Empower

Intuitive Cooking: Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2019

A year ago, I published my first book Run My World: How I Empowered Myself Through Fitness to share how I overcame my eating disorder. Since then, I’ve realized the power of intuition in all areas of my life so I can better listen to myself. Intuitive eating and cooking have helped me be less rigid and obsessive to improve my relationship with food.

I don’t throw just any party — I host events. *hair flip* This February, I kicked off Eating Disorder Awareness Week with an intuitive cooking demo with the incredible Chef Sarah Russo. We’re always trying to clear the stigma around disordered eating with opening authentic conversations on sustainable, healthy eating. Oh, and we raised $600 for NEDA.

Some quick facts to consider:

  • Americans spend over $60 billion on dieting and diet products each year
  • 95% of dieters will regain their lost weight in five years
  • 30 million Americans (10% of the U.S.) suffer from a diagnosed eating disorder
  • 1 in 20 (5%) young women have a diagnosed eating disorder, and an estimated 1 in 4 (25%) young women actually have an eating disorder
  • 25% of eating disorder diagnoses are men, but they are even less likely to seek help
  • Eating disorder research receives $28 million in U.S. funding a year, compared to alcoholism with $505 million and depression with $328 million, and men are often omitted from research

Let’s be real – something ain’t working here with the obesity epidemic. People are being taught to obsessively restrict their food to control more than just their bodies, but their lives. Beyond physical health, mental health is becoming deteriorated in the process.

So often, people turn to the internet and Pinterest for recipes and advice on how to cook and eat. Many of this content is laced with guilt and shame around food – labeling certain foods good or bad, clean, cheats, super, healing, or toxic – and readers begin to internalize those messages, affecting their perception of reality.

When people’s mental energy is fixated on food, often in a shameful way, their confidence and self-worth are severely damaged. Disordered eating leads to eating disorders, which is the mental illness with the highest mortality rate. By encouraging people on how to approach food in a gentler, more informed way, I strongly believe that people can truly be their happiest and healthiest selves.

Personally, cooking has really helped me change my perception of food. I love routine with food, but cooking has helped me experiment more in the kitchen and listen to my hunger cues. Not what I would like to want to eat, but what do I actually want?

I’m a very intuitive person in general, but for some reason (aka diet culture), I had convinced myself that hunger was like a false intuition. I wanted to believe I could control my body’s inherent need for nourishment. I was doing anything I could to distract myself from my true needs. People say “food is fuel” but it’s so much more. We’re allowed to enjoy it, and we should!

Thank you for everyone who supported – we raised $600 for NEDA! Eating disorder recovery is a lifelong process, and I’m beyond grateful for everyone in my life who has helped me and is supportive in helping others.


Life is too damn short to obsess over food! I’m proud to be encouraging mindful eating for not only ourselves but also our peers and those looking up to us.

The conversation doesn’t stop here. You can connect with Sarah on Instagram at @chefsarahrusso or you can find her website at loveyourfat.com. As always, I’m here to chat. We’re all in this together.

xoxo,

Mary

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