October 29, 2017 by Leanne Vogel December 28, 2018
Interview with Daniele Della Valle, chatting about the difference between goal weight and happy weight, using keto to get to your happy weight, healing, stalls, and so much more!
When I think about all the time and energy I spent trying to hit my goal weight, relentlessly tracking my macros, overexerting myself and training until my body gave out, then training some more … it exhausts me. I spent so many years believing that the only way I could be happy was to be smaller, weigh less, and restrict more, but that’s just not true. A smaller number on the scale doesn’t equate to a higher self-worth, more friends, a dream job, the ideal partner, or happiness in any form. In fact, for me, a smaller number on the scale equated to more self-criticism, mood swings, and an overall dissatisfaction in every area of my life … which is why I’m so glad I found keto.
Keto helped heal my body in both a mental and physical sense, giving me the tools I needed to realize that I was worthy of happiness and love, no matter my weight. I’m sure a lot of people can relate to the “I’ll be happy when ________” mentality, whether you fill in the blank by hitting a number on the scale, fitting into skinny jeans, or achieving a certain physique. The truth is that you can be happy here and now, in this body, which is why I’m so excited to share this episode with Daniele Della Valle and shake up the definition of Happy Weight.
In today’s podcast, I chat with our guest Daniele Della Valle, a Certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, author, and motivational speaker about finding your Happy Weight, and here’s a hint: it has nothing to do with the scale.
This episode is all about how to develop a better understanding of happy weight, get the most out of keto, break weight plateaus and negative thinking, and heal your body by accepting it with through the eyes of self-love.
Let’s get to the interview!
For podcast transcript, scroll down.
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Leanne Vogel: You’re listening to Episode Number 57 of The Keto Diet Podcast. Today, we’re chatting about your goal weight and what it means, the process of getting to your happy weight, what to do in a plateau, and so much more, 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. I’ve spent the last four months completely redoing my best-selling ketogenic program, The Keto Bundle. The Keto Bundle combines my two digital programs, The Keto Beginning and Fat Fueled, to provide you with clear step-by-step, how-to on successfully adapting to a ketogenic diet, avoiding common ketogenic struggles and healing your body fully and completely with a ketogenic diet.
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Hey, guys. Happy Sunday. The show notes and full transcript for today’s episode can be found at HealthfulPursuit.com/podcast/e57. The transcript is added to the post about three to five days following the initial air date of this episode. Let’s hear from one of our awesome partners.
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I have one announcement for you guys. If you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, you probably already know that I completely rewrote both of my digital programs, The Keto Beginning and Fat Fueled. I spent the whole summer rewriting them, reworking them, redesigning them, and they’re gorgeous. We put together a little special for both of these products. When we bundle them together, it’s a magical thing called The Keto Bundle.
The Keto Beginning and Fat Fueled are bundled together to create The Keto Bundle, which we are providing to you guys for a 20% off discount just on the website. For podcast listeners, you guys get an additional 10% off through til October 31, 2017. You can use the coupon code PODCAST, all in caps, no spaces, at HealthfulPursuit.com/bundle to get yours. Again, that’s PODCAST for 10% off at HealthfulPursuit.com/bundle. All of the details about the products, what changed, how beautiful it looks inside, is all on that page. Definitely go check it out. They’re the two favorite things that I’ve ever created and now they’re even cooler.Our guest today is Daniele Della Valle. She’s a certified nutritional therapy practitioner, author and motivational speaker. Having worked in the food, beverage, retail, and service industries for the past 18 years, Daniele has had an invaluable experience that greatly contributes to her now profession as an NTP and body positive coach. After Daniele transitioned into nutrition, she dove headfirst working in a keto clinic as a principal nutritionist, opened a private practice, wrote a book, started a podcast, and now is about to embark on the conference circuit as a motivational speaker. Her love to heal and be of service to others is clear when you meet her. Her heart knows no bounds. Daniele’s hope is that she can work hard to help every woman feel validated and supported through every aspect of her life. Daniele’s book, Happy Weight, an anti-diet manifesto of mindfulness, self-love, body image, and real nutrition – this book is so good. We’ll include links to the show notes. Without further ado, let’s cut over to this interview.
Hey, Daniele. How’s it going?
Daniele Della Valle: Oh, it’s going so good, Leanne. Thanks so much for having me.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, I’m so excited to have you on the show. It’s been a really long time since we’ve had a conversation. I really love your book and the work that you put out there. I’m very happy to have you here today.
Daniele Della Valle: Thank you so much. It’s so great to chat with you again. I know life goes by so fast I think sometimes and there’s all these things that happen in between. It’s crazy.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, it’s crazy. It’s totally crazy. For listeners that may not be familiar with your work, why don’t you start off by telling us a little bit about you.
Daniele Della Valle: Yeah. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Daniele Della Valle. I’m a nutritional therapy practitioner living in the Pacific Northwest, I’m in southwest Washington. I’ve been a NTP for almost five years now. When I first got out of school, I actually worked as a principal nutritionist in a ketogenic weight loss center. That was a really interesting experience for me because I really got to understand the modern woman and her struggle and diet culture and just kind of the industry in general. It started to make me a little uncomfortable after a while, I started to see just kind of a lot of connections that weren’t being made. I went into private practice and started to change the narrative a little bit. That’s kind of when Happy Weight was born; I started to write Happy Weight just for women who are kind of struggling with their body image, but then also still trying to be health conscious. It’s kind of a hard marriage because the body positive community and the nutrition communities … they’re not rivaled, they’re just on opposite ends. I wanted to be able to bridge the conversation between the two. That’s kind of how Happy Weight was born. That’s what I’m doing now.
Leanne Vogel: It’s such a great merging of the two because I am very much a part of the keto space, but I also have a private body positivity account that I like follow a bunch of people and I read a bunch of their content. It’s just really interesting to see the differences. They are very much on the very ends of the spectrum. The keto people will say that the body positivity stuff doesn’t count and it doesn’t work and body positivity will say, well, if you’re trying to diet or achieve some sort of weight loss, then it’s not body positive. There’s a lot of muddleness in there. I think you did such a great job in your book kind of merging all of it together.
Daniele Della Valle: Thank you so much. Thank you. I appreciate that.
Leanne Vogel: Why don’t we chat about what Happy Weight is? What does that mean to you?
Daniele Della Valle: Happy Weight, honestly, is completely individual. I’m a bio individual nutrition, ancestral health specialist. It really is about every person’s journey just on their own. That’s kind of convoluted for some people because they’re like, “Oh, but I want to do this or I want to do that,” and it’s really about not comparing yourself to everything else. It’s about stopping the perfection addictions, stopping the comparison on social media, and everything that we’re kind of bred to think, to hate our bodies, to only do everything this one way and then that’s the end result, but that’s not really how life works. Life, it’s beautiful chaos. You know, life is just a beautiful mess. We have to always kind of honor that as we’re going through our journey. It’s always such an individual perspective as we’re going through it.
Happy Weight, more or less, is kind of about honoring yourself on your wellness journey wherever that is, whatever it may look like, and, you know, trying to investigate your health as an individual because the unfortunate aspect is that, you know, a lot of us are kind of running an uphill battle these days with our health, with chronic illness, chronic fatigue. There’s so many different things going on. I mean, like yourself, you had amenorrhea. I struggled with severe anxiety and paranoia. You know, there’s so many different things going on out there and so there is really no one size fits all mentality in terms of how we’re going to achieve wellness. It really is just a guidebook, honestly, on trying to find what it is that is going to make you feel healthful at the end of the day, if that makes sense.
Leanne Vogel: Those results are how you’ll feel by achieving the Happy Weight mentality. I guess you could say it’s like a mentality is that you’re just going to be happy and feel healthy. What can people experience when they adapt to more of the Happy Weight mentality?
Daniele Della Valle: Yeah. I think they can just experience a little bit more body freedom and acceptance, but also when it comes to the diet portion or the food portion is really not getting hung up as much about our hiccups or, I don’t like to say the word “failures” but when we’ve kind of hit a block, being able to be kinder to ourselves during that. I really liked you did some Instagram stories last week. Well, I mean, this is October right now, but last week, kind of talking about how you let yourself relax and have this binge week, but then you kind of got back on track. It’s more or less about knowing exactly where your foundational health is, how that makes you feel, getting to that point, but then also in those moments, when you need to kind of just check out and not pay so much attention to everything you’re eating or your size and just kind of really removing that equating your worth with numbers, just trying to think, “Okay. Do I feel healthy this morning or do I not?” If you don’t feel healthy, then there’s something to focus on and whatever that might be.
There’s a mental health piece to it. There’s a self-acceptance, body acceptance piece, and then there’s also kind of the bio individual nutrition portion to it. It’s really just about kind of putting those blinders on from the rest of the world and moving through your own health journey, kind of on your own and giving yourself your own kind of accolades through it. Of course, we’re going to rely on other people in terms of information and, you know, really picking things apart and investigating deeper, because I wouldn’t have known a lot of things if I didn’t talk about what was going on in my life. Vulnerability is a big piece of it as well, but it’s also kind of gaining that confidence that this is your life and this is your journey and no one can really dictate how that’s going to be or what the outcome is.
Leanne Vogel: That’s perfect and so many thoughts came to me while you were talking. That binge week, 100%, it’s not like I even planned, I don’t plan binges because that would be weird and something that I definitely did in my previous life. I think it’s true. I had just gone on a book tour. In fact, it started even before that. In 2016, when I started writing my book is the most unhealthiest thing I’ve ever done. It was just sitting and planning and stressing and crying a lot and being very fearful of what people were going to think and how people were going to accept the book, if it was going to do well, if people were going to pick at me and say it was the worst thing ever and then going on tour and having to be on all of the time for six whole months of not being at home plus selling my house and moving into an RV, completely uprooting our entire life.
When I got back from the tour, it was like I don’t even know what I’m feeling right now and I completely used food to cope and I knew I was doing it. I was like, “Just give me all of the things.” Then, I was like, “Wait a minute. I’m not feeling good.” It was probably about five days and it was like, “I feel like hot garbage. I’ve worked through my feelings and I know what’s going on.” It’s like, okay. That doesn’t make me a worse human or anything, it just is what it is. I think that that realization of just, “Oh, it is what it is,” is such a huge powerful thing that took me over 30 years to figure out, would have been really great if I figured this out sooner, but we all have to go through our own paths. I think for me in that moment, I was like, “Okay, right. I eat this way and I treat my body the way I do so that this doesn’t happen.”
I think often times when we get loads of stress or stuff, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using food as a way to cope as long as you’re conscious to that. I knew in that moment that I was being conscious to the fact that I was using food to cope. Yeah, you get back. You realize, “Yeah, that happened. Not feeling good. Now I’m going to eat keto and all will be well with the world.” I think your book definitely helped me do that and your work has just solidified that as just being a natural reaction to something that happens. Thank you again for all of that.
Is it fair to say … when people say happy weight, I think a lot of the times they think, “Okay, so happy weight is like 140 pounds. That’s my happy weight. That’s my goal weight. That’s when I’ll be happy. That’s my happy weight.” But we’re saying that it’s more of a mentality, right, of how you’re feeling, looking at your health and a bunch of different factors. Would that be fair to say?
Daniele Della Valle: Yeah, 100%. I feel like the term “happy weight” is just an embodiment. It isn’t necessarily a number at all, because I really go into depths about not paying attention to numbers because those numbers are not a tell. They’re not a tell of your happiness. They’re not a tell of even the health inside of your body. It’s really just a number.
It’s really just gravity and mass. I mean, I understand that we’ve really kind of constructed these numerical boundaries around health, but the truth of the matter is, and I have a few examples in the book, is that people, the one specific example that I gave is that here’s this 175 pound crossfitter that has the best labs you’ve ever seen and is having a great time. There’s this 120 pound gal who’s frail, depressed, and is battling autoimmune diseases. People would be like, “Oh, I want to strive for a lower number,” but that lower number isn’t necessarily going to even create any sort of health or happiness at all whatsoever. Happy Weight, yeah, is just a term, in all honesty, about kind of how you feel when you are going about your day.
The thing is that, you know, I like what you said about kind of coping with food sometimes. I know that that gets a little muddled as well because people are like, “Oh, we shouldn’t use food as a crutch,” but let’s break down the reality: we eat three times a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. We eat at funerals. We eat at weddings. There’s no differentiation of emotion where food is concerned. The thing is that, yes, we can do a lot of mirror work. We can go to therapy. We can do all of these things to really deconstruct our past and trauma and our relationship with food. If we are bingers or overeaters, there are different help and support groups people can go to, but at the end of the day, the reality is is that food is always going to be there. It’s always going to be a conversation, it’s always going to be something. If we learn how to have a healthy relationship with food, whatever that means, then that’s how we can kind of get to understand what being inside of our happy weight, inside of our body really means.
Leanne Vogel: That’s perfect. Kind of an aside, but sort of together with what we’re talking about. What do you say to people, and this has been happening a lot lately to me and I never know how to exactly respond other than giving them a hug. When they say, “I’m going nuts. I have the last 10 pounds until I get to my goal weight.” They list off all these things that they’re doing that must take easily three hours a day. “I just need to lose these 10 pounds to be happy and healthy.” Thoughts of what your response might be?
Daniele Della Valle: Well, that number is attached to something. It’s either attached to a memory they had in the past or it’s attached to something they saw somewhere and it has become kind of definite for them. They’ve really kind of burned this number into their brain. There is a goal there. They could achieve it eventually it however they decided to go about it, if they decided to get to that number. The reality is if they get to that number, are they still going to be happy when they get there? That kind of achievement of that goal of like, “Okay, I’m here now. What am I going to do? What was this all for anyway?” You know, those last 10 or 15 pounds that people are dealing with, what are those 10 or 15 pounds, what does that actually mean to you? What is it? Was it a number that someone told you you needed? That’s the thing is sometimes, you know, women unfortunately are very regularly body shamed by their physicians saying, “Based on your height and your age, you should be this number and within this BMI range.” People kind of get hung up on these things because, unfortunately, at least in the states, I don’t know what it’s like in Canada …
Leanne Vogel: Same.
Daniele Della Valle: Same.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, even if you say you have an eating disorder and you don’t want to know your weight, they’ll still tell you and tell you you need to lose or gain weight. It’s ridiculous. It drives me nuts.
Daniele Della Valle: It’s really invasive and it’s unfortunate because it’s very traumatic because you don’t actually have a relationship with these people. Here’s this person that you respect because they’re wearing a white coat and you want to believe everything that they say because they’re supposed to be your physician, but then in reality they could care less about how the fact they’re about to traumatize you and then they’re not going to give you any solutions either. They’re just going to say you need to lose or gain weight and that’s it. Go figure it out on your own. We’re just completely left in the dark. The thing is, I mean, in a roundabout way, why are we trying to lose those 10 or 15 pounds? What does it actually mean to you? How are you going to feel when you reach that goal?
If it really means the end of the world to you, like you absolutely 100% have to reach this number, I feel like there’s just so much more work that needs to be done there. Then, at the end of the day, people can achieve it if they want to, it’s just what is it? What is it about that number?
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, I definitely had a number in my head for many, many years and definitely tried to get there and I did. When I got to that place, it was the most unhealthiest space I’ve ever been in in my entire life and I maintained that for years and did a lot of damage to my body that’s taken many years to reverse. Now, being the weight that I am, I actually weighed myself, I guess it would have been a month ago now, and I’m just so blown away that the difference between unhealthiness and healthfulness was like 14 pounds. Now, ovulating and not moody or I don’t have ADHD anymore, like all these things were happening to me was the difference of 14 pounds.
Really, 14 pounds, seriously, if that costs me what I have now in my life now, pffff, are you kidding? That’s what made my life miserable. No thanks. No. Just no, go away. I don’t want to lose that. I want to just be where I am right now, happy as a little clam. Life is messy and things are going to happen, but overall, I’m so much more balanced because of it.
We’re talking about little bit of weight here, but on the flip side, a lot of people will say, “How can I be happy with my weight or achieve the mentality of happy weight when I’ve been told I’m morbidly obese, I have over 200 pounds to lose, and I’m hitting plateaus and I’m struggling and I’m trying to heal my body?” Any recommendations for people in that space?
Daniele Della Valle: Well, for people in that space, it’s a hard place to be in, clearly. They feel like the world is against them. They feel like their body is against them. It’s really going to be kind of a tough mental battle to get through that. My biggest recommendation is just to really honor yourself through the process. If there are these certain kind of blood levels or hormone levels that you’re really trying to correct and achieve, those are the things to use as your new goals. When you go get your blood test done and your T3 is awesome or your estrogen is decreased, kind of focusing on these very tangible things that are happening inside of your body physiologically, because then you feel the difference eventually. You feel that brain fog lift. Your periods get better. You start to feel more energy. You sleep better. There’s so many things that are happening. When we have a large amount of weight to lose, we can feel the difference when we’re losing some of that kind of visceral tissue.
I really try to encourage people to fall in love with food in a different way and start to see it different, investigate it differently. That’s what I love about ancestral health nutrition so much. You start to have this different relationship with it.
The thing is a lot of people today aren’t cooking anymore. They’re eating fast food. They’re eating out. They’re eating these little like 100 calorie snack bag things. We’re thinking that those are what we’re supposed to be having. A lot of people are just outside of their kitchen and they are outside of their connection with food. I really want people to kind of come back to that beautiful relationship because this is the thing. Food is vitality for us. We need it to survive. Kind of reinvigorating that symbiotic relationship and understanding that food is a nourishment and thinking, you know, “What is it this food that I’m having right now, what is it doing for me? Is it bringing me nourishment? Is it going to make me feel good at the end of the day?”
That’s what it’s really about. If we can kind of change this relationship, change this focus, and then have these kind of attainable physiological goals of what’s happening internally, then the rest of it just kind of fades away. Also, just please delete all your social media accounts or only follow people that are kind of encouraging you to stay on a positive path because it’s really hard when people are in that weight loss mode and they’re using thinspiration or you know all those fit life hashtags and that kind of stuff that can be really, really damaging to people emotionally. Then, that deprivation’s going to creep in, the entitlement’s going to elevate. Then we’re just going to be back where we started.
Leanne Vogel: Yes, I’m so happy you mentioned that. As soon as I did that and I actually created private accounts that are just mine, that I can follow people that inspire me and they’re different bodies and different sizes of bodies, different colors of bodies, different abilities. It’s so great to go into a place on the internet where I see a vast majority, just an array of different humans. That’s been really fun for me, of just seeing all the different types of humans that are out there. When you’re on those fit inspirational things, it’s usually like white women in their 20s who are very thin. That’s all you see. There’s so much more to the world. I think when you open up your eyes to this variety that’s out there, it starts to change the way you think about your body because, all of a sudden, maybe you see a woman that has the same thighs as you or this person over here has similar cheekbones. You start to see that you are very much in line with other humans and there’s so much out there that we don’t see in media. I think that that’s a great, great point and something that everyone should totally do, if anything from this entire podcast.
More on my interview with Daniele Della Valle after this message from one of our podcast partners.
A lot of us have a love-hate relationship with MCT oil. The reason why I don’t totally love it anymore is that a lot of people are reacting to it in their gut. They’ll add even just a teaspoon to their coffee and end up having a disaster-pants situation, or for others, it’s just a matter of not having a blender on hand, so you can never really add it to coffee or drinks with it getting everywhere or it leaving a film on the top of your coffee when you don’t have a blender to blend it up. All of these thing are just super annoying.
That’s why I stopped using MCT oil, and then I found a thing called MCT oil powder, and this stuff is amazing. You can add it to your coffee, just shake it up or stir it, and it turns all creamy. You can add it to your favorite keto smoothies or recipes, and it just makes things creamy, and it incorporates so easily. It’s not a mess. You can travel with it. It’s amazing, but not all MCT oil powders are created equal, and I learned this firsthand when I was playing around with a bunch of MCT oil powder brands, and they were spiking my blood sugar, and I was like, “What gives?” Turns out, a lot of MCT oil powders use fillers like corn fiber, sunflower lecithin, maltodextrin, and sodium caseinate to cut costs, and all of these ingredients will end up spiking your blood sugar.
My favorite MCT oil powder that I was able to find is from Perfect Keto, and they’ve put together a nice little coupon code for listeners that want to give it a try too. You can go to HealthfulPursuit.com/MCT and use the coupon code HEALTHFUL all in caps, no spaces, for 15% off your Perfect Keto MCT oil powder. If you’re unsure of the link, simply check out the show notes of today’s episode to get all of the details.
What’s the process of the mentality of gaining our happy weight and being in this space? Are there certain practices that people can do like right now to move forward with this process?
Daniele Della Valle: Well, I try and go into a few different things in the book. I definitely talk about how to actually approach your body from a physiological perspective where nutrition is concerned. Is your digestion on track? Where are your hormones at? Is there any heavy metal toxicity? What is your immune system doing? Obviously, because I am a nutritionist, so my bread and butter is really people kind of coming to terms with the fact that they can have control over some things that are happening inside of their body and what their genetic expression looks like. That’s kind of the first step for people. I really like to encourage them to go on kind of this investigative journey of their health.
Then, there are kind of other active things. I do talk about vulnerability and confidence a lot in the book and also kind of finding your tribe a little bit. I didn’t really feel understood, not just as a woman, but as just a person that was different until I found people that I could relate to. Even though we’re a communal species, we are all about tribes. It’s really about people that we can relate to. It’s important, like you said. You know, most of the people you see on Instagram are just young white women who don’t have any hormonal issues or autoimmune diseases or anything like that. Those are unrelatable people. If you are struggling with any health issues at all whatsoever, that’s not going to be someone you relate to. I really encourage people to kind of find someone that’s relatable or a community that’s relatable or someone that they feel like they can be heard or vulnerable around. Of course I did not coin vulnerability, I definite Brene Brown in the book just because she is such an amazing human in terms of the work that she’s doing, but talking about it, talking about our truth and talking about what happened to us.
You know, the women that come to see me, you would be just, I mean, devastatingly surprised at how many women have been affected by either sexual assault, trauma, abuse. It just is so deep. Sometimes, this is the first time people are talking about these things with their nutritionist. I don’t have a psychology background, but as an empath that’s creating a safe space for them, this is the first time people are letting these things out. Finding a kind of a place where you can be safe and you can share these things and you can kind of unlock a part of yourself, that’s where a lot of the work happens. The reason why we’re trying to achieve something that might not necessarily need to be achieved in terms of a number or weight loss is because we’re thinking that there’s something lacking, that there’s something wrong with us, that we’re indifferent, that we don’t matter or we’re not seen or we don’t connect. That vulnerability piece is really important, to kind of get in there, share your truth, be heard, so that that confidence can kind of come from that.
There’s a few fun things that I tell people. I’m a big, big proponent of communal nudity, whether it’s female or coed. People completely forget about their body image issues when they’re nude around other people. I’m not saying everybody has to do that, but that’s been something that’s really been amazing for my practice and other people that I’ve known. There’s also like cry in front of a stranger, take yourself out on a date. Just try and do something that’s completely out of the norm and outside of your comfort zone so that maybe you can start to feel something else and something that is maybe connective for you. At the end of the day, happiness or finding your happy weight is really about kind of encompassing happiness throughout the entirety of your life.
Leanne Vogel: Yes. Just yes to all the things you just said. It’s quite interesting too. When Kevin and I decided that we wanted to sell all of our things and move into our RV, there was a lot of fear around that and something we never played around with and a lot of things that I was feeling that I had never felt before and lessons I was having to learn. I’ll never forget our first night in there, we woke up in the morning and we kind of like both started laughing at the same time because we had kind of made it. We were done. Even now, it’s been three months and we kind of look at each other and we’re just like, “We live in this. It’s so cool and we’re so happy.” That couldn’t have come by losing 20 pounds or by getting the six pack abs. I mean, I’ve had those things and I wasn’t that happy.
Sometimes, like you said, it takes you doing something you’ve never done before, feelings you’ve never felt before, challenging yourself to just try something else, to see if that actually makes you happy. I think, unfortunately, we’re told that if we have these beautiful bodies that it will ultimately make us happy and that we’ll get the perfect house with the perfect husband/wife/whomever/significant other, with the perfect children, with the perfect perfectness and our boss will love us, you know, all these things that will happen when we have a “perfect” body, which sadly, that wasn’t my experience. I’m a lot happier now because of it. You’re right. It really takes us to really get out of that comfort zone and try something else. I think if you’re scared of being nude in front of others, which I haven’t even entertained that idea. Okay. I got to sit with that.
Daniele Della Valle: Next time you’re in Portland.
Leanne Vogel: Okay. I’m actually going to be there in three weeks. For people that are maybe fearful of that, taking yourself out on a date, I think that that’s a great way to start. I think that that’s awesome and that can build a lot of that self-care practice.
Now, people that are in this process and they’re feeling, maybe you felt this as well at some point, of just like disgust with their body. Maybe they hate, I don’t know, their inner thighs and the thought of wearing shorts just terrifies them. What are some ways that they could start to feel attractive or just feel accepting of that part of their body?
Daniele Della Valle: I think that that comes down to being in tune with yourself and actually having conversations with your body. When you start to have a negative thought, what created that negative thought? Why are you feeling that way about that body part? I was having this weird thing that every time I got in the shower, it was like the time that everything negative in my life would just kind of present itself. It was just really weird to me. I was like, “What is it about the shower? Is it because I’m alone? Is it because the water is cleansing? I don’t really know.” I had to kind of like reframe even what showering was to me and how I looked at it and kind of went in with a “I’m going to be positive while I’m here” kind of a thing. It’s just really these mental practices. Once we kind of connect with ourselves, connect with our surroundings, and kind of get in tune with the things that are actually happening, with the internal narrative, with the conversations we’re having.
Sometimes we don’t even realize it. Sometimes we’re on this negative loop. This is why I hate scales. Because women will get on a scale first thing every morning and it will dictate their entire day. If you don’t see a number you like, it will ruin your day. It will piss you off. It will make you feel like crap. Then you will just completely start to rip yourself apart. What do you do? You’re completely naked when you’re on the scale. Then what do you do? You’re going to look at yourself before you get in the mirror and there’s going to be all of these horrible things that you’re saying to yourself.
Think about it. Would you actually say these things to your friend that was standing next to you? Would you pick her apart and tell her she’s disgusting and horrible and worthless? Of course not. It’s about also kind of stepping outside of ourselves and treating ourselves with a lot more kindness and trying to understand that we are worthy, we are worthy of love and we’re worthy of loving ourselves, and really completely reframing all of that. Change it. Throw away your scale. Turn on your favorite jam before you go into the bathroom. Dance while you’re in there before you go about your day. Just only do things that make you feel good. You know, put up amazing things that tell you that you’re awesome. Wear your favorite pair of jeans that make you feel good or your favorite shirt. Just kind of live in this place where you know that you’re not going to intentionally put yourself in this negative space.
Honestly, it sounds like work, but it really has to be a part of our daily practice in order to help to kind of rewire the brain. The thing about neuroplasticity conversations and trauma specifically, is that there can be trigger memories with a lot of different things. We can so easily do one thing to trigger a memory in a conversation. It’s just completely interwoven. It is totally a physical thing that we do. Maybe red lipstick has a negative connotation for you so anytime you put it on, you’re just going to start to have these conversations. Whatever that is for anyone, it’s about shutting it down, completely changing it, removing some things, adding other things, and creating this very holistically beautiful environment for yourself and trying to really just kind of create this bubble of bliss so that you don’t have to keep having these reoccurring conversations, if that makes sense.
Leanne Vogel: Totally, it does. I was going to ask. My next question was: How do you make time for this? You were saying it sounds like a lot of work. I get a lot of questions of like, “How the heck do you have time to better yourself? How do you have time for self-care and asking yourself these questions?” Why don’t I let you go first of like how do you make the time to make this a priority.
Daniele Della Valle: We just have to shift things around. You know, we spend a lot of time on our phones. We watch our shows. We listen to our podcasts. There’s so many different things that we do and it’s kind of like if you want to save money, don’t buy your Starbucks mentality kind of a thing. It’s like, “Okay, if I’m not going to buy my $5 a day Starbucks, I’m going to save like 250 bucks a month,” or something like that. I don’t personally buy Starbucks, but it’s just using it as an analogy. You know, it’s really just about that. What is your little $5 thing you can remove to add something else of value? It’s not necessarily monetary, it’s more of an action. What can you remove that’s going to add value to your life? We don’t have to live in these cookie cutter images of perfection. We don’t have to look like these curated things that we see on social media. It’s really just about changing one thing possibly and creating something else around it.
You know, when we were talking about finding your tribe and finding like-minded people, maybe you go to a group once a month that kind of brings a sense of joy or happiness into your life. Then, as you’re learning about yourself through these fun things that you’re doing, you’ll start to notice these different shifts. We don’t have to completely throw everything else in our house away and write all these different things and have this whole action, but what little thing can you kind of change just today? I’ve always used this saying ever since I was little, because my little brother and I are really close. He was the last kid so I was kind of the one that he would come to with a lot of his stuff. I would always say, “You know what, Nicholas? Every second of every minute of every day is a chance that we have to completely change our life.” Every second of the day is an opportunity. We don’t have to capitalize it unless we want to.
Leanne Vogel: I love that. I totally love that. I think what you said is like just picking away at it. It doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul where you spend just two hours working on this every day. I think your example of turning on music and having a shower. I mean, you’re going to have a shower anyways. You can choose to feel like garbage while you’re having a shower because you jumped on the scale before and now you’re like beating yourself up over it. You’re probably going to take a longer time in the shower just being angry at life. Or you can not get on the scale, turn on some music, dance in the shower, think about how awesome your day’s going to be. Takes up the same amount of time, but it’s just a switch in your perception.
Daniele Della Valle: Exactly. It’s a positive switch.
Leanne Vogel: I love it. Kind of talking about more of the nutrition side of things with Happy Weight and what you talk about, there’s always a lot of questions about when we start to eat keto, we start to gain weight. What’s going on with my body? Why is this happening? How do we maintain our happy weight mentality and our approach to our health when we see our body changing in what we think is a negative way?
Daniele Della Valle: Well, I think at that point, it’s really about the food/body connection, thinking about what is actually happening inside my body. Why am I gaining weight? When we think about keto, when we break it down, a reason why a person can first gain weight on keto is because they haven’t gone into fat burning yet. For whatever reason, it could be digestive mechanism, it could be a gallbladder, liver mechanism, pancreas mechanism. There can be so many different things that are not necessarily working for you in the beginning. Just really giving yourself peace of mind and saying, “Okay, this is just a part of my process.” This is where the bio individual piece comes in. “This is a part of my process. This is what my body is choosing to do. It’s just going to level itself out eventually.” Just kind of honoring it as you’re going through it.
The thing is is that what if the person keeps gaining weight on keto? You know, there’s two different options there. Love yourself through it, because if you feel amazing, that’s fine. If you choose, you know, if you’re like, “No, I just really need to lose weight. I have to do this,” then investigate. What is it? Are you lacking stomach acid? Are your digestive enzymes working? Are you releasing bile when you’re supposed to? Are you eating too much fat, which can be the case for some people. Like myself, I grew up with, I have a compromised gallbladder. I have a certain limit of fat I can take in. It is about kind of thinking less about your body in terms of the image of aspect, and thinking of it more as kind of like the scientific/physiological aspect. What is my body actually doing and how can I honor it through this process as I’m trying to get healthy?
Leanne Vogel: I feel the exact same way with digesting things. You really have to make a decision. Do I want to continue down this path? What makes the most sense for me? I think the major key is if you’re feeling awesome, let’s not think of weight. Let’s not jump on the scale. How are you actually feeling? Has your brain fog lifted? In my case, it was like, “Do you have to take medication for ADHD anymore? No? That’s awesome. This is the first time ever.” Those little things of like, “What am I willing to sacrifice to go back to an eating style that made me feel XYZ?” I think a lot of people just get so caught up in the weight and forget about all these other things that are happening as a result to maybe the weight gain or the adjustment. Nothing is a forever thing. Even though you are gaining weight now, you could lose weight later. It can maintain or you could start getting headaches again or your headaches could go away. It’s constantly ebbing and flowing and I think sometimes we think that once we figured it out, it will be the same way the whole time. If that’s what you’re thinking, I’m really sorry. It doesn’t work that way, sadly.
Daniele Della Valle: It doesn’t work that way. Your body’s always going to change. The thing is is that like when I started on this health journey, I mean, I’ve gained 20 pounds now and it’s really hard for everyone around me to accept that because I don’t look the way they’re used to me looking but the thing is is that I don’t have anxiety. I don’t have depression. I don’t have paranoia. I don’t have continuous heart palpitations. I’m not sick every day from the foods that I was eating. I feel amazing and I’m almost made to feel like I’m supposed to be ashamed of the fact that I’ve gained weight. You know?
Leanne Vogel: Yes. It took me about four months to like talk about this on the podcast because I was like, “I’m telling people I’m 14 pounds heavier and how’s that going to translate?” But then when you think of my hormones are bang on. I sleep through the night, I don’t wake up. I’m hungry when I need to. I don’t obsess about food. My gut is healthy. I just had Brussels sprouts and I didn’t get pain or anything or bloating. That is cool.
Daniele Della Valle: That’s awesome.
Leanne Vogel: Just those little things, you know. It really adds up. When your husband gives you a little snuggle and he’s like, “You’re just so great.” He never used to say that before, like ever because I was always just so angry all the time. Those little things, it’s just not worth it. I agree with you. Some people will look at me and say, I’ve had people say, “You looked better before,” or things like that. It’s like, “I don’t know how, but that’s cool. Good for you for thinking that. Awesome. I don’t know what else to say to you. Thank you?”
Daniele Della Valle: I think it’s just a projection too. People don’t like change, A, and it’s just projection and possibly personal insecurity or they really honestly think that people are supposed to be a certain way. That’s not how life works. It’s so frustrating.
Leanne Vogel: It is and it’s really sad that, you know, you would think nowadays. I mean, it’s 2017. It’s sad that it’s so much about the weight and what we weigh and less about how we’re feeling and how we’re showing up in the world. I mean, I calculated it out. I think I put it in one of my books, it was probably Fat Fueled where I calculated out how much time I actually spent tracking and weighing and measuring. It worked out to be seven complete days a year. Seven whole days, morning and night not sleeping, an entire week dedicated to weighing myself, tracking my food. That’s a lot. That’s a whole lot. I’m just not willing to take that sacrifice, but that’s not something that we ever talk about and what you can fill that time with of I’m not worrying about these things. What can do instead? Well, I can go for a walk. I can snuggle with my kids. I can play with my dogs. I could start a business. I mean, seven days, that’s a lot of days that you could spend on something else an entire year. Yeah, it’s really unfortunate, but that’s why we’re here having these conversations.
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I guess my last question for maybe somebody that’s struggling with wanting to have started keto and initially they lost weight, now they’re plateauing, they’re getting really frustrated with their body. They’re like, “Am I healing? How do I know? What’s going on?” What sort of advice do you have to somebody regarding the patience and the process and just being kind to themselves? If you could explain that to them.
Daniele Della Valle: Well, plateaus are hard because it depends on where they’re at. It depends on what they’re trying to achieve. If a plateau is happening, this is just kind of me going back to being a weight loss consultant, but if the plateau’s happening kind of like in the beginning or midrange or just at the end, there’s just a need for a shift there. It’s possible that stress has crept in, so increasing cortisol or they’re not sleeping through the night or not drinking their water. Kind of all of these like typically plateaus are almost like we’re missing a self-care practice there. That’s where it kind of transitions into the nice happy weight body image aspect. You know, maybe sometimes we can see these plateaus as a beautiful opportunity to think like, “Am I honoring myself? Am I paying attention to just me or am I really obsessed with a number and tracking and all of those different things and weighing?” I mean, seven straight days of doing all those things, that is a lot of time. That is a lot of time in your life to be paying attention.
I’m pretty positive a lot of people in the community are doing that on a consistent basis, you know, weighing, measuring, tracking. With that obsession is going to be a larger letdown if you hit a plateau because you’re like, “Oh, I’m doing everything so perfect. Everything is so meticulous. I’m not missing a thing and I’m really trying to reach this goal.” That’s where the narrative starts to borderline on, and I’ve been throwing this word around more recently, is kind of orthorexic a little bit. We’ve become so food obsessed at that point and so obsessed with this goal at hand that we’re really forgetting about really kind of the other things that are going on in our life.
I really try to tell people, “Pay less attention to kind of the obsession with the number and pay more attention to how is everything else going on in your life?” I’ve had clients before that, you know, they’ve been in plateau for months and then the second they went on vacation, they just dropped 10 pounds. It’s because they weren’t stressed. It’s because they were moving around and having a good time and they weren’t so regimented in this oppressive imprisonment of what this thing they were trying to achieve needed to be.
I understand that sometimes, especially with keto, you know, it’s a fine line of macros. It can be different for each person. The thing is is that if you kind of get into a groove of knowing what your body works with in terms of food and then just kind of moving through that relationship without having so many rules and so many expectations and just this internal dialogue of, “If I don’t reach this today, then I’m nothing and I’m worthless.” It’s just really trying to love and honor yourself literally through every part of the process. If you’re plateauing, let’s kind of step outside for a second and not think so much about the number and think about what else is happening around us. Am I stressed? Is my cortisol elevated? Is my estrogen elevated? Are there outside things that I’m dealing with that I’m not addressing? Kind of think about it from that perspective and maybe take these plateaus as an opportunity to kind of like stop and reset for a second. Give yourself a break.
Leanne Vogel: Love it. Where can people find more from you?
Daniele Della Valle: You can find me on Instagram @danieledellavalleNTP or, you know, you can always email me. My website is DanieleDellaValle.com. I will actually be a keynote at the Nutritional Therapy Association Conference in March if you guys are interested in coming to watch me speak or you can buy my book on Amazon.
Leanne Vogel: Congratulations. Oh, yeah, we’ll include a link in the show notes. Congratulations. That’s awesome.
Daniele Della Valle: Thank you. I’m really excited.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, you should be.
Daniele Della Valle: I’m really scared and I’m probably going to vomit before I go on stage, but that’s cool.
Leanne Vogel: Oh, yeah. Just breathe in and out and that’s all the advice I have for you. Yeah, it’s terrifying every time. It doesn’t even matter. Even on my last, I think it was like the 36th book tour signing thing, I was nervous. I can barely breathe.
Daniele Della Valle: Really?
Leanne Vogel: Oh, yeah. It never goes away. Then, you start and you’re like, “Oh, that wasn’t so bad,” or you black out. I black out. I don’t even know what I talk about.
Daniele Della Valle: Really?
Leanne Vogel: Oh, yeah. People are like, “That was so great.” I’m like, “Cool. What did I talk about?” It’s great.
The show notes and full transcript for today’s episode can be found at HealthfulPursuit.com/podcast/e57. We’ll make sure to include all your links in there today. If you guys are listening and you want to check out Daniele’s stuff, it will be there for you all in one place. Thanks again for coming on the show.
Daniele Della Valle: Thanks so much Leanne. I am so grateful.
Leanne Vogel: And 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.
I work on finding the best products that have quality ingredients, care about their customers, and have integrity. The brand(s) I’ve shared here are awesome, and I stand behind them 100%. Opinions in this blog post are never ever influenced by the partner. Like, never!
HI! I’M LEANNE
Nutrition educator + keto enthusiast. I want to live in a world where every woman loves her body, nourishing fats are enjoyed at every meal, and the word “restriction” isn’t in the dictionary.