Welcome to Eating Without Shame

We are so done with unhealthy eating causing and resulting from  shame. We have a deep and personal understanding of the weight loss process, and we know how much it hurts to feel stuck. By sharing our stories and strategies, we hope to inspire you and to give you tools for your own success. Our blog is structured into six large themes that will be briefly introduced below. Each post will give the most recent scientific literature as well as our own experience on every level. We will always be honest and transparent with you — we’ll tell you where we went wrong, and even where the science did not help us personally. You’ll be able to learn from our mistakes! We are convinced that by ending the connection between eating and shame, you can keep off the excess weight and feel positive about yourself for good. More than that, we can transform the way we envision ourselves and respect our bodies. So here’s our question for you: aren’t you tired of feeling bad about yourself?

Theme 1: No More Shame

Our culture wants women to have slim, even skinny, firm bodies. Anything else is unacceptable—shameworthy. What an outrage that is. This theme is about eating and moving in a physically and emotionally healthy way. Even more important than that, though, our blog is about working to let go of the shame even before you change the way you eat and move. Shame is a poison that you do not deserve, regardless of your weight.

Theme 2: Real Food

Humans are hardwired to seek comfort and avoid deprivation, and for many of us food has an exaggerated role and has become a choice source of comfort. When seeking that comfort results in weight gain that make us physically uncomfortable and unhealthy – and when that weight is associated with shame — then the immediate comfort brought from the food is short-lived and destructive. We know it can be overwhelming to navigate all the headlines about what you’re “supposed to eat.” We both had our own “day one.” We’ve done the research, and we are here to help you! In our posts, we will talk about foods that make our brains and bodies happy, and that we think will do the same for you. We’ll share the recipes that helped us stay motivated, talk about which foods are best for physical and mental health, and we’ll walk you through ordering food at restaurants and still stay on track – even how to navigate the dreaded all-you-can-eat buffet lines!

Theme 3: Exercise for the Rest of Us

We both live active and physical lifestyles, but it was not always this way. Neither of us was athletic, or went to the gym, or felt a burning desire to salute the sun at 6 am. A life of movement literally starts with the first step. We are not asking you to go and run a mile after reading this post. We’re not asking you to join a gym this week. We’re encouraging you to find a routine that incorporates movement as a part of everyday life, and that you’ll actually want to do. Our posts on exercise will share how we moved from being sedentary to active in a way that worked for us, with our own time constraints and preferences. Our goal is to help you explore what kind of physical activity you may want to try, to detangle feelings of embarrassment and shame associated with exercise, and to live a life that includes movement.

Theme 4: J + J’s Secrets + Strategies

Here’s the deal: there are no secrets. There’s no “miracle cure,” no “just eat this and you’ll be thin!” There’s no secret regimen that helped us cut corners. A commitment to kindness and redefining your relationship with your body and with food takes time and effort. If you’re ready to sign up for this, then we are here to help you be successful. In Secrets + Strategies, we will share what worked for us. We both have lost count of the of different strategies and techniques we tried during our weight loss, and not all of them were successful! We will tell you how we incorporated new habits and approached situations that gave us anxiety. In this way, you will develop the tools to help you identify the aspects of your own life that will allow you to form strategies for success. There is no one answer, there is no right answer — we can only tell you our right answers, and will help you find your own.

Theme 5: Press Pause

We’re telling you now  (even though you already know this): you need time for yourself. Many people make themselves busy, running from one commitment to another. On the outside this looks “productive,” but really, what are they actually producing? Furthermore, what does productivity have to do with Eating Without Shame? Both of us credit our success with weight loss and maintenance to our own personally-developed patterns that work for us within the constraints of our own lifestyles. We have found that making one healthy physical or emotional choice after another — just one — allows us to form the foundation for our own success. One positive step after another allows us to incorporate new choices, habits, decisions, and strategies without feeling overwhelmed and underproductive. That sounds simple. On a fundamental level, it is. However, one step after another isn’t as simple as it sounds. Developing a pattern of positive choices takes intention, practice, and time. We both know what it feels like to start something again and again, or to give up with it felt discouraging or the results were not what we hoped for. Posts within Press Pause will talk about the ways we have identified patterns that were successful for ourselves, as well as help you slow down and form your own intentional patterns. We promise you this: the effort is worth every second.

Theme 6: Dr. J’s Medical Corner

Janice — Doctors are supposed to be healers. For a long time, that’s not what I was when it came to helping my overweight patients. Like so many other physicians. I would talk (or lecture) about the “simple” (and oversimplified) equation of “calories in/calories out.” I would suggest to patients that they “don’t eat crap,” and I thought that this was useful “advice.” Well, I don’t need to tell you that it wasn’t. It took my own experience with becoming overweight and then finding my own path to losing the weight to have a better appreciation of my patients’ struggles. Since that time, I have worked with many patients in a new way and have come to believe even more strongly in the importance of ending shame as a key to losing weight in a sustainable way. More than I have helped my patients, though, my patients have helped me deepen my understanding of the connection between food and shame. This came as a result of starting a group for students at the University of Pennsylvania, where I work, to address issues around weight. It turned out that the big issue wasn’t donuts or French fries or pork belly sandwiches. The big issue was shame. They let me know, in no uncertain terms, that too many doctors were adding to that shame! I promised them, and I promise you, that I will never be in that group of doctors again. Posts in this theme will touch on a variety of topics, including food as medicine, and food addiction. Let me know what other topics interest you. I look forward to hearing from you.

Disclaimer: Although Dr. Janice is a medical doctor, the contents of this website are for informational purposes only and should not be assumed to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always reach out to your physician or other qualified health provider if you have any questions regarding a medical condition. Please do not delay or disregard medical advice because of something you have read on this website.

© 2017 Janice Asher, MD and Jay Rivera