86. Abbie Stasior, RD, @abbie.stasior: How To Stay *Healthy* In Social Settings
Podcast

086. How To Stay *Healthy* In Social Settings ft. Abbie Stasior, RD; @abbie.stasior

June 22, 2022

Ryann Nicole

Hi, Iā€™m Ryann.

Your Not-So-Average Food Freedom Therapist & Virtual Coach. As a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Certified Nutritionist with a BA in Psychology, and a MA in Professional Counseling, yes I do a little of the "so how does that make you feel".

But my ultimate goal is to provide you with the resources you need, in an easy-to-understand way, on healing your disordered relationship with food and your body. 

TOp categories
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Binge Eating

Healthy Habits

Body Image

Emotional Eating

Mental Health 


Connect with Abbie

šŸ“² Instagram: @abbie.stasior

šŸ“² Tiktok: @abbie.stasior

šŸ–„ Website: Check Out Abbie’s Freebies 

Episode Transcript

Ryann

Hello, everybody. Welcome back to the Food Freedom Lab. I am so excited about today’s guest. I have Abbie here, and you will see very quickly that Abbie and I have very similar tastes. I’m going to start with the food freedom lab. I am so excited about today’s guest. I have Abbie here, and you will see very quickly that Abby and I have very similar tastes. I’m going to start with the food freedom lab. I am so excited about today’s guest. I have Abbie here, and you will see very quickly that Abbie and I have very similar energy. So I just know that this is going to be just a really fun episode. So Abbie, thank you so much for taking the time to come on. I am, I’m so excited to chat with you.

Abbie

I’m so excited too, Ryann. Thank you. Thank you so much for having me.

Ryann

Oh, yay. Okay. So let’s just dive into it. I would love to know for anybody that doesn’t know you yet. What’s your story? Why did you want to become a registered dietitian and how did you get to where you are today?

Abbie

Yeah, so I actually didn’t originally want to be a registered dietitian. I kind of fell into it. Oh, sorry. So I was always planning on going to medical school. I come from a whole family line of physicians and surgeons, and I had taken the MCAT twice, literally was ready to go to medical school. And I was like, this just isn’t aligning for me. I was working as a medical scribe at the time while I was applying. And I realized, I’m like, you know, I have helped to schedule way too many toe amputations, because people’s diabetes is so far out of control. I want to be on the preventive side of things. I really want to help people mitigate their risk from developing all these chronic conditions at the end of their life.

And I don’t just want to be giving out medications or tracking people with blood work. I want to help people with lifestyle changes that they can make, make it easy, because what’s easy is sustainable and hopefully that will mitigate their risk. So that’s when I started looking into a bunch of options. What could I do? How could I be on the preventive side of things. So I started health coaching, hired a business coach to help me flesh out my business model. And that was great. I mean, it just totally took off. And I was marking myself on Facebook and Instagram at the time. This was pre-TikTok, the pre-TikTok era.

And I just got to a point where I’m like, this is great. We’re, I’m working with so many clients, I’m making a difference, but it still doesn’t feel aligning. Like I want to go back to school. So that’s when I started my master’s at Columbia. So my Columbia University right now, I’m getting my master’s in nutrition and exercise physiology. And it’s one of the only programs in the country that does both. And I was like, well, people need both. They need nutrition and exercise support. And so it’s funny because they were like, well, it’s just a few extra classes and just a little internship and you can become a registered dietitian. I’m like, okay. I was like blindly signing my name on the dotted line. And it’s not a little internship to be a registered dietitian. So I am in the process of that. I graduate in May and I will start my dietetic internship next year to be an RD.

Ryann

Oh, that is so exciting. Congrats, by the way. I know that that is not an easy thing. I am a therapist, not a registered dietitian. So it’s a different track, but I do know for my other registered dietitian friends, oh my God, it’s definitely a long deal. And thank God for that, so that you can be completely educated in every way that you know. And from there, what I picked up on what you said, which I really love is you went into lifestyle stuff. It wasn’t, okay, we need to work on their weight. It was, let’s work on behaviors. Let’s work on lifestyle. Tell me more about that.

Abbie

Yeah, absolutely. I, you know, healthy lifestyle to me is, my company name is B about being better. So I always believe we can be striving for a higher level of success and we can be bettering ourselves, but we can’t do that unless we’re loving and appreciating ourselves at every stage of the journey. So if you’re going in just focused on hitting a number on the scale, you’re really shaming yourself for where you are right now. And it’s probably gonna lead you to do things like diet, over-exercise, restrict your calories, do some sort of crazy juice cleanse, whatever it is that will be causing harm to your body, not showing love, appreciation, and respect for your body because you’re trying to do whatever you can to chase this number.

So right from the get-go, I was like, this just doesn’t seem like the best, most gentle way to go about bettering yourself sustainably because it’s not, at some point, you’re gonna burn out. So I was very sustainability focused and the book Atomic Habits. I always come back to that. It’s like, how could you just be 1% better every day, but also calling out your wins. What are you already doing well? So that combination gets you away from just focusing on number on scale, just focusing on weight loss and focusing on the actual lifestyle.

Ryann

So if somebody is really unhappy with what they look like today, they’re just not in a positive state of mind, self-love is completely out of reach. How do you help someone get from, I really hate myself and I really hate my body, to I’m gonna start doing things out of respect, love, and care?

Abbie

Yeah, we have to start small. Literally, that is every client that I work with that comes to me and they’re just like, I hate how I look, in the pandemic I gained 40 pounds, you know, I’m in this new relationship, I don’t feel sexy, like, what do I do? I don’t wanna diet anymore. I don’t wanna sign up for Weight Watchers or Noom. It’s like, I’ve done those things already. I know that it doesn’t work, what can I do? And they’re just at such a low, we have to start small. And honestly, with most of my clients, it’s like, let’s just start with water. And it’s so simple. And sometimes my clients will say in the beginning, they’re like, I feel like I’m not doing enough.

Ryann

Yeah

Abbie

You’re used to these programs where you’re going all out and you’re doing all of the things. It’s like, you know, one of the biggest differences between, you know, what I help people with and what other diet programs do is that they will tell you, okay, here’s the meal plan, here’s the workouts, and you basically have to change your whole life, change your social calendar to check all the boxes to be successful with this. And if you check all the boxes and you do what you need to do, then you will see results. And if you don’t check all the boxes, then you probably won’t see results, and that’s your fault. And they make you feel like the failure. So the way I go about it, I just totally flip that on its head and I say, okay, you tell me what your schedule is.

You tell me what your barriers are and what your crazy hours are, or how picky of an eater your kid is and all the things that are obstacles in your way holding you back and what your schedule is. And I work with you, how do we weave healthy habits into that so that it’s easier? Because yes, your health needs to be a priority, but it can’t be the only thing that you focus on. When you’re on a crazy diet doing all the things, it’s like you don’t have time to go out with friends. So you feel like, oh, I can’t go out with friends because I’m just, I have to eat this certain way. And it’s really restricting, it can be very isolating. So you have to flip that around and try and figure out, okay, what is, I know that given my schedule, I can’t do everything for my health all the time, my health can’t be my main priority because we have relationships, we have careers, we have family, we have so many other things going on. How can we make it one of my many priorities and how could I do something for my health knowing that I can’t do everything?

Ryann

So well said, and I think that really starts with redefining the way that we define health. So how do you define health?

Abbie

Yeah, health is, I’ve always tried to expand my definition of health before. I’ll be honest, it really was nutrition and exercise, what you’re eating and how you’re moving your body. But we have to expand that to mental, emotional, as well as physical, spiritual health, and so many different healthy habits. How we manage stress, that plays a part in our health, our sleep, and the quality of our friendships, what personal development we’re leaning into, like, what are we listening to? So I think it all plays a role, which I think can be really comforting for clients when they’re coming in, they just feel so low and they’re like, I’m too busy to keep up with anything, I don’t know how I can be healthy. And it’s like, well, there’s so many ways to be healthy.

So if you can’t prep your meals this week and nutrition, maybe it will be a wash or you’re on vacation and you can’t really exercise. Well, you’re out of your normal routine. That’s okay. Could you still drink water? Could you still prioritize sleep? Could you still write down three things that you’re grateful for? Could you still, you know, unplug from your phone and be present in conversation with the people that you’re with. Those are all things that, in my opinion, are involved in the definition of health. Yeah. So why do you start with water and how do you start with water? I just think it’s one of the easiest things. And I find that most people are chronically dehydrated.

Ryann

Guilty. I’m guilty, so give me some tips.

Abbie

This is my water bottle. It is a full gallon. And I don’t drink the full gallon every day because it ends up being too much. But I do think that this is this water bottle is actually very motivating because it’s got the times when where you should be. So you can kind of see how off you are, has a little inspirational quotes on the side. And I love it that it’s big. It’s in my line of vision. So I think that’s and I love it. I love carrying this thing around whenever I bring my water bottle to class or I’m at a coffee shop, so people always comment on it. It’s a great conversation starter. It’s amazing. So I definitely recommend getting a water bottle that you actually like, and preferably one with a straw. So all of my clients-

Ryann

Agree.

Abbie

They can attest. There’s something about having a straw where you just consume more water at a time. So I think, I start with water because it’s easy. Most people need it. And honestly, that’s one of the healthy habits where people know like, I could be doing better in that area and it seems attainable. People know that they probably could be exercising more, moving their bodies in a different way, and not overdoing it, or they know that they can tune up nutrition, but sometimes those, it’s a larger barrier for entry. Like, you have to start small.

Like, it’s pretty easy to drink a little bit more water every day, or maybe it’s not even drinking more water, just cutting back on the caffeinated beverages or the sugar-sweetened beverages that you’re having. It’s like just making that swap can make people feel better. And honestly, people feel less bloated, they feel more energized. There’s an instant reward with it. So it’s easy, instant reward, and that gets people to buy in. Like, I can do this. And they want to, they’re more motivated to keep going with the lifestyle.

Ryann

And I would say going off of that, I mean, that is really starting this routine situation where it’s like, I’m implementing some kind of routine after my life has felt chaotic for so long. And I know you’re really big on routine. So talk to us about your thought process around routines, why routines matter, why they’re actually really productive.

Abbie

Oh, I love routines. This is like one of my favorite things to talk about. And I love customizing them with clients. So my formula, my be about being better method for routines starts with this. You need to write down three things that you want to feel starting your first commitment of the day. I figure out what that is. And it might be different versus a weekday versus a weekend. So we’ve got different things going on. But how do you want to do? You want to feel confident, calm, prepared, energized, relaxed, at peace, empowered. How do you want to feel? And then your morning routine becomes, it’s not just this whole checklist of things that you’re doing, you’re going through the motions, checking the boxes. No, it’s very intentional. And it doesn’t need to be a long list of things. I think people have this, quote unquote, that girl image in their head where they’re doing so many things in the morning. Doesn’t have to be a super long list. It does not need to look like a CVS receipt.

Like, yeah. It can be just one or two very intentional things that will allow you to generate the feelings that you want to feel starting your first commitment for the day. So first we have to figure out how you want to feel, and then we can reverse engineer. Okay, great. What are those few things are? And you know, that’s where it looks different for every single person. Because some people are like, I really want to feel energized and confident and what would make me feel that way would be getting a workout in the morning.

Then there’s some clients who are like, hell no, I’m not working out in the morning, but nice try. It would make me feel more confident if I listened to a podcast or I just put on a good playlist and I was making my breakfast listening to something. So, and who knows, maybe people are listening to this podcast while they’re getting ready in the morning. So it’s totally different for each person. And I also think that the order matters. So, what I do personally, although it doesn’t necessarily matter what I’m doing, you want to find what’s best for you, but I realized I did some trial and, I don’t like to say trial and error anymore. I’m really trying to be intentional, trial and correction.

Ryann

Oh!

Abbie

I know, me and my team were like, you know, we decided we really wanted to make that shift with clients, because we’re like, we’re not failing and everything is feedback and we want to, you know, be about being better and like, that would just be a better way to say it. So I was doing some trial and correction with my morning routine. I’m like, okay, I’m realizing that I’m not getting the most out of my journaling and meditation Because I’m doing it right when I get up and I’m still half asleep and groggy So I’m just writing down things like I’m grateful for you know My family or the fact that I live in New York City or my health, but just very basic things like no I want to be more intentional about what I’m grateful for not just go through the motions and I was basically falling asleep during meditation.

What I realized is I actually have to get up, work out in the morning, get my energy up, wake myself up, but then I have all this energy, let’s hone it in. Let’s harness it by doing intentional journaling and meditation and then starting my day. So that’s a better energy flow for me. But then there are some clients that are like, no, it actually works better for me to wake myself up. Let’s start with a little journal. Let’s start with, you know, a breathing practice or something to ramp myself up and then I’m ready for a workout and then I’m ready for my day. So you have to follow the energy and be intentional about what’s gonna work best for you. And then working back to your evening routine, your evening routine is kind of twofold. You have to have something to bookend your day and really wind down, but you also wanna prepare for the morning.

So it’s like, what could you do in the evening to make it so easy for you to succeed in the morning, just make it seamless. So you almost run out of excuses. Like, okay, well, I can’t not work out because literally my sneakers and my clothes are right there. Or I can’t not eat breakfast because I already have it prepped. It’s just so easy for me to pull out the overnight oats or whatever it is. So it’s like part of your evening routine needs to be those tangible things to help you out in the morning and that your future self will thank you for. But then also, once you’re done with those tangible things, like let’s unplug and let’s do something that is relaxing for you, that will wind you down for the day and help you sleep better.

Ryann

I love that. And I love with your first intention of how do you wanna feel? Because I feel like that is the first thing that we lose sight of when we are unhappy with our bodies and unhappy with ourselves. And we start these different diet plans or ways of eating, thinking that this is going to change my life, this is going to make me feel better. And we lose sight of the fact that those are the things that are actually making us feel terrible. I mean, the things that I used to do, thinking that this was going to make me feel better and happier and more alive, sucked all of that out of me. And I started doing things that were completely opposite of that. Like if my intention is to feel more energized and then I start restricting food groups or cutting out calories or, you know, killing myself in the gym, that doesn’t help me feel more energized. So I love that focus on feeling and it’s just so powerful.

Abbie

Yeah, it is. And it’s something that you can customize and meet yourself where you are. Like if you’re looking at your schedule and like, okay, I have three different mornings to some days I start my morning earlier, sometimes I start it later. And then we have the weekend. You could have three different versions of that, that are allowing you to still show up how you want to show up and feel how you want to feel, but it just looks different every day. And it gets you to focus on yourself because when you are focused on dieting or these different, you know, restrictions or extremes, you’re so focused on the external and we’re ignoring our body’s cues. So this gets you in the habit of focusing back on yourself and giving to yourself and what’s gonna make me feel good and making yourself the priority.

Ryann

I love that. So going off of that, as we are women and we have cycles and that changes our energy and our mood and what we wanna feel, I mean, how does that play into this?

Abbie

So there’s certain times in the month, a lot of people think that you’re either on your period or off your period. And that is just not true. There’s actually four distinct phases of the menstrual cycle. And our hormones fluctuate by 25% throughout those four phases. And, you know, on average about 28 days, some people it’s a little bit shorter, sometimes it’s a little bit longer. And 25% for our neurochemicals to change and our hormones to change, that is significant. So we’re not necessarily showing up with the same level of energy, feeling the same way, having the same emotions or different cravings for things every day throughout the month. So it doesn’t make sense to be doing the same things, exercising the same way, eating the same way, every day throughout the month, because our body’s just totally different.

And our hormones control so much about our bodies. I mean, our mood, our energy levels, our metabolism, how we build muscle, our libido, like there’s just so many different things. So it’s important that you’re catering your lifestyle to the fluctuations of your hormones. So, you know, some people will tell me, I know that I have felt this too, where you’ll do really, maybe it’s a HIIT workout or a cardio workout and you’ll feel so energized after, but then maybe if you go back to that class, you do that same workout a couple of weeks later, you feel totally depleted. And it wasn’t as energizing as you remember it to be. And that’s probably because your hormones have changed, your energy levels are different, that might not be the best workout for that specific phase and it’s actually doing more harm than good.

Ryann

Yeah, and I think that, I mean, that really goes back to the body reconnection and just understanding you and knowing that it’s not a cookie cutter thing, like you say, okay, like this is gonna be different for you and how you feel, if you love working out in the morning, great workout in the morning. If you don’t, that’s not going to work for you. And just reconnecting back to our bodies. I know that that’s something that I just learned about because I was definitely the gal that was like on my period, off my period. And then I read the book, Do Less and it’s so good. And I was like, Oh my gosh, like the conversation about changing our lifestyle and understanding how we work differently at different times of our phases was so eye-opening to me. And I was like, why is this never taught? Especially in health class.

Abbie

It’s never taught. And honestly, I always saw my period growing up as like, oh, this is an inconvenience. Oh, I’m gonna be a wash this week. I’m not gonna get anything. I get my best work done during PMS, during my period, because I save specific tasks for different phases in my cycle. I try and be cognizant of when am I doing front-facing work, when am I batching content, when am I going to be in a podcast interview at the beginning of my cycle, but then I save a lot of my admin and honestly a lot of homework. I try and batch a lot of those things back off this admin where I don’t have to be so when I’m naturally a little bit more lower vibe.

And I kind of want to be a recluse and I want to do admin work. I don’t want to be talking. But yeah, you’ll have energy because I’m just naturally an energetic person and I have habits and a lifestyle that supports that. But it just naturally the hormones were not, even if you’re an extroverted person, you tend to be a little bit more introverted and you prefer those things later in the month as you’re getting closer to your period and when you are actually bleeding. So I have changed my work schedule and what tasks I do at that time. And it’s made me a hundred percent more productive.

Ryann

Yeah, and I think going off of that, it can help reduce some of the shame and kind of the, what’s wrong with me? When you do go back to that workout and you’re like, I’m just not feeling it. Or when you are hungrier or when you are like having trouble planning things and you want to just chill out at home. It can be like, okay, like I understand.

Abbie

Yes, yes. I understand what my body is feeling right now and how you can make your body feel better. So it’s like, yes, you can still work out when you’re on your period or when you’re PMSing, but maybe just don’t be lifting heavy weights. Maybe lighten up the weights, do higher rep, or do a Pilates workout, or go for a walk, or do yoga, something else. So it can have you be really intentional about what you’re doing, and like you said, not feel guilt or shame for not being able to do the same thing day in and day out all month long.

Ryann

Totally, and I think that really goes back to our routines of focusing on how do I want to feel today? Like you said, love that. And I would love to take that a step further and ask, how could setting up a routine actually be really productive and healing our relationship with food and our bodies?

Abbie

Mm, mm-hmm, yes. So I, it gives you, a lot of people will restrict their calories or diet or do these things because they’re looking for control. They’re looking for certainty. They’re looking for consistency. So you can get that in a routine. You don’t have to be depriving yourself of nutrients because I think if anyone’s listening to this podcast right now, we know our body needs the food. Our body was made to use this as fuel and we really do need it. So when you have routines and things that you can control, not only will these routines make you feel better, but it will give you that grounding feeling and that level of certainty like, okay, regardless of what happened yesterday, I have something that can help me refocus and recenter myself today. Especially if your routines are set up in a way where you’re thinking about, okay, how do I want to feel first? And what am I going to do in my routine that’s going to generate those feelings? You just already have these tools in your toolbox and the automatic pattern for following through on those things that will help you reset and give you that grounding, that certainty and level of control.

Ryann

Totally, and I think even pushing forward when it’s like our mind wants to go back into old behaviors and we’re implementing this new routine of, okay, I binged and my old mechanism is to go back to restricting, but my routine is I’m going to eat breakfast, I’m going to drink some water, I’m going to take care of my body. When I can focus on that new routine, that can be very empowering and continuing pushing forward in this process.

Abbie

Yes, because you’re not thinking about what you did yesterday, you’re just moving forward another day, another day goes on.

Ryann

Yeah. Yeah, definitely. So going off of that, something that I definitely wanted to dive in with Abbie, because this is something that I know you guys ask me about a lot is how do I remain on this journey of recovery or how do I continue my healthy lifestyle in social settings when it’s a little bit more difficult to be mindful or maybe drinks are involved or maybe I’m out of my routine on vacation. So Abbie, give us some tips on that. I have so many tips. I feel like, you know, when you’re trying to have a sustainable, healthy lifestyle, you have to factor these things in. So normally when I have a new group of clients, this is the first call I do. How do you stay healthy at restaurants and in social settings?

Abbie

So I have so many tips for this. The first thing that I will recommend is that we have to break this cycle of being quote unquote, so good. And so on the wagon Monday through Friday, and then we’re just completely off during the weekend. We can’t have it be such a stark difference. We need healthy habits woven into our weekend and we need fun treat meals, things that maybe previously we would have labeled as quote unquote unhealthy in our week so that things are a little bit more mixed. So I try and have my clients, you know, think about this and, you know, 80, 20 balance. And people have all different definitions and you can use an 80, 20 balance in a million different contexts.

But if 80% of the time you are, you know, eating the nutrient dense foods and you are following through on healthy habits, you’re prioritizing sleep, managing your stress, doing your routines, drinking water, like all the good things that make us, like all the healthy habits, all the health behaviors that we want to do. If you’re doing those like 80% of the time, and then 20% of the time we’re having more calorically dense food, we’re having fun, we’re maybe not super consistent with our routines, like the things that we maybe we would typically do on the weekend. If we can bring some of that 20% into Monday through Friday and some of the 80% into the weekend, you’ll be starting off super strong.

Because there’s gonna be instances where you go out two plus meals out of the day and you’re not cooking that much at home, but could you still get a workout in? Could you still hit your water goal? Could you still prioritize sleep or do some of your morning routine before you have that whole day that maybe isn’t super nutrient dense. You are picking other healthy habits.

Ryann

Yeah. Yeah.

Abbie

So I find it easier to do that on the weekend if you’ve already expanded your definition of health and see that being healthy is more than just nutrition and exercise.

Ryann

Absolutely. And I think it takes the, what is the word that I’m looking for? I guess these, these different foods on a pedestal, pedestal off during the weekend, where it’s like, if I know that I can have these on a regular basis and it’s not like, oh my gosh, this is a special, exciting weekend food. This is just ice cream. And ice cream is something that I can have when I want it. And this is just Mexican food. And I can have it when I want it. And it’s not like, oh my gosh, it’s Friday. And this is the only time that I get to go out and I get to enjoy these foods. It’s like, wait a minute, like I can have these all the time because I have them on a regular basis. So it’s no longer this, got to get it all in now, or, oh my gosh, I never get these flavors. So my brain is exploding with dopamine. It’s like, this is delicious and I’m going to enjoy it, honor my signals and move on.

Abbie

Absolutely. That’s why I love like Taco Tuesday or Thursdays because it gives you, you know, an excuse to leave some of that 20%, the fun foods, things that we don’t have that maybe we’re restricting ourselves, depriving ourselves in the past into our week. And I also think it’s important to note that, you know, one meal, one weekend, like it’s not gonna totally derail us. I think sometimes we get so hysterical and we work up these meals and how it makes us feel and how it’s gonna ruin our progress or make us gain so much weight and it’s really not gonna derail you. It’s really just one meal and the next day is gonna come along and there’s things that you can do for your healthy habits the next day. And that everything’s gonna be okay.

Ryann

Oh my gosh, totally. And we think about it as a biological response and we take it away from food and put it on something like sleep, for example, if you have a day where you just are really tired or you just have a day off and you feel like sleeping and you have a ton of sleep or you sleep like maybe 11 or 12 hours instead of eight, you wake up the next day and you’re like, okay, like there’s no shame. It’s just, okay, I might have a harder time going to sleep tonight, but that’s it.

Abbie

Yeah, yeah, exactly. Exactly. So it’s not going to derail us. Life still goes on. So that’s where I think we have to not so much zoom in on the specific foods that we’re eating and warn specific people, can we zoom out and just look at the context of the whole week and be like, okay, in general, I was doing pretty good. And next week, can I be 1% better?

Ryann

Totally. Abbie, what about drinking?

Abbie

Oh, yes. So, it’s so individualized what you do. And I would just encourage everyone to go into drinking socially with the mindset that nothing is a failure, everything is feedback. So you might go to an Italian restaurant, for example, and you are maybe excited for this date or you’re excited to try this new restaurant. I mean, I live in New York City, I’m always excited, I’m such a foodie here. I’m excited to try this new restaurant. You’re saving all of your calories for one meal, which I do not recommend. But say you do that, so you’re having the bread, you get a bottle of wine, you’re already starting in with that, and then at the time, you want to get a pasta dish, and you finish that bottle of wine, maybe you go have a nightcap or whatever it is, the next day you were feeling so sluggish, bloated, guilty for what you ate and drank and just not feeling good.

So that is not a failure, that is all feedback for you. Like, okay, that combination of food and drink did not agree with my system and I don’t feel optimal the next day. But you also might feel totally fine and be like, okay. And you also might feel like, I don’t feel optimal right now, but it was still worth it to me. And I was present with the people that I was with and the food was delicious and it was just one meal. I’m gonna move on with the rest of my day. So you kind of have to have those conversations with yourself and figure out like, okay, if you’re in the boat where, okay, having three glasses of wine, plus the bread, plus the pasta, like all of these things wasn’t agreeing with my system. And I just, I don’t want to drink that much, or I don’t wanna have all of that combination of food and drink and all the carbohydrates in one sitting, then, you know, that is feedback for next time where you could course correct.

It’s not that you need to cut out alcohol entirely. It’s not that you don’t need to order the pasta dish, but it’s just being intentional. And I feel like sometimes my clients, I’m like those alcohol edu classes that you take in college where they’re like, have water in between drinks and one drink per hour, not that you have to only drink one drink per hour. But I do think loop like having an alcoholic beverage, and then having a glass of water and then just seeing how you feel and enjoying your food. I think that’s the just taking it slow. But when we think I need to drink so fast, or, oh my God, I’m so hungry, I didn’t eat anything all day, and, or, oh, you know, I’ll get drunk faster and I won’t have to order as many drinks if I drink this on an empty stomach or before my food comes out. And it’s like, well, at that point, you’re probably too drunk, you’re not gonna be making good decisions. You’re probably gonna end up eating more food than you probably need in one sitting, not being in touch with your hunger and fullness cues and ordering more alcoholic beverages. We just lose our lack of judgment.

Ryann

Can you tell us more about that? Like just because I feel like knowledge is power, especially with this, like kind of explaining to us what happens in the body, like hunger wise, when we are consuming more alcoholic beverages.

Abbie

Hmm. So when you’re having more alcohol, I mean, your inhibition is just totally, totally down and so you’re not able to be in touch with your, your fullness cues necessarily, and it can affect your hunger hormones where ghrelin, your hunger hormone can, you know, increase. And the next day you end up craving more carbohydrates at that point. Our body just kind of needs more of that to supplement. So with different neuropeptides changing and your hunger hormones increasing, it fools the body. And with our inhibitions down and our lack of judgment, alcohol really does kind of numb our prefrontal cortex, which is where we make the majority of our good decisions and the judgment center of the brain. You know, you’re just, you’re not cognitively all there making the best decisions, even though consciously you might think that you’re making good decisions.

So I always find that it’s best if you wanna be, you know, quote unquote healthy in a social setting. If you could make as many decisions beforehand, especially if you are kind of new to intuitive eating, you feel like you can’t fully trust your body because you have such a history with dieting or binging and restricting. So if you’re really new to all of this, I find that it’s helpful for clients to make decisions beforehand and figure out, okay, tonight I’m just going to try having one glass of wine, see how I feel. Or I’m just going to go in with two. Or I’m going to look up the menu to the restaurant beforehand and pick this dish.

So that you just have that concretely and you’re not swayed by what other people are ordering, or what smells good at the restaurant, and you’re able to be present with the people that you’re with, not trying to hold a conversation while looking through this huge menu, while also trying to be in tune with, okay, what do I feel like? What am I hungry for? It’s like, if you can make all of those decisions outside of the restaurant, you will make better decisions there and feel better, and you won’t have all of these lasting effects of alcohol.

Ryann

Yeah, I super appreciate you sharing that with us because I know that it’s so easy to go into what’s wrong with me, like why do I drink and then I eat all of this food or why am I fine until I drink and then all of a sudden I wanna eat everything that isn’t nailed down and I think that it can be really helpful in understanding this actually has nothing to do with you and more so to do with what is happening in your body when alcohol is consumed and the fact that yeah, alcohol is a depressant which means that it slows everything in your brain down and it doesn’t matter what you want. Like we just can’t, we just can’t control that. And so I think that when we have that understanding going into it, especially if you guys are in recovery, knowing that, okay, like when I have drinks, it’s going to slow that judgment down, which means that if I’m still using any willpower control throughout the week on my food, then that’s gonna go right out the window the minute I have a drink.

Abbie

Yes, exactly, exactly. And you’re just gonna say, screw it, I don’t care. I’m sick of controlling everything and I’m just gonna do what I feel. And your body is sending you different signals to crave things more than others. Technically, carbohydrates.

Ryann

Totally, oh my gosh. Abbey, I feel like I could chat with you all day, but for interest of time, for anybody who is listening and wants to have a better relationship with food and body and just really step into this healthier lifestyle with health as a definition that you provided in the beginning, what are three super simple action steps that they can take in this moment?

Abbie

Hmm, I’ll drink more water. No. No, but other tangible things. I think you have to develop a journaling practice. I really do. You need that quiet time with yourself. You need to be grateful for the things that you have in your life. It will give you perspective. It is impossible to be like fully grateful and really feeling those effects and any other negative emotion. 100% quickly changes your perspective. So I definitely recommend having a gratitude practice and some sort of journaling. And I think if you could be journaling about different things about your body, one exercise that my clients absolutely love is this body timeline exercise, where you go through and you, from the present all the way back to, you know, as far as you can remember, all of the different life events that your body has been through, and you’re still standing now in the present.

You’ve made it through all of those things. And if you zoom out and you’re like, wow, I just wrote all this out on paper, like years, decades, what my body has been through, you just develop such an appreciation for your body and you want to treat it with care. And it makes you realize like, wow, I haven’t been treating it with care. So it can be, it can be really motivated. The exercise is not supposed to make you feel guilty or shame for, you know, not appreciating it through the decades, but it can be motivating. Like now I have, now I’m aware. And now I can, you know, when we know better, we can do better. And once you have that self-awareness, then you can start to take action steps that are out of love, appreciation, and respect for your body.

And then the last thing I’ll say is that you have to also incorporate movement. I think, you know, you talk so much about food, so I’m sure people can, you know, as far as nutrition tips, definitely go to your content, keep listening to other episodes of the podcast. But, you know, I wanna loop in movement as well. I think we almost need to get away from considering exercise as just formal exercise and instead change it, could I get movement in a couple times a week or movement in daily so that you’re doing stuff that is lighter on the body, it gives you joy, it’s more convenient. Like if you don’t have time for a formal exercise strength training workout, could you stretch at your desk?

Could you get up every hour? Could you go for a walk at your lunch break? Could you do a YouTube yoga video? Something like that, or go to a dance class. I started taking ballet classes again in New York City, and it’s been so fun to supplement the other workouts that I do. It gives me so much joy. It’s expressive, and I’m like, wow, this is helping me improve my body image and just heal my relationship with my body because I’m moving in a way that’s fun. I’m getting out of my head into my body and I’m not working out to burn off calories or force. I’m working out and moving my body to have fun.

Ryann

I love that. I love that so much. And there is such a mindset shift that happens when you, and I’ve worked on this too, change the word exercise out for movement. It’s just a whole different vibe. It really is. And just like, okay, this isn’t something that I have to do but rather something that I get to do. And I think that with that as well, I really tried to take in some moments here and there because I definitely used to be a exercise punishment gal to take a time to just thank my body parts for what they allow me to do. And I think that that really helped me get to a place where maybe I didn’t love my body in that moment, but I was grateful for it.

I always say, you know, you don’t have to love your body to still be grateful for it. And I think that’s going off of like everything that you just said in the sense of, oh my gosh, thank you legs so much for allowing me to go to this Pilates class or to hike up this mountain and see this view that not everybody gets to see. Or thank you, arms, for allowing me to lift up all my groceries in one run so I don’t have to go back to the car. Like all of these little things where it’s like, thank you.

Abbie

And you realize when you lose it, I broke my, my leg was broken this time last year and I was so grateful for my body. And you know, at that time I’m like, oh, I really took my legs for granted at the time. But we don’t want to get to the point where we lose an ability or we lose something or we get a diagnosis to then be grateful and change us.

Ryann

This is totally off topic, but I have to know some of your book recommendations. Like give us like three of your faves.

Abbie

Okay, so Atomic Habits, if you haven’t read it already, definitely do that. Samantha Skelly’s Hungry for Happiness, love that. And she is like a breathwork facilitator. She’s super into like meditation and breathwork space. I’ve started to do her breathwork meditations. That has helped heal my relationship with my body, relationship with food, so much, like, wow, it really gets you out of your head, into your body and just loving and appreciating it. And it’s a more active meditation. So definitely recommend that. And that book is great because it has a lot of journaling prompts in there. And as far as a third one, I would say, Kelly, P-E-T-A, Kelly. That book is so great, but it talks about like manifestation, visualization, how do you become an energetic match for your goals?

How do you have more joy and happiness every day? And it also talks about financial abundance as well. And so it’s great. So, you know, we have some health books, but then, you know, some moments, because if you start feeling better every single day, you’re going to do the specific healthy habits for your physical health, because you’re gonna just feel so good, and you’re gonna wanna keep that up. You’re not gonna wanna do things that sabotage how you feel.

Ryann

Yeah, yeah. I’ll have all of those linked for you guys in the show notes, because I know you’re always asking for some more book recommendations and I know Abbie had some good ones. Abbie to wrap up today, just in honor of the Food Freedom Lab what does food freedom mean to you?

Abbie

Food freedom is eating, no restrictions, eating whatever you want, choosing with intention and enjoying the experience of eating again. So many people have gotten away from that but so if you experience food freedom, you’re eating those, even if it’s a calorically dense thing, you are enjoying that, you don’t feel guilt, you don’t feel shame, and you’re enjoying that. And yeah, that’s what it is.

Ryann

I love it. Abbie, where can everybody find you, connect with you, learn more from you?

Abbie

Instagram and TikTok. So abbie.stasior, S-T-A-S-I-O-R.

Ryann

Yay! And I’ll have all of those linked in the show notes as well. Thank you so much again. Oh my gosh. This is one that I will definitely let everybody know to grab a notebook for and I just really appreciate you taking the time.

Abbie

Aw, thank you, Ryann. I really appreciate you interviewing me. Thanks.

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