How to stop eating peanut butter out of jar

When I used to have water polo practice from 9pm-11pm at night in college, I would get home at midnight. I just played 2 hours of water polo, so I was pretty friggin' hungry. 

But..... I was on diet.

I was carefully counting calories. I was purposefully not buying things from the grocery store. Most importantly, I heard from Oprah or someone that you shouldn't eat after 7 PM.  

Sometimes, I would successfully eschew the fridge. Other times, I would try to just have one tablespoon of peanut butter. 

But more often than not, I ate a lot of tablespoons of peanut butter. Like sometimes I would pull a muscle in my mouth voraciously scooping peanut butter. 

I felt out of control. I was so frustrated and ashamed. 

Isabel Foxen Duke, founder of Stop Fighting Food, calls this “feeling crazy around food.” 

Isabel Foxen Duke is one fabulous babe. In fact, a lot of her work was really critical to me healing my relationship with food.  I've listed her as a reference for like a million blog posts. 

I'm not the only one. Isabel is one of the most well-respected coaches in the emotional eating world. Her approach is about changing your mindset around food. 

 If I had these videos when I was binging on peanut butter, I would have realized that I needed food. Eating peanut butter was actually a pretty good choice. 

If you're tired of swinging between "this time I've got it," and "what the hell is wrong with me? Why can't I get my hand out of this peanut butter jar?" I encourage you to check her out. 

Isabel’s offering a free video training series. The series unpacks the emotional and psychological  components to changing your relationship with food. 

If this is a topic that speaks to you, I highly recommend you sign up to get her free vids.

Here’s the link again to sign up for this free training


PS: I am a paid affiliate for Isabel's program. She still does a kick-ass job though. Even Ricki Lake likes her. If you sign up using my link, you can help me pay my squarespace rent. 

Will shame make you thinner?

The short answer to this question is no. 

It feels like shame will make you thinner. It feels like hating our bodies will somehow magically make it look better. 

But, here are 5 reasons that being ashamed of your body doesn't actually work to make you thinner even if that's what you think you should be. 

1. Shame doesn't work to discipline the body. 

To quote Brene Brown, "Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change." 

When we grab at pieces of our body and tell our reflection in the mirror that we are ugly and lazy, we zap the part of ourselves that makes us want to change. 

Shame takes us from thinking we are capable to thinking we are stuck. Worse than that, it makes us believe we are somehow inherently incapable. We ARE bad. It's not just our actions that are bad but our whole being is bad. 

So, if you're so bad, how are you supposed to change? 

2. Shame can't change biology, baby.

You can call yourself mean names all day but shame can't change your set point. 

If you've read my blog, you know that I've mentioned set point theory a gazillion times. And for the gazillionth time, set point theory means that your body has a range mostly determined by genetics and stays within that range regardless of what you want your weight to be. It explains why our weight loss plateaus and slowly creeps back up even if we're doing everything the same. 

So, even if you feel super BAD about how you ate, slept, or exercised today, it's not going to change your set point. 

It turns out you can't hate your way to weight loss. 

3. Shame can affect digestion.

There are neurotransmitters in your gut which means that how you feel can affect how you digest. Your guilt or shame around food can actually activate your "fight or flight" response. According to this article by Marc David of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating: 

"If you're feeling guilty about eating the ice cream or judging yourself for eating it, the hypothalamus will take this negative input and send signals down the sympathetic fibers of the autonomic nervous system. This initiates inhibitory responses in the digestive organs which means you'll be eating your ice cream but not fully metabolizing it."

If you've ever had a lot of guilt after a meal, you might feel like you have an upset stomach. You might feel bloated. You might hold on to that ice cream longer and you might store it. That doesn't sound like an effective strategy for weight loss. 

Notice how your guilt and shame affect the way you feel after eating. 

4. If you feel guilt and shame, it might lead you to eat emotionally. 

To quote the infamous Austin Powers character, Fat Bastard, "I eat because I'm unhappy and I'm unhappy because I eat." 

One wouldn't think such wisdom would come from a Mike Myers film but a lot of times, feeling guilty around foods just leads to more eating of the food that makes us feel guilty.

Listen, I don't even think emotional eating is that bad. Hating yourself, however, will NOT help you stop eating the ice cream that you eat as a coping mechanism.

5. Shame prevents us from listening to our body. 

Shame's worst crime is taking us away from our body's needs. If you are constantly pissed at your body for eating or eating too much or eating carbs when you're supposed to be Paleo, you start to develop a really terrible relationship with your body. You don't trust it. 

And not trusting your body means you don't listen to what it needs. You don't eat when you're hungry. You don't stop when you're full. You don't go for walks when you need them. You don't stop running when you have bad knees. You don't take care of your body because you're mad at her. 

That sucks. 

Your body is this super awesome machine that's completing like I dunno a billion chemical reactions a day. It's what takes you through life. It's what creates life. It's the body that's helped you build your career and your life. If you're able-bodied, it allows you to talk, walk, run, cook, clean, play music, explore, travel, or have sex.

Since you're stuck hanging out in this body, why not love it? Why not appreciate it? Why not take care of it instead of yelling at it like a mean nun at a Catholic school in the 50s? 

Being mean to your body is not actually making you thinner. So, please just stop. 






Just because you were a size 2 once doesn't mean you should be there now.

Just because you were a size 2 once doesn't mean you should be there now.

I once was a size 2. Actually, if you go back far enough, I think I used to be a size 0-2 months. 

Ba doom cha! 

Seriously, though. This is the diet trap. 

One time when you were "really really really good," you were able to be this size. This is your ideal size. It seems reasonable to you because you were there once. It's not like you want to look like OG Barbie or even like Taylor Swift, you just want to be this size again. 

What "lifestyle change" really is

Do you think that never eating your favorite food again is going to "change your life?" 

I did. 

I'll never forget study abroad in Argentina. It was a glorious time where I enjoyed dancing, late-night dinners, and eating lots of steak and dulce de leche, the Nutella of South America. I also spent a good amount of time worrying about my weight and "engordar," or getting fat as they say in español. So I restricted food at lunch, ate "too many" snacks and then I ate dinner, too.  All of my sins I confessed guiltily in my food diary each night.  I did, however, live in blissful ignorance of any weight gain because there were no scales in my life at the time.

 And then, I returned to 'Murrica (USA) and I went to the gym and stepped on a scale (scales are stupid). Unfortunately, my first thought was, "Oh no. I have engordandoed!"

And so, I sought to "change my life" or find a "sustainable solution." I wanted to "start healthy habits." 

This meant that I vowed to never really eat pizza or french fries. I would try to eat "lite dinners" that left me feeling hungry for lots of dessert afterward.  And, I would plan lengthy runs that I was never in the mood for. Of course, it didn't work the way I thought it would. I ate pizza and skipped my workouts sometimes and ate "too much." And my primary motivation was weight loss. It was not about whether or not I was healthy. I wanted to maintain a lower weight. 

 Lifestyle change or "being healthy" is a wolf in sheep's clothing. It's code for diet. 

I was recently listening to Katie Daleabout on Summer Innanen's podcast, Fearless Rebelle Radio. She was discussing her eating disorder and the process of recovery. She brings up how her eating disorder was couched in "being healthy" so much that she even convinced herself. She states: 

"The interesting thing is that you know in like the 90s and the 80s, dieting was just as prevalent as it is now but now we call it "being healthy." Back then, dieting wasn't like really necessarily cool. It was just, they called a spade a spade, right? They called it dieting. It was clear that that was for vanity.Whereas now, we a lot of times are dieting but people call it, "oh I'm just trying to be healthy"... It's not necessarily healthy, first of all. And, if you're doing it for weight loss, if you're doing it to manipulate the size and shape of your body, not just to feel really good, then it's dieting. Whether you're doing that through green juice or you're doing that through low-calorie low-fat whatever whatever 90s type of dieting, doesn't really matter, it's still dieting."

Back in the 90s and 80s, working girls were wearing sneakers and shoulders pads and switching to high heels and diets when they got to work.

But in those times, people called diets, "diets" and it was clear that they were doing it to look like Melanie Griffith or Molly Ringwald. It was absolutely about weight loss. It was a time where the fitness industry was really starting to take off. People were trying to get "physical, physical." 

Diet culture often frames diets as "lifestyle changes" when in reality they are diets.

Now diets are far more insidious because we can't even clearly see that a diet is for weight loss or body shaping. It may not necessarily be healthy for you, especially if it's causing you to drop down to a weight that is not within your normal healthy body range. If you're changing what you're eating in order to change your body shape or size, it is a diet. Juice cleanses, no pizza ever, the cookie diet, no-carb, low-carb, no oil, Whole30, paleo, vegan shananahammocks, these are all example of diets if you're doing them to CHANGE YOUR BODY SHAPE OR SIZE.  

My impression is that most people think that if we want "lasting weight loss," we need to make a "lifestyle change." AKA if you just eat enough fruits and vegetables, regularly attend your hot yoga class, and never eat [insert your favorite food here] again, you'll finally be able to lose the 30 pounds and keep it off for the rest of your life. 

 Many believe we're just not "changing our lifestyle" enough to lose the weight.

#Sorrynotsorry to be the angry feminist in the room once again but fat people aren't fat because they haven't "changed their lifestyle" or don't care about health. Most people know they need to exercise and need to eat fruits and vegetables. And most people are trying to do that. Some are even successfully doing that. And guess what?! They might not lose the weight. 

I'm glad that people are stoked about making sustainable changes, especially if they're monitoring their health in ways that don't involve standing on a scale and frowning at their body in the mirror.

After all, I really believe that we need to make moves that we can actually stick to in order to make our lives truly better. My hope is that we can change what we're eating not for vanity if health is our main concern. Because vanity doesn't necessarily make you healthier. 


Don't be dull

All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl. 

And when Jill is a dull girl, Jill likes to find fun foods because eating is her only real break ( or she totally loses it in an isolated mountainous hotel).  

 I live in New York City and New York City is a very expensive place. In order to stay here and work here, one has to work very hard just to stay afloat. 

When I first graduated from NYU, I had job at a grocery store.

The hours were pretty horrible. The pay was pretty minimal but I was hoping that I could somehow grow in my field by continuing to stay there. Being low-ranking in retail is especially challenging because you have to be available at all times. That means late at night and on the weekends.  And that's what I did. 

This meant that whenever fun activities at night and the weekends would come up, I would politely decline in favor of my work. So, instead of seeing my friends and being 22, I stayed home and spent a lot of time with Netflix and Hulu.

It was pretty grinding and soul-crushing. 

My big release, however, were snacks and alcohol. I loved coming home and enjoying whatever snack I found on sale and whatever interesting IPA I could afford. Other nights, it was cereal. 

And because it was the most fun part of my day, many nights I couldn't stop eating. I would eat WAAAAAAAY past my fullness cue.

I don't tell this story to show you guys how awesome I am. I mean, I am, but that's beyond the point.

 Symbolic restriction in our lives can lead to literal "binges" with our food.

When we limit what we do, our body compensates. In the same way that calorie restriction actually physiologically sets you up for a binge because your body becomes convinced that you're starving, mentally restricting our lives can also result in the physical manifestation of binging on food. For other people, binging might look more like overspending, drug or alcohol abuse, or, in the case of The Shining, a full psychotic break. 

By loosening the reins on our lives, we can actually achieve a healthier relationship with food. 

Here's what helped me to survive those dark days:

1. I came to terms with the fact that I was hungry after my late night shifts. 

I had to accept that I needed a little self-love after a long day behind the register. This brought a little mindfulness to my late-night snacking.

2.  I got promoted. 

Hard work pays off. Eventually, I had a new job that allowed me to have a little bit more control over my schedule which meant that I could actually plan a few things with my friends and family to relax. 

3. I made friends with my coworkers

Coworkers understand why your schedule is sooo crazy and don't think you're just blowing them off when you can't hang. They know your schedule and understand when you can't make it. Also, it makes work more fun when you go in and get to hang out with people you like. 


So, for those of you that feel trapped by your lifestyle right now and KNOW you're using food as a way to manage it, let's talk. Schedule your first  FREE session with me.




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