The Keto Diet Podcast Episode #024: Going Keto with an Eating Disorder

Going Keto with an Eating Disorder #healthfulpursuit #fatfueled #lowcarb #keto #ketogenic #lowcarbpaleo

Interview with Asia Scarfia-Ward, who suffered from bulimia, binge eating disorder, and orthorexia, chatting about the role that keto has had in healing and overcoming an eating disorder.


For podcast transcript, scroll down.

SHOW NOTES + LINKS

TIMESTAMPS

  • Being worthy of being yourself (12:33)
  • Process of keto adapting with an eating disorder (17:42)
  • Overcoming your fear of weight gain (35:58)

PARTNERS OF THE KETO DIET PODCAST

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TRANSCRIPT FOR THIS EPISODE

Leanne Vogel: You’re listening to episode number 24 of the Keto Diet podcast. Today, we’re chatting about understanding how to feel worthy of yourself, how to approach a ketogenic diet when you’re overcoming disordered eating or history of an eating disorder, how to eliminate the fear of gaining weight by letting go of food rules and creating a no-limits approach to your ketogenic diet, including what to do when you’re in the middle of an emotional eating frenzy, so stay tuned.

Hey, I’m Leanne from healthfulpursuit.com and this is The Keto Diet podcast, where we’re busting through the restrictive mentality of a traditional ketogenic diet to uncover the life you crave. What’s keto? Keto is a low-carb, high fat diet where we’re switching from a sugar-burning state to becoming fat-burning machines. If you’re in need of keto recipe food prep inspiration, I’ve prepped a free seven-day keto meal plan exclusive for podcast listeners. The plan is complete with a shopping list and everything you need to chow down on keto for seven whole days. Download your free copy at healthfulpursuit.com/ketomeal. Let’s get this party started.

Hey, guys. I hope you’re having a wonderful Sunday. It is episode 24 on March 12th, and my sister, Kristina and I are at Expo West right now, and if you’re not familiar with Expo West, it’s basically like this huge event of all these food companies and they all get together in a massive venue and share their products and share up-and-coming products that aren’t even on the market yet, so I love going every year because it really helps me keep a pulse on what’s coming up in the year. Last year when we went there, a lot of companies were saying how they were working on developing low carb things, keto things, and that they would be announcing it at Expo West 2017, so I’m really thrilled to be doing that this weekend. And then my sister and I will be recording episode 25, right there on the floor, talking about the favorite products that we saw, different things that excited us, and to just keep you guys informed of you know, the different resources and such that will be coming out on the market in 2017, to support our keto life.

The show notes for today’s episode and full transcript can be found at healthfulpursuit.com/podcast/e24. The transcript is added to the post about three to five days following the initial air date of this episode, so let’s hear from one of our awesome partners.

The show is partnered up with Paleo Valley, the makers of the only 100% grass-fed and finish fermented beef stick. Each stick contains 1 billion probiotic CFUs. We all know how important fermented foods are to the health of our gut and the strength of our immune system, especially during cold and flu season, as well as boosting our energy throughout the winter months. Chowing down on Paleo Valley’s fermented beef sticks provides your body with all of the beneficial bacteria it loves in one convenient little beef stick.

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Leanne Vogel: We have two announcements for this week. The first one is that if you haven’t already left a review for my show, it would be amazing if you could do so. All you have to do is head on over to healthfulpursuit.com/review and either rate, just click to rate and give me a couple stars or you can leave a little comment as well. The second thing is that I’m creating a bunch of new content for the podcast and I really need your help. I want you to tell me what content to create. I want you to tell me exactly what you’re struggling with so that I can get to work and help. Please take two minutes to fill out a quick survey at healthfulpursuit.com/survey, that’s S-U-R-V-E-Y, and tell me what you’re struggling with, and when you submit your survey, you’re entered to win $100 Amazon gift card. Again, that’s healthfulpursuit.com/survey. The link will also be in the show notes and the gift card winner will be announced on our April 9th show, so thanks so much in advance for submitting that. This helps me help you and create content that you love and that you need.

Today’s guest is Asia, and she’s a lifeguard and swim instructor, a wife and nutrition enthusiast. From the age of 12, she suffered from bulimia, binge eating disorder and orthorexia. She pushed herself very hard, working out multiple times a day and obsessing about her weight, measurements and the food she ate. A year ago, she began her healing journey and eight months ago, she found keto and the Fat Fueled method. She has been eating disorder free for four months and feels amazing. Asia bared her soul on this podcast and there were so many things that she said and she shared that I knew were difficult you know. She really opened up to us and I really appreciate her coming on the show and sharing her brilliance and her light and her amazingness, so I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I did.

Hey Asia, how’s it going?

Asia Scarfia-Ward: Good. How are you Leanne?

Leanne Vogel: I’m so good. I’m so happy to have you on the podcast. I love these keto experience episodes.

Asia Scarfia-Ward: Yeah. I’m happy to be here. Thank you for inviting me.

Leanne Vogel: Totally, and for listeners who may not be familiar with you, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Asia Scarfia-Ward: My name is Asia. I am a wife, a step-mom. I work as, I have a pretty active job, I work as a lifeguard and a swim instructor. I am also a nutrition enthusiast. I have not studied nutrition, but I always am reading up on any information I can get and as many of you may know by the topic of this, I am in recovery from disordered eating and eating disorders that I’ve been dealing with for pretty much my whole life and didn’t realize it for a very long time, and so this keto way of eating that I found, I really want to talk about it and share my experience of how that can help out.

Leanne Vogel: Cool, and how did you find keto? At what point in your life did you resonate with it?

Asia Scarfia-Ward: About a year and eight months ago, I realized I wasn’t feeling good. I wasn’t feeling my age. I was sick all the time. I was dealing with really rough things emotionally and I was just tired of it. I wanted to be healthy. I wanted to be there for my husband, and it really, what happened, so I started out and I was just like, okay, I’m going to read up on this, what can I do? I cut out all processed food, okay, so that was my first thing. I was like okay, I need to be healthy, so I’m going to restrict, restrict, restrict. Cut out everything that I don’t think is healthy.

After that, shortly after that, about January of this last year, some close friends of mine were doing Whole30 and they invited me to try that out with them. Shortly into that, one of my friends, my close friends Teresa, she shared with me actually interestingly enough, it was one of your YouTube videos, the one about why tracking food is not necessarily the healthiest thing to do in your weight loss and health journey.

Leanne Vogel: Cool, that’s so cool, and so when you started to get it going with keto because you had a history, I mean eating disorder. How did you do that? What did that look like for you?

Asia Scarfia-Ward: At first, old habits die hard. At first, it looked like me on my phone, almost 24 hours a day, tracking every little piece of food that I put in my mouth and it wasn’t that I wasn’t necessarily eating enough, it was more that that was taking up my life. I was on my phone tracking my food. I was putting all my recipes, punching all my recipes into a recipe counter, making sure it was the amount of protein and fat and carbs I wanted, changing ingredients to recipes because it had like 1 gram too much carbohydrates. It really kind of looks like that and it wasn’t necessarily until I really started watching all of the videos on keto, and watching and listening to everything I could find, and reading whatever I could find. It really is easy to get sucked up into that even though I know that restricting food isn’t necessarily the way to be healthy, the way to live your life. It is easy to fall into those habits when you’re finding a new lifestyle, so it really helped me to just keep finding information and I also needed to, I realized that I needed to kind of chill.

Leanne Vogel: Yeah, the chilling thing is so great, and it sounds so easy like just chill out, but it’s so hard to see that you need to chill, especially in your case because you were like watching videos and getting all this information on keto and getting really excited of the possibilities and probably pushing yourself into places and that you probably didn’t really thrive in and that could be a slippery slope, so were you still, did you still have the eating disorder when you first started with keto, or kind of what was that timeline like for you?

Asia Scarfia-Ward: I wouldn’t call what I was dealing with then necessarily like an all-out eating disorder like I had dealt with in my past, so when I was a teenager, I was on swim team and I was training like 20 to 25 hours a week plus going to school and I was like packing in the classes, I wanted to graduate two years early. At that point, it was like I was never happy with my body. I was always the big girl on swim team and I was never happy that I was fast. I was never happy that I was strong. I was always just uncomfortable because I’m bigger and it was really difficult for me. I would deal with, before that, I would deal with like eating and then throwing up so like bulimia and then that kind of, those kind of actions would cause me to then feel depressed about myself and binge eat. Pretty much as I got older and I was in high school, and then I was in college, and I was swimming and training, it became less about restricting food or binging on food and more about exercising.

The exercising was like my entire life, and to the point where if I miss a swim practice, if I miss one of my other workouts that I put upon myself, I would freak out and not know what to do with myself and so after that, I was in college and I was married. I got married like my first year into college, and me and my husband worked together and he supported me going to school and I was always depressed, and that’s kind of where I was when I found keto. I was depressed. I was sick. I had stopped swim team. I had pretty much stopped working out altogether, and then I would train really hard for a week at a time and it was just this cycle of depression and then working out. I’m thinking I felt better and then getting sick and then starting all over again, and that’s where I was when I came to this way of eating.

Leanne Vogel: Wow. Just step back a bit, you mentioned a little bit about really not being happy no matter what you did, and you know if it wasn’t your weight, it was your performance and et cetera, and so let’s chat a little bit about being worthy of yourself, because we talked about that a little bit before we started recording and how your practice is now with feeling worthy of who you are in this moment.

Asia Scarfia-Ward: Yeah, so that’s something that we all struggle with and when I’m on, like our keto Facebook group, watching all the comments, I really see that it was really a common thing for people to be like you know, I am just not happy with my weight. I don’t care that it’s not healthy that I’m happy with my weight or I’m not happy with my strength. I don’t care that I’m healthy or I don’t care that it’s not making me happy to do what I’m doing, but I need to be this or I need to be that. Really, I had to convince myself and everyone should think about this, why do you need to be something? Why do you expect these things of yourself? No one else expects them of you and when it really comes down to it, when you look around, you believe that all of these people around you and all of these people aren’t an actual thing. That’s just something in your imagination and they, and you believe that they think that you should be something else, when the truth is is that you need to give yourself permission and I needed to give myself permission to be myself and that it’s okay to do something for myself that makes me feel better and not have to feel worthy of being myself.

Leanne Vogel: I know having to, there’s a lot of pressure about conforming to what we “should” look like or you know the BMI stuff and what we see in the media. How do you go about removing yourself from what you should look like? Was that ever a problem for you?

Asia Scarfia-Ward: Of course it was a problem. I mean I am a larger-sized person. I come from an ancestry of people who are muscular and have a lot of bone and so thus, even when I was on swim team, training 20, 25 hours a week, I weighed 150 lbs and I had 0% to 10% body fat probably. I was like crazy buff and I was still bigger than everyone else and it really, really did bother me and that doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t make any sense if your husband looks at you and thinks you’re beautiful, if your coach or your personal trainer says, “Wow, you’re really strong.” That should be enough. You don’t have to prove anything to them. You don’t have to prove anything to yourself. You need to accept who you are, and I had to accept that and it is difficult.

I mean sometimes you know, if you have a day where you’re depressed, you look in the mirror and you’re like, I don’t like this, I don’t like that, I don’t accept myself. This isn’t me. I don’t want to be this person. I have to step back and say, “You know what, you’re enough. You are you. Everyone appreciates you for the good things that you are and there are good things about you”, and that’s true of everyone. There are good things about you, everything about you is good even if it’s something that you would like to change about yourself. It is probably a gift in another setting.

Leanne Vogel: Beautifully said. Seriously. Yeah, beautifully said, and I think when you start to realize that you’re so much more than your body, wonderful things happen and you become, you know for myself anyway, I became a lot less scared. I’m putting myself out there in ways that I never would have, like my YouTube channel. Oh my gosh, are you kidding me? I couldn’t get in front of a camera, but I was like, “You know what, I don’t care what people think. I have a message, I’m just going to go with it”, and it’s so much more freeing being able to come from a place of “I’m just sharing my information and yeah, my body’s here, but it’s not my story” and those are really powerful words.

More of my interview with Asia after this message from one of our podcast partners.

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Leanne Vogel: Now because you’re eating keto and because you have this history, how is keto eating different for you or is it? Like how do you go about the keto diet while being mindful of your past restrictions and stuff?

Asia Scarfia-Ward: The first thing is I had a tracking app, I deleted it.

Leanne Vogel: Yehey.

Asia Scarfia-Ward: I didn’t care. I paid, I had paid for like a year or two years or something crazy subscription to be able to track protein and stuff like that, and you know what, it didn’t make me happy and it didn’t make anyone around me happy because they were like, “Hey, what are you doing on your phone over there? I’m right here in front of you”, and I was on my phone and I was tracking my food and I was being obsessive and I wasn’t eating enough. That’s the thing. When you are writing down everything you eat and you have, even if it’s just food journaling and you’re not tracking calories, not tracking macros, you look at this list of foods you ate and you’re like, “That’s too much stuff”, and that’s not true. That’s not necessarily true. If your body needs nutrients, you’re going to crave it, so keto looks like for me, I eat when I’m hungry and I eat what my body needs.

Oftentimes that is low-carb, high fat because I don’t do well with carbohydrates that make me sick, and then there are other times like the week before and during my period that I have to have weekly carbs, that I have to have daily carb ups, but mainly it looks like don’t track. I don’t do that. It’s triggering for me. When you look at this list of foods, when you look at this, 2,000 calories, 3,000 calories, what is all this? I don’t need all this. No one my size is eating this many calories. First of all, you don’t know that, and second of all, if your body needs the food that you’re eating, you should be okay with eating that because you need to take care of yourself. I need to take care of myself. It’s important to be there for the people you love and to be there for yourself.

Leanne Vogel: Yes, because when you’re glued to your phone and tracking everything, you’re completely unattached, like you’re detached from everyone and from your life experience, so how does it feel for you now eating enough? What does that feel like for you?

Asia Scarfia-Ward: It really changed the way that I think. Food is just food now. Before, it was either the enemy or it was something I was supposed to do or it was my only emotional escape and those three things are some of the most common ways people think about food, and it’s the way that I thought about food my whole life. It was never just food. It was never just fuel. Now that I have been eating low-carb, high fat, and I’ve been eating when my body feels like it, what my body feels like and I’ve been eating enough, it feels freeing. You feel like for once in my life, it’s easy to be me, to eat healthy, even though weight is not a good topic to be to even out, to be whatever your body wants to be. If it needs to be 250 lbs, it’ll be that. If it needs to be 125 lbs, it’ll be that, and you know what, maybe that number isn’t anywhere close to what you thought it will be and maybe you don’t weigh yourself.

Maybe it’s what you see in the mirror, maybe it’s what other people see, maybe it’s the way your clothes fit, maybe it’s the balance of muscle to bone to shape, it is easy and that’s something that when you struggle with an eating disorder or disordered eating, you’re always trying to force your body to be something or do something that it doesn’t want to be. When you just calm down, realize you need to accept yourself and accept what you need to eat, that you need to take care of yourself, mainly that’s important to take care of yourself, your body will become what it needs to be to be you.

Leanne Vogel: Yes. Yes, you’re very well spoken. Everything you say I’m like, “Oh my gosh, that’s so powerful. Yes”. So a lot of people would argue, and this is something that I get a lot, It’s like you can’t overcome an eating disorder if you’re telling yourself what to eat like in the case of the keto diet. You know you’re telling yourself to eat keto, you’re trying to overcome an eating disorder and the number one way to overcome an eating disorder is to give yourself full permission with food. How does your approach, your personal approach to your keto diet, you know you mentioned just a little bit ago about eating what you want, when you want it and saying carbohydrates don’t feel good in your body, but during your period, leading up to it and during you have those carb ups. What has been your experience with practicing the “I can eat whatever I want, when I want it” and understanding that sometimes your body likes things and sometimes it doesn’t?

Asia Scarfia-Ward: Yeah, so there’s a huge scientific difference between cravings and what your body needs, so when it comes to, especially like sugar, a lot of times that’s an emotional response to an emotional craving. It’s your mind -because it’s mentally addicting – and I really do have to say that part of what really helped me at first, even though my mindset wasn’t quite right yet, is not eating sugar, and the reason for that, even though it sounds restrictive, is because it’s a drug and if you’re already having problems with obsessive tendencies like disordered eating can be a sign of obsessive tendencies like you’re obsessed about food or you’re obsessed about weight or you’re obsessed about this, you can also be obsessed with sugar or obsessed with carbs or obsessed with anything and be healthy, so the way that keto played into that for me is that I realized, okay, if I’m going to do this, the sugar has to go. It has to be gone or down, and another thing is realizing that just because you need to eat low-carb, high fat and you’ve decided this, it doesn’t mean that foods are off limits.

I always, my father, he’s diabetic and it’s not well controlled and he always tells himself, “Well, I deserve this treat because it’s off limits.” The truth is is that nothing should be off limits. Off limits is part of what gets people, it’s your life and you need to live it so if your child is having a birthday party or your parents are having an anniversary party or wedding or something like that, and there’s a food there that doesn’t cause an allergic reaction or something but it is not keto, it’s okay to give yourself permission to have that food because it’s not off limits, if you feel like it. Definitely, keto helps everything but if you say, “Okay, the idea of a keto food”, so people asking, “Is this food keto? Is that recipe keto? Is this keto?”, the idea of the keto diet is to be using fat as fuel. When you make it into limits like of what foods you can have and what foods you can’t have, you all of a sudden reach this new level of restriction that doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not you’re burning fat for fuel.

Leanne Vogel: Yeah, that’s a good point. I never actually thought of it that way totally. That’s exactly what happens and those off limit foods, I know for myself can be all the people that are listening probably know that I’m obsessed with candy and not until I gave myself full permission to have candy whenever, like I was, “Hey, Leanne. Whenever you want candy, you can have candy.” I actually bought a huge bag, like multiple things at the bulk store and I kept it in the pantry and there was a period there for about two weeks where I ate it all the time and I got out of keto. It was horrible and after about two weeks, I completely forgot about the bag of candy and it’s still sitting there. It’s been over a year. I’m just like, “No, it doesn’t make me feel good but I know that I can have it if it’s there.”

I think I know that candy doesn’t make me feel good and to your point about emotional eating, a lot of the times, it’s I have a memory of my dad and I eating candy and whenever I miss my dad or I need love, I find that I gravitate towards sugary things and I think that that’s okay. I think for myself personally, emotional eating is okay and knowing that it’s okay gets the edge off, but to your point, it’s like if you’re limiting it, I would have gone through that whole bag a year ago. My candy would be gone and I’d be on to my 100th bag because when it’s off limits, it’s almost like you want it more and it becomes this binge relationship with that food of like, “Oh my gosh, I just ate candy or I just ate the birthday cake. I may as well have eight pieces because I ate one piece.” That’s kind of what I’ve seen in my personal experience as well as with a lot of my previous clients.

Now, with the process of adapting, what was that like for you? Balancing different things and going through your first 10 days of keto, was there anything that stood out for you?

Asia Scarfia-Ward: Interestingly enough, before I started keto, I was doing Whole30, and the Whole30, if those of you who aren’t aware of it, is you cut out processed foods and anything that causes inflammation or it’s a common allergen so you cut out dairy, processed food, legumes, that includes peanuts, processed sugars. Part of that includes healthy starches, so what I was doing is I had cut out sugar. I was still on carbohydrates. For those of you who have been coming from like a Paleo type diet or anything in that realm, I can definitely relate. It wasn’t necessarily, so the keto flu type symptoms did not start right away for me. It was more when I started transitioning and that’s the other important thing is that by that time, I had realized that my thinking was a little off about food and so I didn’t try and force myself into ketosis, no testing strips, nothing like that, because again, that would be triggering. I also didn’t weigh myself for at least a couple of months. I put my scale up where it’s hard to get to and just realized, “Okay, slow down. No sweet potatoes tonight, we’re good. We can have an extra veggie.”

That kind of transitioning, definitely if what you’re used to eating is very different from keto, if you are experiencing a bad relationship with food or you’re recovering from an eating disorder or you have an eating disorder or just anything of that nature, you’re restrictive and you know you’re restrictive, start out by easing into it, that makes it a lot easier not to become obsessive, not to become restrictive and then it also eases any difficulties you’re having. For instance, if you start out the first couple of weeks of keto after eating a high-carb Paleo diet or a high-carb junk food diet, American’s standard diet, and you start doing keto, whole foods, keto, you’re going to be so sick and that’s going to make you feel like, “Okay, I’m doing everything wrong. Why should I do this? I’m just going to give up. I’m not worthy of any of this because I just make myself sick whenever I try anything new”, and that’s not the kind of thoughts that you want when you’re trying to eat healthier and eat for your body.

Leanne Vogel: Do you have any other recommendations? Like we talked a little bit about, like you said easing into it, that you set no limits on yourself? Do you have any other pieces of advice for maybe someone like you that’s in the place that you were a year ago wanting to adopt a ketogenic diet? Say something to yourself a year ago.

Asia Scarfia-Ward: If I could say something to myself a year ago, it would be there’s going to be challenges. There’s going to be things that go wrong. It’s all trial and error when you’re trying to figure out what works for your body. There may be some things that you try that don’t work. There may be reasons that you’re doing things that you think are for your body but really, it’s because you’re supporting those ingrained habits of restriction. Definitely one of the most important things that I would tell anyone, pretty much anyone starting a new way of eating, whether it’s keto or really anything else, fasting, it has its place if you think about it in terms of how the human race has evolved since the beginning of history but it doesn’t have a place in taking care of ourselves necessarily if it is forced. Fasting is something that you’ll read a lot about when trying to start eating ketogenically and you’re like, “Oh well, I’m not hungry and this says that fasting is good for keto so I’m just not going to eat for another six hours even though I’m a little hungry but I’m not totally hungry.”

If you’re a little hungry but not totally hungry and so you think you can push it another six hours and then you’ve made up your mind to push it that other six hours, even if you get hungry in between now and then, that’s forcing yourself to fast. That’s restriction and it can cause binges. It can cause you to have carbohydrate cravings and it just really isn’t really good for your mind, especially if you are still in the fat adaption phase. There’s a difference too between your body making ketones and your body knowing that fat is its preferred fuel. You can be in what you consider ketosis, producing ketones and using those for fuel while you’re not eating foods containing sugar, foods containing glucose but you’re not necessarily fat adapted yet to where if you eat too much protein or you eat too much sugar and your body burns it up and then goes straight back to eating fat. If you’re in that in-between stage, what it might do and it’s happened to me before, is it burns up all of the sugar and all of the protein that you just ate and then it’s like, “Hey, I realized that before we were starving and we were ketones but then you gave me real fuel and where is it?”

Leanne Vogel: Where’s the sugar at?

Asia Scarfia-Ward: Yes, so definitely don’t fast, maybe even ever if you are well adjusted into the fat fueled lifestyle and you don’t feel like eating breakfast and you know you’re going to have time to eat lunch later, then go ahead and wait until you’re actually hungry because that’s one of the most important things is listening to your body, but definitely don’t do it just because you can.

Leanne Vogel: Amen, sister. Totally. It’s crazy how often, like I was reading through my old ketogenic journal when I first got started and so many other things started off with I’m starving right now but I can’t eat for another six hours, like just so hungry.

Asia Scarfia-Ward: Yeah.

Leanne Vogel: That, the amount of pushing that I did then and you mentioned earlier about health isn’t just about generating those ketones and yeah sure, fasting will boost up your ketones but at the cost of what? You mentioned your mind playing a huge role in that and being affected by it, so yeah, although you’re fasting and you’re hungry when you’re fasting and you’re really pushing yourself, your psychological balance can go way off-kilter. I know that when I was super hungry before I fast, I found it hard to work properly because I was thinking about food so much and that affected my work and that affected my friends and it just kept going on. I really like your point, yeah.

Asia Scarfia-Ward: Yeah, and don’t mistake that with if you’re adjusting to eating a ketogenic diet, there will be times in the beginning when you’re first becoming fat fueled where you don’t realize you’re hungry and that’s much different than knowing you’re hungry subconsciously but because it doesn’t feel terrible, you just keep going because being hungry feels much different when you’re using ketones and it doesn’t necessarily feel terrible but it is more of that brain fog, like you start, even though your stomach isn’t grumbling, you can’t stop thinking about food. You find yourself getting easily distracted and those are the kinds of signals that are like, “Hey, wait a minute, I’ve just been thinking about food for the last half hour instead of doing what I was supposed to be doing, I should eat something now.”

Leanne Vogel: Yes totally, more on my interview with Asia after this message from one of our podcast partners.

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Leanne Vogel: What we’re saying here, and I agree with a lot of the things that you’re saying, is that it’s really important to listen to your body and to not set limits on yourself and to understand what feels good in your body, what doesn’t and really develop a ketogenic diet. It feels good for you. Now in all of that, if somebody’s been restricting you for a super long time and pushing themselves you know to that weight that maybe they think is where they want to be, but is really now where their body feels its best, how did you overcome or did you need to overcome the fear of weight gain when you decided, enough is enough, I’m throwing out the scale, I’m not going to track, was there a fear of oh my gosh, I’m going to balloon up and, what was that like for you?

Asia Scarfia-Ward: I guess what I really worry about is going off track. I was really afraid that if I stopped tracking food, mainly tracking food, I wasn’t much of a scale person to begin with during all of this because my BMI is like off the charts because I have so much muscle mass, not off the charts that weight, but definitely so if something is controlling your life, if you are obsessed with the scale, if you have to step on that scale every day, don’t do it. If you have to track your food every day, don’t do it. See, I was afraid, if you are afraid of not doing something and you don’t know for real why you’re afraid of doing it, that’s a good sign that it is controlling you. For me, it was definitely that food tracking app. I was afraid of what was going to happen. I was afraid that if I stopped tracking my food and keeping track, that then I was going to go sugar binge and eat three slices of cake and do this and eat stuff that I was allergic to and not realize it, but that fear is of yourself and of, you’re afraid that you’re going to fail.

You’ve set yourself up for failure because you believed that you’re going to fail and you are holding on to this one little thing and that you truly believe is going to help you hold on to what you have, to your restrictiveness and really, that one thing that you’re holding on to, it isn’t helping you. It’s holding you back, so definitely, I was afraid and you should, I mean you will be afraid if you’ve stepped on a scale every day for 10 years, if you have tracked your food every day for the last two years, you’re going to be afraid of leaving that behind. If you’ve eaten dairy every day for, if you’re addicted to a certain food, you will be afraid to leave it behind and that fear is how you know that something is unhealthy for you, so if you find yourself being afraid of leaving something behind, that’s one of the important clues that you know that it needs to go away.

Leanne Vogel: Yeah, really, the key that you think is to your happiness, like if I eat all the vegetables, I’ll be happy and healthy, is usually for me, it was vegetables. I would like panic if I didn’t eat vegetables in a meal. I’m just like oh my gosh, I’m not going to be healthy and you know, when I let that go, I realized that although I do enjoy vegetables, I really love protein. I love protein and without allowing myself to kind of let that belief go and I really thought this is the key to my happiness in life. If I guess really, if you think that there’s one thing that’s the key to your happiness and your health, no it’s not like it’s a bunch of different things. When I let go of the vegetables, I still eat quite a lot of vegetables but nowhere near the stress and amount like I used to go grocery shopping three times a week and get all the vegetables.

If my produce drawer wasn’t empty in three days, I’d panic, like that is not good and to your point, it’s like if you’re afraid of letting something go or if you’re panicking or anxious, like what you were saying at the beginning is if you didn’t go to the gym, there’ll be a lot of anxiety around that and I think that that goes for like you said, weighing yourself or weighing your food or tracking your food, it can be so scary. I remember when I sold my scale on Kijiji, and I felt so bad for the woman that I sold it to, but it was super expensive and her husband needed it, so I was like, here you go, and when I gave it to her, I kind of kept holding on to it like I didn’t really want to let it go because it measured all these things and it had this app and it tracked with my fitness health, it was so cool and letting that go was so scary, like what do I do now? What is life? Oh my gosh, total panic, but that’s a good point. If there’s that fear in letting something go, it’s usually because you need to let it go in order to move forward with your happiness and healthfulness, so that’s really good advice.

Asia Scarfia-Ward: Yeah.

Leanne Vogel: Now let’s chat a little bit about emotional eating because everyone does it and.

Asia Scarfia-Ward: Yeah, I wanted to go back to that.

Leanne Vogel: Okay, cool. Amazing. I was reading your mind, so let’s talk about that because a lot of people eat in for comfort and anger, stress, celebration, loneliness. How do you approach it?

Asia Scarfia-Ward: That’s something that I really believe is part of like one of the most important steps in developing a good relationship with food instead of a bad relationship with food, is that emotional eating is part of life. It’s the way that our society is. It’s stressful, a lot of times, parties, things like that are designed like, it’s wedding, exciting, now we’re going to eat. Part of that is not being like, hey, I just emotionally ate. Now everything is over. I’m going to die. I might as well just eat this entire cake right here in front of me because I’m not worth anything. Being able to consciously, emotionally eat is something that I have acquired slowly. If you give yourself permission, if you say, you know what, I’m upset. I really want to just eat everything right now because I’m sad, and I realize that that is what’s happening.

Oftentimes, sometimes the need to do that will go away and sometimes you do emotional eat and being able to say, okay, this is what I’m doing and I give myself permission to do it because it’s okay, everything’s going to be fine and tomorrow, I’ll move past it and I will just be one other person who had a piece of cake yesterday and now I’m eating keto and I’m fine. Being able to consciously accept the fact that you’re eating emotionally and that something you ate wasn’t necessarily the best thing, but it made you happy or it helped you cope at a party that was stressful, definitely you need to give yourself permission to be happy, to enjoy life and the fact that emotional eating shouldn’t control your life, so if you get upset every time you have an emotional eating about emotional eating, it’s going to make it worse and you’re going to be depressed and you’re going to keep eating or you’re going to then restrict everything. It needs to be a conscious decision that okay, I don’t feel good so I’m going to eat this and it’s fine, I’ll move on.

Leanne Vogel: Yes to everything you said, totally. I totally emotionally eat, not as much now that like you said, as soon as I said it’s okay to eat emotionally, and when I feel like having X, Y, Z because I’m angry or stressed out, and I say, okay, I understand that this is because I’m just stressed out, it’s sort of like, yeah, I’m just stressed. I don’t actually need that. I’m just stressed out and there are other things that I can do like going in my infrared sauna, which helps my stress, that actually allows me to process it but you know. Then there’s time that I’m like, I’m stressed out, no, I really want that. I’m just going to eat that.

Asia Scarfia-Ward: Yeah.

Leanne Vogel: It’s totally okay, and like you said, it’s completely different if I’m stressed out. I’m going to eat a pizza. Well, since I had a slice, I may as well have the whole thing, whereas in a more balanced approach, maybe you’d have three slices and realize you’re full and be like, okay, moving on, so yeah, it’s a huge difference, but it can also be really scary. When you hear, I remember the first time I heard emotional eating is okay, I’m like these people are crazy. Emotional eating is not okay, but I swear. Now being on the other side of it, it’s totally fine and when you accept it, it actually helps the process.

Asia Scarfia-Ward: Definitely.

Leanne Vogel: Yeah, so my last question for you is, what’s your favorite thing like that you’re totally in love with and preparing for yourself, food-wise? What’s the thing that really lights you up and makes your body feel awesome right now?

Asia Scarfia-Ward: You know what? I hadn’t really thought about that. I really am into right now, finding a substitute for my favorite non-keto food, which is macaroni and cheese. I do a lot of, I’m trying to figure out a recipe for cauliflower mac and I’m really, that makes me happy and I’m really into like developing my own recipes and things like that, so that makes me really happy is to go in the kitchen and try and put something together that tastes good and reminds me of macaroni and cheese because that is the one food that I am not sure I could live forever without. Definitely, I really, what I really enjoy is being able to make a plate of food and put on it what I know I’m going to eat, so in the past, if you’re struggling with restrictive eating, you put on your plate what you think you should eat and then you go back for seconds and maybe thirds, instead it really makes me happy now to put on my plate what I know I’m going to eat and then eat it, and sometimes I don’t finish it and that’s fine.

Leanne Vogel: Yeah, that’s the best thing. I used to have this story in my head like if I didn’t eat everything on my plate, it would somehow go away or like I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it and it took me a really long time, probably about seven years, reminding myself every day that it’s okay to not finish your food. It’s actually become a problem at our house because I’ll put stuff on my plate, I won’t finish it and I’ll put it in these little Tupperwares and then it’ll just sit in the fridge forever and I won’t eat them, so at the end of the week, I make my husband like this macho club, all the things I’m eating in a week, but it’s so cool knowing that I can finish this, I cannot, I can do whatever I want. That’s really cool, I like that you mentioned that, that’s awesome.

Well, thank you so much for being on the show today, Asia. All the stuff that you shared today was super powerful and awesome, and I know that it’s going to benefit a lot of the people listening, so I really appreciate you opening up your life and your heart, and I know that some of these conversations can be pretty challenging to talk about and really go through your feelings, so I really appreciate you opening up your heart to everyone today.

Asia Scarfia-Ward: Yeah, thank you and have a wonderful day.

Leanne Vogel: Yeah, thanks so much. The show notes for today’s episode can be found at healthfulpursuit.com/podcast/e24 and we’ll see you guys next week.

That does it for another episode of The Keto Diet podcast. Thanks for listening in. You can follow me on Instagram by searching Healthful Pursuit where you’ll find daily Keto eats and other fun things, and check out all of my keto supportive programs, bundles, guides and other cool things over at healthfulpursuit.com/shop and I’ll see you next Sunday. Bye.

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  1. I loved this podcast. I never really thought I had an unhealthy relationship with food until hearing this, twice, I weigh myself everyday, weigh my food, and track my macro’s. Yea, I’d say it’s time to let it all go. The part that has really stuck with me is giving myself permission to have something instead of saying it’s off limits. And to be ME!!!! Thank you Leanne for the awesome guests you have on your podcasts that share from their heart.

    • Wow, I’m so happy for you for making this realization! Thanks for your support, Cecilia. Wishing you the best on your healing journey!

  2. This is another amazing podcast episode, it resonated so much with everything I’m dealing with now. I’m not full keto yet and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to achieve it, I’m extremely scared of oils and butter, but I’m introducing quite a lot of fatty fish and some more fatty beef in my diet and for me are quite big steps :). Thank you so much Leanne, if it weren’t for you, I don’t think I’d ever had the courage to start eating any fats again. Lots of Love <3

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