Confidence is foundational to satiation or as Andrea defines satiation, fulfillment.
Too often, we think confidence comes from weight loss, in a bottle promising beauty or is something we are born with. The good news is confidence is a skill-set and involves as Andrea Owen says in her new book, Make Some Noise, unlearning how we’ve been socialized to think about confidence and what it means to be a “good” woman.
In this episode, we discuss:
- The 3 confidence myths
- How realizing her confidence was weight-dependent led Andrea to break-up with diet culture
- The root of Andrea’s eating disorder (hint: it wasn’t about food)
- Reckoning with the complexity of thin, youth and beauty privilege and fat-phobia when beauty is currency and power (and how maybe we are giving into the patriarchy in the name of beauty and when is that OK?)
- How the Kavanagh hearings led Andrea to examine her own anger and socialization around being an “angry woman”.
About Andrea Owen
Andrea Owen is an author, global speaker, and professional certified life coach who helps high-achieving women maximize unshakeable confidence, and master resilience. She has taught hundreds of thousands of women tools and strategies to be able to empower themselves to live their most kick-ass life through speaking, her books, coaching, and her wildly popular podcast with over 3 million downloads.
She is the proud author of two books, which have been translated into 18 languages and available in 22 countries. Her latest book, Make Some Noise: Speak Your Mind and Own Your Strength is out now.
Andrea is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) from The Coaches Training Institute, a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with the International Coaching Federation, a SHE RECOVERS®️ coach, as well as a Certified Daring Way™️ Facilitator; a modality based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown.
When she’s not juggling her full coaching practice or writing books, Andrea is busy riding her Peloton bike, chasing her two school-aged children or making out with her husband, Jason. She is also a retired roller derby player having skated under the name “Veronica Vain”.
You can find Andrea here:
Interested in Truce with Food, where we challenge the socialization around our hunger and bodies capabilities that make us feel out of control around food? Registration is open now. Taste a free sample with the Truce with Food Masterclass: I Want to Want to Eat Healthy.
[00:00:09] AS: Went vegetarian, then paleo. You stopped restricting. You’re trying to love yourself more, but nothing seems to be working fully, and you might feel hopeless about ever feeling good in your body. And every time you fail, you trust yourself less.
As the larger world feels increasingly in peril, caring about how you feel in your body may feel frivolous and even more hopeless. We are at a time when our individual and collective stories about what to do for our bodies, health, and the world are crumbling. Because these stories we have, they aren’t working for how our bodies or our world actually works. And I believe centering our bodies, all bodies, not just thin, white or “good” bodies. And what all of our bodies need to thrive will help orient us in a better direction.
There’s no one-size-fits-all diet, exercise or way to bio hack. Good health is much less about willpower or discipline and more a complex interweb of our societal structures, food choices, emotional history, environmental exposures and privilege. There is a great loss of certainty in safety when we initially have to face what is real versus the half-truths we’ve been fed. But the loss of these stories creates an opening. If this opening is pursued with curiosity and discernment, we can discover our awe-inspiring ability to create and embody a new body story for our physical and political bodies and the earth.
I’m Ali Shapiro, and I host the Insatiable podcast. So we engage in the type of conversations that will lead us to radically new body stories for ourselves, each other, and the earth. To do that, we discuss a more truthful approach to freedom from cravings, emotional eating, binging and being all or nothing. We explore the hidden aspects of fighting our food, our weight, and our bodies and dive deep into nutrition and behavioral change science and true whole health.
But fair warning, this is NOT your parents’ health care or the conspiratorial crazy of the wellness world. This is a big rebel gathering to those who want to hold nuance, context and complexity in order to lead the way to a healthier future for all, because our lust for life is truly insatiable.
Hey, everybody, welcome to season 12, episode 7; The Confidence to Make Some Noise With or Without Botox with Andrea Owen. we have reached the final episode of our satiation season. And today is a good one, okay? We’re going to talk about confidence and how that relates to how satisfied we are with our lives. Even though I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, I do think that this end of year is an important ritual and reflection time. And as I’ve said a lot in my newsletters here on the podcast, I think Covid is really having us reevaluate a lot of things, myself included. So I hope you listen to this episode and think about that and what we talked about.
And part of why I was really – I mean, I really like Andrea, as a person. I’ve been on her podcast, and I’m sure many of you have heard of her. She’s a very well-known author, global speaker, and professional certified life coach. But her new book, why I was so interested in having her on about this one, is because it’s about our socialization. As we call about interest with food, the water we swim in, okay?
Right now, trauma is a very hot topic, as it should be. And the stuff that tends to affect us more, especially around food in our body is not trauma. It is what we consider normal. Okay? So that’s why in truce with food, work is lot of unlearning, right? It starts with how food is talked about in our home. It’s talked about how our peers are hugely influential, sometimes more than our family growing up. And we can love the people that we’re with. We can have a troubled child home relationship with our parents, whatever, but more stuff happens with what is we considered normal, right? And this is why this period of life right now super intense. There’s a reckoning. All of a sudden what we were putting up with normal, we realized it wasn’t so normal.
And Andrea talks about watching the Cavanaugh hearings. Be the inspiration for this book, right? A lot of women who have been sexually assaulted all of a sudden realize this is not okay. I mean, they knew it wasn’t okay always. But all of a sudden, society was like, “Hmm, maybe we’re going to change what’s normal.” right? With the Me Too Movement, all of this stuff.
So as you listen to this episode, think about that, right? Think about the water you grew up swimming in, what you thought was normal, and perhaps maybe wasn’t so healthy, or maybe what you took on that wasn’t yours to take on. Because as children, in our developmental stage, we make things about us. It’s just how it goes. It’s not there’s anything wrong with our families or whatnot. It’s just the way that we develop relationally, okay? So think about that. If 2022 is the year that you really want to look at your own socialization around food, truce with food is open for registration right now. There’s a really sweet specials going on through December 31st, alishapiro.com/truce-with-food-the-group-experience, or you can just Google Ali Shapiro truce with food group program, and it will come up.
And if you’re on the fence, you need more information, sign up for a free discovery call. It’s no pressure. I don’t run sales like that. It’s either a fit for you or not. And I’m just here to help you get more information and hopefully make that decision for yourself.
All right, so enjoy today, especially this conversation around confidence. And the reason I also wanted to focus on this confidence is because a lot of ahas that clients have interest with food is that confidence is a skill set. It’s not something you have or you don’t have. It’s something you build. And we all need to work on it no matter how confident we think we are in the first place.
Alright, so more about Andrea. Andrea is an author, a global speaker and a professional certified life coach who helps high-achieving women maximize unshakable confidence and master resilience. She has taught hundreds of thousands of women tools and strategies to be able to empower themselves to live their most kickass life through speaking, her books, coaching, and her wildly popular podcast with over 3 million downloads.
She’s the proud author of two books, which have been translated into 18 languages and available in 22 countries. Her latest book, Make Some Noise: Speak Your Mind and Own Your Strength, is out now. Okay. And we always like the personal. When she’s not juggling her full coaching practice or writing books, Andrea is busy writing her peloton bike, chasing her two school-aged children, or making out with her husband, Jason. She is also a retired roller derby player having skated under the name Veronica Vain. Hence why we get into the conversation, topic of Botox.
Alright, enjoy today’s conversation. And I hope you enjoyed this season of Insatiable. I’ll be back in 2022 with some new seasons. Stay connected with me on my newsletter or Instagram to find out when we’ll be returning. Have a good rest of the year.
[00:07:36] AS: Welcome, Insatiable listeners. Today I have a very special guest, Andrea Owen, who has a recent book out called Make Some Noise. Andrea, thank you for being here with us today.
[00:07:48] AO: Ali, I’m so excited to be here. I can’t wait to talk to your listeners about not just making some noise, but all the important things that we were chatting a mile a minute about before we started recording.
[00:08:00] AS: Yeah, yeah. Well, this topic, our season is about trusting satiation. And at its heart, it’s about getting our needs met. And I think a lot of people think they will get their needs met once they lose weight, right? It’ll be easier to be the real me. And your book is a lot about confidence. And I want to talk about that, because that is a need that so many of us have if we’re going to make some noise, shift our relationship to food, all that stuff. So this book, I’m so excited to discuss it. Before we get to that, what does satiation mean to you? And it can be metaphorical, literal, whatever.
[00:08:34] AO: Philosophical.
[00:08:36] AS: Yes, yes. That’s my favorite.
[00:08:36] AO: It feels like such a grown-up word. I love it. I love words. When you ask me that question right now, the first thing I thought of is fulfillment. And I, probably like many of your listeners, am someone who took the long road to be able to trust my own instincts, to trust myself, to trust that I can be the boss of my own fulfillment. Like of course, it matters. We’re social creatures, and it matters to have other people in our life. But the long and short of it is that I spent decades looking either to how my body looked. Or looking to other people, especially men, looking to alcohol, to fulfill me, to numb me, to allow me to sometimes just function and to feel loved and validated and all those things.
So now, at the wise old age of 46, I know I still have a long way to go, it means a couple of things. It means I think asking for what you want, whether that’s support, whether that’s if you’re vegan and they brought you a prime rib steak to your table and you’re feeling too much of a people pleaser to call the server over and send it back. Whether you need to have a hard conversation with your partner. Like these are all difficult things that to me are an act of rebellion in many ways for women. So it’s not just the destination. It’s also the journey.
[00:09:57] AS: I love that you said that it’s an act of rebellion and how you described it, especially because I think so many people when they hear satiation they think pleasure, they think indulgent. And your book is very much like, “This is going to get uncomfortable.” And I love the nuance that you got into, especially around aging that I want to talk to you about in a little bit. And so I just love that you grounded your definition and something that isn’t just, “Okay, it’s just going to be desert, and bubble baths and – ”
[00:10:25] AO: I love those things too. But that to me is very surface level.
[00:10:28] AS: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. No. Same with me. Yeah, those things, it’s not either or, right?.
[00:10:34] AO: Right. It’s an and.
[00:10:35] AS: Yeah. So one of the questions I’m curious about, because you started writing this book, obviously, before Covid, and in the past couple of years. And I’m curious, why your focus on socialization? Because your previous books didn’t have that focus. And so I’m curious what has happened in your own development and in the world where we are at this time, I think, there’s a racial reckoning, I think there’s a gender reckoning, the Me Too Movement. But what was your own impetus for saying like, “We need to talk about the way that we’ve been conditioned more than let’s just put it all on us as an individual.”
[00:11:09] AO: 100%. And I love that you mentioned all those reckonings that are happening. I just used that word last night when I was talking to my husband about this. And actually, when I wrote my second book, How to Stop Feeling Like Sh*t, which I feel like I came on your show and we talked about that.
[00:11:22] AS: I went on your podcast and we talked a little bit about it.
[00:11:24] AO: That’s right. Okay. So there’s a moment in that book where I’m talking about the inner critic, and I’m talking about where did it come from? Because a lot of people ask me that. Like where did my negative self-talk come from? And in my personal opinion, there’s three places it could have come from, family of origin. And also your wiring, brains are different. As well as the culture that we live in. And I kind of go off on a tangent for like one paragraph in that book. And I remember writing that and thinking to myself, “I could write a whole chapter about this.” Like this needs to be talked about more. And I wrote that book in 2016. So obviously, we know that 2016 was a big year for feminists, for not just feminist, but for everyone. A lot of people had an awakening that year. Mine had started the previous year just because of this industry that we’re in.
And when the Me Too Movement happened, I think, again, like many women, I was re-traumatized and reminded of why I do the work that I do and also just personally had a really hard time moving through it. And then when the Cavanaugh hearings happened in 2018, that’s when I was like, “Alright, I need to figure out how to channel my anger, my passion, my platform into something for good, or this could very well break me and I could have like a minor mental breakdown.” For the sake of sound dramatic.
But I started thinking about it. And I was having a conversation with a friend of mine. And we were talking actually about recovery, because I’ve been in recovery for a long time. I have almost 10 years of sobriety from alcohol. Even longer time from an eating disorder, love addiction and codependency. And I was telling her, I said, “When you’re talking about recovery, you’re talking about feminism. And if you’re talking about feminism, you’re talking about patriarchy. And if you’re talking about patriarchy, you are talking about white supremacy. It’s all connected.” And then after I said that, I thought, “You know what? It’s the same thing with women’s empowerment.” When you’re talking about women’s empowerment, you’re talking about feminism, etc. So that was really the moment I thought I have to write a book about this. It was It was then that I realized that was it.
[00:13:30] AS: Yeah. I love that you said that. And I think what’s great about your book is you bring out a lot of the conditioning, because it’s like I always say to my clients, because my work is helping people see how they’ve been socialized around food. Even trusting medical authorities blindly that they know what’s best for your body. It also doesn’t mean I feel like I have to say in the age of QAnon, it doesn’t mean that you’re an expert just because you read an Instagram post on [Inaudible 00:13:52]. But it means that you understand your body enough. And there’s so much of this unlearning.
And I think what’s great about your book is you’re bringing out the waters that we’ve all been swimming in. And then it’s Laura McGowan, who you might know is in the recovery community as well, but she’s –
[00:14:06] AO: She’s like one of my dearest friends.
[00:14:08] AS: I love her. She always says it’s not your fault, but it is your responsibility. And I felt like your book, Make Some Noise, is giving us a roadmap for, “Okay, this is not your fault.” And your version of inner critic and my work, it’s the inner protectors. It’s like we’re saying this stuff to actually protect ourselves from being at risk. Because as you cited in your book, some of the research, girls are conditioned to be calm. And if I think of the Cavanaugh hearings and that example, you cite the research that girls are conditioned to be calm and quiet, right?
[00:14:38] AO: Accommodating, flexible, making everyone else comfortable.
[00:14:42] AS: Yeah, and it’s like are we really like that? Or are we just been taught since a very young age? Even given dolls, like these things –
[00:14:49] AO: I’m not like that naturally.
[00:14:51] AS: Right. Right. Me either. Becoming a mom has made me realize like, “Oh my God! I’m not like this like – ”
[00:14:58] AO: Mirror.
[00:14:59] AS: Yeah. Yeah. And some of my clients, they’re like, “Being a mom is a social construct.” That I’m like, “Oh my God! I got hoodwinked even though I do this.” What does it mean to be all that kind of stuff? But I think that’s just really important, because I don’t know, I think more people talking about that. Because in women’s empowerment, especially in white women’s empowerment, it is so much about the individual and like just think harder, or just try harder. And yet we have this – In my work, I call it the emotional immune system that is trying to protect us at times. And so we have to unlearn to relearn.
And one of the big things in your book is about confidence. And I love that because I think that’s a need that so many of us, at least in my work, people think once I lose weight, then I’m going to be confident, right? And so one of the things I talk about in my groups that sometimes my clients are like, what am I confidence is a skill set. It’s not something that comes with weight loss that comes with any sort of finish line, once I do this, then this. And so can we talk about the three myths that you talked about in the book around confidence? Because I think that’s so important for people to realize,
And one of the big things in your book is about confidence. And I love that because I think that’s a need that so many of us, at least in my work people think, “Once I lose weight, then I’m going to be confident.” right? And so one of the things I talk about in my groups that sometimes my clients are like, “What?” I’m like, “Confidence is a skill set.” It’s not something that comes with weight loss, that comes with any sort of finish line once I do this, then this. And so can we talk about the three myths that you talk about in the book around confidence? Because I think that’s so important for people to realize.
[00:16:04] AO: Yeah. I want to say something really quick to what you said. And I’m super curious about your thoughts on this. So I might turn the tables on you for a second and just ask you. Because in my experience, I think for some people, weight loss might bring them confidence, but it’s very short-lived and it’s sort of a false confidence. That was my experience.
So I struggled with an eating disorder and I got down to my “goal weight and goal size”. And I remember my ex-husband at the time, I’m married to a better person now. I’m like, “How do I describe this?” I got the man right this time. He said you seem so much more confident now that you’ve lost this weight. And please know that I didn’t have a whole lot of weight to lose like originally. Like it wasn’t necessary, medically or any other way. And I remember him saying that and feeling so dejected, because it was so hard for me to maintain that weight. And I thought to myself, “Am I going to struggle the rest of my life and starve myself to stay at this weight and abuse my body with exercise? Is that how I get confidence?” I was angry.
And he didn’t mean anything by it, but it was just an observation he was making. And I’m grateful to him for pointing that out because it helped me realize how wrong it all was. I mean, that was really the very beginning of my – I don’t have a better word except to say battle with diet culture. And this is you know my late 20s. It was a street fight for me with diet culture I think as it is to many of your listeners. So I’m curious what your thoughts on there before I talk about the three myths.
[00:17:35] AS: Yes. Oh, well, I love this, because I can talk about it at the surface level and then the philosophical level.
[00:17:40] AO: I’m happy to hear both. Just speak for your audience.
[00:17:43] AS: Yeah. So I think what happens is it’s a placebo effect in a way for risk-taking. So what happens is we think, “Oh, I’m thin now I can take the risks that I think that I can take.” And so it’s actually the risk-taking that ends up producing the confidence, but we attribute it to the weight loss. Instead of, “Wait, I’m actually taking risks now.” Like for some people it’s the dating, it’s going after the dream job, it’s wearing the clothes they want to wear. But on a deep symbolic level, because I think we’re both kind of there in our personal development.
[00:18:15] AO: That’s so lovely.
[00:18:16] AS: Yeah, on a soul level, weight in our body is about developing a healthy ego or the masculine to provide and protect for ourselves and a paradoxical or balance with the feminine, which again this isn’t boys girls. It’s yin and yang. And it’s like being with what is in the feeling sense. And so a lot of times when we can control our bodies, we have this false sense of control. That isn’t actually the way life works like.
[00:18:41] AO: Yeah, I agree with you.
[00:18:43] AS: Yeah, what can we create and provide and protect for ourselves what unfolds? So you’re a business owner. You know. You can have all the plans in the world. But then what actually happens – And so that on a soul level is to me what the confidence is about is can I handle and can I create from what unfolds rather than trying to control? But we think that the confidence comes from just controlling. And it gets sticky because there are some things we can’t control about our bodies. But our body size, we don’t really have that much control within a little bit of a window. And our health, sometimes we can. But just because you do all the right things also doesn’t mean that you’re going to live forever. So it gets deep within that sense of control. But that’s my connection.
[00:19:27] AO: Thank you for sharing that. I’m sure you’ve said it like many times on your show before.
[00:19:30] AS: I haven’t actually.
[00:19:31] AO: Haven’t. Okay.
[00:19:33] AS: I have so many words. But, yeah.
[00:19:35] AO: Yeah. Well, and I think you said it gives you a false sense of confidence. And I think, yes, and it gives you a false sense of empowerment, which is relatively the same thing.
[00:19:43] AS: Yeah. Well, we’ve been also socialized to believe. What I love about your book is like when you’re talking about the aging process and your kind of battle with Botox, and the fact is that you cite the research that women’s salaries plateau at 39-years-old, right? Where men’s continue to soar. Yeah. And so there’s these truths that we have to reckon with, right? And one of them is that we’ve been socialized to think that we can influence and control other people with our beauty, right? And our youth, yeah. So that’s something that we have to go, “Ugh! That’s living within me.” I think I’ll get the partner I want and I’ll be able to control that, right? Or I’ll be able to get the job. And all it takes to influence is the way that I look rather than developing confidence and skills on influence and all that stuff. So that’s also –
[00:20:30] AO: It’s complicated. That’s what I could say.
[00:20:32] AS: Totally, yeah.
[00:20:34] AO: It’s super complicated. Yeah, and I had to find the myths to make sure that I got them. I have two of them. But I’m like I think the third one could be – Eighty-five thousand words is a lot [inaudible 00:20:43] when you write a book.
[00:20:44] AS: I can read them off for you.
[00:20:45] AO: Yeah, okay. So, yes. The first one, there’s a myth that some people are born with confidence. And actually, if anyone’s read The Confidence Code by Katie – Oh shoot. And I can’t remember. It’s two women authors that that wrote that book and I can’t remember their names right now. But there is some research, there’s some early research that shows that self-confidence might be in the DNA of monkeys. But they’re still looking at it. And it doesn’t always translate over to humans. And there are some people who are born gregarious and charismatic that helps in careers like sales and things like that. But that doesn’t necessarily always make you a confident person. So that’s the first myth. The second one is that you can gain confidence solely by the fake it till you make it technique.
[00:21:27] AS: I love that you brought this out.
[00:21:29] AO: Yeah, which I do think that that can work for some people. It doesn’t work for all. And it also can’t be the only thing that you’re using. Maybe I shouldn’t be so definitive about that. But this is in my experience of working with people for a long time. If anybody out there has used the fake it till you make it and it’s been the thing that has like given you the most self-confidence ever, DM me. I want to hear about it. No. I’m serious.
[00:21:54] AS: [inaudible 00:21:54] that’s caused in the online world of people who they want to be with social media They want to be “experts” overnight or something work for them. I’m thinking about all the harm the fake until you make it.
[00:22:08] AO: Yes. I agree with that. And then the third myth is that there’s a lot of – I work with women. So I’ll say people who identify as women. And that it’s something that you just get when you get older. So you don’t need to – Like why bother trying now that I’m in my 20s or 30s? Because all these women in their 40s and 50s say that just wait then you’ll get the confidence, which I don’t think is entirely untrue. But you can. Like you were saying, it’s a learned skill. We do know that confidence is built through actions and experiences, through resilience, through competence and mastery. That’s a huge part of it. And also, we know that confidence is built from unlearning all the BS that we’ve learned about ourselves so that we can go out and take action and create that mastery and competence.
[00:22:55] AS: Yeah, I love that. Like that is truly empowering to realize like, “Oh.” And what I love, because you’re really big on action. The tone of your book is great because it’s like, “Look, this sucks. And here’s how you got to get over it.”
[00:23:06] AS: You got to do it anyway. Don’t mince words.
[00:23:12] AS: But, yeah. It’s like “Okay.” I mean this gets a little heady, but it’s like the obstacle is the path. You say start before you’re ready. And it’s like people think, “Oh, that’s feeling is telling me not to start.” Versus it’s like, “No. You actually have to get through that and realize you did it and then keep doing it over.” And now granted the challenges get bigger, right? But it’s still the same feeling of I’m not ready, right?
[00:23:35] AO: Totally. And I want to acknowledge, too, that people have different personalities and they’re wired differently. And so my husband for instance is trying to get his woodworking business started. And he and I are very different. And I have a high tolerance for risk. Also, I’ve been diagnosed, finally, I didn’t even realize this was a thing, with impulse control disorder, which is great for entrepreneurship. Not great in your friendships when like you need to be tactful. And especially like high-risk behavior when you’re a teenager and all those things.
But anyway I tend to take action just naturally very quickly and learn my lessons retrospectively. And it doesn’t always work out. So I fail and I figure out what I should have done better for next time. My husband learns prospectively. So he wants a plan. He wants to know the lessons before he starts them. And so that’s what causes procrastination. And I do think that some people are hardwired like that.
Therefore, those people, I encourage you to get accountability. You don’t even need to pay a ton of money for an online course or a coach. Like you can create that within your social circles and figure out what motivates you. It might be that you like to gamify things or that you really do enjoy competition, a friendly competition or something like that. So I’m not giving people an out if they tend to be more like my cautious and sweet husband. But there are ways to get going.
[00:25:02] AS: Yeah. Well, I think one of the ways that you talk about in the book is not checking out, right? And I think if you think you’re checking out because you’re waiting for confidence to happen, it’s like, “Okay. No. You got to become self-aware of how – “In essence, what helps you learn or take risks is what I think is what you’re saying. It’s like that’s how you [inaudible 00:25:19].
So one of the things I’m curious about, because you talk about your alcohol recovery a lot. But what were you checking out from, you think, with your eating disorder?
[00:25:28] AO: A dysfunctional relationship, and also very much looking outside of myself for validation, for love, for trust and intimacy. And took me a long time to realize that the thing that I was after, the intimacy, the connection, the love, the trust, was also the thing that I was terrified of, which is common in codependence. We claim that we want to be near people and be seen and be vulnerable and all these things. But at the end of it, we really don’t want to. Sometimes we’re fine with other people being that way, but we don’t want to.
And so I was checking out of unprocessed trauma that I didn’t know was really there. I mentioned before we started talking, I’m a gen-xer. I grew up in a family where we didn’t talk about hard things. But I was always the kid who would have pointed out that the emperor had no clothes. Like that’s just always how I was. So I could feel that things were happening, but nobody was talking about it.
I mean, it was things like we had a friend of the family that died. My uncle died, which just like you don’t talk about it. Parents got divorced when I was a teenager. We didn’t really talk about it. And all these things. And I would have pooh-poohed back then that that was trauma. And I’m like, “No. Save that for people who have been legitimately abused, or gone to war, or experienced violence that was not my experience.”
But trauma, there’s the big T, little t, which I’m sure you’ve talked about here. And those little t’s man, they add up. And then I had a couple big T’s along the way. And so all those years of trauma that I had not even acknowledged, let alone processed, I healed from my codependence and my eating disorder, and my love addiction, and I thought that was freedom. And then that is right when my drinking picked up.
So I just kind of traded one addiction for the other. And then I got sober. And that’s really when, again, for the sake of sounding dramatic, I feel like all my emotions exploded in my face and I had to finally reckon with all of that. And I’ll tell you, Ali, like it was not easy. And I still am in 2021. And I have almost 10 years of sobriety.
[00:27:35] AS: Yeah. Well, even you saying about the Kavanaugh hearings, right? That brought up. I mean, in your book you talk about how especially your body has been the target. Like you were slut-shamed and all of that kind of stuff. I mean, that stuff doesn’t just go away. People think it’s like, “Oh, once you’re done, you check off a box, right?” And it’s like, “No.” That stuff comes up at probably times where you’re like – I had planned to give birth in a midwife center and then I risked out because of a fibroid. And I had to go to the hospital. And like the smell, it just brought me back to getting chemotherapy. Because smells –
[00:28:07] AO: Oh my gosh.
[00:28:08] AS: So you think – And I’m like, “I’m healed from this. Everything’s good.” And then I collapsed in like a freeze state because I was like, “Ah!” So I think it’s a practice, right? And that’s part of I think even our social conditioning, is like, “Oh, you go to therapy, or you do the work and then it’s over.” And then that’s not just how it works unfortunately.
[00:28:27] AO: Yeah. And I think, for some of us, when we don’t acknowledge or process these experiences or traumas, they build up and build up. And I’m certified in in the work of Brene Brown. And there’s a module that we take clients through. And we talk about offloading hurt. And one of the ways that we offload hurt is called stockpiling. And it’s when we just put it in the closet. And this is where we get the term baggage, right? Like we pack it away and we carry it around until it explodes.
And I think, also for women, since we are socialized, that angry women are not okay. And our anger is vilified. And there’s so many examples of women in the media who have been just crucified over being angry, and especially when their anger is righteous. And I think that that’s what also holds us back from actually processing and feeling it all. Because, I mean, I don’t know about you or your listeners. But, I mean, there’s been moments where I think to myself like, “If I open up this box, I don’t think I’m ever going to stop crying.” And we’re terrified of that in many ways.
And I think, for me, once I gave myself permission and trusted myself enough that I was going to be okay. I mean, that’s how you build resilience. And then it’s when I started accepting and surrendering to, “You know what? It’s okay if I fly into this rage as long as I’m not hurting anybody else or myself.” It’s okay if I get super angry and yell and scream. Again, needs a container, in a safe place and all those things. But I think, also, I was in a relationship where my intuition was sort of rebranded as crazy.
I mean, my ex, for years – I was with him for 13 years. And my intuition told me X,Y and Z were going on. And he told me I was crazy. Told me I was imagining it. Got in my face and yelled at me about it. So over the years, it built up and built up to the point where I didn’t trust myself anymore. I certainly didn’t trust my intuition. And then that feeling of when you realized you were right the whole time. I’m laughing. And it’s like funny not funny. It’s traumatizing.
The long way of saying that your process of your emotions, it’s going to to look how it’s going to look. And I think that that’s many times what we’re afraid of. We’re afraid of looking crazy in front of our partners, or our family, or whomever. We’re afraid of being needy, which I can’t with that word. Like can we just eradicate that? Of course we’re needy. Everyone is needy. Yeah, so that’s my little rant on like emotions and recovery and all that.
[00:31:05] AS: Well, I think what’s important, if I want to tie this back to the masculine, feminine healthy ego feeling part, because sometimes people think that getting through trauma or difficult things is just like sitting with the difficult things. But I want to show people that like what you did is like you first started with the eating disorder and the codependency. And that helps you have this healthy ego of I can do things. I can do things. I can make a dent in the world. I do have control by working through hard stuff. And then it gives us bigger capacity to deal with, “Okay, oh.” Then you’re like, “Then when I gave up alcohol, then the emotions came up.” right? It’s like you had enough of a healthy ego. Enough of a sense of self. Like that I can handle this for this next edge. And that’s like, I think, a huge part of confidence that people. It’s like, “Oh, I have to just stick with all the hard stuff.”
In truce with food, at least, and why I’m making this now my programs, it’s like how do we like see the control we do have that we probably don’t realize because we’re over here trying to use food to lose weight or try to make ourselves smaller? When we can be developing a skill set that can actually show us our power. So just kudos to your healing journey. Keep going.
[00:32:12] AO: I love that. Oh, thanks. Well, I want to add one more thing on to that because I think it might be helpful to your listeners, is that – And I think anybody who’s – I don’t like the term like on the other side of their thing, whether it’s a process or chemical addiction, whether you identify as it being an addiction or not. Because like are we ever on the other side? But I’m far enough out of it where I can look back and remember what it first looked like to just stop the symptoms. It’s deeply uncomfortable is what it is.
[00:32:38] AS: Yeah. I think that’s actually a great metaphor for diet culture. A lot of times people are like – I mean, diet culture is so pervasive and it’s like a nesting doll of capitalism, and white supremacy, and patriarchy. So it’s like, “Ugh!” We’re not going to be perfect with it, which is another point I want to bring up next about your book that I love. It’s like, “Okay, we’re not gonna like change humanity in one generation.”
But I think a lot of things, people are looking for, “Okay, what does that– ” In your place, like sobriety and recovery, being different. And so it’s like, okay, we know diet culture doesn’t work. But, I mean, we have kind of bits and pieces. But that’s part of why I created truce with food was like, “Okay, if we want to extract ourselves, but how do we do the emotional work to really like what were we procrastinating on? What were we burying? Where were we afraid of our power?’ There’s a lot of responsibility once you know how much power you can have. So I love that distinction though that you made, because I always over-ate so much that I was like I’m not going to drink my calories. That’s the only reason I wasn’t a big drinker. It wasn’t anything noble. It’s just like I want my calories for brownies and chips.
[00:33:37] AO: Yeah. Yeah. I hear that.
[00:33:39] AS: Well, so I like that you said you never feel like you’re on the other side of things. And so one of the things that you talk about in the book is aging. And you share on your Instagram that you’re in perimenopause. I am as well a minute a little bit early because of my past health stuff. But how is your body stuff coming up again and what conditioning are you finding with aging? Oh my God! Perimenopause, it’s like, for me, there’s been insomnia, brain fog you. I mean, fatigue. So is any old stuff coming up that you’re re-working on around your body? Or how are you managing that with the aging process?
[00:34:12] AO: Yeah. It’s been really interesting. I think that – And I didn’t even actually think about this until you just asked me this. But because I’ve done so much work on the body stuff. And I want to just acknowledge that we live in this fatphobic culture and I’m still sort of in that size of like the body ideal. So I just want to acknowledge that I have that privilege. And I’ve done a lot of work on the body stuff. And I’m at the heaviest I’ve ever been. I’m probably about 25 pounds heavier than I was when I gave birth to my youngest child. And I’m really okay. Like I’m more irritated that I had to buy new clothes, because I really liked the clothes that I had before. And I got in the habit of buying like good pieces to take care of them. And I was like, “Damn it! I had to go buy bigger sizes and pants and all that.” But that was really it. And I am so glad now that I can firmly say that I’m in a place where I see someone who has the “ideal body”. And I don’t have those thoughts of thinking my problems would be solved if I looked like that, because I know I do not want all the work involved to look like that. It is absolutely 100% not worth it to me. Never. You couldn’t pay me to eat just broccoli and chicken and work out that many hours a day. But my face is a whole other conversation.
[00:35:33] AS: Interesting, because you still have – I mean, you have what’s considered an attractive face. I mean, I don’t want to diminish what you’re going through.
[00:35:42] AO: No. And I think it’s important to acknowledge. And I almost said thank you. But I’m like, “No.”
[00:35:48] AS: No. It doesn’t mean you still don’t struggle. So I don’t want to like –
[00:35:50] AO: Right. No. And it’s I think that when you grow up as a conventionally attractive woman, and beauty is currency. Beauty and youth is currency and so is thinness. So when that starts to slip away for whatever reasons, it can feel like we’re losing power. It can feel like we’re losing this status that we once had. And, I mean, let’s be honest. We live in a culture that values youth and beauty over most everything. And it’s been interesting. And I’m very self-aware about it. And I write about this in the book about all of the ways that we can change the way we look. I’m talking more specifically with like fillers, Botox and all those things. And there’s some radical feminists who say, “If you participate in that, you are not a feminist.” And that we all need to just stop, and that will turn the beauty industry and beauty standards on its head.
And I am really torn. I’ll be very transparent with you, because it’s like the question becomes how do we live in this culture and simultaneously still try to make a living? Because research shows that people trust you more when you are attractive. Like I put on eyeliner and Mascara and lip gloss for this video interview, because I know people subconsciously are going to trust me more the more attractive that I am. And it’s a bit of a no-win situation. I’m super curious what your thoughts are. And I keep saying like it’s so complicated. It’s so complicated. And I want women to do what they want with their bodies as long as they know why they’re doing it. So when I got Botox, I didn’t like it. I’m not saying I’ll never get it again. But I didn’t like it. I knew very well that this was all the patriarchy’s fault. I wish I could bill them. Anyway, curious about your thoughts.
[00:37:42] AS: No. I just so appreciate that I found it really refreshing, because I wonder about this with weight loss, right? Like part of my work is helping clients. I don’t want to tell people what to do with their bodies. Like I am pro-choice down the board. Up and down it’s not like, “Oh, you can just pro-choice with reproductive rights.” And I think it’s because I never want anyone telling me what to do. And I’ve had so many issues with over treatment. Like I went on Accutane as a teenager, which didn’t get to the root cause. It was on so many unnecessary antibiotics. There’s so many things that I could talk about. Like even the radiation I had, they no longer use. I mean, science evolves, right? But it’s like I have so much more risk for different cancers because of radiation. So I’m very sensitive to over-treatment when it comes to medical stuff.
And so recently I had a baby, like what? It’ll be 22 months this week or, yeah, this week. And last year I went to the doctors because I was having foot pain. And I got on the scale for the first time. And I was 30 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight and I was just shocked because I don’t binge, I don’t emotionally eat. I mean, I was having horrible sleep stuff that I am in perimenopause. And when I came home, I cried. I was like, “I can’t believe I’m back here.” And I said that to my husband. And I’m like, “And I don’t know why I care,” because I have worked through all the stuff that I thought I needed like a great partnership with someone that I’m attracted to. I have that. A career that’s meaningful. I had that. I had this beautiful baby when I was told I was infertile. Have that. And so my body’s done all these amazing things.
And the next day I was pretty fine and I’m like I actually think I really want to lose weight for me. Like not for anybody else. I don’t think anything in my life is going to change. And I’ve lost like 10 pounds now. And now I’m kind of like bored with it. I mean, it wasn’t hard to do either because all I had to do was start working out and –
[00:39:25] AO: I know. Amazing how that works, right?
[00:39:27] AS: I’m not doing anything crazy. I just wasn’t – Because my foot pain was preventing whatever. But when I read your book I’m like, “Maybe the patriarchy is still in me. And it’s just never going to get out.” And why do I expect that it’s going to? Like the distance I’ve traveled has been so far. And when you were talking about aging and all that stuff – And like I loved how you shared in the book about talking to friends and therapists and feeling guilty about the Botox. But how do we reconcile these real hard truths when social conditioning takes generations to change?
[00:39:58] AO: Internalized patriarchy and internalized misogyny runs deep in our cells.
[00:40:02] AS: But I do think – I mean, this is where – And some clients have asked me. They’re like, “Okay, so why did I lose 30 pounds when I got divorced and have kept that weight off?” right? Or because what’s really – I don’t want to say trendy, because I think it’s deconstructing things, but health at every size and is really popular right now. And I think it’s it adds so much important stuff to the conversation. I even talked about on a podcast how like, as someone who even 30 pounds heavier, I still probably look normal or average. And so the doctor told me, “Okay, wear shoes at home. Do these stretches.” She didn’t even mention my weight. I asked, “Was my weight causing the problem?” Whereas someone who would trigger a fat bias, they might not get the same recommendations that I got, right? They might have just got lose weight. So we need to acknowledge that.
And yet, in my personal experience, whenever I’ve lost weight, it’s been because my health was amiss in some reason. Originally, in my 20s, it was IBS, depression, tons of gut issues from chemo and all that stuff. And this time it’s in part my sleep is all off. In part it was like – I’m not saying it’s always the case, but there’s this nuance of sometimes weight, it didn’t come on because of food or anything, but it comes on because of inflammatory conditions. But I feel like that gets lost. Or it’s psychosomatic with some of my clients, who they gained weight, they didn’t want to be sexually attractive to their partners when they were – So it’s like those are my thoughts. The patriarchy is probably still in me and there’s also these nuances. So yeah I don’t know how that lands or –
[00:41:31] AO: No. I agree wholeheartedly and I appreciate you talking from your expertise on this topic. And I wrote about internalized misogyny a little bit in chapter nine. And for people who are maybe are new to the term, it is things like, well, diet culture. Diet culture and just like the chronic dieting for the result of being more attractive to people is part of internalized misogyny. Slut-shaming definitely is part of internalized misogyny. Very strict gender roles in terms of women are always the nurturers and men are always – So it’s an interesting topic for people to do some research on their own. I hope that more feminist theorists write about it. I haven’t seen a whole lot about it more recently. And it’s, like I said, once you – I’m kind of hesitating because once you see it, you can’t unsee it. Once you start reading articles about it and you’re like, “Oh, snap.”
Me too. I mean, last summer, I think I was playing tennis with some of my friends and there was just a conversation happening afterwards. And one of the women said, just off-handedly, she’s like, “Well, you know how catty women can be.” And she was joking. And I was like, “Actually.” Like I totally pulled an actually. That’s a stereotype. And we’re not. We’re not inherently catty. And I was super nice about it. And I said like, “I used to think that too and I don’t anymore. I don’t buy it.” I think we’re taught that way especially in the media and sometimes by our mothers. And it doesn’t have to be that way.
[00:43:05] AS: Yeah. One of the stress reactions that I help clients see is the compete. Not only how they like view food, but they compare themselves to other women, right? And I’m like that’s part of the complete reaction. The competitive action really comes from these bigger systems of capitalism, right? Like scarcity, white supremacy scarcity, but patriarchy scarcity. Like here’s your currency to look good. This is how you secure your dowry. I mean, so we still have that. That was another thing I loved about your book, is like can we all just admit that we have this internal misogyny? Or you could think of it as comparing yourselves to other women and competing with them.
[00:43:38] AO: Yeah, sizing up their bodies. Yeah, a women walk in the room.
[00:43:43] AS: Yeah. And often it’s like it’s not just the body. It’s like, “Oh, then they have all this stuff that I think I want if I had that body.”
[00:43:50] AO: So I’ve heard – Maybe you know this. And I have not seen the research, but I read an article and I can’t remember if I probably was too lazy to like click on the links and look at the research. But I’ve heard that there is some research that shows that competitiveness with other women is a little bit inherent. So it’s just from like a survival place. And how some of it is actually nature, but the majority of it is nurture. Hmm. Yeah, maybe. I mean, I think we’d have to look it up.
[00:44:19] AS: Yeah. I think a lot of these systems take innate things that would be normally benign and maybe helpful and then like exaggerate them. I mean, not white supremacy by any means. But capitalism, business and creativity at its best. Like small business and creativity. But like then you blow up this thing and then it’s about exploitation and sucking that. So that may be true. But, yeah. And I think that’s part of like the divide and conquer, right? Because if we were all to like really join together and be like, “We want universal child care. And we want equal wages,” all this stuff. That would bring stuff down.
But also just kind of to come back to the weight loss conversation. I also think – I mean, I think aging is a different thing. But I think part of why you are at this place is because what you said originally was like I healed my codependency. And part of what I teach clients is like you can go to bed feeling great and then the next morning you feel fat, right? And I’m putting “fat” in quotes, because I know that people are trying to reclaim that. But I’m saying that as like a story. And I’m like, “Okay. So where are you feeling unsafe? Where are you feeling at risk?” And because you healed that codependency way of being, I think that’s also part of why you can be at this place.
And so in my work on that depth soul level, the body size is not about the body size. It’s like these deeper – Like fat is a way to protect yourself and hold yourself back, right? Oh, I can’t put myself out there. And so that’s also part of the conversation that I think needs to be had, but it’s not just about body size. But, again, our power and influence in the world. And I think because we’ve had such a masculine definition of power, which is like power over, we’re afraid of that word, but we all do want power and influence to create the lives that we want to live.
[00:45:54] AO: To whatever extent that looks like for you. And I have a feeling – I’ll say it here, because it holds me accountable. I have a feeling my next book is going to be about power because I was writing that chapter in that section about power, and it was super interesting to me and it just kept tapping me on the shoulder as I was doing the research on it. And we do in many – I want to just underscore what you said. Like many of us are afraid of it. And we’ve never really truly defined it for ourselves. And that’s the research I want to do within my community is how do you define power? And if you’ve never really thought about it, I invite you to do that.
And speaking of, asking people questions, is I ask over 250 questions in this book. Like the thing that I want people to walk away with is an immense feeling of curiosity in their life. And like you know. You do this work. It really starts with starting to untangle all of the thoughts, beliefs, the conditioning and socialization that we’ve received over the years. And you can’t change anything that you’re unwilling to talk about. And you have to get curious about it. Because we’ve created lives and beliefs that we feel are definite. No. Women are just supposed to be this way. And so I invite you to like think about that. Like, really? Because that’s how I started my recovery from codependence. Like do I really need to control my partner? Can I trust that he’s going to do the right thing? And if I can’t trust him to do the right thing, should I still be in this relationship? So it’s like you have to ask yourself these questions that sometimes you don’t want the answers to, because it’s going to require you to be a bigger version of yourself, or to leave a relationship, or to stop dieting, or all these really hard things. And, yeah, it’s a bitch sometimes.
[00:47:29] AS: I love that you gave those questions, because that’s in one of the second lesson in truce with food. It’s like when did you learn thin was good? What did you learn about food? And it’s like, “Oh.” And then you realize like, “Oh, I got this from my family. You got this from their family.” And then it’s like is this really what we believe or what we’ve been – One thing I know this may seem like a non-sequitur. But I’m really fascinated, because I’ve been just part of why – I mean, I loved your book. But, also, I just love that you’re actively doing anti-racism work. I mean, you popped up at one of the classes I’m taking. That’s like –
[00:47:58] AO: Yes, uh-huh.
[00:48:00] AS: But I’m really fascinated with – Because in adult development, we look at, okay, people are socialized by family, work, church and school. And church, even though I grew up in a non-religious family, I grew up in a very, what I can now put language to, evangelical community. And I went to youth group and volunteered there, did all the stuff because everybody went there.
[00:48:24] AO: It was like the way to socialize in many communities.
[00:48:26] AS: Even asked my parents to go to CCD. I mean, I ended up quitting when they told me my dad wouldn’t be in heaven because he was Jewish. I mean, it was like hilarious. I mean, now I can laugh. But at the time I was like, “This doesn’t make sense.” So I went for like a “more liberal” version of Christianity. But point being is I can see my own wake-up happening because the seeds were already planted in my family of origin.
But you came from – You talk about what you learned in church. And I’m assuming it was like a very white version of Christianity in California. And you’ve made this like massive – And, again, this isn’t about politics, but just church is so powerful because of belonging and because it – Especially because the white Christian church influences our American culture so much. I’m just curious how you – Because most people will not change that much in their lifetime. And I think, again, it’s not that you end up at a certain point. I think as someone who was born like super liberal, I think I’ve actually become a little bit more moderate, right? So this isn’t to say where the center’s moving too. Again, I don’t want this to be about politics. But I’m just curious, what were some of the core things unravelings that you had to reckon with?
[00:49:33] AO: Oh gosh! You know what’s funny is I was out and about this morning, and on my way home I was in the car and there was like this random Spotify playlist like based on songs that you like. And Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam’s I Wonder If I Take You Home came on. And like don’t tell me that that’s not a good song. Like, come on. That is the jam. And I was listening to the lyrics, and I sometimes surprise myself that I know all the words to these songs. When I got home I looked it up. That song came out in 1985. I was 10 years old. And I knew all of the lyrics to that song at 46 years old, which tells me I knew all the lyrics when I was 10.
And she’s talking about how she’s nervous about a one-night stand. And I wonder if I’d take you home will you still be in love, because I need you tonight? So she’s like expressing herself that she really wants to have sex with this guy, but she’s worried about him respecting her and all this. A man never made a song like that ever. That was a theme for women musicians. And that stuff matters. That’s the kind of stuff.
And so you know if I’m going to turn that to church, yes, we grew up in – I don’t think there were any families of color in my church that I remember. And I went through first communion, confirmation where we like went to weekly classes. And I had to do this project. And I just recently found the photo album where we – Oh my God! I had to cut out pictures and magazines that talked about the Ten Commandments. And it was like on one side it was like the thing to do. And on the other side it was a thing that you don’t do. And I would like write captions. It’s hilarious.
And so it’s like 12 then, 13. And so I remember them showing us a video in youth group of – They showed us, it was either a sonogram, or an X-ray, or something like that of a late term abortion when I was 13. It was horrifying. All in an effort, first, to not have us have sex and not have abortions. So the long and short of it is that I learned that good girls don’t want sex. They definitely don’t have abortions if they get pregnant or they’re going to hell. There were all these rules. And then I started having sex when I was 15 and felt like the worst person in the world. But I loved my boyfriend and didn’t want to stop doing it. So I couldn’t talk to my mom about it. I got birth control. But like I couldn’t talk to my mom about it. And luckily my boyfriend’s mom was a single mom and she was really young and she was like –
[00:51:59] AS: Here’s what you need to do.
[00:52:00] AO: We’re going off on a tangent. But we were safe. But my parents were not super political or politically conscious from what I remember. And then I started dating someone when I was 17. He ended up being my first husband. They were staunch conservatives. And since I didn’t have any other lessons in it and I was at an impressionable age, that’s what I held on to. And so I yelled at war protesters. I got an argument with someone at work and called her un-American because she was going to a war protest. This was like late 90s. It was ugly. I got in arguments with friends about the welfare system.
And what’s interesting is that I had to take a women’s studies class to satisfy my degree. and I had gone back to school. And I was like 31 at this point. I was pregnant with my second child. I wasn’t 19. And I had to take this women’s studies class. And it was the very first time I had ever truly been taught the definitions of what feminism really is. What is the patriarchy? What is misogyny? And it was sort of like – Was it in Mrs. Doubtfire when Sally Field’s character is like, “The whole time? The whole time?” She’s like yelling because she found out that Robin Williams is actually Mrs. Doubtfire. I had that moment of realizing the whole time I’ve been a feminist. And like this is the thing that I’ve been so pissed off about my whole life being a street harassed and sexually harassed since about the age of 13. All of this rage that I didn’t know what it really was. And it was quite the reckoning. Like it was – I’d unravel a lot of my identity and question everything.
You talk about unlearning. Like that was a huge moment for me. So it allowed me to kind of fact check, if you will, and not just believe everything that I’ve been told. And I felt betrayed also and lied to. And it also helped – That experience also helped me realize people on both sides of the political spectrum. I understand why you would feel the way that you do. And I also think that how I’ve raised my children is – In the 2016 election, my daughter was too young, but my son was nine. And of course he said he would vote for who I voted for. But I told him. I’m like, “Here’s why people would vote for Donald Trump.” He was like, “Oh, well that sounds good too.” And I’m like, “I want you to understand that – I want you to trust your own values and not just blindly follow somebody else’s.”
[00:54:25] AS: Yeah. Yeah I love, though, that. And you share that story in the book of like once you have language for something, it’s like, “Oh my God!” And this is why I think it’s so important to understand the water we’re swimming in, because then we can have the language separate ourselves from these concepts and then decide if we want to buy into them. Instead of just saying like this is how it is. Women are catty, or sex is bad for women, or – I just learned through Desiree and anti-racism work how virginity was this social construct to protect for property rights. And I was like, “Oh my God! How did I believe that, that virginity was a thing?
[00:55:03] AO: Yeah, Jessica Valenti wrote a great book called – I believe it’s called The Purity Myth. I love her she’s a fantastic feminist writer, if anybody’s interested. [inaudible 00:55:11] very interesting. All, The Myth of Purity, and vvirginity. Yeah, it’s a social construct.
[00:55:16] AS: Well, it comes in health. I mean, clean eating. I mean, purity is very –
[00:55:22] AO: I never liked that term. And I’m like is all the rest eating dirty?
[00:55:26] AS: Well, and the dirt is all the rage now. Like our microbiome, the soil. I’m like, “Oh, the metaphor. The metaphor. The symbolism.” But, yeah. No. I mean, purity culture, if you eat well enough, right you’re never going to be brought down by the dirt of disease. I mean, it seeps into everything. That’s why I asked that question, because I think even if you don’t identify as religious, it just infiltrates at least American culture so much that you have to look at maybe – I’ve been influenced by purity culture. Definitely, if you believe in clean eating and that food alone is going to save us from death and disease. That’s part. I mean, there’s many influences, but purity culture is one.
[00:56:05] AO: Yeah. Well, I mean, even just like – I mean, we don’t have to go on a tangent, but like school dress codes. That’s directly related to purity culture.
[00:56:11] AS: Yes. Yes. Oh my God! And my work is a lot about how we make meaning. And it’s even if you are aware of this stuff, it’s like, “Okay, how do we make meaning is how we’ve been socialized.” right? Okay. If a girl is sexually assaulted, well, what was she wearing? No that’s not the meaning we’re making from this. Why do you think that it’s – We could go in layers and layers. But that’s –
[00:56:31] AO: Yeah. I’ll have to come back so we can have a conversation. I have a 12 year old daughter who’s been like wanting to wear midriff since she was 10 because it’s the style. And I’m like, “Do I let her?” Yeah, it’s complicated.
[00:56:44] AS: Yeah. So one last question before we go. So what are you learning about confidence and beauty in your body now? Or confidence alone since we touched on the body stuff a little bit. But what’s your edge now?
[00:56:58] AO: I think we were chatting about this a little bit before the show. And I’m in this sort of battle, for lack of a better word, with an organization here. And I think when we stand up for what we believe in – And, of course, I teach women and encourage them and help them empower themselves so they can speak up for what they believe in and share their opinion or set boundaries, etc. So when I am over here in my personal life doing it myself, I have to be careful when I am doing it to ask myself the question especially when I’m like really deep in it. Like when is it – And this is specific to something if you’re wanting to change something specifically. When do I keep going in the name of this is what I believe in? And when am I still going because of the need to be right or the need to win in the name of competitive? We see this all the time on social media of people arguing.
I’ve had to really step back and just stop commenting back and forth with people. And so I’m not sure if I’m answering your question. But you said what’s your edge? I have to be careful because I can get pretty self-righteous sometimes. No. You’re going to hear me because I’m a woman, and women are oppressed. Like, “Andrea.” It really comes down to taking care of myself, because I think people have different tolerances for stress and especially in a global pandemic which I thought we were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but it turns out not yet. I think that when you are you know making noise in your life, when you are practicing self-confidence, don’t use this as an out. But think about when are you pushing yourself too hard. But it’s going to be uncomfortable. I know I just sort of contradicted myself there, but find the balance.
[00:58:44] AS: Well, and it’s the nuance. And what we kicked off with, how you defined satiation was what’s fulfilling, right? And sometimes fulfilling is pushing yourself especially if you can tolerate. What you’re saying is when am I pushing myself just to be right rather than it’s actually something that matters to me?
[00:59:01] AO: Yeah. And for the most part is something that matters to me. But, honestly, Ali, like as I’ve gone into my 40s, my intuition is just my homegirl. Like it’s just she’s so great. And sometimes I personify her. Sometimes I don’t. But it truly has never led me astray even when my intuition is speaking to me and I’m like, “Well, that doesn’t seem right. That seems illogical or impractical.” And it never lies. And I’ve gotten really good through practice of understanding what is a fear response versus what is my intuition. So I have to be very intentional about slowing down, which is hard for me, and sometimes clearing my schedule if I need to lay down with my dog in my office and just not work. Because that is hygiene for my intuition.
[00:59:52] AS: I love that. So confidence, it sounds like just trusting that more and more even when it sounds crazier and crazier.
[00:59:59] AO: Exactly. And yeah, it’s been tricky. This pandemic has really just kicked our asses up and down the street. And I think that we have to be even more vigilant about our self-care, about our self-awareness, and also taking a lot of breaks. Like I have been so easy on my clients over this pandemic. I’m like, “I’m not going to be a drill sergeant on you.”
[01:00:24] AS: Yeah. Well, I think that – I mean, I think – And again, I don’t think you contradicted yourself, but I think you’re showing the paradox of confidence especially for your process. It’s like can I be confident enough to slow down, right? I don’t have to take it at the pace that I’ve been conditioned I have to take it at.
[01:00:38] AO: Am I confident enough to quit?
[01:00:40] AS: Yeah. Oh, we’ll have to come back. That’s a whole other – Everything you thought you knew, right? Quitting isn’t bad all the time.
[01:00:49] AO: No. No. And it depends on people’s personalities. Some people, it’s really easy. As I’ve gotten older, it’s gotten easier for me, because I know my limits now. And before, I was just very much like go big or go home.
[01:01:00] AS: Yeah, yeah. Well, there’s also – I mean, again, I think this is nuance. You’re very established in your business.
[01:01:05] AO: I have that luxury.
[01:01:08] AS: Well, I mean, yeah, you’ve worked for it. But you also – Like anytime you’re starting something that’s really complicated, because starting a business is, right? You have to have value. You have to have marketing. You have to have the right team. Like there’s all these interlocking pieces. So you have probably the main structure. Oh, that was one thing I wanted more to talk. Just one thing quickly. I thought that was really interesting, because you have a chapter on pleasure. And you talked about structure as sometimes people need structure for safety. and I love that you brought that up, because I’ve helped a lot of clients see that when they’re feeling like they don’t have the structure for how to tackle something, then they want to control their food. Then they want to – And the diet provides the structure. So can you just elaborate on that a little bit and how you see that a little bit more in depth? And then we’ll wrap up.
[01:01:54] AO: Yeah. Well, structure is – I have yet to meet a client who doesn’t struggle with control on the spectrum. And sometimes they are very controlling. And then sometimes they just want control because it makes them feel safe. I think that this is just part of the human experience. And I know that there’s probably research on it where even though there’s so very few things that we have control of, we do thrive and feel safe when we have more control as a structure.
I look at it, if I could just speak generally about it, is rituals. I don’t have an elaborate morning routine. It’s just I’ve tried it before and I didn’t see that much of a difference in my productivity or my success or how. I felt it just felt like more stuff to do. It was on my to-do list. So mine is very simple. I’m not saying every morning looks different. I get up in the morning. I have coffee with my husband and we sit. Sometimes we chat. Sometimes we scroll through our phones. It has made no difference in my life or my business if I check my email first thing. Literally, doesn’t matter. So like I don’t buy into like don’t check your email until 11am. I’m like, “Okay, when I make you the boss of my business, then you can decide that.” But I don’t mind it.
So I have created a super simple morning routine and create – But that structure really helps me. And so I quote Jonathan Fields in my book and what he calls certainty anchors. And these are small rituals that we can do that help us feel grounded when we don’t have a lot of control over what’s going on around us. I had to lean on those heavily especially at the onset of the pandemic when so many of us were feeling so uncertain and ungrounded. We’ve never been through something like this. And many people were terrified and having really dire circumstances. So it was simple things like reminding myself that I had just two feet on the ground. Really leaning into my coffee ritual like. It may sound kind of innocuous and ridiculous.
[01:03:53] AS: People love their –
[01:03:55] AO: Tea or whatever. Yeah.
[01:03:56] AS: Yeah. But that’s often when clients are like, “Oh, I need to give this up.” And I’m like, “Well, do it.” I’m like, “Well, what is it about?” And often it is ritual. Yeah.
[01:04:03] AO: If it’s the caffeine, then do decaf. And do your mushroom coffee, whatever, like your butter cream, whatever. I don’t care. Just do something that makes you feel good. I have a colleague who drinks coffee and like these really fancy beautiful teacups and that makes her happy because she likes looking at them. And I just don’t want people to think that these things like don’t matter or that they’re, “Oh, it’s stupid. I have this ritual.” And I’m like, “No. No. No. No.” This is yours. It belongs to you. It’s important. It’s what makes you feel safe and structured and in control of something. So that’s what I love to do.
And I also have to be very careful. I think this might be worth mentioning. I feel like we talked about this maybe on my show. But years ago I was trying to figure out why I was so tired. And my husband also has arthritis and he wanted to figure out if it was a food that was causing the inflammation. So we decided to do the whole 30, which is very structured and very restrictive. And I made it maybe 20 days before – Maybe not even that long. I think it was earlier on where my eating disorder symptoms came back. The thoughts came back first.
And, anyway, it was a whole thing. And I was crying. And I’m like I can’t believe I’m back here again. And then I didn’t want to tell anyone because I kind of wanted to like stay there. Like it was this whole thing. So going through that made me realize that kind of structure is like swimming in shark-infested waters for me. I just can’t do it. And I talk to a naturopath and she’s like I don’t recommend the whole 30. She’s like, “You should have come to me and we’ll figure it out.” But anyway, all of that to say, that I love structure. But you also have to really know what your triggers are.
[01:05:38] AS: Yes, I think that’s wonderful. Yeah. I’m someone who really is high on order. And it’s funny, because even truce with food is bringing structure to like a really messy emotional eating process. But like I cannot function without seeing the bigger picture. And that includes even how I organize my week or like this season or whatever. But I just love that you brought that there and I wanted to bring up that point, because I love that idea of certainty anchors, rather than trying to control our food. Okay, how do I – Two feet on the ground right now. Or what can I do today?
[01:06:06] AO: Sometimes even just making a list of what you have control over, just writing it down. I’m big on lists. Yeah, I wonder. And you know what? And this is like a totally different topic. But I was recently diagnosed with ADHD. And our brains tend to love the planning and the preparing more than we do the actual thing. Maybe that’s one of the reason we like structure.
[01:06:28] AS: I have a client who was just diagnosed with ADHD, and it felt like light bulbs came on for her. and I was reading how like, again, part of misogyny and sexism and health care is they were thinking only men had it. And now –
[01:06:41] AO: It’s a little boy problem.
[01:06:43] AS: Yes, yes, exactly, exactly. So yeah, it’s brought in so much – Actually, that diagnosis has brought in structure. So now she can do the things that she needs to do to take care of it. But it just made so much sense for her. So interesting that you had just been diagnosed as well. I think women are probably really under diagnosed.
[01:07:03] AO: The specialist that I saw specializes in adult women. And she said exactly that, that we are missed or were misdiagnosed. So I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder in 2003. And I honestly think that the ADHD came first. And I also have auditory processing disorder, which is my biggest neurodiversity. And that will cause anxiety, which it just sort of like – The way she described it is she’s like it’s kind of like a stew. And you might have like more potatoes and less meat and like a medium amount of carrots. And so, for me, I have mild ADHD. I have a lot of auditory processing disorder. A little bit of nonverbal learning disorder, and like a medium amount of impulse control disorder. so I was like, “Cool.”
[01:07:45] AS: Yeah. But to me, what is normal, like you’re able to see what other people can’t, right? That’s why you’re a great coach. I mean, not that I don’t want to take away from. But I’m just kind of like what is the center, right? Like why are we saying this? That’s part of the socialization is I think that we think like everyone learns the same, everybody’s the same. And I’m noticing it with my son. Like when you have a baby, people are like some of them sleep. Their teeth come in at different times. They poop differently. There’s all this acceptance of how variable –
[01:08:12] AO: The milestones are like sometimes a year apart.
[01:08:15] AS: Yeah. Yeah. You and I were talking about your kids have different immune systems. So it’s like we accept all of this like diversity. And then all of a sudden it’s like they get to a certain age. It’s, “Okay, you should all be homogenous now and hitting–” It’s like it’s making me question everything even more.
[01:08:33] AO: Neurodiversity I think is more widespread than we actually know. And I wonder if there’s actually more neurodiverse people than there are neurotypical people, like using air quotes over here. It’s just all very fascinating. I’m very new into the world and community of it. But I don’t – Does this really change things for me? No. Because I’ve learned to live with it for so long. And I’ve learned coping strategies which many adults do. If we’re not diagnosed, we learn to fix it. In the questionnaires and stuff and they’re like how often does this happen for you? I’m like one of the questions was like how often do you forget appointments? And I’m like never. Because my calendar is so color-coded. I don’t miss anything. Like very rarely. And I also have somebody that works on my team who’s in charge of all of that because she’s better at it.
I think the way that it’s helpful is for acceptance. That’s the way I look at it. Like I’m just like, “Okay, I’m not weird. I’m not quirky.” Because I’ve beat myself up over that, like some impulsive decisions that I’ve made. And I always kind of have jokingly. I’m like, “Well, I’m just really spontaneous and up for adventure. Like that may be true.” But it’s also my brain works that way.
[01:09:40] AS: Yeah, we are all just different.
[01:09:43] AO: Yeah, for sure.
[01:09:45] AS: Well, thank you so much, Andrea. Again your book is Make Some Noise. We’re recording this in August. It’s not out yet. But by the time this comes out it will be out. Where can people find you?
[01:09:55] AO: They can find me at andreaowen.com. And I have a podcast that you’ve been a guest on.
[01:10:00] AS: It’s now called Make Some Noise.
[01:10:01] AO: It’s now called Make Some Noise, formally Your Kick-Ass Life. Yes, it’s called Make Some Noise. And then I hang out on Instagram mostly @heyandreaowen.
[01:10:08] AS: And where can people buy the book too? I should have asked that first.
[01:10:11] AO: Anywhere books are sold. Most bookstores. And if they want bonuses, it’s at andreaowen.com/noise. So I said that I asked over 250 questions in this book. We made a workbook for people, and it’s free. It’s like 63 pages. It’s meaty. And I wanted people to have the opportunity to really think about these questions and write out their answers if that’s helpful to them so they can implement.
[01:10:35] AS: Yeah, that was the thing that I loved, is you gave people questions to start for them to see the water that they’re swimming in. Because I think that’s the hardest thing is like the clarity.
[01:10:44] AO: Because the reader has the answers I don’t always. I like to think I do.
[01:10:47] AS: Yeah, well, you have your answers.
[01:10:49] AO: I have my answers in my experience and what I’ve seen in my clients, but I want them to come to their answers for themselves.
[01:10:55] AS: Yeah. I love that. So andreaowen.com/noise. Buy the book and get the freebies. Well, thank you so much. Good luck with the rest of your book launch.
[01:11:04] AO: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. It’s a little bit exhausting, but it’s fun to put this out into the world. I appreciate everybody listening too.
[01:11:11] AS: Yeah, it’s a great time. I think your intuition knew this. I think people are ready for this.
[01:11:16] AO: I hope so. Yeah. Thank you for that.
[01:11:19] AS: Yes. I mean, I don’t think anyone looks out in the world and says, “Oh, that’s working.”
[01:11:24] AO: Right. These are great.
[01:11:28] AS: Thanks so much, Andrea.
[01:11:30] AO: Thanks, Ali. Bye-bye.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
Thank you, health rebels and visionary storytellers for tuning in today. If you know someone who would benefit from this episode, please share it with them. And remember, we have transcripts of our episodes at alishapiro.com/podcast for your non-audio friends and family. And if you can, I’d love it if you can leave a review on Apple Podcasts. It helps more people find the show. And both actions, reviewing and sharing with others helps us change the cultural narrative around food weight and our bodies. Thanks for engaging in a different kind of conversation. And remember, always, your body truths are unique, discoverable, profound and liberating.