Mental Health with Emily Beal

Leah Kern, RD
Shoulders Down

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[0:00] It didn't fully feel right until I started taking steps towards recovery.
And then I was like, okay, wow, I can actually trust myself now.
And like, this was the right decision.

[0:11] Music.

[0:18] Welcome to Shoulders Down, a podcast for truth seekers who want to heal their relationships with food and body.
I'm your host, Leah Kern, and I'm an anti-diet dietician, certified intuitive eating counselor and fellow truth seeker with personal experience navigating disordered eating.
In this podcast, you'll learn to harness your body's innate wisdom to govern not just how you eat, but also how you live.
It's my mission to help you heal your relationship with food and body so you can live your most aligned and fulfilling life.
Welcome, and I'm so glad that you're here.

[0:55] Hello and welcome back to another episode of Shoulders Down.
Today we have Emily Beal on the podcast and Emily is a nutrition student who is passionate about spreading mental health and disordered eating awareness.
I am really excited to share our conversation. I met Emily because she reached out to me to be on her podcast and chat about cannabis and intuitive eating, which is one of my favorite topics to speak on.
I will link to the episode that I did on her podcast in the show notes.
And she was just so wonderful and I loved her energy and her passion.
So I wanted her to come on shoulders down to have a conversation about her story and some other pieces that I haven't really spoken about as much on here, like mental health, things that go beyond just disordered eating.

[1:43] So I will read Emily's bio, and then we will dive right into today's episode.
Emily Beal is a nutrition student at the University of Cincinnati who is passionate about spreading mental health and disorder-needing awareness through her Instagram and podcast.
She started her page, Energy with Emily, in the midst of COVID right after experiencing her first real challenges with anxiety and depression.
Those two things quickly warped into an unhealthy relationship with food, which is what led her to get help.
After recovering, she has now made it her mission to educate others on the connection between disordered eating and mental health and empower her followers to notice how mental health shows up in their lives.
As an ex-perfectionist and burnout pro, Emily recognizes the importance of slowing down, releasing your grip on control, and taking care of your mind and body.

[2:32] Welcome to the podcast, Emily. I'm looking forward to having you on my podcast this time.
Yes, this is going to be so much fun. Thank you for having me. Of course.
So we will just dive right in. I like to start with turning it over to you to hear about your story with your relationship with food and body.
I say this all the time, but people are nosy. People want to know your story and the details.
And I think a lot of people find healing in the stories, sometimes more so than the facts.
So I'd love to just hear from you about your story with your relationship with food and body as much as you're comfortable getting into.

[3:07] Yeah, absolutely. I was the same way when, when I started hearing other people's stories, I was like, oh my gosh, I just, I couldn't get enough of that feeling of I'm not alone and being able to relate to other people.
So my story started in college, which I'm sure a lot of people can relate to.
I grew up in a very body positive, body neutral home.
We didn't ever really talk about body image in my house, like good or bad, I guess.
My parents never made any comments about my body or the food I was eating.
So I was very thankful to grow up in a home like that because I know a lot of people don't.
And I had no clue what anything was in high school.
Like I didn't know what a calorie was. I didn't know what my fitness pal was.
I went off to college and I was the COVID year. So my freshman year, I got sent home in the spring.
We had to like pack up our dorm rooms and go back home and it was just kind of like a scary time for everyone.
And I can remember just sitting at home and this feeling of like, okay, one, I'm really bored, but two, like there's a lot.
That's going on that's out of my control right now, what's something that I can find some control in?

[4:25] With school, I was also at a time in my life where I felt very lost in my major.
I went to a college three and a half hours away from home. I struggled making friends.
It was just like everything felt so out of control.
And that's when I started getting into being healthy. And I put that in quotes, right? Like focusing on my health.
And that's how it started. It started as a simple way to just become healthier.
And my main goal was weight loss. I did start out wanting to lose weight, just never really knowing how bad it could get.
So I started off counting calories and doing workouts in my basement during COVID.
And at first I was like, this is great. I feel like I have a little bit more stability and control in my life.
And from there, it just started to spiral.

[5:18] I noticed, okay, wow, I'm thinking about food a lot, more than I ever have before.
I'm starting to weigh myself multiple times per day.
This is new. I've never really done this before.
I'm starting to follow fitness and health influencers on Instagram.
My entire feed was just health influencers.

[5:38] And then it got to the point where I started like binge eating.
And that's when I was really like, okay.
The what's going on here. I felt really out of control around food.
I was obsessed with food.

[5:51] And then that's when I was like, oh, this is great. I can just study nutrition.
And that's how I got into studying nutrition.
So I guess a super short version of my story.
And now with my Instagram account, I share my story on there.
I share my story as it relates to mental health as well. I was definitely struggling with anxiety and depression at the time.
Then my disordered eating really ramped up. I talk about that.
And then my account just kind of has shifted over the years to now what it is today, like bringing more awareness to the topic and helping people feel like, okay, I'm not alone.
These feelings I'm feeling while they're not like normal, we shouldn't be having them like other people do experience them as well.
So yeah, I want to hear more about kind of like the middle chapter of your story from you know, how you went from binging feeling obsessed doing workouts in your basement thinking about food all the time to having an account about healing your relationship with food and recovery.
What's that like middle part look like?
Yeah. So when I first started my account, it was really just for fun because I'd started working out in my basement and my friends texted me and they were like, hey, instead of just sending us workouts every day, can you just post them?
So I was like, sure, I'll just post them on there. And then it started out, I would like document my weight loss journey and like weight loss tips, which looking back, I'm like, oh my gosh, probably some of the things I posted.
That I would cringe at now. But I just didn't know at the time.

[7:18] And then I think it got to the point where I had lost a considerable amount of weight in a short period of time.
You know, I was grumpy all the time. I was low energy. My parents noticed I wasn't eating. My parents noticed I had lost weight. I lost my period.
I had to make an appointment with a gynecologist to try to figure things out.
Like it was a whole thing.
And I remember my mom just sitting me down one night and basically being like, Okay, Emily, we need to talk about what is going on here.
And she was like, I really want you to like, we need to work on this.
We want to get help for this. At the time, I was also in therapy.
So it was kind of just like a natural progression for me to start talking about my food stuff in therapy.
And I brought it up to my therapist one day. I was like, Hey, I'm like, experiencing these things. It's really weird.
I didn't know why. And she was like, Oh, okay. And then we really started working on the food aspect in my sessions.
I also just got to a point where I was like, this just isn't fun.

[8:19] I don't like feeling low energy. I don't like the fact that I can't eat pizza at a pool party with my friends.
I don't like the fact that I can't sleep at night because I'm hungry.
And I just, I wanted more out of my life.
So it got to that point. And then I started And following people on social media that were more in the intuitive eating space.
And that's the first time I saw the intuitive eating side of things.
And then I bought the book. What's the exact title of the book?
Isn't it like- It's just Intuitive Eating. Like this one? Intuitive Eating.
I bought that book. I read it from front to back and I was like, oh my gosh, it just spoke to me, like everything in it. And I know you said the same thing.
Yeah. it just was like, okay, this is directed towards me.
And from that day on with like, working through the book and therapy, it just was like baby steps from there.

[9:14] Wow. Yeah. And did you have a moment that you recall that you realized you were struggling with disordered eating?
Hmm. That's a great question. I don't know if there's like a specific point that stands out to me.
I just know when I brought up some of my, what I was experiencing to my therapist and her response, we, I think we took like a quiz or something.
I don't want to call it a quiz. Like a questionnaire.
Yeah. Yeah. A questionnaire for her to like figure out, okay, do I have an eating disorder?
And I think was the first step that she wanted to know.
I was closest to being diagnosed with binge-eating disorder.
You know how there's certain criteria within a specific number of months? Right.
Like I didn't meet the criteria per se, but I basically met the criteria. Right.
And I think from that point on, she was like, okay, you definitely have disordered eating tendencies and habits.
And I think that was the first time that I really knew about it.
And then And I started following some dietitians online and they would like bring up disordered eating.
And I just became more aware of it and all of the different terminology that was used associated with eating disorders and disordered eating.
Yeah. I'm just thinking about how you mentioned your desire for wanting to study nutrition came from your own obsession with health, which is so many people's stories.

[10:41] And before we hit record, you were starting to say like maybe you actually don't want to pursue a career as a dietitian.
And it just makes me think like how much disordered eating can take hold of your life to the point where it can send you down a different career path out of the obsession where like maybe you wouldn't have even wanted to do this if you weren't preoccupied with food from a place of restriction.

[11:05] That is exactly right. Like, Leo, that's so funny you say that because I still go to therapy like to this day.
And last week I told my therapist, I was like, I feel like I've just woken up from a dream.
I in high school would have never thought I would have studied nutrition in college. No way. I wasn't into the sciences.
It wasn't something I ever thought about.
Like if you told me I would study nutrition, I would have been like, you're absolutely crazy.
And now that I'm like getting through the major and I'm, you know, experiencing like new things, I'm fully recovered, I'm living my life and I'm out of that bubble of nutrition.

[11:41] And now I'm like, oh my gosh, I got into this because of my disordered eating, and now I'm realizing, wait, I don't think that this is really for me at this point, which I'm still very passionate, like I said, about health and wellness, but it's just, yeah, I got into it because I was so obsessed with food. Yeah.
And I liked it at the time, but now that I'm like kind of way more recovered.

[12:07] I'm just like, okay, wow. I wonder what my life would have looked like if I didn't struggle with food.
Is it an authentic interest that you're intrinsically called to, or is it the response to restriction and dieting that, oh, I'm more preoccupied with food, therefore, oh, let's study it?
Yeah. Have you heard of the Minnesota Starvation Experiment?
Yes. Yeah. For people listening, it's this phenomenon where, what were they, like World War II objectors.
I've probably talked about this in the podcast before because I love nerding out about it.
But pretty much these World War II objectors had an experiment done on them where they were put on a semi-starvation diet and they were observing the effects of starvation, the researchers, and they found that these men started exhibit strange behaviors, collecting recipes, fantasizing about food, talking about food.
And they were people who otherwise, prior to this experiment, weren't particularly passionate about food.
And it really just goes to show how restriction, even subtle restriction, they weren't full on starve, they were only put on a low calorie diet that mimics a lot of modern diets or clean eating plans.
Restriction leads to increased preoccupation and thoughts about food.
And in the case we're talking about, can literally take hold of your interests.

[13:29] So much. And I got into nutrition because I was fully in my disordered eating, like I don't think I'd gone to therapy yet when I switched my major over and talked about it, so like I got into it for like the weight loss and because I was so upset. And then throughout the major.

[13:46] I've obviously transitioned to, you know, how can we learn to use food to support ourselves and not, you know, for restriction.
But I have people all the time in my DMs asking me, hey, I'm really interested in nutrition.
I have an eating disorder. I've had one, but I want to study nutrition.
And I'm always like, just such a hard thing because I'm like, Well, you know, my experience, I did what I probably shouldn't have done, right?

[14:17] I didn't know it really at the time and it's not like anyone was going to really stop me, but I always tell them like this, you need to be in communication with whoever's on your care team.
You need to like be in communication with professors if this is potentially something you want to pursue with family members or friends that you can trust.
It's just a really slippery slope. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.
You mentioned the experience of being a perfectionist and an overachiever and your thoughts on how that can fuel disordered eating.
So I'm curious to hear from you in your experience, how did being someone who identifies as a perfectionist and an overachiever contribute to your struggles with food? Yeah, I mean, it was like the perfect storm, right?
So I've always been a pretty high achieving type A student and just person with things that I pursue.
And so with food, it just kind of like, I just went all in on it.
It was just another thing that I wanted to be good at another thing that I thought had to be perfect.
And, you know, when it comes to your body. It's like.

[15:29] At the time, I was so obsessed with looking a certain way that I thought I needed to be perfect with my calories to do that.
I needed to be perfect with my exercise, perfect with the number on the scale, and it was all-consuming.
I will say, I always say this on my Instagram, it's not just about the food.
It's about so much more than that. And for me, it was the lack of control I felt in my life.
I wasn't really passionate about anything at the time.
Going off to college and trying to find a major I liked, I just felt very lost.
And because of that, I couldn't be that my usual achieving self because I had nothing to try to achieve.
And so when I found out about counting my calories and working out and trying to lose weight, that became my identity and I wanted to be good at it.
I wanted to be really good at it.
So that's when it was like, oh my gosh, I would cry myself to sleep if I went over my calories.
Or if I didn't get a workout in, it was like I was a terrible person, right? Like I was a failure. I had to do better the next day.
I just kept putting up these like standards for myself that I would try to meet and some days I would meet them, but it would take everything in me to meet them.
And if I didn't, I just, I felt like crap. Like I was the worst person ever.
So in therapy, we really worked on just like dropping the expectation.

[16:55] Lowering your standards a bit, knowing it's okay to not be perfect in every aspect of your life or any aspects of your life, and just be where you are now and let that be enough.
What would you say to someone who's struggling with the thoughts that you had of like, if I just eat perfectly, if I have the right amount of calories, if I work out perfectly, then I'll be good and then my body will be good.
What insights do you have to share with someone who might be in that mindset right now? Yeah, I think the biggest thing is, learning to put your worth in something else that has nothing to do with food or your body, right?
Like saying, you know, if I just do X, Y, Z with my calories or my exercise.

[17:37] Or if I don't eat the pizza tonight and I'd be really good, like, then I'm a really good person.
I think separating those two, like, no matter what you eat or how much you exercise, it doesn't make you a good or bad person, right? That has nothing to do with the type of person you are.
So I had to get back to like, what are my values? And what actually makes me a good person?
And how can I put more effort and attention into that area of my life?
So that's when it kind of, I got more into sharing my story on social media, because I really value community and helping other people.
And once I started doing these little tiny things that had nothing to do with food, it took more of my focus off from the food piece.
And I was able to like kind of let go of that control a little bit and, you know, not put as much of my worth into my food or my body.

[18:30] So powerful. I do values work with all my clients because diet culture can really take hold of our values and make us think what makes a person good or bad is the way they eat or the way they exercise.
When in reality, most of us don't authentically believe that And then the question is, what do you authentically believe and value and how can we get you connected back to those things?
It's incredibly powerful work. I love that answer.
Okay, so I saw on your Instagram that you share about your journey with taking medication for mental health.
So I'm curious to hear from you, what was the experience of deciding to start a medication for mental health?
What was that like? And do you feel like diet and wellness culture played a role in the feeling like you should be strong enough to overcome your mental health struggles on your own?
I read about that on your Instagram posts.

[19:22] Yeah. So I started my medication before I'd ever experienced anything with food and body image struggles. So it was my fall freshman year.
I was just really struggling being away from home, going off to college, having no clue what I wanted to do with my life.
And it turned into, started out as like anxiety, a ton of anxiety, and then it kind of formed into...
A silent, always there depression.

[19:53] And I, again, I've always been anxious and that overachiever, wanting to be perfect type, but never experienced depression in that way.
So it was to the point where I wouldn't eat, I wouldn't go to class.
It was so hard to get out of that cycle.
And I remember, again, my mom being like, okay, we have to do something here about this.
And she She was like, I'm making an appointment with your primary care doctor and we're going to get you on medication and you're going to therapy.
And at that moment I was like, absolutely not.
I'm not doing that. No, no, no, no, no. And I fought with her so hard on that because I thought in my mind, oh, I'm not bad enough to go on medication.
And like at that time, I feel like not a lot of people were talking about going on medication. And this was only a few years ago, like four years ago.
I just, some of my friends were on anti-anxiety meds, but it just wasn't really talked about.
So for me, I was like, I'm going to be seen as a failure or like, I'm not strong enough.
I, you know, can't just get this under control by myself and me wanting to do everything by myself. That was really hard.
So I got on them and I started going to therapy and it was like the best thing ever.
It got me to a place where I felt like myself again, fully.
And I will say for anyone who's out there thinking like, feeling ashamed for being on medication.

[21:19] One, I think that there are so many people that are on medication, like, especially even if it's not talked about, like, it is very, very common.
And two, like, sometimes you just need a little bit of that extra support.
I like to think of it as like, oh, if you break your leg, you're going to go get a cast, right, for that extra support.
So it's like, that's what that medication is doing for you. That's what it's doing for me.
Sometimes we just need a little bit extra support to be to show up.
As our authentic best selves, right? So my journey hasn't been linear with the medication.
I've been off and on it. I experienced, to be fully transparent, some weight gain on the medication, and that was through my disordered eating period.
And I stopped it, cold turkey, because I was terrified to gain weight, and that was not a good experience.
So one, stop it, cold turkey. And two, I really relied on that medication for a lot of my mental health support.
And so when I stopped it going through my disordered eating, it was just a really hard combination of things.
And I got back on it. So things kind of leveled out after that.
But I will say, I guess my biggest piece of advice is like, it doesn't make you weak to go on medication at all.
And I think it's really important to break the stigma about that.

[22:37] Thank you for sharing, Emily, it's so powerful. I haven't said this in the podcast, so I, in the last year, started anxiety medication and people sharing their stories, was one of the most helpful things for me in going on just being like, look at all these people who do this too, I'm not alone.
So do you feel like diet and wellness culture played a role with that feeling of like, you should be strong enough or did it feel unrelated?
Not at first, but diet culture wasn't even really introduced.
It was introduced into my life, you know, here and there, but like not fully, like in my disordered eating.
I would say, yes, when I started disordered, my disordered eating habits, it was definitely, I kind of felt this like power.
I, and I don't know if you can relate to this, but it's like, once you start like counting your calories or losing weight or whatever it may be, it's like you feel almost like an addiction, like a high.
And I just felt like I was riding this wave up. It was great. I could do anything.
I am finding passion in nutrition. I've got more control in my life.
I don't need to be on the medication anymore.
Like, yes, I am strong enough. I don't need to do this with the support anymore. And.

[23:52] That, like I said earlier, was not a good decision whatsoever.
So I will say, if you are someone who's considering getting off your medication for certain reasons, again, be in communication with your care team and talk to those around you who you can turn to and who support you and you can have an open and honest conversation about it.
Because if it is for the weight gain or weight loss or even the feeling of like, I need to to do this on my own, you need to go talk to somebody about that so you really make sure this is the right decision for you moving forward, either starting or stopping the medication.
Yeah, it sounds like the nutrition education when you started getting more deeply into nutrition and your own disordered eating, it sounds like that gave you the feeling of control of like, oh, I don't need medication.
I have all my food rules and this control through the lens of food.
And personally, that's one of my biggest pet peeves. There's like this kind of rhetoric in the media, nutrition media, that's like five foods to eat for your anxiety, to stop your anxiety, to cure your depression.
It's like, no, like no food has the power to do that.

[25:08] Oh, I, yeah, some of those posts, I, it's hard because of like knowing my personality, that's very like, kind of I'm on the obsessive side of things.
I can get really obsessive really fast. So for me, if I had, well, I do have anxiety, but I would see that post and I would be like, oh my gosh, I need to like, go buy those foods right now and eat them like all the time. Yep. And that's like, not really good either.
Yeah. Yeah. That's, that's kind of on the obsessive disordered side here and there.
So yeah, I, I'm sure there are foods that, you know, you eat and that can support your health in a way and make it through your eating consistent meals and like moving your body.
But yeah, to say like, oh, these three foods will cure your depression.

[25:51] Absolutely. Yeah. What do you feel like you're still working on on your intuitive eating and body image journey?
I will say, it is truly a journey. I was talking with my other friend the other day who has been through the same thing as me, struggled with an eating disorder.
She's in nutrition now. She's gonna be a dietitian for eating disorders and she's big on intuitive eating.
And I just texted her the other day and I was like, hey, I'm really struggling.
Like this was last week. And I was like, I'm having not the best food thoughts right now. Haven't had these in a while.

[26:24] Can we just talk?" And we just were able to text it out.
But I think to this day, those thoughts never really go away.
Even if you don't act on them or if they don't show up as frequently, they still pop up here and there.
And I would say I'm at the point in my journey where I feel like I've recovered.
I'm on the other side much stronger, but I'm still navigating the hard moments, whether it is, you know, vacation for a week and I'm eating different foods or I got sick and I wasn't able to work out.
It's like, or I see something on social media and I don't feel good about myself.
And that's when I kind of have to one, turn to my support system.
And then two, I'm really into like journaling. Like I said, I go to therapy.
So it's just keeping up on those things.
I've recently had to go shopping to, you know, buy clothes that actually fit me.
So So it's a constant journey of just riding the highs and the lows and being able to cope with the lower points is really crucial.

[27:30] I love that you've normalized, like it's not linear. It's not like, okay, we're healed now. Like the thoughts are continue to show up.
It's just about how you deal with them and whether or not you act on them.
Do you feel like there's any hidden food rules that you've uncovered recently?
I know that sometimes it's like, it can be years later and it's like, oh, I didn't even realize I was just kind of unconsciously acting from this place of, you know, not allowing this thing or only choosing this thing, any hidden food roles that have kind of presented themself or that you've uncovered unearthed recently?
Yeah, so I was at Trader Joe's a few weeks ago, and they ran out of like olive oil spray.
And they had they had coconut oil spray. You know, we learn about coconut oil in school and how people will say it's not great or whatever with the saturated fats.
And I had a moment where I was like, I can't use that, but I needed spray.
And I was about to just leave without getting spray.

[28:27] And I eventually was like, no, Emily, you got this. It's fine. It's not a big deal.
So also had some of the orthorexia habits too, where everything needed to be like, whole foods, super clean, in quotes, no processed foods.
And I think I still get in my head about that to this day.
Or I had another incident where we were making white rice and I was like, no, this should be brown rice, like a few weeks ago.
And then I was like, oh my gosh, it's one meal. It's okay.
So I would say for me, it's still like...
The healthy foods that I sometimes struggle with, knowing like, it's okay to eat white rice, or it's okay to like have the coconut oil if that's all you have.

[29:09] Or if it's not all you have, and it's just what you want. Right, right, right, exactly.
In that case, it was both. So I would say, you know, they still definitely pop up here and there, and I'm able to notice them and, you know, kind of rewire that mindset.
And challenge them, yeah. For me, it's been almost nine years since being on an intuitive eating journey and every once in a while something will present itself and I'll be like, whoa, I've automatically been choosing kale and spinach over romaine because it's darker and supposedly more nutrient dense.
It's like, okay, you don't have to do that. There's no rules anymore.
So yeah, normalizing that, you'll continue unearthing hidden rules that you've been maybe unconsciously following for years after initially starting your intuitive eating journey?
Oh, yeah. And I was just talking to my boyfriend, the one night he made a smoothie and he didn't drink all of his and I did.
And I felt bad about that.
And so I had to stop and be like, wait, no, I was hungry. I listened to my hunger.
I don't know what he ate today. I don't know what was going on with him today.
He could have had more for dinner or not. I could have just been extra or hungry, it's totally fine.
So it shows up in that way too as well. Yeah, that's a great example, yeah. What's your biggest diet culture pet peeve?
I think my biggest pet peeve is like the everything in moderation.

[30:39] Yeah, that's a really annoying one. What peeves you off about that?
I think it like sounds good on the surface, right?
Like yeah, just balance, right, balance. But it's just not that simple.

[30:54] Also, it's saying like, oh, you can have the cookie, but in moderation, or you can have this food, but in moderation.
It's like, what if sometimes I just want the cookie, but I don't have to worry about balancing it out with something, or having it in moderation, or eating more than the serving size?
Also, what does moderation even look like?
Yeah, that's my biggest update. It's such a sneaky form of food rules, because it's saying, you can have this, but only a little. but that's a rule, because what if you want a lot?
And that could make you feel like you want to rebel and feel guilty and shameful.
So, yeah, I totally stand by that. I hate that one, too.
What's yours? Oh, good question.
I think mine would be.

[31:35] I can't stand, okay, anytime anyone says, well, just this, like, we'll just eat everything in moderation.
It's like, just, it's as simple as calories in, calories out.
Like, I can't stand people trying to just like simplify things and give like a really blanket statement because it's so much more complex and it's very like condescending of like, oh, just calories in, calories out.
Yeah. Oh, that's such a good one.
I've heard so many times, just eat it. Just eat the cookie.

[32:06] Like it's not that hard. Even for intuitive eating, just eat it.
No, I don't even like that advice. Yeah. Like the amount of times early on in my recovery when I would try to challenge myself with new foods, I would stand in front of my pantry and just like feel like I wanted to start crying and my roommates would be like, just eat it. Like, it's not that hard.
And I would be like, no, you don't understand. You don't understand.
It's actually really hard.
Yeah. So just something to be mindful of.
Yeah, I like that you brought that up because it goes in both directions.
Like just simply work out more or whatever.
It can also go in the other direction too of that kind of tone when it comes to food freedom and intuitive eating.
And I had someone else on the podcast a while back say something like, anytime you hear someone say just, your spidey sense should go off of like, take this with a grain of salt or like, don't trust this because it's someone trying to simplify something that probably isn't very simple.
Yeah, 100%. Okay, I asked this question to everyone who comes on the podcast, obviously we're talking a lot about intuitive eating.
What does intuition mean to you and how do you experience it?

[33:09] I think it's something that's just like naturally always within us.
We have it when we're kids and we grow up and we start to lose it more because of those external sources, whether that is your mom saying, do you really need a second plate at Thanksgiving, or whether that's social media or not fitting into your clothes or just anything.
And it doesn't even have to pertain to like food, it could also pertain to just decisions we make in our everyday life and why we make them.
But I think intuition is like basically coming back to yourself.

[33:45] Like I said earlier coming back to your values and what's important to you and learning to hone in to that little voice inside of your head or that feeling in your gut like you will get that feeling and, Following it and being able to even if you're not in the stage where you can follow it yet and act on it It's like just at least acknowledge that it's there It's like a muscle right like you have to exercise it over time and it's not easy at first But the more you listen to it and you start to act on it and you let your intuition guide you, the more confident you're going to feel trusting yourself, whether that is a decision, you're making for your career or for a relationship or for starting therapy or for intuitive eating and deciding what you're going to eat for the day.
It's like just being able to listen to that voice in your head or that feeling that you have in your gut. Yeah. It's so beautiful.
And for you, how does it manifest? How do you know when, is it that feeling in your gut, that voice in your head?
How would you describe how your intuition communicates with you?
Yeah. I would say it's a feeling in my gut, 1 million percent.
I can tell with knowing I had to recover, that was a feeling in my gut.

[35:01] As uncomfortable as it is to make the change or to recognize something like, ooh, that's kind of hard.
Like, I'm recognizing that I have disordered eating, that's hard to admit, but it's like you continue to take steps forward in that direction to get help, even though it feels so hard.
And I think that that's also what listening to your intuition is like, you know, right now, potentially with this career change and going a different route than just nutrition, I'm like, I have this feeling in my gut, but every day, it's like so hard to keep moving, but I know I just need to keep moving no matter what that looks like.
And people say, oh, it just feels so right.
Like, feeling right doesn't always mean that it's easy. No, and I would argue, like, a lot of the times it doesn't feel right at the start.
Yeah, definitely when I was going in on my recovery, I was like, okay, I know I need to do this, but it didn't fully feel right until I started taking steps towards recovery.
And then I was like, okay, wow, I can actually trust myself now.
And this was the right decision.
And like I said, it's a muscle, you got to practice it over time and it'll get easier to be able to trust yourself.
Is there anything else on your heart that you're wanting to share today that we missed?

[36:13] I think for me right now, and just the stage of life that I'm in, finishing up college and going through so much with my mental health and the eating and changing paths, it's my biggest piece of advice or you know what I would love to leave the listeners with is like where you're at right now is enough. It's okay.
You know, whether that is for perfectionism or control or whatever you're dealing with, it's like just slow down a little bit.
You know, you don't need to lose more weight. you don't need to do a homework assignment that's due in three weeks or whatever it is.
You don't have to put pressure on yourself for everything.
Just being where you're at right now is enough. That's something that I'm really.

[36:52] Working on and I went through my whole college career like going going going trying to be perfect at everything trying to achieve trying to Be the best I could be in every aspect and now I look back and I'm like, man I wish I could have just enjoyed that more and same thing for the food stuff like all the moments I missed out on so just being where you're at right now.
It's enough Beautiful words. Thank you for sharing that Emily.
Where can someone find you to stay connected or learn more about your work?
Yeah, absolutely. So I'm mainly on Instagram.
It's at energy.with.emily.
And then on Spotify and Apple Podcasts, I have a podcast that's called I'm Going to Eat That.
So that's where I'm posting an episode once a week on there.
And then again, just mainly active on Instagram right now.
Yeah. And we did an episode together about cannabis, which is a topic that is so fun.
How has your audience perceived that, by the way? That's a pretty out there topic.
Oh my gosh. They were like, what? They were like, I cannot wait to listen to this. There were so many just positive responses from that.
It has a lot of listens so far, so. That's awesome.
I would say that it was perceived really well, so.
Yeah. I find a lot of people are like all over it because no one's talking about it. So they're like, where can I get more information about this? Yeah.
Yeah. That's awesome. Well, thank you so much, Emily. It was so beautiful connecting with you and thank you for sharing your words and your story.
Yeah. Thank you so much for having me on.

[38:18] Thanks so much for tuning in to this week's episode of Shoulders Down.
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[38:54] Music.