Basic Recipe:  

1.    SELF AWARENESS: Become aware of the messages you have recieved that have influenced your relationship with your body and food.

  • UNPLUG from diet culture's body ideal
  • understand and come to love your own AUTHENTIC BEAUTY
  • become aware of your EATING INTENTIONS: WHY you WANT to eat 
  • become aware of your EMOTIONS around your body and food

2.     FOCUS ON HEALTH, NOT WEIGHT: develop an inutitive, weight-neutral, health-centered approach to SELF-CARE: 

  • TRUST your body to intuitively understand what it needs
  • eat when hungry and stop eating when full,
  • choose food that makes you physically feel good
  • move your body with joy

3.     FOCUS ON COMPASSION, NOT CRITICISM: create understanding and learning

  • employ compassion, forgiveness and humor in your self-awareness journey
  • understand where feelings of judgment and shame are not serving your self-care ideals
  • understand where deprivation and guilt may be driving your eating behavior
  • learn to assess, respect, and meet your own physical and emotional needs


  • surround yourself with like-minded friends
  • educate the other people in your life realizing that they simply may not 'get it' yet


Background Ingredients:


1.  What do you want to get out of the Workshop?  What are your reasons for embarking on this journey? How would you rank your MOTIVATION to change your thoughts around your body and eating behavior today? 


2.    MINDSHARE: How much MINDSHARE or space does your eating, your weight, or your body take up in your LIFE?  




Full discussion in MyParadigmShift: “I didn’t know you had this problem . . .”



  • Comes into play when you are aware that you want to eat and you are not hungry.  Ask, "What's up?"
  • Comes into play when you are accounting for food choices, food accounting.
  • Comes into play when enjoying your food.

A.  Food accounting – balanced awareness: describe how this could apply to you.  Are you counting calories? Carbs? WW Points? Are you trying to manage your body with food?


B.  Do you ZONE OUT while eating?  Name situation? Where were your thoughts? Could you keep track of those thoughts? They give you an indication of what you are feeling.


C.  What would be balanced accounting look like for you? Not too much food accounting, but not zoning out at the plate?


Full discussion in MyParadigmShift: "Mindful Eating: Staying awake at the plate."


Action Ingredients

MyBodyMySelf Post-its + MyBodyMySelf Body Journal

4.    MyBodyMySelf Post-its: Intuitive Eating: How people ate forever before our crazy diet culture . . .

MyBodyMySelf Post-its has a multi page discussion.  Click here.

A. Hunger

B. Free Choice

C. Mindful: Food Accounting: amount

D. Enjoying

E. Full

F. Hit the Spot?  Learn for next time?

G. What did you eat?

Full discussion The METHOD: Post-its.


5.    MyBodyMySelf Body Image Journal: Body Image Awareness

A.    Notice thoughts around your body -- these thought might be happening while showering working out getting dressed.  Notice repeat entries for a body part or two.

B.    Notice your tone.

C.    Notice your judging yourself or other people.

Full discussion The METHOD: Body Image Journal.


 The Ingredients in the Way:

No Eating Paradigm, Emotions, Negative Body Image, Behavioral Roadblocks

6.    EATING INTENTIONS: an eating paradigm. What are the reasons WHY you WANT to choose the food that you do? You will be balancing your EATING INTENTIONS every time you eat, while eating, every day.  This gives you freedom of choice of food (no deprivation) withing a structure.

For those of us that have been dieting or restricting, the EATING INTENTIONS are appealing as some 'safety' around the Eat-Whatever-You-Want fundamental of Intuitive Eating.


I did research on my self by writing down what I was eating with the MyBodyMySelf Post-its. These were my eating intentions before I thought about it:

1. Weight loss -- (counting carbs) mostly at meals 

2. Pleasure - Without balancing amount or frequency

3. Emotional eating – Same time every day

This is NOW WHY I WANT to eat.  I figured this out from thinking about it:

1. Hunger/Satiety

2. Body Awareness -- “This food makes me feel good” 

3. Health -- Choice of high quality foods that nourish my body best I can 

4.  Pleasure - with a mindful awareness of amount and frequency of joy in eating

Create your own EATING INTENTIONS.  Why do you WANT to eat:

1. ______________________________________


3. _____________________________________

4. _____________________________________

Full discussion in MyParadigmShift: "Shift focus from WHAT you are eating to WHY you are eating"




A.   Soothing: Food used as a cover for your real emotional life.  Garden variety emotional eating --> using food to soothe self. 

MINDFULNESS: When you are heading toward the fridge and realize you are not hungry, ask, “What am I feeling right now?”  

SOOTHING – Using food as a COVER for other emotions

  •         Make up for a PLEASURE imbalance in your life
  • 7 Common CURRENT emotions that send you to the fridge:

Stress, Anger, Loneliness, Unhappiness, Disappointment, Boredom, Exhaustion

  • PAST history – soothing on a daily basis accounts for a large percentage of obesity 

Maybe a better answer to Soothing Emotions with food: Metabolize Emotion Instead

Name a situation where you have done this recently.  Were you aware of doing it at the time?  Did you know what was bothering you?  Were you ZONED OUT?


Full discussion in MyParadigmShift: "Neutralize the pull of the cookie"


B.   Obsession & distraction from life:  This is a diet restriction and/or exercise obsession. It leaves you with not enough time or space in your life to get to the real thing:  relationship issues, parenting, problems in living. Mindshare issue.

Maybe a better answer to Obsession: Awareness of obsession & emotional world:  MyBodyMySelf Guide to Processing Emotions

Can you name a situation you’ve seen where “healthy” behavior takes an ugly twist toward obsession in your life?  If you don't recognize it in yourself, do you know someone who is doing this?


Full discussion in MyParadigmShift:"Obsession with food, exercise and the mirror"



 C.   Emotional storm, tornado or TSUNAMI -- emotions triggered by dieting and restricting. KRYPTONITE to all good eating intentions: deprivation and guilt:

1.   DEPRIVATION – feeling food-deprived due to your living with restriction for a long time = living in food prison.

Maybe a better answer to feeling DEPRIVED: “You are a full grown woman.  You can eat whatever the f&%k you want!” ISABEL FOXEN DUKE  

2.    GUILT – about what food you have eaten. Isabel Duke defines being on diet or food restriction plan by how it makes you feel.  This is where we’ve created 'good' and 'bad' foods.  Guilt + deprivation= BINGE.  

Maybe a better answer to feeling GUILTY:  

  • FORGIVE SELF: Mantra, “Oh well” 
  • Confront those feelings with logic: “Join all of humanity that eats too much on some days.”

What of this can you relate to feeling yourself:  deprivation, guilt, anger, fear, shame, judgment?  Specific situations?


Do you have your own emotional tsunami around food?  Where do your emotions get triggered?:


Full discussion in MyParadigmshift: "Diets and tsunamis"



A.   Emotions associated with a Negative Body Image.  We women engage in a tremendous amount of self-judgment and self-punishment around our bodies and our weight.

1.    SHAME: feelings ashamed for how your body looks. “I am too fat or not thin enough.”  Not   (fill in the blank)  enough.  

How much time have you spent in past decades telling yourself that your body was flawed, only to look back at pictures from these times and realize how wonderful you actually looked?

Kerry Egan is a hospice chaplain and she writes in her book On Living:

There are many regrets and many unfulfilled wishes that patients have shared with me before they die.  But the time wasted spent hating their bodies, ashamed  . . . over the years not appreciating their body until they were close to leaving it – are some of the saddest of regrets.  These are lives lived thinking that bodies are something to criticize or at best something to tolerate.  

It is the wrong answer to spend your life ashamed of the body you were lucky enough to be given.

Maybe a better answer answer:

a.     You are (fill in the blank) enough right now.  Your body is not a “home improvement project.”  It is a place you live from.  Radical body acceptance is about appreciating your body right now. 

b.      Understanding genetics. How far off from mom or dad do you expect to be?


2.   JUDGMENT: of self over what your body SHOULD be. Judgment implies a standard. 


Where did you get this standard? 


Has it changed since adolescence?


What if your standard is simply wrong?


125 lbs?  Who said? 


Size 6?  Who said? 


Did you know that weight and size increase as we age? 


How do you feel about pictures you see of yourself 25 years ago?


Have you been ashamed of your body?


Have you judged you own body maybe unreasonably? 


Full discussion in the five blog entries under MyBodyImage:

  1. "MyBodyImage: An Introduction"
  2. "True perception of your shape: Accessing your thoughts"
  3. "Physical appearance says little about your character: Getting familiar with your true value"
  4. "Refuse to spend your precious time worrying about your body: Unplug from the harmful messages in your way"
  5. "Feeling comfortable in your skin: Accepting YourBodyYourSelf"


B.   Cutivate a Positive Body Image

 Positive Body Image

  • A clear, true perception of your shape--you see the various parts of your body as they really are.
  • You celebrate and appreciate your natural body shape and you understand that a person’s physical appearance says very little about their character and value as a person.
  • You feel proud and accepting of your unique body and refuse to spend an unreasonable amount of time worrying about food, weight, and calories.
  • You feel comfortable and confident in your body.

                                                                   --   National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)

1.            “True perceptions of shape.”  Body Image journal.  See what you are thinking.  What is coming up.  Need to know you are wrong quite a bit.  Confront thoughts that haven’t seen light of day in 40 years with LOGIC.  Dialogue between heart, ID, emotional side with head, Super-ego or logical side.  Usually diets want logical head to MUSCLE over power emotion with “We are doing it this way.” This is the idea that you control your eating with WILLPOWER.  I am suggesting the only way for success is for the emotional side and the logical side to work together.  They need to speak to each other.          

2.            “Refuse to spend time.” Time is most precious commodity.  Need to UNPLUG from society’s messages.  Hard to do.  What messages are you specifically getting? Why do you feel you need to look a certain way?  EMBRACE discussion.

3.            “Feel comfortable in your skin.” Accept your body.  Understand genetics.  Limitations. Age.  Accept what you cannot change.  Serenity Prayer. 

Loving your body means to view it as a place you live from, rather then a possession to be sculpted.  It means to be grateful for the vehicle you were given to from which to live your life. Treat it with care. When you do this, you treat your body as Best Self.

4.           Compassion for self:  Are you using mean internal voice, and beating yourself up?


Maybe a better answer: Treat yourself how you would treat a beloved child.  The Body Image Journal has you track your tone of voice.  “GRANDMOTHER SELF” means to use a compassionate tone of voice on yourself.

Full discussion in MyParadigmShift: "Meet Twiggy's Replacement"


 Extra Special Ingredients:

 10. FUN and MEANING in your life.  Your "physical appearance says very little about your character and value as a person." (NEDA definition of Positive Body Image).  So, what DOES say something about your character and value? What gives you joy? What do you love to do? 


What puts you in FLOW?


What did you love to do as a child? Teenager? College age?


If money were no object, what would you spend your time doing?


If you were guaranteed success, what would you do? 


What problem in the world speaks to you? 


Full discussion in MyBodyImage: "Physical appearance says little about your character: getting familiar with your true value"


Please feel free to e-mail me with any questions:

Denise Hamburger 
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