have Elle here today, and if you didn’t catch it, I think it was a month ago we did a live on Instagram which is kind of a big deal because I never go live on Instagram for how like talkative I am I have this big fear of going live so I don’t even know if you knew that but that was like… Not really! Not at all! I thought, oh she’s a pro. Oh my gosh, oh my gosh.

But anyways, so now I’m having Elle come on here to chat about everything that she knows, especially with raising intuitive eaters and how to navigate your own journey of finding food freedom while you do have children or young people around you and how to kind of stop the story or start stop the cycle with yourself. So Elle, thank you so much for coming on today. I’m so excited to chat with you.

Elle

Oh, thank you so much for having me and yeah I’m really really excited. This topic and subject I could kind of talk about it for hours and hours so yeah I’m happy to be here.

Ryann

Oh let’s do it, girlfriend. So for anybody that doesn’t know you, this is the first time hearing from you. Tell us a little bit about who you are, what’s your background with this work, and how’d you get to where you are today?

Elle

Yeah. Okay. So my name is Elle. I actually started my sort of background on me is I trained as a personal trainer many years ago, um, and in nutrition as well. I did that for several years and then I actually changed careers and went into a sort of corporate world job. But throughout this whole period of my time I suffered with disordered eating. My earliest experiences of having low body image and started to mess around with my food was when I was about 11 years old and that stayed with me for 17 years. So I had various different types of eating disorders, really. I was super restrictive. I had orthorexia. I also suffered with binge eating disorder, which then turned into bulimia. And yeah, so different periods of my life, there was different disordered eating patterns going on.

And then I decided enough was enough. And I set out to heal myself and get over this awful relationship I had with food and myself and my body. I did that and couldn’t quite believe I’d actually got through it and thought, you know what, this is something that I need to do. And like I said, I’ve always been very interested in wellness, fitness and nutrition, so I’ve always been sort of keeping up with what was going on in that industry anyway. So then during my corporate job, I retrained in disordered eating, nutrition, and intuitive eating. And then when the time was right, and when I had sort of finished several courses, I then left and I now do this as a full-time job.

Ryann

Oh my gosh, amazing. Okay, so I wanna go back, first of all, with you saying that this started for you at 11 years old. Like, I wanna draw an emphasis around that because I feel like sometimes we forget or we’re kind of naive to the fact of how young this all starts, especially if you’ve never personally gone through it. And 11 is young. So I want to know, like, was there anything in particular that you felt like set it off? Or was it maybe a family dynamic that you kind of like learned or what are your thoughts?

Elle

Yeah, so it is very, very common to, as you know, it’s very, very common for people to pick up some really bad habits from their parents in terms of dieting and body image. So if you’ve got parents, carers, grandparents or whatever, that are talking about dieting a lot, doing diets, moaning about their body a lot, then quite often that will be passed on to the child. However, for me, that wasn’t actually the case with my parents, but it started for me because I felt bigger than the friends I had in my class. I was also called a couple of names, which at the age of 10, 11, whatever you hear, we don’t have the ability to sort of negotiate with ourselves that that might not be true.

So I guess it was a literal thing, because that was what I believed. And therefore, I decided that I needed to change my body and I needed to become smaller. And I genuinely believed that I would be loved more if I was in a smaller body. And that was like, I think, really society and also seeing smaller kids at school who are probably more popular, et cetera, et cetera. So that’s how it kick started for me. And at the time, I didn’t understand, we don’t understand about nutrition and diet.

So I would just turn to the thing that I thought was best, which was to try and restrict my food, which then led to restriction and binge eating, which then led to actual weight gain. So now I am, you know, now I look back at myself, I’m like, crud, I wasn’t even a big child. It’s mental. We all also, as younger girls, we go through puberty and we grow out before we grow up and that also can cause a lot of stress around our body image. So I think that was, I entered puberty younger, so I think that had a big effect on me as well. So yeah, that’s how it started for me.

Ryann

And before we dive into all of that, one more question kind of on your story. I always love to know when you said you got to a point where you woke up and you were like enough is enough, was it kind of like a flip automatically switched or you just made the decision or did you hit rock bottom or like how did that change kind of happen for you?

Elle

I think I definitely hit rock bottom. There had been many times in my life where I was like, I’m not doing that again, I’m not doing that again. Right, enough, enough. I always went back to the old cycles and I just couldn’t get out of it. And so it did get really bad. And I just had a huge, I was just overcome with this has got to stop. And actually what I had to do was I had to reach out and tell somebody exactly the extent of what was going on for me, because only I knew what was really happening with me and my relationship with food.

So until I kind of like passed the responsibility onto someone else as well, that was when I really made some big changes, because someone was kind of holding me a little bit accountable for it as well. But also, there was a huge relief when I actually, I had to write a letter actually, I couldn’t say what I was doing to myself, to my partner at the time, so I had to write a letter, but that was a game changer, reaching out.

Ryann

And how long did it take for you to go from reaching out to a place where you felt like you were back to you?

Elle

Oh god, I think in all honesty I’m gonna say like a full year to like really feel like I was out the woods. I would say six months of feeling like you know I’ve got this, this is definitely the new me, this is great and then a year of being like I will never go back.

Ryann

Yeah I always like to ask because I feel like it’s different for everybody and it’s important to kind of recognize that everybody has their own journey. I would say from the decision that I had the same as you where I was like enough is enough, it took me about a year. However, I did kind of dabble with therapy before and I did try before but I wasn’t willing. So I would say like two years prior I was getting help and trying to pull myself out of it, but I wasn’t doing anything different. So I would say from the time that I decided I needed help, it was three years, but from the time that I really decided to do the work, it was about a year.

Elle

Yeah, yeah. I think there can be a will to get better, but until you really surrender and also realize how hard it’s going to be. So for you, you probably attempted it, realized, oh god, this is absolutely hard. I need to put in more effort.

Ryann

This is super uncomfortable. Yeah. Okay. So I’m so ready to pick your brain. Thank you for sharing all of that. Before we dive in, I feel like it’s really important for us in the beginning to just kind of clarify what diet culture is. So as we reference that moving forward, there’s kind of a universal understanding in this episode. So how do you define diet culture just in your own work, your own practice, your own life?

Elle

Diet culture, I see diet culture as just a massive cha-ching money signs. When I think the word diet culture, I just see money and I just see billions of dollars or pounds, whatever you want to call it. It’s just a money-making industry and it is absolutely soul-destroying. It really is. It’s just lots of snazzy, clever, manipulating, marketing ploys and businesses receiving endless amounts of money because, as we know, diets don’t work. So people are just repeatedly going back and trying something new and trying something new. And people see diets and they think, okay, physical, all right, diet equals physical sort of stuff going on. But no, it’s very much mental. And what happens to people when they enter into diet culture is the effect that it has on them is their mental health is huge. But when you decide to do a diet, you don’t even consider that. You just think, it’s gonna work for me, let’s try it. You don’t think, ah, but when I leave this diet, I’m going to be a little bit messed up.

Ryann

If I would have known in ninth grade that that one decision that I made to go on a diet was going to turn into a seven year battle, I would have never, never even gone there. But now we’re here. So you know, it’s what it is. It is what it is. Okay. Going off of that, if someone is pulling out of diet culture, they’re on this own journey and they have kids, how do you recommend that they navigate their own recovery while also being respectful and just being aware of how it might be affecting their kids?

Elle

Yeah, so the general like guidance here if you are someone that is struggling with disordered eating, body dysmorphia, is to not allow your kids to see this. I mean hopefully the end goal is that you are recovered, you have found food freedom, food and body freedom, and your kids will know, you know, they will be no less wiser. But if you are currently going through it with your children there and thereabouts then yeah really try and work through it like with your own support system and not with your kids because well it it just depends if you are being really open and honest and explaining to them you know what has happened to you but where you’re going now the benefits and you’re sort of giving them educational pieces pieces about it then fine but if it is you struggling to eat your carbohydrates or really struggling to look at yourself in the mirror and they’re seeing those sorts of behaviors then then that’s not healthy for them.

Ryann

Do you feel like it’s beneficial for the parent to share that with their kid or keep it to themselves or do you think it doesn’t really matter or what’s your viewpoint on that?

Elle

Yeah Yeah, it’s very different for everyone. It really depends on the age of the kids. If the kids are too young, they’re not going to understand. They won’t have the, well, even if they’re a little bit older, like they don’t have the experience to understand the thoughts and the feelings that would have been going on for the parent. So personally, I mean, everyone’s different, but you’re probably better off explaining that to them when they are much older and they’re able to maybe resonate with the thoughts and feelings so they can really understand it a bit better rather than trying to tell like an 11 year old what’s going on. It can also actually plant, actually create something that didn’t, that wasn’t created.

Ryann

Right, that’s a good point. That’s a good point.

Elle

Yeah, because if you’ve got some naive 11 year old happy go lucky and mum’s saying to them, oh, I had all these dark feelings about my body and now I’m great though, you know, the 11-year-old’s going to go, oh right, this, that, okay, and it’s going to open things up that might not have even been opened. But, you know, if your children are 16, 17, 18 and they are able to have the understanding and all kids are so different, you know, if you’ve got children that are quite savvy, quite sort of switched into their mental health. The conversation might be a bit easier than kids that aren’t, so switched on to the mental health side of things.

Ryann

Totally. So if we’re going to switch to the other side, let’s say now the parent has gone through this journey, or maybe they’ve never struggled with food, and they want to create this environment with their child where food isn’t this thing that is scarce or you have to deserve it, especially as they are growing up in this era of social media and TikTok and Instagram. Like, how do you even help the kids today like not get sucked into that as a parent?

Elle

Yeah, because it’s everywhere. So your kids will be visible to it at some point, whether it’s when they’re a bit older or when they are, like I said, 10, 11, 12. So the best thing that you can do is be the best role model. So that is the number one key thing, so that they see you eating a variety of foods, they see that you have no issue with any food groups or particular foods, they see that there is no guilt or shame around eating less nutritious foods, and that you, you know, there’s some like sort of top tips where like you, food is food, food is fuel. So as you talk to them as they grow up, food is just all neutral, all food gives you energy. You know, praise it, if you’re going to praise them for eating their main meal then you praise them for eating their pudding.

You don’t react to if they are eating chocolate it’s just you know you don’t even react to it you know you don’t start going oh you’ve got chocolate that’s amazing you know it’s just all equal. There’s that there’s also not restricting your children from these foods because we are all born intuitive eaters So we’re all born with the innate ability to feel our hunger and fullness and to know when we’re hungry and when to stop stop eating and roughly around the age of like Seven obviously some older some younger we sort of lose that intuitive eating or some people lose that intuitive eating especially if they’re sort of drawn to wanting to change their bodies or social media or You should eat this because too much sugar and all the rest of it.

We just start following these rules that we’ve been sort of scaremongered into believing. But actually, if we’d all just stayed intuitive eaters, then these unhealthy food habits wouldn’t be a problem. And by doing that, it is very much not restricting your children from any food, because they do have the innate ability to switch off from chocolate when their body is urging them to eat carbohydrates and protein and vegetables. But you won’t believe that at the time because all you see is them going crazy when they see chocolate. But that is because chocolate is naughty and bad and people probably are restricting them to a certain extent from it.

Ryann

Right. So what do you say to the parents that say, but if I don’t control their food, then all they’re gonna eat is cake and chocolate and they’ll never eat a vegetable and I wanna make sure that they are being, quote, healthy or they’re getting in their nutrients.

Elle

Yeah, so you gotta let go. You gotta let go and you gotta watch it play out. And yeah, it is scary. And for a few days, they will probably go bonkers because they can’t believe it, but that will come to an end. And if you are role modeling, if you are sat at the dinner table eating your veggies and everything else, and you’re having nice, peaceful meal times, they will eventually eat those types of food. But you will see a sort of free-for-all for a few days, sometimes maybe even a week, a couple of weeks, but they will stop. I’ve seen this play out with my daughter. When my daughter was first born, well not first born, when she was eating foods, I did struggle a little bit with allowing her all these foods.

I found myself saying, that’s enough, that’s enough. And then I had to really remind myself, do the work on myself. It’s obviously my own insecurities coming up there. But when I just allowed her to have as much of this food as she wants, she no longer goes mad for it. She stops trying to take other people’s foods when we’re out and about, you know, like she’s calm. She might pick up the cake, look at it, give it a lick and put it down again. A year ago she would have been going a bit crazy for that.

Ryann

So when you say you know you have to let go and part of that letting go is doing the work on yourself if you’re feeling this need to control, what kind of work do you suggest or what is that maybe saying that we need to work on if we’re feeling this extra need to control?

Elle

Yeah so you’ve got to think like what why are you restricting your kids from eating the less nutritious foods? What is your fear there? What’s really going on for you? And obviously everyone’s so different, but many people will say, I just don’t want my kids to put on weight or be overweight, or it’s usually very much around that because that is their own fear for themselves, or they’ve lived through that themselves, and they’re just convinced their kids will follow in the same way. But actually, kids and adults, we all have our own natural set weight point.

Your kids will be the size that they are supposed to be. You really shouldn’t try and mess with that. And actually, your kid is more likely to be bigger or much smaller than they should be if you are trying to control what’s going on for them, you’re trying to control their body weight, then it’s gonna create unhealthy behaviors and then your child can go, you know, they won’t be their natural set weight, but they’ll be whatever that you’re trying to control and it’ll get out of control.

Ryann

Yeah, so I have to ask you, because I know that a lot of the clients that I work with have struggled with this and we have to do a lot of process work around it is coming from growing up in a family where it was required to clean your… How do you suggest that, let me reframe. So if you have a child that maybe has absolutely no interest in food, do you have any recommendations on how to let go and let them be intuitive and also not fall into the trap of okay but if they don’t eat or if I don’t ask them to eat they literally won’t eat.

Elle

Yeah so it’s generally quite true that young to young children won’t starve themselves so you have you have to give them back they need to be able to trust their bodies and then they need to know that you trust them to eat their food. And causing too much stress at the dinner table, causing too much anxiety around eating the meals, it could well be a reason why your kid isn’t eating very much and doesn’t have much interest in food because he’s got a negative association with food. Because every time your kid sat down to the meal, you’re staring at them, trying to shove something in their mouth, that makes them feel uncomfortable and it’s not a nice experience.

So they just think that’s the way food is, that’s the way the child has to eat food. So it’s not going to have a big interest in food because it’s got such a stressful association with it. It could be that, it could be several other things. It could be that your child actually is just less interested in food, but that might change. In fact, it usually does. Fussy eaters become great eaters and vice versa at different points in their lives. But yeah, you must take the stress away. And actually, you just have to step back and not compare how much they’re eating in a particular meal versus the meal before, or even day by day. It is more on a weekly basis.

So this week, has my child generally eaten enough carbs, proteins, meats? Yeah, maybe not as much as you think they should or you want them to, but they will be getting their nutrients. They have the ability to eat, to make sure that they do get enough. If your child is not growing predictably, then that is when you need to consult your doctor.

Ryann

Yeah, yeah, that’s a really good point. So switching gears, if a parent is noticing that their child is struggling with whether they are starting to exhibit some signs of being hyper focused on food or restricting, what do you suggest that they do as a so that it doesn’t get worse, but also they don’t fuel the fire.

Elle

It’s going to be taking a softly, softly approach to it. If you have been watching your, I’m just going to give an example, your daughter, and they are starting to mess with their food and restrict them a little bit, or you’re noticing they’re getting a bit self-conscious in their bodies, then there’s so many exercises that you can do with them. So rather than sitting down and saying have you got a problem with food or have you got a problem, you know that’s not really gonna go down too well. So you want to kind of do some subtle things like when it’s bedtime, sitting with them and discussing like what their bodies do for them, like what the amazing things that they’ve done with their bodies that day, like what sports did they get take part in, how that makes them feel, what are they, gratitude is a huge thing, reminding the child of all the great things that are going on in their lives.

Take the focus away from anything to do with their body image, because they might be just solely focused on that their worth is part of their body image, so you need to remind them that their worth is so much more than that. And by sort of getting them to go over what they have been doing recently, the stuff that has been going so well for them, that will increase their self-worth. So yeah, how can their bodies move what they’re capable of, gratitude, self-care and self-compassion, you know, is this daughter of yours getting enough self-care? Is she looking after herself? Is there enough sleep? Her doing things that she loves is going to, again, going to increase her self-worth and take the focus away from her body image.

So, you know, reminding her what does she love doing, if it’s drawing, let’s go and do some drawing together. Giving them some love and attention and reminding them that you love them no matter what their size is, and you can say that in a more subtle way, but it doesn’t matter what size your child is, you love them unconditionally. And if the conversation feels natural and right and it comes up to also discuss that everyone does have their own natural set weight point and everyone is so different and that’s what makes everyone amazing. There’s no worth against people being a certain size.

Ryann

You know what I love about the response that you just gave is nothing you said had anything to do with food and I think that that is so important to recognize because the food is just a symptom, right? It’s a symptom of a greater issue going on, usually poor body image, lack of self-care, low self-worth. And so I love that drawing the attention on building up those things instead of focusing on the food really helps so much more and I think is super powerful. I know you mentioned before you have a daughter. How old is your daughter?

Elle

She’s 10 years old.

Ryann

So I have to know, just because I’m not a mom, just thinking about your daughter growing up in the world that we live in, like what are some things that you wanna do different for her that maybe your family didn’t do or some things that you want to make sure that she knows or practices so that you can help remind her that her body is the least interesting thing about her like from the beginning to Obviously you can’t control whether or not she gets sucked into this but how to help

Elle

Yeah, definitely I think for me and it’s not necessarily that I didn’t receive it when I was younger. I mean, one thing I would say that wasn’t explained to me when I was younger is that everyone does have a different natural set weight point. So I was completely baffled how I could be the same age as my best friend and yet I would be growing and growing and she would remain so small and I would probably be eating less than her, I certainly was for a long period of time. So that baffled me and that’s when I went into it. So my number one thing with my daughter Lola is that I will be explaining that everyone is different and everyone has different sizes and different qualities about themselves. I’ll also be heavily focusing focusing on her personality.

Comparison comes up all the time, and it comes up from such a young age. You see really young kids, four or five years old, she’s got that, when I have that, she’s got that. So really taking all the comparison away from anything to do with her body and focusing on her personality, yeah, et cetera. But again, it comes down to affirmations, doing lots of affirmations with her, getting her to write up her own affirmations, doing daily gratitude, and really focusing on everything that she’s so great at. Doing creative things is such a powerful tool as well. Getting out and about in nature, it all sounds so cliche, but it’s really, really true.

And just making sure that she is doing things that she enjoys. And there will become a time when she goes off to more like high school and social media is even worse than it is now. And I’m just going to make sure that I’m in really regular communication with her about her thoughts and feelings. And the feelings part is huge actually. So when I was younger and majority of people when they were younger, we didn’t know how to self-soothe themselves without turning to food or whatever else it is and expressing their feelings will massively, massively help with self-worth. Yeah. Are you scared for her? I think because of my own journey, I’m also kind of like bring it on. You know, like I haven’t done all this training for no reason, so bring it on.

Ryann

Oh my gosh, she’s so grateful, I’m sure, so lucky to have you. Okay, so I’m going to totally switch gears completely and I want to talk about your pregnancy body image and body changes throughout that. How coming off of doing all of this work, recovering on your own, and then getting this major, major trigger of having a huge body change, like how did you navigate that? What was that like for you? What helped? What didn’t? Tell me everything.

Elle

Yeah, yeah, okay, so yeah I’m gonna get going. Alright, let’s hear it. So that was one of my reasons for actually healing my relationship with food, was a, so I could look after my children properly, but also because I knew I’d have to go through pregnancy and I really, I didn’t see how I could possibly go through pregnancy with my body dysmorphia before and so I healed etc and then I had I got pregnant with Lola and actually you know things were fine I didn’t have any triggers I felt really good it was all you know hunky-dory and so I kind of thought wow you know that’s great I then fell pregnant with my second child who is now 15 weeks old and that was a different story, actually. I had some thoughts and some feelings come up. I had some uncomfortable feelings.

I had a lot of triggers. I struggled. I think with my first, I actually didn’t… She was quite a small baby. I was very active throughout it. I felt good. With my second, I had some strong urges to binge, like really binge. Like I got those, if you’ve been a binge eater, you will understand what I’m saying, where you get that urge to just really, really go for it. And it’s quite common if you have had like eating disorders or like, you know, difficult disordered eating to have relapses and for things to come up. So I had to get super present and I had to get really real and I had to accept it.

You know, just because I do the job that I do, it’s, you know, I shouldn’t just assume, well I shouldn’t be having this, I’m done, I’m clear, I help people. I had to accept, oh this is coming up for me again, right, let’s go back to basics, let’s work through this, here we go, and pull on all my tools and all my knowledge and experience to get me through it.

Ryann

What do you think was the difference between pregnancy one and two that was so triggering in two?

Elle

Do you know what? I don’t know. I really, really don’t know. I’ve wondered this. I’ve definitely, I definitely, you know, I would say I gained more weight on my second, but you know, marginally. So it could have been a little bit of a trigger for that, but I didn’t feel those types. I didn’t feel like the feelings were to do with weight actually. I think it could be due with hormones and sometimes these things just aren’t, they’re just not explained and if you, and it’s the same with just general life, like sometimes you’ll go through something that’s really stressful and it might not trigger old things for you and then you might go through very similar stresses at a different time and it does trigger old things for you. So I kind of just didn’t dwell too much on it. I didn’t have the answers. I couldn’t find the answers. So just had to work through it.

Ryann

I so appreciate you saying that even though you do this work you struggled because I know that that is something that I feel sometimes and I have to like catch that mean girl voice that says you know, you you help other people you can’t be struggling and I think that like, this is the reality of this journey and it ebbs and flows. And I always say, just because I’m a therapist doesn’t mean that I live this perfect lifestyle and I don’t do these behaviors. I just have a better understanding as to why I’m doing them. But that doesn’t mean it makes it any easier to stop.

Elle

Yeah. Yeah, totally. I think like, you know, if doing the jobs we do, I think you can you know probably sit there and say I know I won’t go to the dark place I was at before but it doesn’t mean that you won’t get the thoughts and feelings and it doesn’t mean you don’t have to sit there and you know go back to basics and just You know do a little bit of the work again like you know just a little bit of bumper as you go.

Ryann

Yeah, okay, so Holy cow, I didn’t realize how fresh you just had a baby. So from there, how have you navigated going back to the diet culture of the gotta shred the post baby weight or gotta get rid of the baby weight? How have you navigated that in your own healing journey to kind of make sure that you don’t get caught up in that?

Elle

So with that and my advice to people is you cannot fight your body. You cannot fight what your body is naturally needs to do. And I did learn this with my first child. So I might have had an easy pregnancy with my first child, but I had a difficult breastfeeding journey and I’ve had the opposite of my second child. So I’ve actually had an easy breastfeeding journey but a difficult pregnancy. This is a great example of your body will do whatever it’s got to do. So when I had my first child I breastfed her. It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t working out, she wasn’t gaining weight.

I was also quite keen to get back to how I used to be before I had her and the harder I tried the more weight I gained and I wasn’t necessarily doing anything different about my diet but my body was holding on to as much fat as possible because it was trying to feed this child. So I was actually, I don’t know about the scales, I don’t weigh myself, but I was you know probably the same size five, six months down the line as I was when I was nine months pregnant with her because my body was holding on to everything it had to breastfeed.

And so that is the reason I’m giving this example is because when you have a baby, you just got to let your body take its natural course. It will do whatever it needs to do, especially if you are breastfeeding, you know, you’ve got to get there so much, you’ve got to give your child there, so much energy, you’re burning so many calories, so just take the pressure off yourself. So for me, for my second, I just said, right, let’s just play this out and see what happens.

And actually, I’ve kind of bounced back to where I was. I’ve taken all the stress off it. I’ve just done intuitive movement. I’ve enjoyed the movement I’m doing, and I’ve accepted, you know, I will eventually get to a place where I feel I was before or I feel happy in myself or, you know, more of my natural body weight. And by taking all the stress out of it and by stop focusing on it, it’s just really, really helped.

Ryann

Going off of that, I think it was in the Intuitive Eating book that I read the line that your body makes up for things on its own terms and not yours. And I remember reading that and it just flipped a switch in my brain for that is, that is it, that is it. Like at the end of the day, like whatever I decide doesn’t matter. My body, like my body decides my body’s decisions will outweigh mine every single time. And I use that as a way to just let go, as a way to set myself free as to, like, why am I putting so much effort into this? It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter because my body is gonna do what it needs to do every single time, no matter what I want, no matter what I want.

Elle

Yeah, absolutely, surrender. We are hardwired for survival Hardwired and you can’t fight that and you can’t really fight hormones either. So as females if you’re gonna Carry a baby for nine months birth a baby and potentially feed them Don’t fight whatever your body has got to do to get to make that happy Like that’s incredible. So yeah, like surrender to whatever your body needs to do at that time. And you know, that’s exactly what you’re saying. Like my years and years of restriction led to endless and endless binges. That was just my body forcing me to have a binge.

Ryann

Right.

Elle

Like you have to surrender to, you know, what your body needs to do, especially if you’re going through stress, anxiety, births, you know, surgery, you know, whatever it is.

Ryann

So post-baby, if somebody is really struggling with body image, they’re like, you know, I’m trying to do this work and my body has just changed so much and I’m just having a hard time. What are some things that you suggest to kind of help with post baby poor body image?

Elle

Several things, like when you are ready, movement is really good for your mental health. It is releasing those endorphins, getting out even if it is just for walks is gonna really help you. Secondly, nutrition does actually play a bit of a part in this. So as long as you’re eating well so that your body has enough energy to look after your kids, also you are lacking in a lot of sleep and when you’re tired, well exhausted, you will need more food and you will want to turn to sugary and you know foods that might not make you feel so good. So really do try and sort of plan and get in as much nutrients as possible and then the other side of it is doing like the self-care.

So have a huge amount of self-compassion for you and that can be hard if you’re really disliking your body you’re going to find affirmations really difficult. You should find gratitude a little bit easier, you know really focus on what’s gone on for you now, that the children that you have, you know that your body’s got through it. But yeah turn to affirmations, gratitude, self-compassion, self-care, gentle movement and like and gentle nutrition really with the affirmations if you’re struggling to say you know with conviction I am beautiful. I’m beautiful then just turn it into stuff like I’m on a journey But I’m doing so well like I’ve birthed a baby, and I’m getting better, and you know it’s you cut you don’t have to have them so and Please I like that. I’m on a journey.

Ryann

I like that. I’m on a journey. So any advice that you have or any thoughts or anything to just put out there for any mom on this journey with kiddos?

Elle

I mean there’s so much, depending on what whatever it is that you are struggling with with your children and the sort of I just go with like this the usual sort of objection I get is that people are really struggling with their kids with being fussy eaters. So if that is what’s going on for you, which is 50% of children are fussy eaters, so it probably is going on for you, especially if you’ve got more than one kid, is to just relax. You must relax. Your stress and your anxiety is probably causing your kid to be a fussy eater.

I actually did a workshop last night, a 90-minute workshop on raising intuitive eaters and I explained about all of this and I gave some people some ideas and some tools and literally tonight one of the girls has texted me with her son eating all of her food and saying oh my god this is the most like amazing meal time we’ve had and the tips are generally relax, make meal time fun, be a role model, sit with your children, eat with them, show them you’re eating a variety of food, make it a really lovely experience. And if they don’t eat it, it’s fine, they will make up for it the next day or the day after, they will. They have that ability within them.

Allow them to trust themselves. Kids don’t have much autonomy over anything, but they do over what they eat. So allow them to keep that, allow them to have the control, give them choices and you know don’t restrict because restriction will end in rebellion, it will end in more problems. So just try and let go and trust your kids and you mentioned earlier about the clearing your plate, you know all this is pushing that your kids against their natural hunger and fullness cues, you know imagine if you were sat there eating a pizza, you had three or four slices, you felt a bit sick and someone was saying you cannot leave until you have the rest of your pizza.

I mean that’s a form of torture, right? So what are you doing to your child by saying that? You’re torturing them. And they’re also going to pick up really unhealthy habits about overeating. So just relax. And like I said, don’t look at things day by day, look at them more like week by week and they you know it usually works out.

Ryann

So good okay so last thing I would love to do with you is I have some just speed-round questions for everybody to get to know you a little bit better so starting with I got a note where are you from okay are you originally from London?

Elle

I was born in London, but from a very, very young age, I moved south with my family, and we live in Devon, which is a south of England.

Ryann

Amazing. Okay, what is a snack you absolutely cannot live without?

Elle

Oh, peanut butter.

Ryann

Crunchy or smooth?

Elle

Oh, crunchy.

Ryann

And what do you like to put it on?

Elle

I like to put it on like rye vitas or rice cakes, and some warm sourdough.

Ryann

So good. Okay, fill in the blank. The thing I wait. Well, the thing I know way too much about is

Elle

Diets.

Ryann

Does that get quieter though?

Elle

Yeah, good to know.

Ryann

What is your number one beauty product?

Elle

My primer.

Ryann

What kind you use?

Elle

I’m on Laura Mercier at the moment.

Ryann

So good. You just won a contest and now you get an endless supply of a product of your choice. What would you choose?

Elle

Oh, I think it’d be a deep hair conditioner.

Ryann

I thought you were gonna say peanut butter. What is your favorite way to move your body?

Elle

Boxing.

Ryann

I haven’t done that yet. I’ve been kind of scared, but I’ve heard good things.

Elle

Yeah, yeah. I mean, I’m no good at it, and I don’t do it often at all, but when I do get to your boxing class, oh, it feels so good.

Ryann

So fun. How do you take your coffee?

Elle

Soy cappuccino.

Ryann

Okay. And how many alarms do you snooze before you get up in the morning?

Elle

I don’t need an alarm. I have a 14-week-old baby. I don’t need an alarm a long time.

Ryann

And last question, what does food freedom mean to you?

Elle

It means being able to eat without any shame, any guilt, any sort of moral dilemma, and to be able to be in tune with my body and honor what is fullness and hunger.

Ryann

So beautiful, Elle, thank you so much for all of that. Where can everybody find you, connect with you, learn more from you?

Elle

Yes, so Instagram will be the place to go. So it’s IamElleMace on Instagram. I do also have a very poor performing TikTok account so we won’t worry about that. Just stick with Instagram.

Ryann

So good and I will have all of those linked in the show notes below. Thank you so much again. This was amazing.

Elle

Oh, thank you very much. I loved being here.

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.