118. Ask me anything!! Open Q&A with you all LIVE

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Ryann Nicole

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Ryann

Hello, hello. I hope you’re having a great day. Let’s get everybody in here. Amazing! So many friends! I love it. I need to send Isabel. Oh no Isabel is here. Isabel I was like I never sent you the link. I am back. I have Isabel on with us today. She is going to be helping me kind of keep everything organized and asking the questions that you guys have, and then I’ll be answering it. So today what we’re going to do is, this is literally just an open Q&A, whatever you want to do to pick my brain, I am here, I am yours, whatever you need. And Isabel is going to keep everything organized so that we don’t miss anything. And then after this call, I will have the replay available for you, but we also will have a running doc. So if you would prefer to just read the questions or if you just want to go back to the questions and just see what I have right now, I’ll have that available for you as well.

Something else that I wanted to mention, because I know a ton of you are here and probably have so many questions, to keep this as efficient as possible, if you guys ask a question that I either have a podcast on or a blog post on, what I’m going to do is I’m just going to have us link that podcast or that blog post after this so that I can make sure that I can answer as many questions as possible. Hey, no worries. So just make sure really quickly that you change your chat to say everybody, so everybody can see your questions. And then we will just go ahead and begin. So whatever is on your mind, whatever you want to ask me, I want to start with your questions. And then once we go through all of your questions, I’ll go over to the doc that we have for the people that cannot be here and we will answer those questions. Cameras are off for everybody. Yeah, this is just commenting the questions in the chat and then I’ll answer them live. So, don’t worry about muting yourself or that you’re on. Don’t worry about it. Well, while you guys are typing, Isabel, do you want to just start with the doc then?

Isabel

Sure. So, the first one is reaching out for help and support from loved ones and would love to hear your advice or suggestions.

Ryann

Mm-hmm. This is tough because the thing that we need to recognize when it comes to reaching out for support for loved ones is that not everybody’s going to understand, right? And so sometimes when it comes to reaching out for support and sharing with somebody else that you are struggling and you need help, it’s setting that boundary of, this is what is going on with me, and I’m not necessarily looking for feedback, I just am looking for either a listening ear or support. So for example, when I told my mom, who has never struggled with binge eating, I said that word for word, I was like, here’s what is going on with me, I know you don’t understand, I’m not looking for feedback, I just need you to help me find help. So I think first and foremost, let’s make sure that this person is a safe person that you are going to, that’s not going to make you feel worse about what’s going on.

And if you don’t have that person, you know, you always have us, you always have this community for support. But when you do have that person, I would highly recommend starting with that boundary. And then based on how they respond to that, you can let them in a little bit more to how they can support you and sharing with them ways that they can support you. I also have some resources on my blog, which I will have us attach after this, that is how they can support you. If you’re like, I don’t know what to tell them how they can support me, you can just send them that article and be like, read this, and that’ll be a great place to start.

Isabel

Okay. Should I do the next one here?

Ryann

Yeah.

Isabel

Okay. How do I deal with the fear of gaining weight and actually gaining weight during recovery?

Ryann

Such a good question. Who relates to that? So how do you get over the fear of gaining weight? Now, the thing that we need to acknowledge when it comes to the fear or overcoming the fear of gaining weight is that overcoming the fear of gaining weight and gaining weight are not the same thing, right? You don’t need to actually gain weight to overcome your fear of gaining weight, just like you don’t need to crash in a plane to get over your fear of flying. And so I think that going into it by acknowledging that this, I have no idea what’s going to happen to my body, but as long as I continue to live in fear of my body changing, food is going to be a forever struggle.

So if I can work through what I’m actually afraid of, which is usually something deeper, like I’m afraid of rejection, I’m afraid of not getting in a relationship, I’m afraid of judgment, I’m afraid of whatever it is that comes up for you, those are the things to work through. And so when we’re overcoming your fear of weight gain, what we’re actually doing is we’re overcoming the fear of what might happen, you know, whether it be rejection or judgment or any of these stories that you have, if your body did change and working through those. But I do think that it can really help to calm yourself down when you reiterate to yourself that overcoming the fear and actually gaining weight are not the same thing.

Let’s go over to the chat really quick because I know we got some there. Let’s start with Amber. Do obsessive food thoughts noise go away as you recover? Such a great question. It does. It does. So if you think about your brain as like little pathways, and the best way that I can describe it is like think of a hiking path. The more that you go down a hiking path or the more that a hiking path is trafficked, the more distinct it is. So when we’re talking about your brain, I want you to think of it the same way, the more you think a thought, the food rules, and you just engage with those thoughts, the stronger those thoughts are going to become.

Now something else to note, just kind of as a segue, is that food thoughts can be a result of a lot of different things. It can be a result of hunger. It can be a result of a lack of satisfaction. It can be a result of wanting to escape. So I think when we acknowledge those and the food thoughts are still happening, that’s going to be something that just mellows out over time, because the more that you don’t engage with those negative food thoughts, and we start to fill our mind with productive things because we are nourished and we are satisfied and we are taking care of our bodies, those do mellow out. Okay, the next one from the chat is, how can I eat according to my hunger and fullness cues when I’m around people? I find it hard to fully focus on the food, eat mindfully, and be actually satisfied while still being engaged in conversations around me.

That’s really tough because when you’re with other people, you are totally distracted, right? And so what I love to do and what helps me is instead of being like, I am constantly needing to check in for how I am feeling or what is going on in my body, what I’ll do is I’ll just do quarter plate checks. So once I’ve eaten like a quarter of my meal, I’ll check in and I’ll be like, how am I feeling? Half my plate, how am I feeling? Three quarters of my plate, how am I feeling? Et cetera, et cetera. That way I don’t have to be thinking about every single bite.

And it just gives me a segue or even just like half the plate too, if you’re really distracted. But I think also just reminding yourself that these are the moments that we’re here for when you’re eating with friends and you’re having these social events that we’ve missed out on for so long if you’ve struggled with food. So if you go to one of these events and you happen to get a little bit overly full, giving yourself some grace for that because in this moment, food is so much more than fuel.

Isabel

Okay, next from the chat, I’ve been trying to navigate the negative associations I have with certain foods. For example, I’ve experienced breakouts from too much dairy and sugar in the past, often feeling heavier or more sluggish after eating gluten. Any tips for letting yourself freely eat what you enjoy whilst being aware of some implications that aren’t diagnosed allergies?

Ryann

So with this one, something, Emily, that I would get curious about is how much is stress playing a role in these as well? Because sometimes when we are stressing over different things that you’ve experienced, that’s going to play a role as well. But the way that you think about it is going to be everything. So if you tell yourself, I can’t have sugar because it makes me break out, all you’re going to want is sugar. And if you’re like, I can’t have gluten because it makes me feel sluggish, all you’re gonna want is gluten. And so instead of using the words like can’t, which comes from a very restrictive mindset, what I recommend is allowing yourself to say, I can have these foods, knowing that this might break me out, or this might make me feel a little bit sluggish, what is the best choice for me right now?

Sometimes you might be in a situation where it’s like, you are enjoying ice cream on a hot summer day with your best friend or it’s somebody’s birthday where you’re like you know what having this sugar right now is a hundred percent worth a pimple thousand percent i’m in or you are out at somebody’s dinner somebody made you dinner it’s a different event that has gluten and you’re like you know what this might make me feel a little sluggish but that’s okay because it’s this experience that matters so when you take that mentality of, this is not I can’t have it, it is I can, but knowing how this may make me feel or knowing what this may do, and this is the same thing if you struggle with dietary restrictions, do I want it right now?

And that takes away the restriction and allows it to be coming from a place of abundance. Another one from the chat is tips on overcoming the all or nothing mentality. If I have one piece of cake the rest of the day, I just crave all the naughty foods in the world, even though I’m not actually hungry. So what is happening when you are falling into this all or nothing mindset? It is I’m either good with food or I’m bad with food, right? And so when you have that piece of cake, what is happening is you’ve kind of just snapped the rubber band and all of a sudden your mind is going into I’ve already blown it. So I’m just going to eat everything now and I’ll be better tomorrow.

It is less about the all or nothing and more about the all, I’ve blown it, I’m gonna get everything in now and I’ll be better tomorrow, that is fueling that kind of just chaotic eating. So I would say in those moments, it’s gonna come down to your thoughts and regulating your mind and bringing it back to, I didn’t do anything wrong. I’m allowed to have cake. I didn’t do anything wrong. It’s gonna halt that, I blew it, I’m gonna be better tomorrow, which is going to perpetuate that last supper eating mentality.

Isabel

The next one from the chat, how do I stop feeling guilty after eating certain foods like donuts, chips, et cetera, and build a healthier body image?

Ryann

So with the feeling guilty, I’ll separate these, feeling guilty or guilt is an emotion that we experience when we believe we’ve done something wrong. So coming off of our just piggybacking off of the last question, when you’re feeling guilt after eating anything, what’s happening is your mind has gone into, I’ve done something wrong by eating this. And so to mitigate that guilt, we have to reinforce to ourselves, I did nothing wrong. I didn’t do anything wrong.

Because as long as you continue to engage with that thought, I did something wrong, think back to that hiking path, I did something wrong, I’m continuing to walk down this same path and strengthen it, I’m just fueling that guilt. But if I can stop that and take a different path and say, I didn’t do anything wrong. I just enjoyed cake, I just enjoyed a cookie, I got a little more full than I would have liked to, but I didn’t do anything wrong, that’s gonna calm down that guilt. As for body image, I have a ton of resources on my blog and my podcast, so I’ll have those linked to in the Q&A doc after this that you can check out.

Isabel

Okay, next one from the chat. When I’m hungry, I try to let myself eat. However, when I start to eat, it’s somehow like a binge trigger, causing me to be unable to stop. Same goes for dinner and dessert. I try not to restrict myself and let myself eat dessert, but after dessert, it’s like a trigger to me. It’s like triggered me to binge as I continue to eat. However, if I don’t eat the dessert, I won’t binge at all, even if the urge is there. It’s really frustrating as a person recovering from a restrictive eating disorder or from restrictive eating, but also binge eating, what should I do?

Ryann

I wonder when you’re going into these meals where you are at emotionally and also if we are mistaking hunger and ravenous. So I wonder if even though you’re getting better at listening to your body and adding in more foods, if maybe we’re just allowing ourselves to slip to a little bit overly hungry and maybe that is triggering the binges. If not, then I would say this might be something more emotional, like there’s something about starting this meal where your head is at that is triggering that binge. At the end of the day, it’s all gonna come down to either the state of our body, whether it be we’re overly hungry in that moment or we haven’t gotten enough food in general throughout the day or the state of our mind that is gonna come to why the binges are happening.

So for us to kind of just check the boxes to do deductive reasoning to figure out what’s going on, I would say first and foremost, can we make sure that we are eating enough and we are eating foods that are not only nourishing, but that are satisfying to us. And if you’re like, no, Ryann, I totally am, then let’s look at that emotional and mindset element. Where is my head when I go into these meals? And when we can figure out where your head is, then we can navigate those thoughts and figure out if that is the trigger that is pulling you over the edge to ultimately binge.

Isabel

Okay, the next one. I’m an emotional eater and recently started being honest with myself that I think I binge sometimes. I have an all or nothing mindset and I’m often told to stop restricting myself with certain food groups. My coach tells me to find foods that don’t restrict but excite me. What do you do when food doesn’t excite you and is just a pill to fill an emotional void?

Ryann

Let’s figure out what emotions need some healing there. So when we struggle with emotional eating, the problem isn’t that we are eating when we are emotional. The problem is that we don’t know how to handle emotions without food. And so I always get asked, Ryann, how do I stop emotional eating? How do I stop emotional eating with the intention of me telling them something about the food, but it’s not about the food, right? It is, I don’t know how to handle these motions without food. So when we’re going down to how do I make peace with my emotions and how do I enjoy food again when I struggle with emotional eating, let’s start by asking ourselves, what is it that I’m emotionally eating over and work on healing that.

Isabel

Okay, next was, do you have tips on how to build a, sorry, do you have tips on how to develop a habit of eating more slowly and mindfully in the beginning. I want to do this, but I will be halfway through a meal and realize I just ate so fast that I forgot to slow down. I hope that makes sense.

Ryann

Totally makes sense. I definitely would recommend making sure that you start the meal at a stable level of hunger. Instead of being overly hungry, it’s going to be 10 times harder if you’re overly hungry. Now, something that has helped me and has helped a lot of my clients, instead of doing the normal tactics like take a sip between your bites or put your fork down between your bites, what I’ve found to be more helpful and actually sustainable is just thinking about the food that you’re eating, like thinking about the flavors that you’re having. And when you’re looking at your meal, right, and you have different options, even almost making it a game of if I have a bite of this and I have a bite of this, what does it taste like? And then if I have a bite of this and I have a bite of this, what does it taste like? And if I have a bite of everything, what does it taste like?

And even just paying attention like that can help you slow down and enjoy the food more because you’re paying attention to the flavors. So when we’re eating really fast, what’s happening is we’re just not paying attention to the flavors. But a way to combat that without it requiring so much effort simply say, what do I taste right now? There was one up about, which is so good, I’m struggling to let go of being the fit girl. Do you see that one, Erika’s? Oh, I was like actively going back and forth. It’s okay.

Isabel

Okay, yeah, I just found it. Okay, I’m struggling to let go of being the fit girl in the family. My family knows I’m passionate about fitness because I teach GF classes. I don’t know what that means, sorry. And just got my PT certification. But I don’t want it to define me anymore. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been letting go of food rules and truly trying to eat whatever I want. Because, and because of this, I no longer look like how I used to. And I know they’ve noticed. Any tips on how to navigate family comments, losing the fit girl persona and fear of not looking a certain way. I’m sure you can relate to this.

Ryann

Yeah, yeah. This is tough, right? Because for so long this has been your identity and it’s extra tough when your family has to find you in this way as well. I think first before even navigating family comments, we need to figure out for you, who are you outside of being the fit girl? And when we say, you know, I am Erica, who is Erica? Who is Erica? Like, who do you show up as? Like, when you think of your qualities and what makes you you, what are those elements that you would write down? And the more that we can kind of explore that, what is important to me, what is my values, when I’m 80, what do I want people to say about me? What do I want them to remember about me?

Those can be some brainstorming ideas to help you figure out who you are outside of being the fit girl, but I think it can be helpful to let go of some of the shame around your identity changing, is acknowledging that change is part of being human. Change is a part of life, and just because you were the fit girl before, I mean, and I could argue what is fit, right? Like let’s redefine fit because fit before might have been, I am either the most shredded or I’m going to the gym like X amount of times, but what if fit is, I’m just taking care of my body and I am healthy and I am doing things that make me feel strong and alive. And so I guess you could go that route as well. So I would say for you, first and foremost, let’s start to ask, who am I outside of this?

And then when it comes to your family, I definitely think that this might be an appropriate place to start setting boundaries of, hey, those comments, they’re not helpful. They’re not helpful. And that’s not me anymore. I changed. I’m allowed to change. I have new interests. I have new hobbies. And that’s okay. And that might be hard for them at first to understand, but I do think the more that you let them into what you’re doing now and the things that excite you now can help them just understand what is going on.

I know for me when I was going through the phase of recovery I used to get so frustrated with my parents too because they used to compare me to who I was before or things that I said before and I used to get so mad like why do you say that like you know what I’m doing you know I’m trying to recover you know I’m you know working on these different things and it wasn’t necessarily fair of me to do because I never let them into all of these new changes that I was making. And so they were just going off of what I had told them before. And so it can be really helpful when you have family involved to just let them into the changes that you’re making.

Isabel

Okay, next one from the chat was, I’m early on in my journey of learning to eat intuitively and I’ve been feeling really good about listening to my body and responding to those hunger and fullness cues. Do you have any tips on how to handle situations where I may not have access to foods I’m feeling confidently good or comfortable with, but don’t want to restrict or lead to a binge? For example, I’m going to be flying all morning during a time I’d typically be hungry or having a meal one day next week and I want to set myself up for success.

Ryann

If you’re traveling or you’re in these situations where you don’t have full control, I would definitely make sure that you have things with you that do feel like safer options as you are working on challenging yourself. So as you are flying, if you’re like, I don’t feel ready to do airport food yet or I don’t feel ready to buy anything in the airport yet, let’s bring something. Or if you’re going to be in a situation where you’re like, I don’t feel ready to do that yet, I would definitely make sure that you have something with you or you’re going into this event at a stable level of hunger. The biggest thing that is going to set you up for a binge is if you feel restricted and you’re looking at all this food and you’re like, I really want it, but I can’t have it. That’s going to be a red flag right there.

And then also if you’re pushing it out because you’re afraid of the food and then you get to a level of overly hungry, that’s gonna be another red flag. So when we’re looking at how can I set myself up for success, I would say, what feels the most doable for me when it comes to food? And also, can I use this as an opportunity to maybe challenge myself? When I’m in these new experiences, I’m going to the airport, maybe this is the first time you’ve been in the airport or traveling since you started this journey, can I challenge myself to try and break a fear this time? And if I do that, can I go into it with a plan? Like, for example, not just saying, I’m gonna break my fear in the airport, I’m gonna break my fear of buying a snack in the airport terminal. This is what I’m going to buy. And this is, you know, when I’m gonna have it kind of thing.

Isabel

The next one, how do I deal with unintentional weight loss during recovery when that has been such a huge focus slash motivator of my destructive behaviors? Also dealing with having to eventually buy new clothes, which means I now have to somewhat focus on sizes. I haven’t weighed myself in two and a half months, but I know it’s happening because of how my clothes are fitting differently.

Ryann

So this can be a super normal trigger, just like the opposite way can be a normal trigger. This is a great opportunity to remind yourself that just because your body is changing now, even if it’s going in the opposite direction, we have no idea what’s gonna happen. And so just continuing to focus on the behaviors that you’re doing and all the things that you are working on can be helpful to keep your mind from focusing on what is happening to your body and bring it back to all the behaviors that you’re working on so that we can stay in that healthy state of mind. As it comes to clothes, I find it helpful if you feel like this might not be a body size that you’re at for a long period of time or you don’t know. Let’s just start with getting a few things and maybe you get a few things from a place that is super reasonable or maybe you sell some of your old clothes and then if your body stays there for a little bit longer we can add to it. But I do think that just reiterating to yourself I’m not going to get attached to this because then I’m continuing to focus on my body. Instead, even though my body may be changing, I’m going to focus back on to all the behaviors that I’m engaging in that are helping me on recovery or in recovery.

Isabel

Okay, how do I deal with the thoughts of wanting to eat just to eat? I have been mostly successful with eating to fullness and eating very satisfying food choices. Still, I struggle with just wanting to throw something in my mouth a lot, but I also don’t want to ignore it and get into the obsessive mindset again.

Ryann

The first question that I would ask, Laura, to challenge that headspace is what feels wrong about eating just to eat, because as long as we believe that there’s something wrong with that, it’s almost going to increase us to want to do it more, right? So if you’re regularly telling yourself you shouldn’t eat just to eat, you’re gonna want to do it more. So what I find to be a more productive approach is if you want to eat just to eat, okay, let’s also fully enjoy it, right? So if I have a moment where I’m like, I just wanna eat just to eat, what I’ll do is I’ll say, okay, so what I’m gonna do is I’m going to fully enjoy this. I’m gonna put it on a bowl, I’m gonna put it in a plate, I’m gonna sit down, I’m gonna look at the flavor, I’m gonna taste the flavors and enjoy the food.

Oftentimes, it is I just want to check out, it’s not I wanna eat just to eat. And so if you’re like, the thought of putting it on a bowl or in a plate and sitting down and enjoying it doesn’t feel appealing to me. That means this is more about checking out. And that is something to explore there. And then I would go into the question of what am I trying to escape from? The one after that, how do I deal with the thoughts of, oh, that was, I copied and pasted that twice. I’m scared of intuitive eating because I’m at my heaviest and don’t want to gain more weight. In fact, the more I focus on it, the more I’ve been incredibly depressed and obsessed with being fat and getting fatter. So when we think about intuitive eating, the thing that we need to acknowledge is that intuitive eating is a self-care eating framework where we are taking in all elements of health into account.

And intuitively eating and just eating whatever you want is not the same thing. And so I think that what often gets misinterpreted when it comes to intuitive eating is that if I let go of the diet, then I’m just throwing everything out the window and I’m eating whatever I want and then I’m gonna gain so much weight and then what’s gonna happen and how is that healthy for me? But when we acknowledge that that’s not what we’re doing here. We are prioritizing our hunger and fullness. We are learning how to manage our emotions without food. We are slowing down and tasting and enjoying our foods. We are balancing our foods in a way that nourishes us physically and emotionally.

We are getting to a place where we understand our bodies, connect with our bodies, are on the same team as our bodies. We can acknowledge that that isn’t just throwing everything out the window and not caring and eating whatever I want. I also think there’s this misconception that if I’m not dieting, it doesn’t mean that I can’t prioritize health promoting behaviors and I can’t prioritize taking care of me, which is not true. Just because you’re not dieting, it doesn’t mean that you can’t still acknowledge everything that I just said. And so with that and calming yourself down, I think it’s a great opportunity to ask yourself if the other side of what I’ve been doing was the answer and the best thing for me, would I feel differently than I do right now? And if intuitive eating at the end of the day is really about all elements of health, then can I give myself an opportunity to try and see what it’s all about?

Isabel

Okay, I’m going back up one because I skipped over this by accident. When someone says I cannot have a certain food, in my mind I’ve already allowed myself to have it. That tends to be a big trigger for me. Then I try to find something to satisfy that craving, but sometimes it ends up with me overeating. How can I defeat that mindset of, oh my word, I can’t have that food right now, what am I going to do?

Ryann

So I’m wondering if this is a situation like when you say somebody else says I can’t have that food, what is their autonomy over you that they’re saying that you can’t have this food? Is this like mom or that you’re at somebody’s house or that you’re at school or it’s somebody else’s food? Because at the end of the day when somebody says that you can’t have a certain food, I would challenge it and say, but yes I can. And maybe if it’s their food and I can’t have their food, I can still go get it on my own. And so whenever there’s this moment of scarcity, that’s what’s throwing you off. But if we can bring it back to, I mean, when we can bring it out of your emotion mind and bring it back to logic and remind yourself that I can have like all of these foods, I can have all of these foods, it might mean that I’m going to the grocery store to buy them, or it might mean I’m making it.

But just because they say I can’t have it doesn’t mean I can’t have it. So that’s going to come back down to where your head is. When they say I can’t, it is I can’t, I can’t. It might not be their food, but I can have this. when recovering sometimes feels so difficult that all I want to do is go back to my binge eating behavior since it’s offering relief when all the other coping skills I know are not anymore. I know it’s about choosing my heart but sometimes my emotions just feel so overwhelming that my ED thoughts are so much louder than everything, everything I’ve learned in recovery and I just don’t care about the process I’ve made so far, the progress I’ve made so far.

This is why I highly recommend support and community when you’re in recovery. And I don’t know if you have a community or a support group or you’re a part of a group, and this is a reason why I don’t do individuals without group anymore, is because everybody hits a breaking point when you’re doing things individually where it’s like, this is really hard. This is so hard. I really don’t want to keep going. And when you have that support of other people that are on the same journey as you, that’s what gives you the strength. So I would highly recommend looking into finding some sources of support, whether it be my free support group. There are some resources on NEDA.com that has different support groups all over, whether they be in person or virtual. But at the end of the day, having more support is going to push you through those really hard moments.

Isabel

I’m 46 and worry about what binge eating does to my body and my health. I’m struggling with the perimenopause too. Any advice?

Ryann

I would definitely use this as an opportunity to reflect on why do I want recovery? And even though I might have been struggling with binge eating in the past, that doesn’t mean that I can’t change it. And anything that has happened with my body and binge eating before, I can change that story today. I can change that story today. As for the perimenopause, because I’m not a dietician, I’m a therapist, I don’t have the expertise to give you the appropriate information on that. However, I would definitely, definitely take some time today to write down your why, like why I want to recover, and use that as fuel to continue encouraging you on this journey. Because even though you’ve been binge eating in the past, that does not mean you can’t change the story.

Isabel

Okay, how can I enjoy food and not restrict while I’m on vacation? I don’t want to think about the macros, but rather have the food be part of the memories I’m creating.

Ryann

Such a great question, especially for those of you that are coming up on going on spring break. Something that I always do, even now, before I go on a vacation is I will take some time to write down, when I come back from this vacation, what do I want to remember? Like when I come back and somebody says, like, how was your vacation? These are the things that I wanna tell them. And keeping those top of mind when you’re having a moment where it’s like, I don’t wanna eat this or I’m freaking out about the food or I’m stressing about what’s happening to my weight, bringing those back in, whether you keep them on a note in your phone or you keep them on a piece of paper in your bag, can be really helpful in just bringing you again back from that emotional state of mind to your logical state of mind. And then also how you feel on vacation around food is really gonna come down to what you’re doing with food when you’re not on vacation.

If you are not regularly allowing yourself to eat delicious food or varieties of food when you’re not on vacation, when you get on vacation and you do not have control over a lot of the foods or you’re eating a lot of different foods, it is going to immediately trigger that scarcity mindset. So if you have a vacation coming up, let’s definitely take some time to write down those things that you want to remember and use this time to really, really practice challenging different fears, eating different foods so that when you do go on vacation, it’s not a big deal. And when you have foods that you may not be able to have all the time, you can say to yourself, I can have delicious food whenever I want. I don’t need to give myself a stomachache over it now, and you’ll actually believe it.

Isabel

OK. This next one, if I were to eat what I want or not stress at the airport, I would eat what everyone else was eating. I hate this stress of having to go through all this, but I’m patient with myself. I do feel the fear before an event or a party, et cetera. I’ve asked this before, but just like you told the other person to also bring safe choices, I feel like I’m stuck between the place of being careful with my leaky gut symptoms, wanting to eat what I want, wanting to become binge-free and learning everything. I’m asking myself the question, do I want this? And if I want this, am I choosing to not eat because I’m indeed choosing being careful with my health? Hope that made sense. I’m typing and trying hard to listen at the same time.

Ryann

No, no, it totally does. And maybe this can be a place for us to find some middle ground where if having the food at the party or the event due to your digestive systems feels overwhelming, can we practice with just part of the foods instead of all of the foods? But I do think that using these as opportunities to just continue to challenge yourself is really going to continue moving you forward in your recovery.

Isabel

How do you safely reincorporate movement? I start intramural volleyball in two weeks. It’s also one of my goals and objectives in therapy to start movement again.

Ryann

I love this. Changing, well, I already love that you’re using movement instead of exercise, but I also think engaging in different forms of movement to challenge this idea that movement has to look a certain way or it has to be a certain way or it has to be a different amount of time. But I also think, almost going back to the vacation thing, even though it seems irrelevant, it’s kind of the same thing when you’re coming back to movement. When you finish, or when you get home from volleyball, let’s say, what do you want to remember from that practice? How do you want to feel? And maybe writing those things down before you go there so that if your mind goes into any irrational state of mind or anything comes up, we can bring it back to, but this is how I want to feel, and this is what I want to do, and so this is what I’m going to remember if my mind goes there. And I’ll, obviously, you have us if you need us.

Isabel

How can I defeat the fear of carbs? Although I stop tracking macros, I feel like I subconsciously limit carbs. For example, I try to have one carb less meal a day. I ask myself, why? Why do I limit myself when it comes to carbs? Do you have any tips on how I can stop this or how to stop thinking that carbs are bad?

Ryann

I definitely think one of the best ways to challenge this is to go, and you got to be careful with this because I don’t want you to go down a problematic rabbit but finding some people on social media that you admire that do show themselves eating a ton of different carbs can be really, really helpful. I think doing some research on the benefits of carbs can be really helpful in just clearing up the noise. There is so much incredible information about why carbs are important, why we need them, why they are so crucial for our energy that can help kind of just clear out some of the diet culture noise, but at the end of the day I think the biggest game-changer is going to be slowly adding them back in and you saying firsthand, wait a minute nothing happened, I’m okay. When you can add in these different carbs and you’re like nothing happened, I’m okay, and you might even feel better because all of a sudden you’re having way more energy. It’s gonna be those moments that break through the fear. So I would start by asking what is one baby step that I could take to adding in a little bit more carbs today so that we can figure out, can I do this and be okay?

Isabel

How do you manage the urge to binge because of food satisfaction issues stemming from loss or diminishment of taste and smell?

Ryann

I’m assuming that this is from COVID and this is such a tough thing to navigate because this is coming from that lack of satisfaction. So with this, when you don’t have taste and smell, for you to get that satisfaction I would definitely pay attention to textures. You can get that satisfaction through textures and then also making sure that you have other sources of pleasure in your life. If food was the only source of pleasure that you ever had, then that’s definitely going to play a major role if you can’t taste and smell anymore. But as you incorporate other forms of pleasure, and then you can still get pleasure from food through different textures or even different experiences with food, it can be helpful in navigating the binges overall. It’s a tricky thing and it’s definitely one of the newest things we’ve had to figure out how to navigate post-COVID because it is such a surreal symptom. But I definitely think starting with those two things is a great stepping stone for you.

Isabel

For people who binge eat, are our brains wired differently or we’re more vulnerable to the messages that we get about our bodies and emotional needs.

Ryann

And I break this down, and I’m gonna be breaking this down actually so deeply in a workshop that I have coming up that’s gonna be free, so stay tuned for that. But the thing with binge eating is that binge eating in and of itself, it’s not a problem, it’s the symptom. And so it’s not necessarily that we’re wired to binge, it’s that we’re more vulnerable to the symptoms, or I’m sorry, the things that we are engaging in that are causing us to binge, whether it be that dissatisfaction with our bodies and now we’re restricting, or because we were told we shouldn’t feel emotions growing up and now we don’t know how to navigate emotions, or we experience some extremely traumatic event and the only way we know how to cope is with food. It’s definitely more of a learned thing and a biological thing. But eating disorders are genetic, but the eating disorder that you have, I think it’s totally, there’s no way that it’s kind of just like the poison that was given to you.

Isabel

Okay, I’m a dancer and had to lose weight at the beginning of my career with the company I dance for now. I’d had a binge problem before that, but after a few months of dieting and rapid weight loss for the company, I began to binge again. It’s been about two years and I’m recovering from binge eating disorder, trying to work on my body image and appreciating my body for what it allows me to do and reminding myself that the quality of my dancing does not solely depend on the size of my body. But it’s hard for me to divorce myself from the idea that my career might require a certain diet in relationship to food that is not necessarily intuitive eating, especially for me with my body type, which has a higher weight set range than my company’s aesthetic, and which is heavy for lifting and other partner work and is often too big to fit into the costumes we have. What are your tips for balancing a healthy relationship with food with the needs of my career?

Ryann

This is really tough. This is really tough. tough situation and that weight discrimination is totally a thing and in situations like this, I mean we still see it. However, on the other hand, this day and age, we can challenge that narrative by going on social media and seeing so many different sized dancers and very successful dancers. And that can be something that is really helpful to just rewrite this story of, I have to be a certain size to be a successful dancer because we can go on social media and see something totally different from many different people. But I also would go back to, what is it that I really, really want out of life? And at the end of the day, if dancing with this company is sacrificing my health, then is that enough for me? And is that the life that I want to live? Or can I find a place where I am continuing to recover and find a healthy relationship with food? And that might mean that I’m not at the size that I want me to be. And can I be okay with that?

I also think another great question to just kind of like ask in journal about is if I didn’t dance or if I couldn’t dance, then what? Then what? So that we can start getting our brain onto a plan B kind of thing and not saying that you’re going to plan B, but just showing yourself that there are so many different options. So long ramble short, I would start by going down a rabbit hole on social media of looking at so many different bodies that are successful dancers and then two, really, really reflecting on why you dance and what is worth it to you and what you really want.

Isabel

Can you give some examples of how to prioritize health without counting calories, limiting carbs and sugar, etc.?

Ryann

I would definitely start by asking yourself, what is my definition of health? Because everything that you just listed is purely physical. And I would ask, but where’s the mental element? And where’s the social element? And where’s the emotional element? You know, that mental health, social health, emotional health. So before even going into what are some examples of health without those things, I would ask, what is your definition of health? And how can we define health that also includes mental health, social health, emotional health, and all of those different elements. Because at the end of the day, that’s going to be different for everybody. And so I think that when you can have that definition for you, then you can start looking at examples for yourself that align with that.

Isabel

Okay, we have to tell ourselves we can have anything at any time. Food is not scarce. But what if you’re on vacation in a faraway country and you know you’re not going to get in your hometown, and you know you’re not going to get in your hometown, how do you not stuff yourself in those three, five, seven days?

Ryann

So the first thing is, if you’re stuffing yourself for those three, five, seven days, you’re missing out on this whole vacation. So then it’s like, is the food, like it’s kind of a catch-22 because it’s like, I’m in this amazing place and I’m enjoying this food and I want to get it all in now, but by getting it all in now, because my brain is telling me I can’t have this again, I need to get it now, I’m now missing out on these experiences that I also am not going to have when I get back. So I think reminding yourself, going back to that vacation example of what do I want to remember when I get back from this trip, for when your brain goes into, I want to get it all in now, or I got to have all this food in now, so that we can reiterate, if I have a stomach ache, I might miss out on doing other things. And then that’s taking away from this as well. Also, this is really going to come down to what you’re doing when you’re not on vacation. Because again, if I am not allowing all foods to fit when I’m not on vacation, I’m not going to believe myself when I say, I can have delicious food whenever I want. I don’t need to give myself a stomach ache over it now when I’m on vacation. It’s gonna be those thoughts that play such a role.

Isabel

What should I do when I’m dining out with others or eating at someone’s house? But what I’m eating isn’t satisfying or filling. When I come home, I want to eat something that’ll satisfy me, but won’t turn into overeating just because that meal didn’t satisfy.

Ryann

This is always such a bummer. And I think acknowledging that this is just a bummer is really helpful, but also not making a meal mean so much. So when we make a meal mean so much, right? Like I only had one opportunity to eat right now and it wasn’t great and now I blew it. And you know, all of that mental drama, we don’t have to do that. We can say to ourselves, you know what? This meal wasn’t amazing, that really was a bummer. I’m okay because I’m gonna get another opportunity to eat really soon. Calming yourself down in those moments is gonna be key because when you come home all chaotic after having something that wasn’t satisfying, it’s that chaos that’s gonna lead you into eating everything in your pantry. So very logically, we can come home after calming ourselves down and say to ourselves, I have two options. I can have something right now if I still feel like I have a little bit of room to add in that extra satisfaction. I usually go for something sweet because I know that can guarantee that satisfaction there or I can say, you know what, the next time that I eat, I’m just going to make sure that it really, really adds in that satisfaction. It’s really going to come down to calming yourself down and then having that game plan after.

Isabel

When following the approach, I’m allowed to have anything. When it comes to choosing meals and snacks, I feel overwhelmed and often then resort to choosing nothing challenging or super yummy because it’s just easier and less anxious-inducing to get a safe meal and snack instead. But I know this will ultimately lead to a binge. Any advice on helping quiet the noise around choosing anything I want and not getting stressed out in the supermarket?

Ryann

Definitely, let’s start with one or two new things a week so that when you go into the supermarket, and I wouldn’t even go into the supermarket and be like, I’m gonna choose one or two things, let me figure out when it’s there. Have that plan of what you’re going to get before you go to the supermarket. For example, this week, I’m going to buy Oreos, and I’m going to buy pasta. And that’s all that I’m gonna add in this week. And then next week when I go, I can either choose the same things again, or I can choose something different. We don’t need to go into the supermarket and buy all new things or 10 different new ingredients. It’s totally overwhelming. You want to set yourself up for success. So to do this in a way more productive way, let’s just start with those one or two at first.

Isabel

Okay, I think I got everyone from the chat. So I can just start with the doc.

Ryann

Cool, yeah. And such great questions. I just want to come over because I noticed some comments. I’m so happy you’re loving this. Just you guys telling me that you’re loving this, I will totally do more of these. The more that you tell me you love this, by all means, I’m so happy this is helping. Okay, we’re going to go over to the doc and if anything else comes up, let me know.

Isabel

Okay, what differences have you seen between how a therapist and a dietitian would treat eating disorders or disordered eating behaviors?

Ryann

This is such a great question. So as I said before, when somebody asked me that perimenopause question, I’m a therapist, I’m not a dietitian. So that means all of my training was in mindset and psychology, whereas a dietitian’s training is all going to be in food and dietetics and hormones and all of that kind of stuff. When it comes to healing your relationship with food, the best case scenario is that you have a team of a therapist and a dietician. So with all of my programs, I have a dietician on board to answer all of those questions because I want to make sure it’s a one-stop shop. So when it comes to the differences, a therapist is going to really work on your mind and a dietician is going to really work on the food. Now that doesn’t mean that the dietician isn’t going to add in some mindset elements and that doesn’t mean the therapist is going to not add in some food elements but it’s just where their expertise lies.

Isabel

Okay, how do you recover from an eating disorder if you have all three diagnoses? Like if I try to eat more to heal my anorexia, I lose control and then have a full binge with the intent to numb, purge, or harm myself, which then may or may not lead to purging. If I don’t purge, I become suicidal from the guilt and fear I feel from the binge. Do you have any experience with either yourself or from your clients you’ve seen? Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Ryann

In this situation, and I know this is going to be so hard to hear, this is definitely a recommendation for a higher level of care, whether it be a intensive outpatient treatment or a residential treatment. That way you have the support that you need to move through all of this, and when you have those overwhelming urges or things get really hard, you are in a very safe and regulated space.

Isabel

Okay, another one, another 2 just popped up in the chat so I can jump over to that. I just lost it in the talk. Okay. I would really like to have someone to cook for cook for me every day and not having to think about what I should or shouldn’t eat every meal. But when I have the occasion to eat something cooked by other people, I freak out. Then I force myself to act like a normal person, but it’s so hard. How can I make peace with this?

Ryann

I’m assuming you’re freaking out because maybe you don’t know what the calories are. Maybe there’s a lot of butter or oil. That used to be the case with me, especially when I started dating a chef and now he’s my husband. And I thought I had overcome all of my food fears. And then I started dating him and I was like, oh my God, no, I haven’t. I definitely think that if we can take baby steps in these situations and calming yourself down and reminding yourself of why you want recovery and why these experiences matter, this becomes so much more than the food. And going back to, I don’t remember who asked this, but the biggest thing is just, oh, the question about carbs is challenging yourself to ultimately show yourself that you’re okay.

So each time you go over to somebody else’s house and you go into it with the mindset of, okay, this is a test, I’m gonna challenge myself, this is gonna be hard, but I can do this. When you get through it and you show yourself there, I am okay, it is I am okay element that’s going to encourage you to keep going. But if every time you go to this meal, it is immediately I shut off, we’re not really challenging anything. So in those moments, I would say can we go in with a thought plan? Can we calm yourself down and remind yourself of why we want to get to a place where we can enjoy all foods and be okay so that we can enjoy these social events and not miss out anymore because we’re so consumed by the food.

Isabel

Another one that was just asked in the chat is I’m on week five. I did the eating fear foods with you. Ferrero Rocher are my Oreo. I love it. I’ve never managed to have them in the house without eating them all. I keep buying them and at first I ate just one or two and really tasted them and I was really excited about this. I really enjoyed them. This evening I’ve just eaten eight until all gone and if there were more here I’d maybe have just carried on until they were all gone. Do I keep buying them so they’re always here until I stop thinking about them or is it okay to just not have them in the house because that’s normally what I try to do?

Ryann

So I would definitely use this as an opportunity to reflect and not shame or judge but just kind of get curious what what felt like the difference like what felt different between the last couple of days when I was doing it and tonight just so that we can kind of get an understanding of what is going on. Now I do want to reiterate that having eight of, you didn’t do anything wrong, you didn’t do anything wrong, but I can only imagine you probably have a stomachache and that doesn’t feel that great. And so when we can take a moment to explore what really happened, that is the biggest mistake that I see people do when it comes to this and what keeps them stuck is when they have a moment like this, not using it as an opportunity to reflect and just go right into the, I’m not going to buy them again because that clearly didn’t go well.

Let’s figure out what happened. Was it that I got overly hungry? Did my mind go into, I’ve been having these too much, I just got to get them out of the house, so I’m going to eat them all now. Was I having an emotional day? Exploring that can help us figure out what was going on so that we don’t need to go back into avoiding and that will give you the encouragement to go get them again because you will see it had nothing to do with that something else was going on.

Isabel

Another one from the chat, what do you say to yourself when you want to binge? I find I get into the mode where I want to binge and if it’s and it’s not out of stress, sadness, etc. It’s just that I want to eat lots of foods I normally don’t eat. Thanks.

Ryann

The toughest thing about the binge urge, and anybody who’s had a binge urge understands, like, when you make up your mind to binge, it’s like, nobody’s going to stop me. And so I think that it’s not productive to just give you a ton of things that is like, do this when you have the urge to binge, because at the end of the day, like I said before, the binging is a symptom. So we keep engaging with the behaviors that are triggering the binge urges in the first place, then it doesn’t matter how many walks you go on. And it doesn’t matter how many times you call a friend or you journal, the binge urges are going to come back. So if you have an opportunity to use coping skills like walking or calling a friend or journaling the next time you have an urge. Amazing. But I would say before we even get the urge and instead of focusing on what do I do when I get the urge, let’s start focusing on why am I getting the urge in the first place and how can I work on that.

Isabel

What if four to five hours after your meal you aren’t hungry? Should I still eat or wait until I’m hungry even if this means it’s several hours since my last meal?

Ryann

It definitely depends on what is going on with your relationship with food. If you’re like, I am totally connected to my hunger and fullness, I don’t binge, I don’t have out of control eats, then I would say listen to your body. If you are still struggling with binge eating or out-of-control eats are happening on a regular basis, I would say that even though you don’t feel hungry, let’s continue to add in that consistency until those behaviors are mitigated.

Isabel

Okay, I feel stupid, I feel weak. I know what I should be eating, but I choose not to. It all just seems like it should be so easy to just make good choices. Eating well is the first thing I throw to the wayside when I get stressed or anxious or depressed. T This is disordered eating, right? Or am I just avoiding and making an excuse for not eating healthy?

Ryann

I wonder if it’s more emotional, where when you’re feeling these extreme emotions, you’re just gravitating towards other foods. And I also wonder if it’s almost this rebellious mode where you feel like you quote, should eat healthy and therefore it’s like, I don’t want to. But also, I just had another thought. We can go back to what are you defining as healthy foods? Because you can have so many, I mean, like a beautiful roasted veggies with olive oil and cheese and spice it, you’re still eating veggies. And you can have a salad with ranch and a ton of different options, and you’re still getting a ton of color. Or you can have a ton of different things that maybe aren’t, quote, clean. If you’re defining healthy as clean, then that might be turning you off, but maybe it is figuring out what are the foods that I’m really gravitating towards, but I would definitely explore if it’s emotional.

Isabel

Have you or have you come across in any of your clients experiencing chewing and spitting food during a binge? If so, how would you help tackle this?

Ryann

This is really tough. This is one of the hardest eating disorders that I have worked with clients to overcome because it’s almost like you get to have your cake and eat it too. I would definitely say with this, get professional help. This is one of those experiences where we need to make sure that we work through why this is happening in the first place and getting that support from a professional to guide you through these experiences is going to be crucial.

Isabel

Any advice for when a binge trigger is situational? Every time I play board games, I eat lots of snacks. So every time I play board games, I want to eat a bunch of snacks. It’s not that there’s anything wrong. It’s just a habit, but the desire is so overwhelming.

Ryann

First, I would say, are you really binging or are you just eating a lot of food? Because binging and eating a lot of food is not the same thing. And binging and emotional eating are not the same thing. And binging and bored eating are not the same thing. So I would say first, let’s figure out what it is that you’re actually doing. But also, just like I addressed before when somebody asked, what if I just want to eat to eat? This is a perfect example of, if you want to have food with board games, amazing. Let’s put it in a bowl. Let’s enjoy it. Let’s experience it. But if it’s something that you just want to have mindlessly, let’s explore that. So before you say no snacks at the board games, let’s just incorporate a little bit more mindfulness in the snacks that you’re having with the board games.

Isabel

I’m trying to combat the food rules and super consistent exercise slash need for control mentality, but I know that it will be more difficult to accommodate myself when I move into a dorm for college. Tips for eating food, foods that you never would have previously allowed when there are no other choices.

Ryann

I definitely, so this one hit so hard for me and Isabel, I’m sure it hits for you too, because it’s like my entire college experience was spent obsessing over food and my entire college experience. I remember more about the food and restricting the food and binging than I do college. And I think reminding yourself that even though the food feels scary, this is such an amazing experience that you get one time, one time. And I miss out on my whole four years, and I know you miss out on your four years, and like, those are times that I can never get back. And so this is a great opportunity for you to write down your why, like, what do I want from college? What do I want to experience? What do I want to remember? And when the food feels really scary, reiterating to myself that this is so much more than food, and I’m gonna be okay because I get to experience this amazing thing, and I’m going to take it day by day. I’m going to watch those thoughts. I’m going to calm myself down and remind myself that I can do this.

Isabel

What are the coaching options and do you do one-on-ones?

Ryann

I do do one-on-ones in tier two of my group coaching program. I am going to be releasing all of the upcoming details for my newest cohort really soon. So I will have those all attached, but if you are eager and you wanna know now, if you just go to itsrynichol.com, you can explore those.

Isabel

What should I do when I’m doing something with friends or family where lots of food is present or it’s normal to eat a lot of food at such an event, like a sleepover with friends? Do I just go back to how will this make me feel both emotional and physical, even if others are eating a lot around me?

Ryann

I think that’s a really helpful question to ask. I also think in these situations, and correct me if I’m wrong, but when I’m in these situations, there’s not like a lot of plate making. It’s a lot of like grab and snacking, or I’m just going to put a little bit here and eat it, or I’m gonna eat it when I’m standing, and that can just trigger a lot of mindless eating. And so if this is something that is really affecting your life, and you’re like, I just hate how this makes me feel, one of the first steps that I would take is getting a plate and like plating it no different than if you were making yourself dinner and sitting down and enjoying it. For more steps, I have a podcast called How to Intuitively Eat at Parties, and I have seven steps in that podcast, which I will link in the Q&A after this, or you can just go on to the Food Freedom Lab and find it. I think it’s 107. Listen to that, and there are going to be more in-depth things there as well.

Isabel

I stopped going to the gym and doing exercise because it was too stressful for me physically and mentally, and I felt so much better since then because I used that time to do things I love. But even if I feel better, I experienced guilt and shame and I judged myself for being lazy and not having willpower.

Ryann

Let’s start by asking where does this story come from? Why do I feel this way? Who taught me this? When we can figure out what the story is and challenge that, that’s gonna be the way to break through these emotions. So by challenging it, I mean, is this really true? How could this be wrong? So when your brain is telling you you’re lazy or you’re not doing it, is that really true? How could this be wrong? And so acknowledging that story, challenging it, that’ll help you rewrite it. That’ll help with those emotions overall.

Isabel

Okay, so that was all from the chat. Now I’m going to go back to the doc.

Ryann

Also, actually, Isabel, I didn’t even realize that questions were coming in to the Q&A. Do you see at the bottom of your thing where it says Q&A 16?

Isabel

On Zoom?

Ryann

On Zoom. Like on the bottom tab, do you see Q&A?

Isabel

Yeah, that was like minimized to my screen.

Ryann

That’s okay. I didn’t realize they were coming in there too. I know that some of you guys already put them in the chat. So will you?

Isabel

Should I just start from this one? And then go with that one?

Ryann

Yeah. So starting with Sarah’s.

Isabel

Okay, if you know that you typically binge at night, how can you redirect?

Ryann

If you typically binge at night, again, binging is a symptom. So let’s figure out what is that a symptom of. Oftentimes it is I am not eating enough earlier in the day, or I’m not getting enough pleasure in my day, or I am having a super busy day that allows me to be distracted from emotions that manifest at night. So for us to start checking boxes and figuring out what is causing these binges, because, again, the binging is a symptom it’s not the problem. Let’s start by making sure that you’re eating enough throughout the day if you’re like check check Ryan I’m eating enough throughout the day let’s go to the next level of am I getting enough pleasure in my day and it doesn’t need to be major things that can be enjoying sunshine on my skin having my coffee in a mug having a snuggle with my dog or my kiddos or whatever and then the next one of what is emotionally going on throughout the day that can help you figure out what is actually triggering that binge at night. And then when we work on solving that, the binge eating will work itself out.

Isabel

Okay, next one from the Q&A was, if you know that you typically, oh, sorry, we did that one. Would you then suggest that we don’t diet for weight loss at the same time we try to recover from binge eating?

Ryann

I wouldn’t recommend you diet ever. I wouldn’t recommend you diet ever. There is so much research out there that shows that dieting just never works long term. And if you’re like, but Ryann, so-and-so did it. Let’s look at A, is it actually long term? So when I say long term, I mean five plus years. And then also oftentimes when somebody has gone on some kind of journey and their body has changed. It might have started with weight, but then it turned into a lifestyle thing and they changed their entire life and they worked on healing and they worked on changing their life and it wasn’t just about dieting. The problem with dieting is it doesn’t teach you anything sustainable and it doesn’t work through why you continually go to food in the first place or why you regularly eat past fullness or all of those other things that are coming up for you.

Isabel

Next one from the Q&A, what if you don’t feel thin enough for treatment, but you know it’s your brain? Also, part two, how do you break free of the voice that you have to exercise every day?

Ryann

I would definitely do some research on the fact that eating disorders come in all different sizes and you do not need to be a certain size to deserve treatment. I mean, we have so many different sized bodies in my coaching program. When I went to treatment, there were so many different sized bodies there. At the end of the day, your body size doesn’t matter and it isn’t a determining factor for whether or not you are deserving of care. As for the guilt, just like we were using with food, guilt is an emotion that you experience when you believe you’ve done something wrong. So when you’re resting, reminding yourself, I’m not doing anything wrong, is gonna help with that guilt.

Isabel

How do I handle fasting two days a week for my faith, but end up wanting to overeat because my body knows it was starved?

Ryann

This is tough. I’ve worked with a lot of my clients on this that have fasting for religious holidays. And what some of them have done is kind of find a happy medium where they were able to consume liquids with calories and that helped them get through the day. I definitely think that this is a important conversation for you to have with whatever religious, I don’t even know what the correct term is, but the head person is, so that you can have a conversation with them about your health overall. Because at the end of the day, if you’re doing this amazing spiritual thing to cultivate all of this, I don’t even know what the words that I’m looking for, but you know what I mean, and then it’s affecting your health, then it’s almost kind of combating it. So I would say this is definitely a great conversation for you to have with your main religious person on can I find a happy medium because I want to partake in this and at the same time, this is what happens and this is really affecting my health.

Isabel

How is emotional eating different from binge eating?

Ryann

So emotional eating is just coping with food. That’s it. It’s no different than going for a walk. It’s no different than drilling when you’re emotional. Binging on the other hand is a very reactive experience. It feels very out of body. It’s very aggressive. Violent is a word that comes up a lot. Mine felt very violent. You feel like you do not have control and it feels like you cannot stop until you are sick. Emotional eating on the other hand, you might feel like it is out of control, but at the end of the day, you’re still there, you’re still aware, you’re still present. So it’s more the sensation around the food that is happening and the overall experience that you are having around the food.

Isabel

I enjoy exercising just because, but I’d also like to tone up, not lose weight. Is this okay or would it be best to just accept my body as it is?

Ryann

I want to ask yourself, why do I want to tone up? Like where did I get the message that told me that I should tone up or that is giving me this desire to tone up? Because odds are that’s probably sneaky diet mentality talking because saying I want to be able to do more push-ups, I want to be able to do a pull-up, I want to be able to do the splits, you know what I mean? It’s just coming from a very different intentional state.

Isabel

Okay, so I don’t binge much anymore but overeat a lot and obsess over food and weight. How do I free myself of this?

Ryann

I wonder when you have overcome the binge eating but there is still getting really full happening or maybe some emotional eating happening. What that tells me is that there’s still some healing that needs to happen. And usually what I see with my clients is this is around body image or this is around emotions in general from past wounds that were never healed. So what I would have you explore is, are there still pieces of the past or my body image that needs healing?

Isabel

Okay, so that was all the chat and the Q&A that weren’t repeats, I think. So I’ll go to the doc now.

Ryann

Okay.

Isabel

I’m trying to get into residential level of care. However, I know that every time I’ve been in treatment, I’ve cheated in some way. For example, not being fully honest, avoiding fear foods, purging in secret, hiding, dropping, throwing away food, et cetera. I’m usually very honest at the beginning, but somehow I find a way to cheat once I become overwhelmed with the very high meal plan and or the discomfort from my weight gain. Any tips for me as I hopefully begin yet another round of treatment so that I can avoid this?

Ryann

First of all, I’m so proud of you for taking this step to treatment. I know this is scary, but I think that being able to say, you know what, I’m going to go back because I know there’s a better way to live is huge. Now, with that being said, there was a reason why you chose to sign up for this. There’s a reason why you’re seeking out residential care. Write that down. That is your why. Keep that close to you whenever things feel overwhelming or whenever you want to go back to old behaviors. Read that over and over and over so that when your brain wants to go back, you have this piece of you that told you why you are doing this, why you want this, why you want something more.

Isabel

Can narcissistic traits, hoarding behaviors, inability to spend money in general for myself or for others, et cetera, improve with ED recovery? If so, do they naturally improve or do I have to do separate work on that?

Ryann

So with eating disorder recovery, it’s all encompassing. So it’s not just about the food, it’s about learning coping mechanisms, it’s about healing past wounds, it’s about figuring out how to manage anxiety and different emotions and et cetera, et cetera. So to answer your question shortly, yes. Because as you continue to learn about yourself, you heal, you work on these skills and you build your toolbox, all of that is gonna manifest into these other behaviors.

Isabel

Oh, someone is asking where they can find the recording for this.

Ryann

It is going to be in the, well, I’ll post it in the Facebook group and I’ll email it out after.

Isabel

Okay, so next from the doc, I’m vegan and gluten-free with non-life-threatening dairy and egg white allergies and lactose and gluten intolerance. I truly believe that I’m vegan for the right reasons, but how do I know for sure? Also sometimes I wish I wasn’t gluten-free or vegan because there are often options that the ED prefers available. However, sometimes the ED loves the restrictedness of these restrictions. How can I figure out what’s best for me? What’s the ED talking? Should I avoid these foods for allergy reasons if they aren’t life-threatening, and how do I not feel so restricted and manage these dietary restrictions?

Ryann

Okay, so for the first question, how do you know if this is truly for ethical reasons? If I had a fork with a piece of steak on it and I said, eat it, and you took a bite and you chewed it, what’s the first thought that you have? If your first thought is, oh my gosh, animals, ethical. If your first thought is, oh my god, calories restriction. As for how do I manage dietary restrictions and recovery, I have a podcast on that. I’ll link it below.

Isabel

What are your thoughts on the all-in method like Stephanie Buttermore for ED recovery?

Ryann

I think it is amazing if you do it with strategy and intention. So it’s one thing to just go all in and eat whatever you want, but if you go back to what I said before about intuitive eating, eating whatever you want, and intuitive eating and feeling your relationship with food is not the same thing. So if you’re just throwing everything out the window and you are going all in without a game plan or without intention or without a reasoning behind it or a structure behind it, it’s not really gonna do anything. But if we can go all in with intention, with healing, with structure, then it’s so productive.

Isabel

Someone’s asking, what is all in?

Ryann

So if you’ve ever… Stephanie Buttermore is the person that kind of started this. So she was a bodybuilder that really struggled. She never really disclosed that she struggled with disordered eating. It was more just extreme hunger. And so she started this quote, all in journey, that’s what she called it. And now, I guess it’s kind of just like coined the term for it. And it was, I am fully committing myself to eating more than enough every single day without restrictions for, I don’t know how long she did it. I think it was like a year or something. But she did it with a dietician. She did it with strategy. I think it was like she ate like four or 5,000 calories a day and it was like no matter what, she was eating this amount and it was like a very committed thing. And yeah, if you Google her, it’ll come up and show you more about it.

Isabel

One from the chat, where to start with improving body image and not putting my worth in my appearance.

Ryann

So we were actually just in my group the other day watching this amazing video by, I think it was Lindsey or Lexi Kite. And this is, they’re twins that wrote, I think it’s called More Than a Body. And they say that positive body image is not believing that your body is good. Positive body image is believing that I am good regardless of the size of my body. So I think the first step in rebuilding a healthy relationship with your body image is recognizing that positive body image and body image in and of itself has nothing to do with the size of your body. It has everything to do with the perception of your body. Now odds are the perception of your body is not that great, otherwise you would feel better about your body.

So what I say is the very first step is can we just start by appreciating it because? You don’t need to love or even like your body to appreciate it But you do need to start appreciating it if you want to learn how to like or love it So what I mean by appreciating it is like thank you arms for allowing me to like carry all the groceries up today or Cuddle with my dog or thank you legs for allowing me to go take a walk outside and enjoy this beautiful sunshine. And putting your attention on that is gonna be an amazing first step in getting to a place where you are on the same team as your body.

Isabel

Any tips for finding who you are outside of your ED if I’ve had it for so long and find no pleasure in anything else?

Ryann

I think that who am I outside of my eating disorder is a much harder question than starting with who am I not? It’s a lot easier to start with who am I not and then from there we can start to figure out who am I. So let’s start with a list of who do I know I’m not and then go from there. What was the second question?

Isabel

It was just if you’ve had it for so long and find no pleasure in anything.

Ryann

Oh, find no pleasure.

Isabel

Okay, any good resources that go in depth on the Minnesota Starvation Study findings?

Ryann

Yes, I think the Intuitive Eating book does a really good job at that, and I will have that link below.

Isabel

I was wondering about eating out of containers and bags. See, I noticed that when I do, I tend to eat more rapidly and in a slightly more stressed slash borderline bingey manner, even if we’re talking like a couple of teaspoons of cottage cheese out of the can, or a couple of dry roasted soybeans out of the bag or something. But at the same time, I feel like plating things takes away from the pleasure of eating them. Hence, I think decreasing satisfaction. Do you have any thought on this or how I should navigate eating out of containers?

Ryann

So I think it’s really interesting that you say that putting it on a plate decreases pleasure, but when you’re explaining what happens when you’re eating out of the container or bag, doesn’t sound very pleasurable. So what I would start by asking is, what is really pleasurable to me? Because if when I’m eating out of a container or a bag, it feels very chaotic and it feels mindless and it feels bingy, is that really pleasure? And is this just sneaky, like sneaky diet voice talking that is like I, I don’t know, trying to justify it for whatever reason, where can we redefine pleasure and challenge yourself to see what might happen if you do start putting it on a plate.

Isabel

Is bored eating a form of emotional eating? One of my biggest problem areas is Netflix and snacking. You say that we should eat a snack mindfully and then watch a movie, but I find I’m not able to enjoy one without the other. What’s the best way for me to address that?

Ryann

So bored eating is a form of emotional eating. is just an emotion that we experience when we are having a lack of satisfaction, a lack of pleasure. And so when you’re going to the food, when you’re bored, it is, this is just a quick, easy way for me to experience pleasure. Now, I want to reiterate that eating with the TV, there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with that. It is, let’s just make sure that you are okay eating without the TV. As I’ve said before with the eating just to eat or the other question in relation to that, instead of trying to separate the TV and the snacking, if this is something that you really enjoy, let’s just try to bring a little bit more mindfulness into the snacking that you’re doing in front of the TV. So even though you’re snacking with the TV, can we still pay attention to the flavors? Like what am I tasting? What am I experiencing? That’ll help bring some mindfulness in and not have it have to be this like very rigid thing. I also have a free lesson on the difference between bored eating and emotional eating. That’s not right. Am I bored or emotional or hungry? I think the title is and I’ll have that link below.

Isabel

What are foods you recommend to keep someone satiated so they don’t binge?

Ryann

Ooh, so again, binge eating is a symptom. So I would say that if you struggle with binging because your foods aren’t satiating, I could tell you what’s satiating for me, but that might not be satiating for you. So this is definitely an opportunity for you to explore what foods you like, what foods you enjoy. But oftentimes when we start healing our relationship with food and we start taking off the restrictions, your mind or people’s minds in general go into the classic things like cookies and chips and crackers and bread. But what usually gets overlooked is taking off the restrictions of having like real nourishing, satisfying meals. So like, you know, like pasta with meat sauce and Parmesan and like a side of roasted broccoli with olive oil and spices and a sandwich with mayonnaise and mustard and turkey and cheese and like a ton of veg with chips on the side and things like that. So I would say, let’s start figuring out what are the foods that you enjoy and playing around with having more meals in your day to day and see if that helps.

Isabel

What do I say to family and friends who make judgments, comments, or ask nosy questions about my eating habits slash disorder? Examples of how to approach different situations would be very helpful.

Ryann

I would start by saying, this is a great opportunity for us to either set a boundary or a request. So the difference between a boundary and a request is that a boundary is you saying, like, this is my line in the sand of what’s okay and what’s not okay, and here’s the consequence if you go over that line. A request is, here is what I would like for you to do, but there’s no consequence. So I think the first question to ask is, do you feel like you are in a position to set a boundary, or do we need to start with a request? A request is an easier place to go with because there is no consequence. For example, you could say something along the lines of, I would appreciate you not sharing that. That’s a request. When it becomes a boundary is, when you say something along the lines of, I would appreciate you not saying that, or can you please stop saying that? If you continue, then X, Y, Z will happen. I will leave, I will stop answering your calls. I have a blog post that I’ll link below on how to set boundaries and in that blog post, there’s like 10 examples to give in relation to food and body. And I think that’ll be a really good place to start for you.

Isabel

Do you bloat?

Ryann

Yes. Yes. I got asked this the other day, too, if I ever eat anything that upsets my stomach. 100%. 100%. I ever eat anything that upsets my stomach? 100%, 100%, I’m human. It doesn’t happen as often anymore because I’m more in touch with my body. However, it still totally happens. I will say though, something that is very interesting about just digestion in general that I learned actually from a guest dietician that came to our group is that stress plays a major role in your digestion. So if you think about stress in general and the reason why we have stress, it is to keep us alive. So if I’m eating something and I’m stressing over the fact that I’m eating something, whatever it may be, then my body is going to be like, oh my god, Ryann is under attack. The last thing that I need to do is digest this food. I need to make sure that she stays safe. AKA, that food is just gonna sit there. So if you really struggle with bloat, I would definitely say before you go into, I’m intolerant with all of these foods or whatever the case may be, because I definitely did that, let’s start by exploring what are your stress levels when you’re eating?

Isabel

How do you feel about doing BuzzFeed quizzes about eating a bunch of food? Are they healthy to do?

Ryann

Take them with a grain of salt because nobody who is writing those quizzes probably have credentials. They’re just, people make them for fun. And so I would definitely, whatever those quizzes tell you, I mean, it could be like Joe Schmo up the street writing it. And so we have no idea where they’re coming from. So if you’re really feeling like, no, this is legit, I want to, like this feels like something that I need to listen to, let’s explore who wrote it and see if they’re actually a creditable source.

Isabel

How do I overcome salt cravings?

Ryann

Ooh, this is another dietician question. I would definitely reach out to a dietician to ask about this. I have just learned that usually cravings are a sign of deficiency, but that could totally be wrong, and why I would say reach out to a dietitian, because again, I’m a therapist, not a dietitian.

Isabel

How can I turn a bad body image day, or how can I turn around a bad body image day and not let it impact my eating?

Ryann

I have so many resources on this, I’ll link it below.

Isabel

Is it possible to experience both eating and emotional eating? Both eating and emotional eating? Maybe there’s a word missing, but that’s- I think I added that one. I think it was binge eating and emotional eating.

Ryann

Yes, totally, totally. And I definitely experienced binge eating and emotional eating at the same time. And I did a podcast episode, and I’ll link it below, that I still emotionally eat because I can’t get rid of emotions and also emotional eating isn’t something that only happens when you are experiencing negative emotions. Emotional eating can be I am celebrating somebody’s birthday and I’m having birthday cake and no I’m not hungry and no I don’t quote biologically need this right now but I really want this cake and I am really enjoying this experience and I’m gonna eat it right now. For me, having a life where food is just for fuel isn’t enough. It isn’t enough. And having these moments where it’s like I’m eating birthday cake and ice cream and all of these different things with my loved ones and my friends and celebration and memories, especially after I miss out on so many of those, it’s not anything that I’m going to let go of.

Isabel

This one is from the chat. I know we’ve talked in group before about how you still have days where you struggle. On those days, do you ever have times where you have a freak out or panic moment?

Ryann

I had one the other day. And I have my people that I reach out to, and I immediately reach out to them. I never keep it in my head. So, totally, totally. I’m human. This is something that comes and goes. And as we talked about in group yesterday, this is someone in my group coaching program, hey Zoee. These things kind of ebb and flow based on the experiences that you have in life and different things can happen to you that trigger you in a whole other way. And throughout this process, I just have my sources of support. And I just know for me, even when I don’t wanna reach out, that’s when I need to reach out more.

Isabel

Another one from the chat, what if you have a snack and it’s balanced and nutritious but you still want more? How do you deal with the guilt that you still want more?

Ryann

Tell yourself I can have more. And when you do have more, I’m going to continue to put it on a plate, sit down, and allow myself to enjoy it without stressing. If that doesn’t sound like something I want to do, then let me pause there and explore what is actually going on. But reminding yourself, if you’re feeling guilt, I’m not doing anything wrong. I can have more. I’m not doing anything wrong. I didn’t kill anybody. I didn’t do anything morally wrong. I can have more. The biggest thing is, is this more going to make me feel unwell, or is this more really giving me what I actually want? then more is probably a great thing to have. But if you’re like, I don’t want to do that, I want to take it back to the plate, or I want to eat it while I’m running around or standing, or whatever the case may be, let’s pause and explore that.

Isabel

Someone’s asking if you’re going to be live like this again in the future.

Ryann

So I’ve had a lot of people ask me, actually. Yeah, I mean, yeah, definitely. I have a lot of things coming up, so stay tuned. If you’re not on my email list, definitely get on there because that’s where all the deets are going to be.

Isabel

Okay, going back to the doc. How do I get motivated when my brain is slow?

Ryann

Ooh, okay, so this is something that I just added into the newest version of my course because I think that motivation is such a huge role in this because when you’re healing your relationship with food, oftentimes you’re not gonna feel motivated. This is when you just gotta act. This is when you just gotta say, you know what, I don’t wanna do it. And when that extra community of support is gonna be so crucial and you can reach out and be like, I don’t wanna challenge my food fear today, or I don’t wanna do this journal prompt today, or I don’t wanna do the course today, and you have your other group members being like, come on, we’re doing it with you. That’ll be really helpful. But if you can just take one small baby step towards that direction. I was watching a TikTok the other day and someone was talking about this and she was referring to, I don’t even remember what law, it was like Newton’s law, or do you remember that from physics where it’s like what is in motion stays in motion or something along those lines. And that, yeah, just start moving.

Isabel

How do I not eat when I get home from the day? I know to eat more during the day, but it’s hard to do. I also can’t decide on what I want or I want several things, which leads to picking and overeating.

Ryann

I would ask first, why don’t you want to eat when you get home? Like, what is that about right there? Is that like some sneaky restriction of I feel like I shouldn’t eat when I get home and therefore I’m trying to like white knuckle it and restrict it based on what somebody told me where if you had lunch at let’s say noon and you get home at 3 or 4 that’s a very appropriate time to have a snack. It’s been 3-4 hours since you’ve eaten so super super normal to have a snack there. So I would say instead of trying to resist the snack, let’s just lean into it. And when it comes to what should I make, because I’m really struggling with what do I want, I have a blog post on that, and I’ll link that again in the description below.

Isabel

I can’t find other pleasures in life except for food. What can I try to do?

Ryann

I relate to this one so much. I actually am going to tag a reel for this one because I had this day where I was thinking about this so much because a lot of people were bringing this up to me. I used to say this too. I used to say, there is nothing in my life that gives me the same pleasure as food. And then when I thought about it, and I thought about the way that I actually ate food, I wasn’t like slowing down and experiencing it and tasting it and really enjoying the food. And that made me think, is that really pleasure? Like, is it really the food that is giving me pleasure? Because I’m not enjoying the food. When I’m eating the food, I’m doing it to check out. And when I thought about that, I was like, it’s not the food giving me pleasure. It’s the food is making me numb.

And the reason why I can’t find pleasure outside of food is because none of these little things like walking or sunshine or whatever are making me numb. And pleasure and numb are very different things. So if you struggle with, I can’t find anything outside of food that gets me pleasure, I would start by asking, is the food really giving you pleasure? Or is it giving you or making you numb? And therefore, nothing else is giving you that same numbness. And is it really that you can’t find pleasure outside of food, or that we need to heal what you’re trying to numb.

Isabel

I struggle to stop mentally meal planning. How do you learn to just choose in the moment?

Ryann

It definitely, it takes practice. I think exploring different foods that you like, that you enjoy. But the less rules you have, the easier it’s gonna be. When you’re struggling with choosing, it’s either going to be, I have too many options and I feel overwhelmed, but I would say it’s probably more likely that you’re trying to follow all of these rules and they’re getting in the way. So I would ask, if there weren’t any rules, what would I choose right now?

Isabel

Okay, this one just came in in the chat. I used to count calories and struggle with emotional eating and I’m a foodie. I’ve been trying to heal my relationship with food, but it’s really easy for me to get obsessive over what I’m eating or try to do calorie math in my head. Any advice for how to continue to heal from getting obsessive and trying to count calories when I know it negatively impacts me?

Ryann

I think it’s so unrealistic to go cold turkey when it comes to calorie counting, especially if you’ve been doing it for a really long time. So can we start with just adding in a few intentional days where you are not calorie counting and on those days really watching your thoughts. And when your brain goes into either mental tracking or I want to track, bring it back into, I don’t want to be 80 years old logging peanut butter in my fitness pal. And so this is the first step that I’m going to take towards changing that story because I want more and yes, maybe it’s unrealistic to delete the app entirely, can I just start with one day? And then when I can do one day and show myself I’m okay, then I can bump it to two days. I always take the approach with my clients, whether it comes to tally accounting or the scale where when you delete that app, I want it to be like a hard delete, I’m never downloading it again. Or when you get rid of the scale, I want it to be like a hard, I’m done with it. I’m not just going to go to Target tomorrow and rebuy it again. So I would so much rather you start with little baby steps to show yourself that you’re okay. So when you get to that point of I am done, you are really done.

Isabel

Okay, going back to the doc, I crave chocolate every night, sorry, I crave chocolate every time I finish a meal. I’ve been listening to my body and going for it, but I recognize that having chocolate after every meal isn’t healthy or sustainable? How do I crave it? How do I not crave it after I eat? Or how do I force myself not to go for it without restricting myself?

Ryann

I would ask who told you that having chocolate after every meal isn’t healthy? And what is your definition of health? Because if having chocolate after every meal allows you to feel full and satisfied and move on with your day, you’re not thinking about food, you’re not obsessing over food, you’re not binging, you feel happy, you feel alive, then that sounds pretty healthy to me. So maybe we start with redefining health and challenging that thought.

Isabel

That’s all from the doc, and I think from the chat too.

Ryann

Wow, that was so many questions. I can’t believe it’s already been an hour and 40 minutes.

Isabel

I know, that flew. I have to go back and do so many typos. Oh my gosh. Somebody else also in the Q&A said, this is so good, thank you, you’re so welcome. Will you be live like this again? I feel like I want this conversation every day.

Ryann

Oh, I’m so glad. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to do this. I definitely get like weird about live. Which is weird because I’m live all the time, but totally, I have so many things coming up for you guys. So stay tuned, a lot of different free things coming up that are all going to be live. And in the meantime, definitely pop over to the free Facebook group because I hang in there a ton and I’m going to be in there a ton, which is where this is going to be posted and I’ll also send an email out as well. But I just want to say thank you so much for taking the time to be here with me and spend the day with Isabel and I. It is us and you know, thank you Isabel for keeping up with all of those questions because that was a lot.

Isabel

No, I’m like a professional typer at this point. But Zoee’s question is like interesting. Did you see Zoe’s here?

Ryann

No.

Isabel

How much do you learn from things we say in group?

Ryann

So much. So much. And also you’ll totally realize after you hear me or after you work with me for a long time, the questions that I get asked all the time, I’m so robotic with because it’s like memorized. But so much, but I do learn from you guys. And that is why, so for those of you that are still on, one of the huge elements of my coaching program is that you get access to a course that you only get access to when you are in my group coaching program. And from everything that I’ve learned over the past year I am revamping it and Isabel is helping me put it all together so I can have it ready pretty soon here. So Zoee, yes, so much that I learned to just make everything better for you guys. Cool. You’re so welcome. Ah, so much love.

Well, if any other questions come up, please let me know, drop them in the Facebook group, DM me, I’m always here for you. Like seriously, I’m a real person, like I answer them, I’m there. And I just appreciate you all so much. I hope you know that this is always a safe space. And I will have this replay up. I’ll have that doc out for you because I know that there was, I mean, so many questions. I was like, a ton. We’ll have that out for you. So, if you want to go back to any questions, if you want to go to any of the links that I said, I’ll drop those below. Those will all be there for you guys so that you have access to everything.

Isabel

Steph has one more question. Will we have access to new stuff or new program completely?

Ryann

Yeah, all active clients will get access to all of that right away. You’re so welcome. All right, friends. Well, I hope you enjoy the rest of your day. I’m like sweaty, that was… I need a cool down, honestly. Cool down, cool down. It has a water, it’ll settle Jack. All right, guys, I hope you have a great rest of your day. I will see you in the Facebook group and then stay tuned for so many things that I have coming up. Bye guys. Bye.

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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.