I am so pumped for you to listen to my conversation with registered dietician Megan Hadley! We are talking all about how to recover from diet culture. Megan is a nutrition therapist and owner of Simple Nutrition, a nutrition counseling practice in Greensboro, NC, and the founder of Fork the Food Rules, a membership for people who have decided not to diet. 

Together we discuss Megan’s belief that all bodies are good bodies and that from cake to kale, all foods are good foods. We explore how to shift and transform your thoughts about food, how to determine what healthy means for you, and some ways to step towards a healthy relationship with your body and food.

We talk about:

  • The most common pitfalls of failed healthy habits with high-achieving women (3:53)
  • When you feel shame about the food you put into your body, it affects the way you show up in the world (6:21)
  • Helping women determine what is healthy for them (11:07)
  • Strategies to manage the guilt and shame that some women feel about not achieving health goals (13:47)
  • Intuitive eating and how it differs from the most popular eating plans (26:30)

Resources mentioned in this episode:
Private Coaching with Andrea or Andrea’s Lead Coaches
Register for the Daring Way Retreat
Megan’s website
Megan’s Fork the Food Rules Membership
List from Megan of social media accounts to follow 
Tell Me I’m Fat – This American Life  


Speaker & Writer Megan Hadley, MS, RDN, and LDN is a nutrition therapist and owner of Simple Nutrition, a nutrition counseling practice in Greensboro, NC and founder of Fork the Food Rules, a membership for people who have decided not to diet. She believes that all bodies are good bodies and that from cake to kale, all foods are good foods. After helping hundreds of clients recover from diet culture, Megan knows that when women think less about food and body and more about what really matters to them, they begin to thrive in all areas of their life. When she’s not working, Megan enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters. She loves cooking, traveling, long naps, good wine, and french fries. Megan finds her strength, both personally and professionally, rooted in her deep faith in Christ, as she knows she was created to live a life of abundance and to help other women believe and discover that, as well.

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Megan 00:00
It is normal for all bodies, but I think women especially need to hear this, is that it is normal for you to gain weight as you age that that is normal and protective, which is like a whole other episode. But it is healthy for us to change and that is investigating weight and that is a normal that is normal. We don't talk nearly enough about what is realistic for a woman's body.

Andrea 00:32
You're listening to Make Some Noise Podcast episode number 444 with guest Megan Hadley.

Welcome to Make Some Noise Podcast your guide for strategies, tools and insight to empower yourself. I'm your host, Andrea Owen, global speaker, entrepreneur, life coach since 2007, and author of three books that have been translated into 18 languages and are available in 22 countries. Each week, I'll bring you a guest or a lesson that will help you maximize unshakable confidence, master resilience and make some noise in your life. You ready? Let's go.

Hey, everyone, welcome to another episode of the podcast. I am so glad that you are here. Today's guest I am so pumped for you to listen to this conversation and to introduce you to her, Megan Hadley. Not only is Megan an amazing registered dietitian, and she's also had the pleasure of calling her my friend. We have gone and had lunch slash breakfast a couple of times since we met on the show. She's local to me, and since I don't meet a whole lot of people who kind of work in the same field as I do who live right here, I always get really excited. I'm like, can we be friends, please? Can we please be friends? And thankfully, I would have been embarrassed if she would have said no. But thankfully, she said yes. So I'm gonna tell you a little bit about her in just a minute.

Also, if you're wanting to work with me, then there's two ways to do that you can either work with me privately, you can head on over to AndreaOwen.com/apply. There is an application. This is where we get to know you a little bit better, you probably will get to know you a little bit better, because we ask you questions to just narrow down what exactly your goals are to make sure that we match you with the right person because I have two amazing lead coaches, Liz and Sabrina, who might be the best fit for you. Or it might be me. We'll see. AndreaOwen.com/apply.

We also have room at the daring way retreat that I'm hosting in September in Asheville, North Carolina. I cannot wait for that. All the information that you need to know is that AndreaOwen.com/retreat. And if you have any questions about any of those, feel free to shoot us a message. You can use the contact page on the website, that way I don't give you like 17 different directions for you to go to.

Alright. Let me tell you a little bit about our guest today, speaker and writer Megan Hadley, MS, RDN, and LDN is a nutrition therapist and owner of Simple Nutrition and nutrition counseling practice in Greensboro, North Carolina and founder of Fork the Rules a membership for people who have decided not to diet. She believes that all bodies are good bodies and that from cake to kale, all foods are good foods. After helping hundreds of clients recover from diet culture, Megan knows that when women think less about food and body and more about what really matters to them, they begin to thrive in all areas of their life. So without further ado, here is Megan.

Megan, thank you so much for being here.

Megan 03:49
Thank you so much for having me. I am really delighted to be here today.

Andrea 03:53
I'm excited. I had to cut us off because we were talking so much before we started recording about so many things. But, I want it let's start from the very beginning, and can you share with us maybe the most common pitfalls that you see with your clients in terms of failed healthy habits and, it's particularly with high achieving women because that's who we're talking to here on the show.

Megan 04:17
Really, I think one of the biggest pitfalls, and it can be hard to wrap your mind around this, is the definition of health and it really being framed by our diet culture. So a lot of times it's a mindset that a lot of folks aren't even aware that they have. And what I mean by that is that you know the diet-oriented culture around us is constantly praised preaching a message that thinner is better. Thinner is more beautiful, thinner is happier, and thinner is healthier. Under that umbrella, it would also put what I call wellness culture. Yeah, your wellness culture is kind of trips over into that clean eating realm, it's not about being thin, it's about being healthy, but there is still kind of a message about being then it all falls under the umbrella of diet culture. And so helping a client begin to define what is healthy for them. You know, by helping them with this reframe of a lot of the things that diet culture promotes, like labeling foods as good and bad, weight loss being premium and extremely important, really lead women to be in cycles of restriction and then feeling out of control with food, you know? Feeling like why can't I sustain, you know, this this healthy way of eating, when it was never sustainable in the first place.

Andrea 05:49
There's not a shame. Just, it seems like it permeates the whole, like, the healthy lifestyle. And what I mean by that is that, you know, I see a lot of, well, not a lot, because I don't follow those people anymore, but like food shaming on social media and things like that, you know, these YouTubers and people who, who promote… You know, fitness influencers, and I'm speaking, I'm generalizing here, everyone, I know that there's some, there's exceptions. But what are your thoughts about that?

Megan 06:21
There is absolutely a message of shame of you know, if you can't, if you don't have enough willpower, if you don't have enough self-control… There's a moralistic component, if you listen to a lot of these messages of you are in some way better when you eat certain foods and you are not as good when you eat these other foods. Even if you think about common diet language of like, I'm being good today, with food choices, or I'm being so bad today. Or even like the concept of a cheat day. lot of these are really, really, really, I mean, just all of hat is like guilt provoking language.

And when you feel ashamed about the foods that you're eating, and your body, then it really affects the way that you show up in the world. And this is one of the energy drains, for women at home, in the workplace, wherever it is, is that there's a part of them that tends to get held back because there's an I'm not enoughness, like I'm not doing this thing, right. My body is not. Right. And so I I'm interested, like, what do you how do you see that impacting how women show up?

Andrea 07:43
Well, I mean, if we're having a conversation around shame, you know, if you're feeling ashamed, and I want to, I want to clarify, because I think that some people think that when I say something like that, if you're feeling ashamed, that it's this conscious thing that they're walking around feeling like or they're saying to themselves, like, they're beating themselves up, and it's very much like in the forefront of their mind. Usually, it's not. I mean, like, if you're at that place where you are totally aware of it, honestly, you're, you're a step ahead, because you have that self-awareness. But what I see a lot is it's this unconscious feeling of, you know, your maybe kind of your mind is stealthy comparing yourself to you just don't feel good about yourself.

That is the bottom line, you don't feel good about yourself. And the underlying feeling is shame. And what I love that you said, you know, it kind of makes you feel not good enough, and it stops you from doing things. When you are walking around with that underlying feeling of shame, whether you know it or not many times it leads us down the path of behaviors that don't serve us. So that's when we might binge or, and I don't want to say foods are good or bad, and like you were saying, but like for me, donuts. I love donuts. If I have three donuts, I feel like total shit. My body is just like, oh my god, what have you done. And this used to not be the case. This really started to happen as I've gotten older and into like, in past into my mid 40s. But anyway, all that to say is that shame is so insidious, that it can not only make us feel bad, but push us into behaviors where we're trying to find relief. And it ends up kind of kicking us in the ass if you know what I mean.

Megan 09:33
Oh, absolutely. I mean the feeling after having you know X number of donuts that that for you feels like too much. Is definitely afterwards then triggers another cycle of like, why did I just do that? I can't believe I did that. You know? And I'm so disgusting, you know? And so on and so forth. And so sometimes that can then trigger that piece, which then then triggers the vow of I will do better tomorrow. I will do this better tomorrow and then diligently trying to work to be better. But according to diet culture standards, which is usually not enough food, which means that the next time you come in the door, you're coming in the door at the end of the day, or the next time you're around the donut, or whatever it is, you're so desperate for food that you need it, you know, you need that energy. And it really leaves folks vulnerable. And it kind of creates the cycle, right? It creates a cycle of… And then it's like, why can't I eat normally? Why can't I normally? I can't tell you how many times folks plop down on my couch and like if I could wave a magic wand, they're like, I just want to eat normally. I don't want to think about food all the time.

Andrea 10:55
Yeah. I'm assuming that your question after that, or not long after is what do you what do you make up that eating normally is? And that's where you kind of start to chip away at their beliefs around food and their bodies and all that stuff. Is that fair?

Megan 11:07
Absolutely. Because we have to, we're playing fast and loose with the term normal, right? Like what is normal? What is normal in a culture that is constantly labeling foods and ways of eating? So what is normally… And a lot of times, it's really is that piece of like, I don't want to be thinking about food and my body all the time. And sometimes I'll give clients a pie chart and I'll ask them, like, list the things that are important to you and show me how much time you feel like in a day, you're putting energy into those things. And a lot of times food and body is showing up as the larger proportion, and it deserves some of our time and attention, but not the majority of it, where it starts to squish out other things that really matter to us.

Andrea 11:59
Okay. Okay. Oh my gosh, yeah. So I guess you're not like a typical registered dietitian slash nutritionist, all the things where, because I saw one… So many years ago, I was diagnosed, I have this like rare blood protein that can cause heart disease. It's a long, boring story. It's genetic. And they were kind of worried about it so I went to a nutritionist, I had to have been only maybe like 25. And it was just about food. Like, she didn't ask me anything about my body, or restricting, or my relationship with food, it was just about like, here's what you should eat, here's what you should not eat. I'm assuming that's backwards for you.

Megan 12:39
Yes, I am way more concerned about what it is you're doing with food and how you feel about foods, and how you feel about your body. And then also what somebody might be experiencing with their energy, either with their GI tract, all of these can give us insights, and I can help my client begin to get in touch with what their body is sharing with them. And then it's, you know, the food piece, obviously, most of the time, I'm looking to see, is my client eating enough? Because of what's portrayed to us is what is a normal amount of food, I find more often than not, that people are not eating enough. And if they feel like they have low energy in the afternoons, and low energy in general, and they're wondering, like, do I have a food sensitivity? Do I have this, that and the other. And sometimes those things do show up. First place I'm gonna go is making sure that somebody is eating enough because we have a disproportionate view of what isn't enough.

Andrea 13:47
Oh, I'll bet. Okay, so let's talk about strategies to manage the guilt and shame that some women feel about not achieving their quote unquote, health goals, do you have some that you could give us?

Megan 14:00
Identifying in the diet culture that we're in and starting to be able to name some of those things, and starting to turn inward more, and be able to start to connect with some of the body's own wisdom about what it wants or needs and how it responds to different foods. And try to block out some of these external messages about foods and what they say about you. And then as it relates to the body, you know, beginning to think about the messages that are coming up about your body and the way you view your body and begin to identify them as thoughts because there are so many negative messages that can come up for somebody during the day that they are holding as an absolute truth. And once we begin to notice them and separate them a little bit as thoughts, it starts to create some space for us to realize that there's something else that can be true. That it's a feeling. And it's a feeling that can deeply impact us. You know, as we mentioned, shame, you've internalized the message that I am wrong, you know, I am bad. But it is having some space in there to say, you know what, this is the way I feel and yes, that deeply hurts me and I feel bad about this and I also realized that this is a feeling, not a truth. And start to create some space in there to be able to do some work of acceptance can go a long way towards helping you connect with your body more when you don't believe your body is all bad.

Andrea 15:53
I love that. I'm assuming there's there are several strategies, and people have to kind of find the right ones that work the best for them. I know something that helped me so much. And I have a long history of just disordered eating, restricting, poor body image, all that stuff, you know, join the club, I saved you all a seat. And I've come a long way. But one of the things that I did, and this was only maybe, I don't know, gosh, six or seven years ago, is I looked at who and what I was following online. And you know, it's like, what am I consuming? Because I think not only are we consuming food and sustenance, but we're consuming media all the time. A lot of it we have no control over. Like we're just bombarded constantly by ads and things like that. Like the stats are crazy, like how much we see that's in the form of advertising that we don't even realize.

But I started and following a lot of because I came from the fitness… I don't know, who knows about me and my background is in fitness. I have a degree in exercise physiology, and I almost got a dual Master's in nutrition and in kinesiology, but I decided not to and now I find myself here. But I love fitness I do is I grew up in a fit house, like where exercise was never punishment, like exercise was fun. So I have that background. However, it can, you know, cross the line, and I found myself following a lot of fitness influencers and I started unfollowing them and intentionally looking for and following accounts, especially on social media, of women in bigger bodies, and all different kinds. All different sizes, races, ages, and usually it was I was really drawn to the women who were either actively trying to or had gotten to that place of size acceptance in themselves. And just really, like the confidence just poured off of them. And I'll tell you what Megan, at first, it was almost jarring to see women in larger bodies totally accept themselves for who they were. And I'm not saying that it was easy for them to have to navigate what they were probably navigating on social media. However, I was so used to only seeing competent women, or like I thought they were confident who were in smaller bodies. And I it was it an adjustment period. like my brain was like, what, what, how is this real. But I adjusted very, very quickly and now like my feed my Instagram feed is so different than it used to be. And I'll tell you what, that has helped me so much with my own body acceptance as it's my body has started to change as I've gone into my late 40s. And is that something that you teach your clients to do too?

Megan 18:53
Absolutely. And actually, I have a list of accounts. If you look in the show notes, I actually did I actually last year did a new year new feed challenge because and I thought you were going with like what to mute and what to take out but you are so right one of the best ways to challenge our own implicit bias our own… Because fat phobia is everywhere, right? And this is the message that regardless of what size body you are in it has a negative impact to you. Now the weight bias and weight stigma and the way that fat people are oppressed in our society is very real and solely you know, theirs. But the fat phobia impacts all of us the fear of being fat. And I think one of the great accessible ways to challenge that is if you have a social media feed that you go to is to intentionally add in diverse bodies doing different things and that means not our normal, white, young, thin cis gendered, able bodied standard of beauty that is put before us all the time, but anything that's a departure from that, and intentionally interact with those accounts and get them to show up in your feed, because it will really, really begin to change. Because what we see all the time is very contrary to that.

So it is it can be a jarring experience. And a lot of times people are scared to go there. That is actually sometimes a very big challenge depending on where a client is at in this process. But even if you pick one, and start to go in and regularly see it, and the way that people who are in larger bodies are portrayed in our society, we never see them do amazing things. And there's people out there doing amazing things, and putting themselves out there and sharing that gift with everybody. And it's so fun to be able to see something that's different than this ideal that we're constantly seeing.

Andrea 21:10
I agree with that. And I would love that list. I think I did it a while back, but I would I would love it to give to my listeners. So we'll definitely put that in the show notes.

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Some people might know this and are very well versed in it and it's a term that gets thrown around a lot. But can you can you explain to us what is intuitive eating and how does it differ from the most popular eating plans. I think that maybe a misconception about intuitive eating is that you just eat whatever you want. You know, if you want to have a dozen donuts, eat it if you want to have one of those bacon avocado burgers from Red Robin that I love very much, eat it. With their bottomless fries, are you kidding? Yeah. So good. And that is what I order.

Megan 26:44
Really intuitive eating, in its most basic form, is connecting with that internal wisdom I was telling you about. And we weren't born intuitive eaters. Anybody who has been around a baby knows that when a baby's hungry, it cries, and you feed it and it eats and it stops when it's done. I mean, it does not have some sort of meal plan to follow or food rules that it is identifying with at all. It just does. And as we grow into this world, it might even start with like a well-meaning caregiver that says I need you to finish your plate, before you have dessert, and you eat vegetables, before you have dessert, we start to kind of create some of these food roles for ourselves. And the message that we get from the diet culture is usually to not listen to your body. It's to disconnect from your body. And intuitive eating is about trying to connect more with that part of you, that does have internal wisdom about what when and how much you need to eat. Now, I will say that when somebody has been restricting for a long time, when somebody has been cutting a lot out or maybe not eating enough, you know, the internal wisdom that we're turning into one of them is hunger, fullness, those things can be really wonky. And it can be really helpful to have, you know, somebody who is an expert in the area of eating intuitively helps support you in having your body rekindle its hunger and fullness cues. But you can use those as a guide.

And I will tell you, a lot of times folks do have that experience of where they need to eat a dozen donuts and they need to be able to break the rules because they have been following them for so long. And so that can also be a scary feeling. It can feel like skydiving without a parachute. A lot of people use that analogy. But if somebody is giving themselves permission, because that's an important part, if you've been following food rules all of your life, you need full permission. Full permission to do what you need. And if you've been very restrictive with foods, and you've carried a lot of guilt or shame from eating them, it is going to be an expected response for you to swing the other way. And that might mean dozens of donuts. You will not eat dozens of donuts every day for the rest of your life. They won't, you will eventually find the middle. And then the beautiful thing about intuitive eating is that you can respond to your body's changing needs for the rest of your life because you're more attuned to it. What I need now in my 40s is different than what I'm going to need in my 60s or 80s or 90s. And I am going to be able to respond to that by listening to my body. And that's what I want to help my clients do. But if we're always trying to follow with the latest news is about whatever external funerals that we follow them we can't that that clouds that wisdom. It makes us feel judgmental about our own bodies, you know. My, my body might want something that is contrary to whatever's popular as it relates to food advice at that time. And my body's not wrong for that. It's okay for me to listen to it.

Andrea 30:15
Interesting what while you were saying that I never thought about this before, I think one of the ways that I learned intuitive eating was sort of, by accident. When I was pregnant, I think the first time, like that first trimester who, for anyone who's been pregnant, like you're really hungry, and I would wake up in the middle of the night hungry. And I was I was eating enough during the day, I was not restricting at all, but I remember waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep because I was hungry. And I would, and it started to become a habit, where a lot of nights I would get up and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a glass of orange juice. And it was, it was so delicious. And it felt like this little ritual that I had, where I was feeding my body and just doing what I really wanted. And then when I was nursing, it was the same way. And then also, I was training for a half marathon, which I never want to do again. I just wanted to like do it. But that much running made me hungry, and I ate accordingly.

And I think it was also helpful for me to have those big things going on in my life where I knew logically, like I'm burning a lot of calories, you know, like making a human being, making milk for this human being. You know, running 7, 8. 9 miles, it's a lot of calories. And so it just, it seems so logical to me, like it, like, fuel your body, like, put calories in. So I think that inadvertently, that's one way that I helped myself understand. And I think my point is, is that it helped me trust myself. Like, okay, my body knows what it needs and, and it's, it's gonna be just fine. But then there's also those pitfalls, you know, like we talked about, like, you'll have sudden weight gain, or you'll have sudden weight loss or, and it just kind of, like messes us up. And, in my experience that kind of dropped me back to the beginning a little bit.

Megan 32:08
Body trust is a big part of this. And the messages that we get are not to trust our bodies, whether it relates to food, movement, so on and so forth. But in general, it's that that disconnect from body message. You know, we have certain expectations about how much we should sleep and when we should sleep and, you know, there's a lot of different areas that this that this applies to and so…

Andrea 32:32
Relationships and sex and everything.

Megan 32:35
Yeah, consent. Yeah, all of it, you know. Trusting our bodies. And it sounds like you had you know, some of these experiences where you were trusting that you needed more food and you followed it and you realized afterwards that like you were okay. Like I'm okay, you know, it's okay. This this went well, like this was fine.

Andrea 33:07
And my body like essentially was saying thank you.

Megan 32:32
Yeah, absolutely. But our brains, you know, sometimes will say, alert like, this is different, this is not okay, this is not what keeps us safe, this is not… Like being able to challenge that and take our body through some of these lived experiences of this, okay? If I eat 12 donuts, I will be okay. Like I will survive. And I think a lot of times, folks here you know that having permission with foods is so contrary to the message that we get about food that that's what they hear is that, like you mentioned before that intuitive eating is just eating, you know, all the foods that diet culture is deemed as bad all day long. No, like I am, I'm equally as concerned for the person who is eating, you know, dressingless, salads, grilled chicken breasts and sweet potatoes all day. As somebody who would have an imbalance the other way. Neither one are good for us for the long run.

It's important to also remember that we can be disproportionate of nutrients by following some of what has been deemed as good by diet or wellness culture. Not to mention the fact that is a surefire way to make sure that you have experiences that you would constitute as binge eating or overeating if you will. Overeating feels judgmental because are you over eating if you're just making up for food that you withheld from yourself before? No but that way I think we all know what that experience feels like when we're like I need all the food.

Andrea 34:36
In the aftermath like the stomach ache and yeah. All that stuff. Okay, so what can you tell us what and you may have already mentioned it but I just want to make sure that that it's super clear like what is the first step toward a healthy relationship with our bodies and with food. So if someone is just like light bulbs are going off, and they're like, okay, I need to I need to really put some intention and effort, and attention into this topic, like what is the first step toward that?

Megan 35:06
The first step is to observe. Is to start making some observations about your body without changing things. Notice what it is that you're doing now. How many food roles are coming up that are dictating the way that your eat that you're eating? Are you hungry at times, and you aren't honoring that because you don't feel like you should be hungry, or you want to finish this task first, or, you know, you're not keeping food on hand so that it's accessible to you. Whatever it might be. Just begin to notice some of those things first, and make some observations and then maybe make some decisions about what are some things that I want to experiment with. You know, do I want to make sure that I keep you know, a snack in my bag, or I've created a rule for myself that I can't ever have you no chips with my sandwich at lunch and I always am eating these relatively unsatisfying, other crunchy things and I would really like to try to experiment with playing with that food roll.

Begin to decide what feels like a good next step. I always encourage clients that is to look for those spaces where you're not honoring your hunger first. You know if the better set can be so helpful. Having enough food is so helpful towards expanding into having more indifferent satisfying foods and challenging some of those food roles. Now we say as it relates to challenging some of the I shoulds and should not eats, that if it's a food you would like to enjoy and can't imagine not having between now and you're the age 95, then don't restrict it from your diet and create a rule around it. Instead, find out how it fits well for you, and your body, and make peace with that food because that is going to be a sustainable way to eat in a joyful way for the rest of your life.

Andrea 37:14
Okay, I love that it's kind of a baby step but such…it's a big baby step, if that makes any sense. Like it's both it's so important but also, I love that you're not asking people to take any massive action right from the get go. It's just an observation at first, just notice.

Megan 37:34
Absolutely, just notice. And because the diet mentality would tell you to jump in and fix a bunch of things, right? I mean, that's it. Anybody who's had a history of dieting gets exhilarated by it first, counting all the things, fantasizing about body changes, fantasizing about the way that you feel. And so intuitive eating has definitely been co-opted by diet culture as well and that's something to be aware of, if any of your listeners are going to start looking for intuitive eating, definitely notice. They need to look for actual permission around food, sometimes I call hitting the brake and the gas people are like, yes, eat all the things but not really. Permission around food is important. And it's somebody who's challenging, you know, fat phobia, and is anti-diet and fat positive is an important part of the process. Otherwise, you're going to get some of that, you know, hitting the brake and the gas at the same time experience. And so that permission piece is so important.

And a lot of conversation about weight and setpoint weights and so on and so forth might be somebody who is using intuitive eating more so as a diet. This noticing what's going on first, is such an important step in the process, to be able to connect with what does hunger feel like in your body, what does fullness feel like in your body, where are you getting really, really, really hungry. Because what really, really hungry is almost always going to lead to really, really, really full. And how can you attend to that hunger in a better way, so that you are more evenly nourished and satisfied throughout the day. And then start to tweak some of those things. But the observation is usually the first thing I have clients do before we start making any changes,

Andrea 39:42
Any changes. Okay, well, now you got me curious about something you said. In your opinion, is there such a thing as a particular person's set weight?

Megan 39:54
Yes. There is a weight that we tend to come to when eating and movement feels right for us. When we're eating in a way that's nourishing us enough, and we're moving in a way that feels good to us. And then that changes throughout our lives. And it's also important to remember that there's a lot of things that influence what that that weight ends up being for us over time. History of restriction and weight cycling, trauma experiences, you know, there are different things that change. Epigenetics. There are different things that can influence our that setpoint. Global pandemics. And I think it's so important to remember that this is about you… Whenever somebody's having a conversation about a setpoint weight, it's freeing to be in a place where your body lives in a certain area of size, in that period of your life without you having to do a lot and put a lot of energy into keeping it there. And that is…

Andrea 41:09
Can you say that again, because I think that is so important.

Megan 41:14
There are times and stages in our life where when we are eating in a way that is nourishing our body well and satisfying and in moving in ways that feel good to us, that our body will say about in a certain place, without us putting a lot of energy into keeping it there. And I think that that might have, is that the part that you were….is not putting a lot of energy into keeping it there. And then that will change. I mean, this is part of the conversation we're having before we jumped on here is that it is normal for all bodies, but I think women especially need to hear this, is that it is normal for you to gain weight as you age that. That is normal, and protective, which is like a whole other episode. But it is healthy for us to change. And that is investigating weight. And that is a normal, that is normal, we don't have nearly enough about what is realistic for a woman's body.

Andrea 42:18
I've loved this conversation for so many reasons. And one of them is, and I really hope that none of my professors from college are listening to this, is that even as someone who, I have my undergrads in exercise physiology, and I'm thinking about what we've learned, and the research that we looked at. I feel like my opinion was biased towards diet culture. Because we did look at research. And this is a minute ago, you guys, I graduated in 2009. I was like one of the oldest people in my class was 31 when I graduated. We did look at some research that talked about more or less the Health at Every Size, that they looked at people who were in larger bodies, who would be deemed as quote unquote, overweight, but they were legitimately healthier, and people who were in smaller bodies. And we were all kind of like looking at it around each other like what? Like, this goes against everything that we've been learning. And it was, honestly, it was such a small part of one class.

And the rest of it we were looking at, you know, because we lose what is it about 10% of our muscle tone each year when we reach a certain age. And I've noticed that like my husband… Are those your legs or you riding a chicken or so white popsicle sticks, like muscle tone said goodbye. And so what we learned was that, you know, you have to keep lifting weights, and I know, and I still lift weights, and I know that it actually is important, especially for our bones, etc, etc. But the angle that I learned it was like, if you don't, it was very fear-based, like if you don't keep that muscle tone… And you have to work really hard, like to keep the same amount of muscle that we had on our body as we did when we were like in our 20s and 30s, then you're gonna like break a femur, you know, like, it was very fear-based. And I still remember looking at all those images of, you know, the scans of muscles, and it's like, oh my god, if I'm not doing CrossFit when I'm 70 I'm doomed. I’m gonna break a hip. When the truth is, if I do CrossFit is what's gonna make me break a hip. I can't do CrossFi, bad shoulder but anyway, you get what I'm saying. Like, even though it was it was a college degree that meant health. It was biased. It totally was.

Megan 44:57
It is and so was my education. I mean as a dietitian, I am. And I'm really fascinated that Health at Every Size was even discussed.

Andrea 45:05
They didn't call it that. They didn't call it that. I learned later, what that was actually kind of pointing to. And it was a very miniscule amount of what we looked at.

Megan 45:14
And what we do is with some of those narratives, like the filters that we came from, and really also oppressive environments for people at higher rates, right, to go into those fields. But we, we actually, this narrative actually discourages folks from participating in behaviors that are healthy. Movement, that is something that your body can do and feels good to your body benefits our health and well-being. It absolutely does. And we've created, you know, a narrative around movement that makes you feel like you can't and so this is one of the things I love that pops up either on Instagram or TikTok nowadays is that you are seeing people in all different sized bodies moving their bodies and all of these incredible ways.

Andrea 46:10
Doing yoga, pole dancing. It's amazing.

Megan 46:13
Absolutely. I think the most recent cover from Runner's World has Marcus, I can't remember his last name, he's 300 pounds and running on Instagram. You know, he's on the cover. And the shame, the fat phobia, the fat shaming, the weight stigma actually discourages people from going out and doing some of these things. It starts to make you feel like that's not for me. I need to be smaller in order to be able to do those things or receive judgment because the assumption is the only reason why you're doing that is because you're trying to lose weight. Instead of enjoying one of the million benefits that comes with you know, moving our bodies.

Andrea 46:59
Yeah, I often recommend people listen to, and we'll pop it in the show notes too. Lindy West did this American life it was a years ago and I think the title of it was called Coming Out As Fat and she one of the things that stuck out. I loved the interview. It was so insightful. She said she around her friends even she only felt like she was a good person if she was a quote unquote good fat person who was actively trying to lose weight. That it became like part of her personality almost she was felt forced into that.

Megan 47:28
Yes, yes. And so it's another even, you know, thing that has to be that you feel like another judgment gets brought on you when you are saying like, I just want to go for a walk. I don't have to be trying to change my body.

Andrea 47:46
Yeah. And maybe they don't want to be on the cover of Runners Magazine. It's like just leave me alone. Okay, all right. Well, tell us like how can people… Do you only see clients in North Carolina? Or do you do like coaching? Like how can people find out more about your services and learn more about you?

Megan 48:06
I do coaching outside of North Carolina and I work with clients in one of two ways. I do one to one sessions in person in North Carolina or virtually in North Carolina or elsewhere. And I also work with folks in membership that we created called Fork the Food Rules when I say we I have a colleague…

Andrea 48:30
I love that. I just, I had to have a moment with that. Okay, tell us about Fork the Food Rules.

Megan 48:36
It is called Fork the Food Rules and we post a monthly masterclass talking about these topics and unpacking them more. We do a monthly masterclass in live discussion with folks that are in the membership. They can have access to the masterclass if live isn't their thing. But for the folks that come and we interact within community with one another is such an awesome experience and I see incredible results towards people achieving food freedom and making advances in their body acceptance, which like we started this all off with, helps you show up better in the world, right?

You start seeing improvements in all other areas, whether it be you know, sexual intimacy to just bravely going ahead and doing things that you know, have been putting off until you lose weight. So it's a beautiful place to interact in the membership and that's like a monthly subscription. Try it out. Cancel it anytime. So those are the two ways that I work with boats one to one or similar things that we talked about and impact one to one but more so in a choose your own adventure or interact with other people who are saying like, yeah, me too. I am tired of people talking about diets at work when I'm like trying to work on connecting with my body more.

Andrea 49:58
Okay, awesome. SimpleNutritionCounseling.com. And then the link to Fork the Food Rules is in that website. And we will link to all of that in the show notes. Thank you so much for being here. This has been so fun.

Megan 50:20
Thank you so much for having me.

Andrea 50:22
Yeah, my pleasure. I'm so happy that you're my neighbor. And everyone, thank you so much for being here and, and making it this far. You know, how grateful I am that you choose to join me and my guests every week. And remember, it's our life's journey to make ourselves better humans and our life's responsibility to make the world a better place. Bye for now.

Hi there, swinging back by to say one more thing. You know, I'm always giving advice over here on the show and on social media. And a couple of those things is that I'm always telling you to ask for what you want, be clear about it, and also ask for help. So I am taking a dose of my own medicine and I'm going to do that right now. It would be the absolute best and mean the world to me if you reviewed and subscribed to this show, Make Some Noise Podcast on whatever podcast platform of your choice. And even more importantly, it would matter so much if you shared this show. Sharing the show is one of the few ways the podcast can grow. And that also gives more women an opportunity to make some noise in their lives. You can do that by taking a screenshot when you're listening on your phone and sharing it in your Instagram or Facebook stories. If you're on Instagram, you can tag me @HeyAndreaOwen and I try my best to always reshare those and give you a quick thank you DM and also you can tell your friends and family about it. Tell them what you learned. Tell them a really awesome guest that you found on the show that you started following whatever it is I appreciate so much for sharing about this show.