Episode 019: How I Shifted My Mindset and Changed My Relationship with Food

Episode 019: How I Shifted My Mindset and Changed My Relationship with Food

In this episode, I share:

  • What my goals used to be in terms of my health

  • How I defined being healthy

  • What disordered eating cost me

  • How my mindset shifted and changed my relationship with food

  • And how I've come to treat myself with grace and acceptance

I also ask you five questions to help you examine what is your mindset for truth health.


Click Here to Read the Episode Transcript...

Before we get to today’s episode, I have a few updates that I want to share with you!

First, my 21-Day Sugar Detox Group Coaching program begins on January 15th! I’m so excited to start the new year off with this program! One of the best things that I ever did for myself was to give up added sugar. It completely changed my taste buds to where I no longer crave sweets. It also changed my entire mindset about food.

If you’re not familiar with the program, go back and listen to Episode 008, and then join me for a live online workshop on The In’s and Out’s of the 21-Day Sugar Detox. I’m holding the workshop twice so you can either join me this Thursday, January 4th, or on Sunday, January 14th. I’ll be giving a preview of the program and answering any questions that you have about it. You can go over to the show notes for this episode to find the links to register.

A couple of other announcements:

If you haven’t been to my website lately, head on over and check things out! I’ve revamped almost every page on it, and I’ve also released a bunch of new free resources for you!

There’s the Less Stress for More Success, 3-part audio series that you can download and listen to like you’re doing right now with this podcast episode!

I also created the “Mind Your Health When Your Mind is On Work: A Professional’s Guide to Good Gut Health.”

And I’m super excited to release the Food + Body Connection. It’s a free program that will help you develop more self-awareness around your diet and how you feel, and teach you how to become more in tune with what your body needs.

And I’ll have links to these resources to over on the show notes at www.livefablife.com/019.

Alright, let’s get to today’s episode.

So it’s January 2nd and for the past few weeks, you’ve been hearing and reading people tell you how to set goals, why resolutions aren’t goals, why you don’t need to set goals because you’re fine just the way you are, “New Year, New You”, “You don’t need a New You.” It’s all coming at you right now.

And I had planned to release an episode last Tuesday on this same topic too. In fact, I had it all recorded and queued up to publish. But then I paused - something I’ve been doing a lot of lately. My gut feeling was telling me that what I recorded wasn’t what I actually wanted to say to you. I mean, I’ve already written two blog posts on that topic. If you’re interested in those, they’ll be linked to on the show notes.

My personal opinion is, who cares of something is a goal versus a resolution. The point is that you’re trying to better yourself.

And you shouldn’t be made to feel guilty if that’s what you want to do. Look I get it, you ARE great the way that you are.

But setting goals in no way indicates that you’re not good enough or that you don’t think that you are, or that you don’t have any self-confidence.

It’s quite the opposite actually.

I embrace who I am and but I also know that I’m flawed. And I’m always trying to better myself, educate myself and focus on personal development and goals help me do that. And I know I’m not alone in this.

Making anyone feel guilty for setting or not setting goals is not really what it’s about.

When it comes to goals and habits, I always think back to Gretchen Rubin’s books, “Better Than Before, and “The Four Tendencies”, where she research and studied human behavior to learn why some people are great at setting and sticking with goals and are good at making changes and creating new habits, and why some people are not.

I’m an Abstainer and a Questioner.

What that means is that I don’t do well with moderation, so something like the 80/20 rule doesn’t really work for me. I need complete avoidance.

I’m also a Questioner which means I’ll comply but I need to understand why. And as a Questioner, January 1st is just an arbitrary thing. I don’t need to wait for a new year, the first of the month or even next Monday to set a goal or try something new, I’ll just do it.

And I’m fine with how I am, but I know that not everyone is like me. And that’s a good thing because we are all unique beings. Life would be boring if we were all the same.

But besides our natural tendencies, what really makes someone change their habits or be successful at anything, really, is their mindset.

Now I’m not a mindset expert. But what I’m going to do today is share with you what my goals have been in terms of my health, and how my mindset has shifted over the years. And maybe it’ll inspire you to examine your mindset and make some shifts too.

If you listened to Episode 001, then you know my background and story. How I used to be really overweight, didn’t know how to eat healthy and never exercised - at all.

Then I got really tired of hating how I looked. So I invested in myself, joined a gym, hired a personal trainer and became obsessed with working out. In those first few months, I wasn’t focused on cleaning up my diet at all, because I didn’t really know how to do that. At that time, eating healthy to me, was about avoiding fat grams. In fact, that’s the only thing I knew how to read on a food label.

Then my personal trainer started talking to me about my diet and told me that “being healthy was easy, all I had to do was burn more calories than I ate.”

So I started using a website called CalorieKing, to track my calories, then eventually switched to myFitnessPal. And for years, I obsessively measured every calorie I ate or burned - because at the end of the day, being healthy was only about having a negative calorie balance.

If I knew I was going to a party or a big social event with food, I’d starve myself throughout the day to “save calories” for later.

And I did all of this because I had this intense fear of gaining all the weight back that I had lost. I carried this mindset with me all through long-distance running and marathon training, but by then, my mind had shifted. I thought that if I could just reach my “ideal” weight, then I would be lighter and run faster.

And you guys, at that time I weighed 118 lbs and fluctuated between a size 2 and a size 4. I’m only 5 feet tall and according to Shape and Fitness and all those other magazines with BMI calculators, I still had some weight to lose to reach my “ideal” weight. How crazy is that.

So this mindset, led me to disordered eating and what I now know to be orthorexia.

When you hear “eating disorder” you think of “bulimia” or “anorexia”, but orthorexia is also an eating disorder. And in hindsight, I had it pretty badly.

By only focusing on calories in versus calories out, I paid ZERO attention to the nutritional density of my diet. And by nutritional density I mean, how many nutrients - vitamins and minerals like magnesium, zinc, B vitamins, vitamin a, folate, vitamin c and more - how much of those things were in the foods that I was eating?

And I can tell you that it wasn’t a lot.

By not eating a nutrient-dense diet, I destroyed my digestive system which led to Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS, which really, is just an umbrella term for a whole host of other things going on inside there - like Leaky Gut Syndrome, gut dysbiosis, and even Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).

And because every system in our bodies are connected, this led to hormonal imbalances which led to thyroid and adrenal dysfunction, blood sugar imbalance which affected my sleep and gave me symptoms of hypoglycemia - so while I may have appeared healthy on the outside because I was a size 4, really, I was tired, sleep-deprived, grouchy, anxious, depressed, bloated and had diarrhea all the time.

This is not a good way to feel on any given day, but when it’s chronic, it’s a miserable live to live.

I’m sure you’ve experienced some or all of these things too, so you know how frustrating and stressful it feels, right?

It’s a VICIOUS cycle.

And I tried everything to fix it. But it wasn’t until I found functional medicine, did I realize that by removing the barriers to healing - like sugar, dairy, gluten, and other barriers that are personal to me, and by filling my plate with nutrient-rich foods that my body NEEDS to thrive, that I truly understand what eating healthy is.

And this realization is what changed my mindset towards health and changed my relationship with food.

When I connected the dots I realized that if I stop eating dairy (which meant giving up cheese and ice cream - which I love), I no longer have explosive diarrhea and feel nauseous all the time.

When I connected the dots I realized that if I stop eating gluten, my headaches go away and my skin clears up.

When I connected the dots I realized that if I stop eating sugar and bad sources of carbs, and eat more protein, fats and complex sugars instead, I don’t feel hangry all the time, I feel satiated longer, I don’t snack between meals, I don’t feel like a slave to food and I sleep better.

And when I connected the dots I realized that if I had more restful sleep, I’d have the energy to be nicer to people, and be more productive, and to workout more consistently again.

When I understand the “if this, than that” my whole mindset and approach to health shifted.

For me, being healthy is no longer about losing those last five pounds. It’s no longer about counting calories or being dogmatic about a certain diet.

And by the way, there’s nothing wrong with counting calories or following a certain diet. Those things can all be really helpful tools, depending on where you are in your health journey. It’s really your mindset in how you approach them that will either make them useful or counterproductive.

It’s about feeding my body as many nutrients as efficiently possible and giving it what it needs to function and thrive.

And guess what - in the past year I’ve gained a lot of weight - almost 30 pounds to be exact. Because I’m still dealing with the fallout of years of abusing my body.

In the past I’d be freaking out right now, thinking that my life is over. But now I know that I’m doing all the things that I’m supposed to. I’m eating healthy foods that work for me, trying to eat as nutrient-dense of a diet that I can. I’m still exercising regularly. And I understand that there’s a lot of other multifactorial things going on in my body, like heavy metal toxicity, that’s causing my thyroid to still be out of whack. And I’m working on those things with my healthcare practitioners, my doctor, my dentist, my chiropractor, my acupuncturist and yes, even my own functional nutrition coach - because even coaches need coaches.

But instead of beating myself up over this, I have a lot more grace and acceptance of myself. My worth is no longer tied to a number on the scale. I know that there are metabolic dysfunctions going on in my body and I’m working hard to address and heal them.

If you have a chronic health condition that’s requiring you to make some dietary changes but you feel that you can’t because you “don’t want to feel deprived” or you can’t imagine giving up, say, ice cream.

How much power are you giving ice cream? Does ice cream really have that much power over you than healing and caring for your well-being? And is it really about the ice cream?

I can tell you that if you’re suffering - with breakouts, chronic IBS, insomnia, and are lacking resiliency - you’re already deprived.

But when you think of your body as your friend - someone who you love and value - you want to give it what it needs to live - and to live well.

This is why having a solid foundation and mindset for truth health is so essential.

It’s not just a number on the scale. It’s not just what our net calories are at the end of the day. These are all data points to consider, but they’re just that - data points - not a complete picture.

So what I want for you to take away from this episode is to examine what is your mindset for truth health.

Ask yourself these five questions:

What are your beliefs when it comes to health? How did you come to form those beliefs? How were you influenced to believe in them? Are they still true for you today? Why or why not? What do you want for yourself - truly want for yourself?

I want you to be honest with yourself. You don’t have to be honest with me, or with anyone else, but you do have to honest with yourself.

And this isn’t easy to do. It’s scary even to admit things to ourselves, but when you shed the protective layers and are open and frank with yourself, you’re removing barriers to healing and growth.

I've worked hard to learned that food is my fuel, not my enemy. I’ve worked really hard to find my new normal and figure out what foods work for my unique body - and that is going to look different for you.

As an allied functional medicine practitioner and health coach, it’s my job to share what I’ve learned with you and to guide you so you can learn this for yourself.

Earlier in this episode, I mentioned the 21-Day Sugar Detox.

I always recommend that anyone wanting to improve their health - no matter what their goals or health conditions are - start with removing barriers to health and sugar is the number one enemy in our modern diet.

I challenge you to track how much sugar you eat in one day - I think you’d be surprised to see all the hidden places that sugar resides.

And sugar is really, really hard to quit. The corporations that make soda and other junk foods have scientists on staff to make their products as addictive as possible. In fact, sugar is just as if not more addictive than narcotics.

Which is why I am so grateful for programs like the 21-Day Sugar Detox. When I quit sugar, I used a different program and I did it on my own. It was hard - it was so hard and the program had some flaws to it.

Now I’m not saying that the 21-Day Sugar Detox program is perfect, but having tried and evaluated a lot of programs, I can confidently say it’s pretty damn close.

It’s complete and flexible - meaning no matter what where you are in your health journey, there’s a way of doing it that’s modifiable for you. But it can be confusing to try to navigate through on your own, which is why there’s certified coaches for the program - and I’m one of them.

I’m hosting two free workshops, The In’s and Out’s of the 21-Day Sugar Detox, to give you an overview of just what the program is all about, and what’s included in my group coaching program.

The first workshop is this Thursday, January 4th at 5 pm Pacific, and then I’m doing a repeat of it on Sunday, January 14th at 9 am Pacific. I have listeners all over the world so I’m trying to offer them on days and times that will work for as many people as possible.

So I’m officially inviting you to sign-up for a workshop, come learn about the 21-Day Sugar Detox and why it’s a great place for you to start. And if you can’t make either session live, register anyway because I’ll be sending a replay to those who are registered for them.

What makes this round of the 21-Day Sugar Detox especially exciting is the brand new 21-Day Sugar Detox Guide that’s just been released today!

What makes this new addition to the 21DSD suite of books so different and fantastic is that it addresses the most important part of this process - your mindset. And when you can shift your mindset - really in anything that you do - the possibilities are endless.


If you desire to ditch the diet mentality, If you desire to have more energy and focus, If you desire to have a better sleep, If you desire to ditch the gas and bloating, If you want to feel more joy, If you want to feel like you’re more in control of your health...

Then start with your mindset and the 21-Day Sugar Detox. I changed my "diet and deprivation" mentality and understood how digestion works and how it impacts every other system in my body.

Now that I’ve realized the power of eating the foods that are right for me, and then focusing on nourishing my body emotionally, my entire life has changed. Yours can too!

Thanks for listening - I hope you join me for my workshop and I’ll see you next week!

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Naomi Nakamura is a certified Holistic Health Coach who takes a holistic approach through functional nutrition. Through her weekly show, The Live FAB Live Podcast, coaching programs, and safer skincare solutions, she helps people with acne and other chronic skin issues clear up their skin by teaching them where food meets physiology and how food, gut health, stress, and toxins are intricately connected to the health and appearance of our skin. Naomi resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and can often be found romping around the city with her puppy girl, Coco Pop! Connect with Naomi at: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest.