Episode 047: What Happens When You Stop Obsessing About Food with Katie Garces

047-Show Notes.jpg

On this episode, I’m joined by Nurse Practitioner and Certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Katie Garces.

Katie blends her professional background in traditional healthcare, wellness, and nutrition with her passion for the healing power of spiritual wholeness for women and men across the country.

Utilizing the concepts of intuitive eating, intermittent fasting and real food, Katie helps people examine how their spiritual and emotional barriers have a direct effect on their relationship with their bodies, so they can have a “grown-up” and empowered approach to life balance, and live lives that feel Sexy, Spiritual & Sane™.

In our conversation, you’ll hear Katie share:

  • Her story and what life was like before intuitive eating

  • What intuitive eating is and how to practice it

  • Five things that happened when she stopped obsessing about food

And so much more!

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Click Here to Read the Episode Transcript...

Naomi Nakamura: You're listening to The Live FAB Life Podcast Episode 047.

On today's episode, we're talking about intuitive eating and what happens when you stop obsessing about food. Now I have a confession to make.

A couple of confessions, actually. First, I am obsessed with food. I'm always thinking about my next meal, planning my next visit to Pressed Juicery or when I can make it back to my favorite restaurants in San Francisco. All normal behavior, right? But there was a time in my life where I had a very unhealthy obsession with food.

I counted every calorie I ate. I declined social invitations because it would be too complicated to then break down the dinner from the restaurant into the calories that I was counting. Then I would also feel massive self-loathing whenever I went above my allotted calories for the day, which by the way in hindsight was probably really insufficient for the amount of physical activity I was doing at the time.

Now my second confession. Up until a couple of months ago, I didn't really get the whole intuitive eating/emotional eating conversation. Now hear me out on that one. I think it's because I never really heard any of the experts in this field talk a lot about the importance of eating nutrient-dense meals and how food affects our hormones and our bodily functions.

Now that is until I heard today's guest, Katie Garces. I heard her interviewed on The Balanced Bites Podcast and it finally all clicked for me. I loved her approach to intuitive eating. I thought, "You know what? I really want to bring her on and have a conversation about it here."

Now Katie is a nurse practitioner and a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner who blends her professional background in traditional healthcare, wellness and nutrition with her passion for the healing power of spiritual wholeness for women and men across the country.

Katie specializes in examining how our spiritual and emotional barriers have a direct effect on our relationship with our bodies. Then she utilizes the concepts of intuitive eating and intermittent fasting and real food to achieve--and I love this--a grownup, empowered approach to life balance, so that her clients will live lives that feel sexy, spiritual and sane. Katie also founded the wildly popular Denver-based Beyond Book Club. Man, I wish that was online. I would totally be in on that. Katie also serves nutritionists and students with her Enterprising Nutritionist coaching and mentorships. She resides in Denver, Colorado with her husband, her twin boys and Piper the puppy. Piper sounds so cute.

Katie is a Beautycounter colleague of mine and I had the privilege of meeting her and spending some time with her in real life a few months ago at a business trip that we were all on. In fact, it was the same trip where last week's guest, Melinda Staehling and I were roomies on. Don't I have the best coworkers?

In this episode, you will hear Katie explain what intuitive eating is along with the importance of eating real foods packed with nutrients. She'll also explain her approach to being spiritual, sexy and sane, and how to do this all in a very balanced way. I love talking with Katie and I can't wait for you all to hear it too. Let's get to the show.

Hi, Katie. Welcome to the show.

Katie Garces: Hi, Naomi. I'm so excited to be here.

Naomi Nakamura: Why don't you give us an introduction to who you are and what you do and how you help people?

Katie Garces: I'm Katie Garces and I am a nurse practitioner by trade. That was my "first career," if you will. Then I went back to nutrition school ... Gosh, I guess it was 2012ish after I had my kids. I have seven-year-old twin boys. I've always been into nutrition and health. It was a big time hobby for me and then we decided to make it ... Me and my husband had a conversation had a conversation and decided to make go of it as making it my main gig. I went back, got my NTP back in 2012, 2014. I started my business then. At the time, I was super into paleo. I coached paleo. I coached a bunch of Whole30s. That was where I got the majority of my coaching experiences right off the bat. I was obsessed with it. I thought it was the most amazing thing in the world.

Let me side note that with it is. Going paleo and learning about real foods and all of those things that all these programs can teach us are amazing and helpful until they're not. That's what I was discovering and learning, both with myself as well as my clients is that people would come out of something like a Whole30 or another program feeling a little paralyzed and a little like, "I don't know what to eat if I'm not following this plan or if I'm not in the confines of this strict 30 days." They would come out of the 30 days or the 21 days or whatever and go crazy with all the bad things because they felt so deprived.

I observed this phenomenon again both with myself as well. I was like, "There's got to be something more to all of this." It's more than just a food prescription, a yes no list, a detox or a challenge. I just started digging deeper into that. What is all under this? What is my motivation around food? Why is my relationship with food seemingly a little off? Why is it easy for some people to do a program or a challenge or whatever? Do it, glean the benefits, move on. For other people, it just sends them into a little bit of a rabbit hole. I started to do a lot more work around spirituality and more of a holistic approach to health. Not just what we eat, but how we sleep, our stress reduction, our spiritual connection or whatever that may be for us. Is it there or does it need some reviving?

All of these components in my opinion, and definitely with my clients ... I work the majority with women. All of these components have to be in play and in balance if we're going to be happy and healthy mind body. We can't just have the most awesome, on point diet and exercise program, but if our sleep, stress and relationships are crap, it's not going to be balanced. Everything is going to be off. The eating piece is important, but there's so many other components to that eating piece. I started diving into that. Then the eating intuitively piece, intuitive eating piece really came on strong for me a little over a year ago.

Again, despite all the holistic stuff I was doing and covering all my bases, I was still very much that person who was either on or off a diet or a plan or a detox. I just found myself really tired of swinging on that pendulum. I was either just kicking butt with my clean eating or I was coming off a vacation where I had just literally eaten all the things because it was "vacation." Right? I always had an excuse for one or the other. That's not a healthy way to live either, both physically and obviously mentally. It takes a huge toll on our mental energy that we had spent.

I just hit a point where I was like, "I'm over this." I had been hearing about intuitive eating forever. We learn about it in school, did a lot of work studying, reading Mark David from The Institute of the Psychology of Eating. His stuff is amazing, if you guys are interested in diving in more on that stuff. I just said, "You know what? I think it's time for me to embrace this," because 20 plus years of dieting and just not being happy and never being satisfied. The mental energy it was taking from me, I think it was taking away from my life, my relationships. I was like, "Okay, I'm doing this." I gave myself almost a little challenge to do it through the holidays because as we know, the holidays ... We can give ourselves all the excuses over the holidays, right?

Naomi Nakamura: That is a time to start, man.

Katie Garces: Right? That was usually my worst time of the year. I would come out of the holiday season a hot, bloated, puffy mess and so much needing a detox or a challenge because that was almost my excuse was, "I can be bad in December because I'll be good in January." I zoomed out and said, "What would my life look like if I wasn't so bad in December that I had to be so good in January? What if I could just find a gentle middle, find a balance where I could still enjoy things ... Parties, special foods and treats that do come along once a year at the holiday seasons that are enjoyable, but not end up such a wreck at the end, where I felt mentally bad, physically bad that I needed a program."

I did it and I did that by just saying, "Okay. I'm just not going to put any rules or regulations on myself." I was pleasantly surprised that I came out of that holiday season in a much better place than I ever had. I was like, "Well, maybe there's something to this whole intuitive eating thing." I just continued to dive into it. It's been nothing but freeing. I don't know. It's just nice to be in a peaceful place with food, pretty much the first time in my adult life. I've been using it a ton with my clients and they also have that sense of peace and freedom. Yeah, I'm pretty jazzed up about it.

Naomi Nakamura: I think that's amazing. I think a lot of what you talked about ... There was definitely a level, a very high level of self-awareness there to be even having those realizations or those reflections. Not just about your clients, but about yourself too. How did you go about I guess having that level of self-awareness?

Katie Garces: Right. I think with my clients, it was pretty obvious because they would come. They would do a program or a detox with me. They would feel really successful and then they would be back two months later. "I've gained the weight back," or, "What do you got now for me, Katie? I need a new plan." I would see that pattern with either the same people or different people over and over again. I was seeing that reflected in myself too. I don't know if they're the ones that almost showed that mirror for me because I was like, "Wow." A lot of people say as coaches, we tend to attract clients that are similar to us. It's almost like that's where we have to do some of our own work if we're going to help them as well. I think it was a realization that probably came about simultaneously by recognizing that.

I was doing my own personal work with my own coach at the time because I was in a really unhappy place with it. There's just that inner discontent that I didn't understand. I think it was the combination of working with people that I was seeing similar thoughts and behaviors and then just coming to that realization myself. It's definitely a process, girl. It takes time. This has been years in the making, as with all personal and inner work. It's never over. It's never done, right? That's what this life is, but it's cool to finally shine that light on it and do something about it.

Naomi Nakamura: Yeah. As I was mentioning to you before, I consider myself starting my health journey in 2004 because I had zero healthy habits before then. That's when I started to join a gym and my trainer that I worked with started talking to me about, "Calories in, calories out. That's all we need to be healthy." Literally, that's what I lived my life by. I lived my life by this program called calorieking.com. I could tell you how many calories were in a banana, how many calories were in two thirds of a cup of Honey Bunches of Oats because that's what one serving was, how many calories were in raw almonds. I knew all these things and I had the aesthetics. I lost all this weight. I was feeling great.

I actually think I did my first Whole30 in ... I don't know. 2011 or 2012. I came out of it feeling great too. Then I thought, "Well, this is how I have to eat all the time." It is really hard to do all the time. When I couldn't keep up with it, what you said, you start to have all of this unhappiness, all of this self-judgment, self-doubt. It's tough. Here you think you are being healthy because your whole focus is on diet and exercise. Like you said, there's this whole other aspect really factor into our health and our well-being. What are some of those aspects that you really like to hone in on and help people through?

Katie Garces: I think real quick to your point about feeling bad if you couldn't stay strict and you couldn't eat that way all the time, if anybody is even remotely prone to emotional eating, which I think as humans we all are because eating is emotional, that is the perfect recipe for overeating. You have restricted. You've done a really good job on a diet for a while and then you don't. You feel bad. Guilt, shame, I'm not good enough, I suck. Blah, blah, blah. Those are unpleasant feelings that we don't like to have. What do we do? One of the first things we do is numb out with various food, drink, shopping, whatever vice of choice. It's usually be food for the people who have been restricting.

You eat and then you feel worse. Then you try to over restrict. It's just this negative cycle. That emotional piece and that mental piece, when we feel like we're failing or we've not done our perfect job on our diet is such a huge ... It's almost like fuel to that fire and I don't think people realize that. That actually leads me to answer your question about what are some of those more holistic pieces we can bring into it? I think having a mindfulness practice, whether that is straight up meditation or a mindfulness practice about your eating, which I'll talk about ... Having a mindful meal practice.

All of those things help us slow down a little bit and become a little bit less reactive. If we are aware that we feel guilt, shame, disappointment about maybe our food choices or even anything else that's going on in life ... Again, these are unpleasant feelings that we don't want to have. We are such a pain-averse society right now that there is a plethora of things we can do immediately to get to feel better, whether that's hop on our phone and get some Facebook notifications that give us a little squirt of dopamine or whatever or go start eating or whatever.

When we start a mindfulness practice, whether that's meditation again or just anything that allows us to slow down and be a little less reactive, we can sit without those uncomfortable feelings for ... Even if it's just even a beat or two longer than we would have before. We can be like, "Okay. You know what? This feeling sucks. I don't want to feel it."

Naomi Nakamura: It's so ingrained into our narrative because even with just ... With my friends, it's like, "Oh, I've been bad today," or, "Today is my off day. Today is my cheat day," or, "I can't have sushi with you because it's not paleo." All of these things that I never noticed before as being in this mindset. Now when I hear my friends say it, I'm so much more aware of where those statements are coming from, whether they're aware or not.

Katie Garces: Right. That's one of the biggest principles of intuitive eating is taking those labels off of food. Good, bad, cheat day, even labeling paleo or whatever because the second that food gets a label, then it's all of a sudden good or bad. If it's good, then hey, we're almost getting our identity from that. If it's bad, then we are the failure. When we make food neutral and we take the good, bad ... I say take the food police out of it. It just is. Then we don't end up guilty or feeling guilty or feeling bad if and when we decide to choose that. That's a huge piece of it because it's that guilt that starts that sort of spiral. That emotional spiral, where people just get trapped on that diet rollercoaster.

Yeah. Having some sort of meditation practice. Anything that's going to help you slow down, be a little bit more mindful about what's actually going on and allowing yourself to sit with it, even like I said for a couple beats, that's going to already move you way forward than somebody who is not aware of how they're feeling. They're not aware that they're reaching for their fifth cookie because they are depressed about something that happened. Just awareness, like you said, is so, so huge. A mindful meal practice, which I'm sure all the healthcare and nutritionists out there probably have some version of this for their client.

It's truly just dropping into that parasympathetic state. That rest and digest state prior to eating as opposed to just show up shoveling that food down as fast as we can, whether it's over the sink or in the car or while watching a show. It's actually at least taking a few minutes. I'm not saying everybody has to sit in silence for 15 minutes every time they eat. I mean I am realistic. Even three to four minutes, five minutes of just really doing nothing but paying attention to your food and allowing your brain to catch up with what's going on in your GI system allows us to just be that much more checked in.

If you pay attention to your food for two minutes and you're actually not hungry, your body is going to be like, "I don't really want to be eating this right now." If you're not checked in and you're just eating from an emotional state or whatever, you're going to eat. You're going to probably overeat and you're going to feel like crap physically. Then you're going to feel like crap emotionally. Then once again, we've got that cycle going again. That's probably the biggest thing. Obviously, sleep. I think sleep is the most under-recommended thing. When we are sleep deprived, we crave carbs. We crave sugar. Our "willpower," which again is not my favorite word, but all of those things are lessened or lowered. When we sleep, we're just that much more healthy, present, rested. Our body isn't needing quick energy in the form of sugar.

Naomi Nakamura: Those are all hormonal responses.

Katie Garces: Totally. Yeah. People don't realize that.

Naomi Nakamura: No.

Katie Garces: I had this friend say, "I'll sleep when I'm dead." I've heard people say that before and I get that personality where they're just go, go, go. They want to get as much out of life as they can and I love that, but at the same time, you might die earlier if you don't give yourself some sleep, people. It's so, so very important. Especially as we get older. Sleep is the time that our body rejuvenates, our tissues repair. We just desperately need that. Sleep and then obviously the stress management piece. Stress cortisol, all that stuff can really drive blood sugar issues and reactivity.

I always say the four main components for weight loss and weight management ... Diet and exercise are going to be important. We've got to manage our stress and we've got to optimize our sleep. Then I love to throw in my fifth, which is that spiritual component. How am I showing up in the world? Am I living a life that feels purposeful? Do I feel connected to the people I spend time with to maybe a greater power? I do think at the end of the day when we're going through hard stuff, we don't have something like that to ... I don't want to say lean on, but I guess have touched on. Then it just makes it that much harder. I always invite people to get curious about what that might be for them and if they can almost amp that up as well.

Naomi Nakamura: I love that because when people talk about weight loss ... I'm always so adverse to bring that up because I feel like there's so many other factors go into it. You just named them right there. You can have the best workout in the world. You can have the cleanest diet, which I think is going to be relative to each person, but if you aren't taking care of these other things ... Like sleep. Oh my gosh. I struggle with sleep so much. I think for some people, especially for me, that can be the best thing you can do for yourself before even addressing diet or exercise.

Katie Garces: I agree. In fact some experts, and I would probably agree, say that the number one thing you can do for fat loss if you're struggling is optimize your sleep. First and foremost. Obviously you want to clean up your diet and get moving, but the number one thing you can do first for weight loss is sleep. It's crazy. It's great. I love sleeping. It's hard when you struggle with it.

Naomi Nakamura: It is.

Katie Garces: I've been there too.

Naomi Nakamura: I have to tell you, and this is going to be somewhat of a confession, is I follow a lot of people who talk about intuitive eating and emotional eating. I always think, "Oh, that's great work that they do." Then I brush it off because I feel like they don't focus a lot on also nutrient density and the actual what physically happens to our body. I heard you on The Balanced Bites Podcast with Diane. That interview really woke me up to, "Wait. There is a connection here. There's a place for both of these things to come together." Like you just said, sleep, it actually is ... Not getting enough sleep messes with your hormones and that affects your blood sugar.

The fact that you're bringing all of these things into the intuitive eating conversation I think is so much needed and I think maybe I'm just naïve or ignorant to it, but I don't think that those conversations happen a lot in the intuitive eating world. I love that you're doing that.

Katie Garces: Thank you. I think that's a good point. I think that's one thing that actually scares people a little bit about intuitive eating is all they hear is, "Eat what you want. Don't worry about diets." They feel like that's almost like permission to go live on McDonald's or whatever crappy standard American diet stuff they maybe used to eat or think that they want to eat. That is not what intuitive eating is. I think now and then, sure. If you want to go have something that maybe you grew up with and it's not the healthiest thing in the world but it's something that brings you great joy and pleasure, go for it. In general, and I think this actually makes intuitive eating easier, is if we eat relatively clean ... What I mean by that is real food. Avoiding the processed stuff, avoiding the sugars, avoiding the junk food.

If we eat a relatively clean real food diet, it is easier for our bodies to ... It's easier for us to be in touch with what our body wants because we're not clouded by all the chemicals and the junk that really does mess up our gut biome, our neurotransmitters, all of those things, but that really processed foods and crappy foods really do affect. When we can eat that way, I always say we crave what we eat. If we're eating a bunch of crap and a bunch of sugar, and you probably see this with your sugar detox clients ... If we're constantly eating it, of course we're going to crave it. Yeah. It's not always easy to stop, but usually within a couple days of just cleaning it up a little bit, those cravings subside and they subside naturally. Our bodies are really smart. They want to be healthy. They want to be balanced. It's up to us to give it the fuel that it needs to get to that place.

Naomi Nakamura: Then you start to crave the healthy stuff. You're like, "Whoa. What's going on here?"

Katie Garces: Totally. I'm like, "I can't believe I'm actually craving this carrot. What?" Sometimes those foods taste good. I'm sure there's people listening right now who are rolling their eyes. Like, "I would never crave a carrot, Katie." Sometimes I don't. Sometimes I crave a cracker and that's okay too, but I think in general if we can move towards more of a real food diet and find out what that means for you ... Some people really can't do dairy. Some people, if they find a really good high quality organic grass-fed dairy that they tolerate and that works for them, good. That might not be "paleo" and that's okay. What works for you, what does or does not bring on cravings or mood stuff.

The thing is the more we get into an intuitive eating real food just way of living, we become so much more in tune to all of that. I'm very aware now when I've eaten something that bloats me or that all of a sudden I'm in a bad mood. I'm like, "Oh, yeah. I did have a couple bites of that movie popcorn--gasp--at the movie." It's just more of instead of feeling guilty and going down that spiral, I'm like, "Okay, noted. Next time I'm going to probably avoid that." I always say, "These are all just data points. They're not good or bad. They're just data points that we collect on our journey of life and our journey of eating and what feels good to us, what feels good to our body, what our body wants right now might be different than what our body wants six months from now." We just have to be in a place to listen and indulge what our body is asking for sometimes.

Naomi Nakamura: I love that you said that about it's neither good or bad. It's just data points. That's exactly what I tell my own clients too, especially my sugar detoxers where they're like, "Oh, I messed up today." It's okay. Did you learn something from it? "Oh, yeah. I got super sick." Okay, great. Now you know how that feels. Lessons learned. Move on. If you don't want to feel that way, then don't eat that food.

Katie Garces: Totally. I always say every time we eat is a chance to start again. If you "mess up" or do something that you don't feel was in line with your goals or the way you want to feel, you don't have to wait to start 'til Monday. You don't have to wait to start 'til the first of the month. It's not all out the window. Literally the very next time you eat is a chance to start again. Every moment. It's great. Like I said, make friends with food. Make friends with our body. I think a lot of us in this really strong diet industry, we almost feel like we're at odds with each other. Like, "This is what I want. Body, you're not complying. Food, this isn't really what I want to eat, but this is what I'm supposed to eat so I'm going to force it down." When we can come together, and we're in this together, it's such an easier path to walk, first of all. It's usually a more successful one too.

Naomi Nakamura: You wrote ... I thought it was just this amazing blog post on five things that happen when you stop obsessing about food. That really caught my eye because I was so obsessed. I am still obsessed with food in a different way. Like I said, I literally new every single calorie that I was eating and I ate the same thing every day because I was deathly afraid of going over whatever the app I was using was telling me was my daily allowance.

Katie Garces: Right. How much mental energy did you expend-

Naomi Nakamura: I would never want to eat out with my friends because then I would have to go through and break down the dish that I ordered and try and figure out, "What was the calorie of that entire dish?" It was horrible.

Katie Garces: Oh, yeah. I used to do that too. I would spend 30 minutes after a meal breaking down every ingredient, adding it into my MyFitnessPal, so I would know how many calories I was at. 30 minutes. 30 minutes of my life. That was time I could have spent reading to my kids or going on a walk with my dog or having a conversation with my husband. The mental energy we expend. Not only is there just so much more to life, but it takes away from our life. It really does.

Naomi Nakamura: It does. I do want to say I do believe there's a time and a place for that behavior. Maybe if you're just starting and you have no idea how many calories are in that bowl of cereal that you eat every morning or also you might be under eating. I think that's a big problem, especially for women, too. I think calorie counting has a place for maybe three days, but as a way of life and a lifestyle and a way that you judge if you're going to go out to dinner with friends or 30 minutes three meals a day, that's an hour and a half a day that you're spending on this.

Katie Garces: Right.

Naomi Nakamura: There's a time and a place.

Katie Garces: I agree completely. I think there's a time and place for calorie counting. I think there's a time and place for all of these programs. Like I said, I learned so much about food, food prepping, food quality from a lot of these programs that I had done. I learned how foods react in my body.

Naomi Nakamura: Well I was going to say they're also a great way of just starting to teach you have to have more awareness around these things.

Katie Garces: Exactly. The problem comes when we start to rely on these programs. People are doing four Whole30s a year because they lose the weight and then slowly gain it back. Then they do it again. They rely on it. That's where I say, "Oh, I don't want you to have to do that. I want you to learn and trust." Like you said, it's great to learn how much ... Even for macros. How much protein is in this chicken? It's important to know, especially for athletes. It's important to know that stuff. There is a time and place for data gathering and then there's a time and place for body wisdom. Those two things are very different.

Naomi Nakamura: What you said there is the trust. The self-trust. The skill that we all have to build for that, which I'm still trying to figure out where I'm with that as well.

Katie Garces: Right. Yeah. It's an ongoing thing and it changes too. Even in my own intuitive eating journey, there's definitely times that I find myself craving more fat or more meat or more carbs. God, carbs are something I was deathly afraid of for years. I'm like, "I can't have that." Now my body is asking for this, so I would rather choose the healthy, delicious carbs as opposed to deprive, deprive, deprive and then come Friday night at some party, I eat all the Wheat Thins. Gross, right? I deprived so much and I didn't listen to my body.

Naomi Nakamura: No. Yeah, I can definitely tell when my body needs carbs too. Usually when that happens, I'm like, "All right. Time to go to Chipotle for a burrito bowl."

Katie Garces: There you go. You love your juices too, right?

Naomi Nakamura: Oh, I love my juice freezes. I just found out that they have a secret menu. I'm like, "Oh my gosh." This is like a whole new obsession.

Katie Garces: Yeah. I think it's so awesome that you know that your body is asking for that and you ... My body has asked for those things in the past. I was like, "No. I can't because it's too much fruit," when everything in my body wanted that. There's a lot of nutrient density packed into a lot of those smoothies and juices and stuff. Our body has these cues for a reason. It's up to us to pay attention to those cues because when we ignore them, we're just at odds with our body. Eventually, it will catch up to us.

Naomi Nakamura: Now you said something in this blog post that I would love for you to walk us through. You said, "My number one goal shifted away from attacking the weight loss and became finding sanity again. Peace of mind and contentment in my life. When I finally accepted that and embraced that, everything turned around." I love that so much.

Katie Garces: Thank you. Yeah. I think for me, that weight loss or weight maintenance of body aesthetic, whatever, that was the one and only goal. I probably wouldn't have admitted it, but it was. Everything was built around that. We've talked a lot about expending mental energy and not even being present or maybe missing out on social engagements or like I was saying, not being present with my family because I was so busy weighing or counting my food. That stuff. All of that stuff, it's stressful. It's a stressor, for sure. Talk about your cortisol.

When I was able to let that go ... It had to be a conscious decision. It was a scary decision, but when I was able to let that go, again, it started almost like an experiment. I was just able to be so much more present with what I was doing, the people I was talking to, my family. I had more energy. More mental energy to do the things I wanted to do. My life started to have a greater depth to it. All of those things feed our soul. I know that sounds a little cheesy, but those fuel and nourish our soul. When we are more nourished as a spirit, as a soul if you will, then that other stuff, it just doesn't matter as much.

It doesn't always happen for everybody right away, but for me because of that, I actually lost some weight for the first time in my life naturally. Every pound or ounce I'd ever lost before was out of pure force and strife. To actually just relax into my life and let that piece go, amazingly enough, that weight came off on its own. Our bodies seek homeostasis, seek balance. If we overeat or eat too much one week, our body I think will naturally find its way to eat a little bit less the next week. I do believe our body knows how to do that innately. It's not a perfect science, but I've seen that with myself. I think it's just that huge piece of learning to really trust what our body is asking for. It's smarter than we are, than our brain. What we think is right. Our body really is smarter.

Naomi Nakamura: I think that's why there's so much emphasis right now on the gut brain connection is because I think ... This is what a lot of people don't realize is when you start nurturing your body in this way, then all of the "mental issues" or struggles or emotional things that you have, they're so tied to the foods that we eat that when we start feeding our body, what it's asking for, those things don't become as problematic as they feel right now.

Katie Garces: Totally. I totally agree. I mentioned my carb phobia. I think once I allowed myself to start eating more carbs ... Every body is different. Some bodies do do better on a lower carb diet or general diet. Once I started giving myself more carbs, interestingly enough, that's when I lost some of my weight. I just think that's what my biochemistry, that's what my biology needed. I'm not going to say that, "Hey, guys. Everyone that's listening to Naomi's podcast, go add 50 carbs to your diet and lose weight," because I don't know. It's different for absolutely everybody. The point is I listened to what my body was asking for and it responded really well.

Naomi Nakamura: Exactly. It's also how you define carb. It's because that's not saying, "Go out and eat a ton of cinnamon rolls," or whatever. Eating the parsnips and all of the carbs from plant forms, I think ... Big difference there. I would love for you to just walk us through these five things that you talked about in your blog post. The first thing was, and you just mentioned this, your waistband loosened.

Katie Garces: Yep. Like I just said, it was just because I think the cortisol was down because I was not so stressed and obsessed about it and I was giving my body what it needed. As I said, our bodies are smart. They know what to do with the fuel that they're given. If you give what your body what it's asking for, it's like, "Okay. I don't need to hold on to this extra fat right now because I have plenty of carbohydrates. That's what I needed, Katie. That's what I needed. Thank you for finally giving it to me." That was amazing. That was in January. Usually in January, I'm heaviest of the year. It was mind-blowing. That was that one, for sure.

Naomi Nakamura: I love that. I had a client that I worked with last year and she was having some issues. We went through some elimination diets. We were approaching the holidays and she just said, "I love the holidays so much. I can't feel deprived during the holidays." I said, "Okay. Well, we're going to pause right now. We're going to stop all our sessions and you're going to take all the skills that we've been working on for the past two or three months and you're going to navigate through the holidays. Then we're going to resume after the holidays and figure out where you are."

I am not an intuitive eating coach at all. I was strictly therapeutic about, "Let's figure out what your body is sensitive to." She came back with this newfound strength in what her emotional eating triggers were and how she was more intuitive. I was like, "Wow. That's cool. That wasn't my intention here, but awesome that you found this." That just reminded me of that because it was all through the holidays as well.

Katie Garces: Right. I think I did a blog either right before or right after the one you're quoting. It was why I didn't need a detox or why I didn't detox this January. One of the things I allowed myself during that holiday period was if there was, like I said, a favorite grandma's fudge or whatever that I maybe would have forbidden myself before until the time that I actually ate five pieces instead of just one, I would let myself have it. Or if there was a party and I maybe did overdo it, then I would let my body naturally have a little bit more lemon water and just salads the next day or whatever. It's all about a balance and I think that's what it was.

I didn't come out heavier or lighter. I just came out the other end of it just fine because I allowed that balance. I definitely optimized sleep. I made that a priority. I feel like during the holiday season, there's like I said lots of parties and lots of reasons to stay up late. There will be plenty of times where I'm like, "You know what? I'm going to say no to this party tonight because I know that I want to get to the gym tomorrow and I know I want to feel good tomorrow." I think that was a big piece of it too. Not letting myself get too exhausted, all of that. Just keeping in mind, "What's my priority? I want to move every day. I want to get to this gym class that I love." When you're fueled by those types of why's, then I think it makes those decisions easier to make.

Naomi Nakamura: There's something you said about your grandma's fudge. I had a conversation with my aunt a couple months ago. She's only a few years older than I am, but we had made some dishes that my grandma, her mom, would make when we were little kids. They're the most ridiculous foods that my grandma would just throw together. We were just like, "It's just so nice to eat the stuff that we ate when we were little," just because it takes you back and reminds you of those happier times.

Katie Garces: Totally.

Naomi Nakamura: And it's okay to do that. They were not healthy foods by any means, but it was totally okay to do that.

Katie Garces: Right. Our body naturally seeks pleasure. We seek pleasure. If there's something out there that you're going to eat once or twice a year, that's going to bring you pleasure and nostalgia. You can share it with a family member. That's the good stuff in life, right? That's the juicy stuff. Heck yeah. Enjoy it and then move on. Like I said, the next time you eat is a chance to do something different and that's okay.

Naomi Nakamura: Absolutely. Okay. Number two is you stopped eating when you were full.

Katie Garces: Yes. That I think probably also contributed to a little bit of the weight loss, but I think because I was so regimented about what I should and shouldn't be eating that if I was eating my ... I don't know. Just to be generic, chicken and broccoli, and that was my healthy meal, that I needed to eat it all. I needed to eat it all. If I was counting macros or counting protein grams, I had to hit my protein gram for the day. Even if my body was like, "I'm stuffed," I would continue to eat it. I remember years ago I was doing a nutrition plan with a trainer. He said, "You have to have X amount of protein a day." I remember it was like nine o'clock at night. I was tired, full-

Naomi Nakamura: That is hard to get that sometimes.

Katie Garces: It is. I was still 20 grams down. I'm like, "I've gotta eat." I'm like, "I don't want to eat. I did, anyway. Hello. If that's not listening to your body, right? Stop eating when you're full. Maybe you don't need a huge lunch today. Maybe you do. I've done a lot of intermittent fasting in the past. I don't do it as much now, but I still do it sometimes. If I wake up in the morning and I'm not feeling [inaudible 00:36:45] maybe I'll fast 'til 11. If I wake up and I want a big breakfast, I'll have a big breakfast because I know my body is telling me ... I also know that I don't have to eat it all.

Naomi Nakamura: Number three, your relationships started flourishing.

Katie Garces: Yeah. I think that comes back to just being present, whether it was date night with my husband and I was worried that what we were indulging in was going to ... I was already thinking about the workout I would have to do the next day to "burn it off." You're not mentally present when your brain is elsewhere. To be more present with him, to be more present with my kids when we were out to eat, I saw a difference. I think my kids noticed I was more present, even out with girlfriends and stuff. I'm eying the happy hour food and having this whole mental battle. Do I? Do I not? Should I? Should I not? That went out the window, so I was actually just able to be present and have the conversations. I don't know if they would necessarily say they noticed it. My family probably would, but I noticed an improvement in my relationships because I was physically more present.

Naomi Nakamura: That's amazing. Then of course, number four. You slept better. I would love to sleep better.

Katie Garces: Yeah. I think for me, there was definitely a time when I was in the worst parts of my ... Some disordered eating patterns and thoughts. If I would have overeaten, whether it was just a general overeat or if I had just ended up binging because I had restricted for so long. Then I would feel really bad about it. You would think I had killed somebody or something. I would feel so bad about it that it would wake me up at night. I would sit there and ruminate about it and not be able to get to sleep. Then when we overeat, our stomach is full. We just don't sleep as well.

Again, it's fighting biology. When we eat the way our body wants, our body can think, "Okay. I feel good. I feel satisfied. I'm not overly full. I can sleep and I can sleep for eight hours and not wake up in the middle of the night with anxiety or not set my alarm two hours early, so I could get that extra workout in or whatever when my body just wanted to sleep." Again, I think we've really hit home the importance of sleep. That's why that's included in that top five because it really did improve.

Naomi Nakamura: Well, and it's that internal battle that you talked about because it is exhausting. It is so exhausting.

Katie Garces: It is. That will physically exhaust you. Even the mental battle will.

Naomi Nakamura: Yes. Then number five, to wrap it all up, you're happier.

Katie Garces: Yeah. If that hasn't come through in everything we've talked about yet, it's just being more present in my life, being able to share this. Like I've said before, I feel like this is this big secret that I wish everybody knew because it's such a more peaceful, happy place to live your life, especially if you're somebody who struggled with this type of stuff around eating. Interestingly enough, it's not some new diet you have to buy into. This is innate. This is how we're meant to be and meant to live. I just tell people, "You don't have to embrace this 100%." I just ask that you think about it a little bit and maybe check in now and then. Say, "Hey, what is going on? Could I actually indulge this craving my body is having?" Step out of the confines of this strict diet I'm doing just to entertain it a little bit and see maybe what comes up for you.

I do believe that when we truly listen to our body, our body will find its happy weight, its healthy weight. Then it frees you up to do all the amazing, awesome, important work and relationships that you're on this Earth to do.

Naomi Nakamura: I do feel that our body is always trying to communicate with us. Always sending us messages and telling us what it needs is just a matter of us being in tune and trusting it and learning to listen to it.

Katie Garces: Exactly. Yeah, our body. Like I said, when we make friends and we're really in tune with each other, it's almost like this beautiful ... I don't know. This harmonious song or something. We can get on with life and do all the other great stuff that there is out there to do. We don't need to waste massive amounts of time and energy ongoing. Again, a time and place to learn how to eat healthy. Maybe clean things up. As a general rule for life, make friends with your body. Make friends with food and you're in it together.

Naomi Nakamura: Now you have a couple of programs to help people get started with this. Can you tell us about those?

Katie Garces: Yeah, absolutely. First of all would be the intuitive eating program. It's called Eating Intuitively. At Eating Intuitively, you drop the diet and make friends with food. We basically just go in ... It's a two-part audio. It's super easy. You can listen to it when you're driving or folding clothes or whatever. It just introduces again what we've talked about today, a little bit more of the history about it, why diets don't work. We talk about why this is even sometimes harder for women than men. Then I introduce some basic concepts around intuitive eating. I think a lot of that can be pretty eye-opening for people.

I also have a Real Food Reset, which is a 10-day reset. Some people are like, "Oh, but you just said you don't do diets." The reason I have that and the reason I even mention it on this topic is because for people who don't know how to get to real foods or they don't know how to clean up things. Even if you do it for three to five days, just to get your body a little bit cleaned up. Get the junk out, break some of those habits so that we can get more in touch with our body. Intuitive Eating program is awesome. The Real Food Reset is awesome.

Then of course, I coach one-on-one for people who are interested in having a little support as they step into this new world of intuitive eating or work through some of their questions or struggles with some disordered eating thoughts or behaviors. For a lot of us, this has been part of our life for most of our life. It does sometimes help to have somebody walk you through. Somebody who's been there. I love working with clients one-on-one as well.

Naomi Nakamura: Where can people reach out and get to know you and follow you and find out more?

Katie Garces: Yes. All of those programs and all the information about me and coaching is on my website, katiegarces.com. I am @katiegarces on all the socials. Facebook, Instagram, all of them. I would love for people to hop on. I do have two private Facebook groups. One is a pretty big community of women. It's called Sexy, Spiritual and Sane with Katie Garces. Sexy, Spiritual and Sane for me is my trifecta, sexy being our health. How we feel in our body, how we feel in our skin. Spiritual is what I mentioned earlier about re-plugging into that spiritual outlet, whatever that may be for you. Sane is just how we handle it all as busy women. We have eight balls in the air at all times and just balancing all of those things. That's a really cool, vibrant group on Facebook. Then I do have an Eating Intuitively Facebook group as well, which is free to join. If you have questions or are considering diving in, that's there as well.

Naomi Nakamura: I will include links to all of our those things in our show notes.

Katie Garces: Awesome. Thank you.

Naomi Nakamura: Well, thank you for taking the time. Like I said, this just resonated so much with me, knowing my own journey and what I went through. I know it is so common because I hear the, "Oh, I'm going to go above my calories for the day," or you hear little girls talking about, "I don't want to be bad today." This is just such a worthwhile and so valuable conversation to have. I really love all the work that you're doing.

Katie Garces: Wow. Thank you for saying that. I do want to mention since you brought up the little girls, many, many of my clients are moms of girls who recognize that their own patterns or even just thoughts around food and dieting are not something that they want to pass on to their kids. You know kids. Man, they pick up on everything, even if we're not saying it out loud. They pick up on it. When we can heal our own relationship with food and dieting, then we're going to be passing that on to them, which is probably one of the best gifts we can give our kiddos. Boys and girls. It's definitely pervasive in society now, but especially those little sweet girls. Yeah, thank you so much for having me. I love, love, love talking about this and love talking to you.


Naomi Nakamura is a Functional Nutrition Health Coach. Through her weekly show, The Live FAB Live Podcast, programs, coaching services and safer skincare solutions, she helps people with 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!
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