Ep. 15 - Eating Disorders and Gluten Sensitivity: Using a Gentle Approach with Sheri Weitz
April 19th, 2022
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Checking with Gluten: https://celiac.org
Doug: [00:00:00] If you feel you often lose control of your eating and your hunger, if you feel anxious or even afraid to enter your kitchen or go out to eat with friends. If you feel you can’t stop eating once you start, or you no longer want to be controlled by food and the emotions that surround it, lean in my friend and get inspired.
This is your wake up call to a life where food doesn’t control you. Where you’re comfortable with what you eat and where you can easily stop whenever you want to. This isn’t science fiction and it’s not another empty weight loss promise. This is hypnosis. And if you like this show, you’ll love my powerful hypnosis audio, The Binge Blocker Protocol. This hypnosis helps you stop out of control eating the moment you feel that urge. It’s a 15 minute audio that deals with the emotions behind compulsive eating. Once those emotions are out of the way, the urge to overeat goes [00:01:00] away with it. Once you get your binge blocker protocol, you can download it to your phone to carry with you whenever you might feel that urge. Whether in a restaurant, in your home or even at your workplace when those breakroom donuts are calling your name. Whether you call it a binge, overeating or simply losing control for a moment, this audio will help you resolve it. You can get your Binge Blocker Protocol by going to anywherehypnosis.com.
That’s anywherehypnosis.com. Right on the homepage, you’ll see where you can get your copy of the Binge Blocker Protocol right now. And I’m serious about that, right now. Pause this podcast to go get your hypnosis today. Don’t worry. I’ll still be here when you get back. Go to anywherehypnosis.com and sign up.
It’s completely free. And if you’re even thinking about getting this hypnosis, trust me, get this hypnosis today. Try it out because you’ll never know just [00:02:00] how effective this can be until you test it out in your own life. Again, that’s anywherehypnosis.com. One more time, anywherehypnosis.com. Now on with the show.
Sheri: Sometimes people just want to be listened to and that’s the therapy, is being heard. So that is number one. Number two, I don’t give orders. I don’t say, eat this way or don’t do that. It’s, you know, I use motivational interviewing techniques, so I really get them to say what they want, what are their goals? So very gentle, nurturing approach.
I do educate so, you know, teaching them some of the science behind what they’re eating and you know, what sugar does to the body and what does toxic fat do to the body and what does overeating do to the body or having high blood sugar do to the body, those kinds of types of things. So I educate, and then it’s just a lot of very gentle goal setting with them being in the steering wheel and just really listening…
(INTRO V2) [00:03:00]
Doug: Welcome back to the weight loss with hypnosis podcast. My name is Doug Sands, and I’m the hypnotist and the host behind this show. And this week I am so excited to share an episode that I [00:04:00] recorded with Sheri Weitz. Sheri is a registered dietician nutritionist who has a powerful amount of experience.
Sheri spent eight years as the director of nutritional therapy at the Raider Institute, a renowned treatment facility for disordered eating. We also spoke quite a bit about disordered eating and the psychology behind it in the second half of the interview. If you’re interested in that, I really highly encourage you to stick around for that information.
Sheri has also developed the original nutrition protocols for Monte Nido, a world renowned eating disorder center. And if you’d like to know more about her work with eating disorders, I highly encourage you to stick around for this episode to learn more about her work. Sheri also specializes in gluten sensitivity.
She has experienced it in her own life, and she’s found solutions that really do work. And Sherry can help guide people through every step of the way because she’s been through it. And we spoke extensively about gluten sensitivity and the other issues that it may cause in [00:05:00] your life, and how to spot it if you’re not sure it might actually be a problem. Though, Sheri has a ton of experience, she’s known for her warmth and her gentle approach. I know you’re really going to love this episode. I really enjoyed having this conversation with Sheri. So with that, let’s get right into it.
Doug: Welcome back to the podcast, everyone. My name is Doug Sands, and I’m joined today by Sheri Weitz. Sheri, thank you so much for joining us today and I’d love for you to just introduce yourself.
Sheri: Absolutely. It’s my pleasure to be here. I’m really excited to be on your hypnotism podcasts, that’s a new one for me. I am a registered dietician nutritionist.
I’m a non diet dietitian. I use the non diet approach, also a lot of functional nutrition, and I’ve been doing this for a few decades, so I’m going to age myself with that one. But with age comes wisdom. And yeah, I see private patients, I work with a couple of doctors in their offices as well, I go to [00:06:00] retreats, I teach Zumba, so I just kind of embrace anything in the health space.
Doug: Absolutely. That’s really fantastic. Looking at that health space, how did you kind of get into with nutrition and overall wellness?
Sheri: That’s a really good question, actually. I don’t get asked that too often. So going back, you know, a hundred years, just kidding. Basically, I have always been into health.
I thought about being a nurse. I’ve always wanted to serve others. And then when I became interested in nutrition, I realized, well, this is the ticket. This is natural medicine. It’s hands-on, actually not hands-on, but it’s, you’re not using drugs. And actually, because of hands-on I did become a massage therapist.
So that’s another thing that I do as part of the health space, but I really embrace the fact that we are what we eat. It connects to mother earth, I’m earth sign, food comes from the earth. And I found, I really liked the science and the challenge about learning about nutrition cause it’s extremely challenging.
Had to have, you know, two years of chemistry. And yeah, it’s not always been easy, I got to tell you. But I’ve made it to the other side and now, I have a [00:07:00] good private practice and I’m really glad I stuck with it. But I thought about dropping out a few times when I was in some of those chemistry classes, but here I am.
Doug: Yes. There’s so much that I’d love to explore there. One thing that caught my attention, I haven’t heard of many other nutritionists talk about the chemistry, of what we’re eating. I’d love to know what is the basic chemistry and how does nutrition impact that chemistry in our body?
Sheri: I mean, I could talk for five years about that, or at least five days, but I’m going to try and do a simple version, but you know, everything we eat is chemistry. You can dry it with hydrogen and carbon. So we have carbohydrates, we have proteins and we have fats. And that is the one of the easiest ways to think about chemistry.
So the chemical makeup of those compounds are completely different. So for a carbohydrate, for instance, it’s four calories per gram of carbohydrate, and it’s converted to energy more quickly than fat or protein, and it converts into blood sugar more quickly. There’s complex carbohydrates, which are long chains of carbohydrate and there’s simple carbohydrates, which are usually just two or one. So [00:08:00] glucose, sugar, dextrose, honey, you know, like table sugar. All of those, you know, agave, those are all simple sugars. So all of that comes down to chemistry. And in class, we learned how to draw the actual chemical compounds.
And we learned at great length with how that affects the body. And then you’ve got a protein, which is a more complex compound because you’ve got all these amino acids connecting and it’s also four calories per gram of protein. It’s converted to sugar much more slowly because it is a protein.
So we can make protein in our body. Or if we don’t have enough calories to sustain our energy needs, then we’re going to use that protein as sort of an expensive energy source. So then we’re going to burn the protein for energy. So that’s not the best way to get our energy. So we don’t always store that protein as muscle for instance, or to make a new hair strand or make our nails stronger.
So that’s one of the ways that being well-nourished comes into play and making sure that you have enough calories because you know, people go on crash diets and they lose their hair for instance, [00:09:00] or they lose muscle masks. They’re not getting enough protein or enough calories to prevent the protein from being burned.
So then we have fat, which is nine calories per gram. And so people get really afraid of it because it’s got more calories per gram. It’s very slowly converted into energy and sugar. It keeps us full longer because it is nine calories per gram.
Sheri: And fats are really super important or in the nutrition chemistry world, we call it a lipid. So there’s healthy lipids, there’s not so healthy lipids. The least healthy lipid would be fried food. I tell people, I still eat French fries for fun, but just know that they’re taking that oil and they’re subjecting it to super high temperatures and tons of free radicals and therefore, you know, that fat becomes pretty much a toxic fat in our body. But sometimes it’s fun to eat French fries so we still do that. By the way, I call that soul food. It’s good for the soul to eat fun food, but basically, if we eat a fat, it’s got that nine calories per gram. It is more slowly absorbed. So it does keep us full longer.
And then if we have the healthy fats, like omega three, like [00:10:00] seeds, not salmon, and fish, basically healthy fats. Those are really good for our, basically our membranes. So you’ve got fat keeping you full. You’ve got a good for your membranes. Keep your blood sugar even because it absorbed more slowly.
So this is how chemistry went into me, understanding fat, carbs and protein at a much deeper level than just knowing, oh, I think that’s a carb, because I do see many people. They have no idea, even what is a carb? So all levels. I have people that come to me that are health enthusiasts that know a ton about nutrition and there’s areas where they know more than me, and it’s great. And then I’ve got patients that don’t know anything about nutrition, their doctor refers them to me. And that can be rewarding too, because they just don’t have a clue. And there’s so much misinformation out there. So, that’s my little spiel about chemistry.
Doug: Yeah. That’s fascinating. And looking at what you mentioned about fats, about how oftentimes people are a little averse to engage with these fats. Talking about the healthy fats, how do you break down some of those ideas that fat is always bad. And how do you work that into their [00:11:00] diet.
Sheri: Yeah. So I do talk about what are the healthy fats? So raw almonds, raw walnuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds. Those are super power foods. I recommend that people eat those every single day and they make great snacks cause they’re super portable and they really do keep us full because of the fat. And then because they have omega three, they do decrease our cholesterol and they actually decrease overall inflammation in the body.
Fish oil can decrease breast cancer risk, and I’m a survivor. So that’s a piece of news that I’ll share. So being a breast cancer survivor, I try and get those omega threes in there. And then they just make our skin look better. So, you know, women are vain. I see a lot of women, you know, let’s make our skin look better, let’s make our hair look better, let’s keep us full longer and prevent our blood sugar from dropping and from us, making those unhealthy choices because we got overly hungry. So to lose fat, we need fat. And there’s no doubt about that. So, fat is a good thing. And you know, people are less afraid of fat now because of the low carb keto craze.
But then, people don’t realize there’s healthier [00:12:00] fats versus unhealthier fats. So that’s still a bit of a knowledge gap for a lot of people.
Doug: Yeah. And that’s such an important point. And talking about your experience as a survivor I’d love to know, has your nutrition changed as far as recovering from cancer and have you helped others with cancer?
Sheri: So, I don’t have a specialty now in terms of helping people with cancer I would like to see more cancer survivors, people that are going through cancer, because I do think it helps to know that someone’s been through it. In terms of me eating, I will have to say that myself and almost everyone in my support group were the healthiest eaters I had ever met. We were a bunch of kale eating exercisers. And so that sort of, blew the lid off me feeling like I could be a superhuman by eating well. So it’s made me kind of softer in my approach and just realizing that there’s a lot of genetic things that come into play with cancer. There’s environment, there’s emotions, and there’s this genetic thing that sometimes things just go awry and we get it.
So, what’s changed for me is feeling that we could absolutely prevent cancer by [00:13:00] eating well. No, we can’t. Now, do we still want to eat well? Yes, even though I ate great and I still got cancer, I do feel anything I can do. You know, that’s God grant me the serenity to accept the things that cannot change and the wisdom to know the things that I can and the wisdom to know the difference.
So that’s something I can control. I can control what I eat and then there’s the risk that I could get cancer. So it is something that makes me feel a little bit more in control when I eat healthier. And yes, there’s great foods to prevent cancer. So I do mention that to my patients. I would say more often, whether or not they are a cancer survivor or not.
And I do see a fair amount, it’s just not my specialty. So I’ll tell people, get those cruciferous vegetables. Those are A Plus Plus anti-cancer foods. So get your broccoli, get your cauliflower, get your Brussels sprouts and your kale. Get your omega-3, you know, minimize fried foods. Those are some of the main things, eat organic whenever possible, and that’s good for the planet.
So I really emphasize those things. And also, I emphasize that we’re human and we’re vulnerable. And if we get cancer, the treatments great now, and there’s a really good [00:14:00] chance you’ll get better. And that, it’s okay to accept that you’re not perfect. And that’s something that was my big journey for me, was realizing that I can’t control everything.
I’m not perfect. I may get cancer and I don’t eat perfectly. I had a chiropractor told me when I got diagnosed, she said, don’t even eat one bite of sugar. And I practically gave her the finger and I just thought I can’t live like that. So I still eat some sugar.
In fact, I was supposed to gain weight for my surgery, sort of they could do a fat transfer to create a breast with fat from my stomach so that my doctor said eat more ice cream. So I eat ice cream. I didn’t go crazy with sugar. That made me feel uncomfortable, but I still ate some. And I’m so grateful to say, they use the cure word at UCLA, so I’m cured.
And yes, sugar does feed cancer. We don’t want to go crazy, but it really doesn’t work to tell someone don’t eat any sugar. And that’s a lead into something that I did want to talk about with you, which is the psychology and the hypnotherapy aspect. One of the things that I’ve always said to my patients is, you know, don’t imagine a pink elephant.
Well, what’s the first thing you visualize? Yeah. So don’t eat [00:15:00] sugar. I have a breast cancer patient that I’m seeing right now, that had a double mastectomy and she’s a complete sugar addict. Every meal, she’s a mess. Her doctor was yelling at her saying, don’t eat any sugar and scaring her, and it didn’t work.
So I’ve used the gentle approach and use techniques of mine, such as eating more protein and fat to satisfy her and decrease her cravings and having her cry in my office and just realize that she’s craving sugar because of her, you know, needing more serotonin in her brain.
Sugar is a great way to increase your serotonin, so that really works. That gentle approach combined with the science of it. And that’s where I guess what makes me a little bit different than other people. My unique approach is combining science with a lot of therapy and you know, you can’t separate emotions from food.
So, when doctors just say, stop eating sugar, it can have the opposite effect because of that don’t imagine a pink elephant theory.
Doug: Yeah. That’s such an important idea to bring up that the things that we tend to cut out of our diet, that’s what we tend to focus on. And the brain can’t really tell what [00:16:00] we slap a label of don’t do something on it, you have to make that picture and then that becomes the target state. And that is such a backward method of going about it. And so one other thing that you mentioned was, this woman was eating sugar because she wanted the serotonin. And so many times when I’m working with people with hypnosis, it’s the eating or the other issue that they’ve had that they’re trying to deal with. That’s not the actual problem. That’s actually just like a coping mechanism. As this woman, and she was trying to get something that in her case, serotonin. For other people that might be escape from negative emotions and might be stability if they grew up in a turbulent home or something like that.
And I’d love to ask you personally, working with clients when they have, you know, perhaps coping mechanisms built up around food and emotions around food. What kind of tools do you use to work through those connections?
Sheri: That’s such a really important question. And that’s a big question. So, some of the tools, I listen, I provide an empathetic, you know, sometimes people just want to be listened to and that’s the therapy, is being heard.
So that is number one. Number two, I don’t give orders. I don’t say, eat this [00:17:00] way or don’t do that. It’s, you know, I use motivational interviewing techniques, so I really get them to say what they want, what are their goals? So very gentle, nurturing approach. I do educate so teaching them some of the science behind what they’re eating and what sugar does to the body and what does toxic fat do to the body and what does overeating do to the body or having high blood sugar do to the body, those kinds of types of things. So I educate, and then it’s just a lot of very gentle goal setting with them being in the steering wheel. And just really listening in and a lot of question asking, because as you mentioned, sometimes it’s because the person was abused as a child.
And so they need that weight as a buffer and a protection for them. So if they can get to that piece of you know, understanding that I’m choosing to have this weight on me to protect myself, it’s very empowering for them. And they might not be ready to lose the weight, or they might just be so stressed out that they’re craving sugar and carbs as what I call self-medicating with food.
And so, you know, to say, don’t eat that is going to do the opposite. It’s going to increase their stress and increase their toxic [00:18:00] guilt. So it’s about giving permission for them and no foods or bad foods, really allowing all foods to be eaten and just increasing their awareness of, you know, how it feels when they eat those foods and how their emotions tie into it.
Doug: That it’s so important. And oftentimes I find that, you know, if someone comes in and they say, Doug, can you hypnotize me to never drink soda again? It’s like, theoretically, yes, but we’re removing that coping mechanism. We’re just creating like a pressure cooker without a release valve. And I think that even if the coping mechanism might not be the best thing for you, that we have to realize that it might be helping you. And we just need to give our brains better tools to work with that. And I’d love to touch on something that you mentioned earlier about control, about having that good relationship with food.
A lot of times I see people who are, you know, doing the keto diet and they are 100% strict about it or doing some other paleo diet and they are rigid about it. I’d love to know what will you say to people like that when they are totalitarian almost in their eating habits.
Sheri: So I always say, if you want to do that diet, I will support you.[00:19:00]
It’s not something that I would prescribe for somebody and I don’t see it as sustainable. So I’ve yet to meet someone that just will continue to be on a keto diet for their whole life, or be on a paleo diet for their whole life. Now, the paleo thing, there are people that have autoimmune issues. And so there’s an autoimmune protocol diet, and that’s one of my specialties, is a gluten-free diet and sometimes people have to be grain-free for health reasons. But even then, there’s usually room to have a little bit of this and a little bit of that and not be, as you mentioned, totalitarian about it.
So I really do advise people to be less rigid so that it’s sustainable for their whole life. And that’s why I call myself a lifestyle coach as well as a dietician. Because, you know, if you go up and down with your weight and what we call weight cycle. It’s actually worse for your health. There’s a lot of research that shows if you just maintain a heavier weight versus losing that weight, gaining, losing, and gaining, you’re going to be better off.
So don’t try a diet unless you can stick to it, which means don’t go on a diet. My latest blog, if you go to my website, which is movetowellness.net [00:20:00] specifically talking about the non-diet approach and avoiding diets because I don’t believe in them. And I think you can take parts of it that work for people, but to be as you mentioned, I love that word, even though it’s a bad word, totalitarian. I just don’t recommend that ever.
Doug: Absolutely. And looking at what you mentioned about gluten, I know that this is something that’s very important to you. What does it mean for your health to be gluten free?
Sheri: So again, at my blog, my blog is called gluten-free. Is it meant to be, because it’s really not for everyone.
So I have been off gluten for about 17 years. I was very sick. My hair was falling out. I could not raise my right arm. I had this extreme muscle weakness. I had elevated liver enzymes. I had low back pain all the time and my feet were swollen. And so I thought it was normal that I couldn’t make dinner.
Cause I was in so much pain. That’s just how I was. And then, I woke up one day and my feet were like giant like elephantiasis, that disease, my feet were giant spoiled, swollen feet, and actually went to a holistic physical therapist of all people. Very knowledgeable woman that did this very unique technique where she connects parts of the body.
[00:21:00] And I can’t remember the name of it, again 17 years ago. And she said, I think you’re sensitive to gluten. And I said, I think you’re right. I’ve been thinking maybe I am. And cut it out slowly, and then got a blood test and cut it that 100% and just completely transformed my health.
And so I’m very passionate about that. And so if any red flag goes up with somebody that I’m staying, if they have any thyroid issues, if they have eczema, psoriasis, their hair’s falling out, gut pain, I always want to test them for gluten. And I recommend plunking the money down for the blood test.
Both of my sons are gluten sensitive. Thank you, mom. Right. And I said, I’m not going to give you that blood test unless you’re willing to go through with it. And they did. And sure enough, their health has been transformed too so I’m passionate about it. But if you’re not sensitive to gluten, I don’t recommend going off it.
And whole grains are super healthy. So it’s good to know if you really do need to be offered or not.
Doug: And looking at, you know, I’ve done a little bit of research on the science of grains and everything. But for those who are just coming to the idea of, you know, gluten-free, why is it that some people can not process gluten and why does it affect our health [00:22:00] in so many ways?
Sheri: You know, they’re still figuring out more of the genetics. So there’s about 1%, very small percentage of the population that do have celiac disease. So that’s very unusual. It means you literally cannot have even a trace amount of gluten and you’ve got giant holes in your gut when that happens. You’ve got these little carpet like fibers that come up from your small intestine.
And if you eat gluten, they get completely flattened and then you can develop severe anemia, osteopenia or osteoporosis and, you name it. I mean, people can be hospitalized for that, but then there’s up to 40% of the population. Somehow, gluten, they just form antibodies against it and they don’t always get the flattened villi from that.
So sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t like I had a biopsy, I didn’t have that issue, but a lot of those people do have what we call leaky gut, which is a whole other subject, caused by stress, caused by antibiotics, by environmental factors and if you’re sensitive to gluten, it will continue to increase leaky gut. So it’s a negative feedback loop.
And so for those people, it’s really important to get off gluten and [00:23:00] sometimes most grains. And there’s a blood test that I order from Cyrex labs. So I love where it’s called a Ray four and it looks at non-gluten grains. So, I had a woman come to me, turns out she was working in Asia as a professional soccer player, and she thought she was gluten sensitive.
So I gave her the gluten test and the non-gluten grain test. She was fine with gluten. She was allergic to rice or sensitive to rice, which is why her health went down the tubes when she was playing in Japan, because all she ate was rice. So if you can afford these blood tests, they’re awesome. You can also do the free method, which is really strict elimination and reintroduction with journaling, observation, perhaps working with a dietician nutritionist so that it helps keep you really, a hundred percent with it and being a little more objective with it. And then you can find out if you’re sensitive. But it can be a little more tricky, but the price is right, because that’s a free way to do it.
Doug: That is true. And talking about the very far extreme celiac and then that group of people who are sensitive to gluten, what are some of the warning signs that typically people will come to a nutritionist or an expert and say, I’m not really sure what’s going on that [00:24:00] might be linked to gluten.
Sheri: Well, bloating is huge. People come to me with bloating. They come to me with, like constipation or diarrhea or some kind of irritable bowel syndrome, thyroid issues. They can’t lose weight. They just feel just sluggish, just kind of, you know, just inflamed and sluggish.
And I’ve got to say I’ve got more energy now than when I was in my twenties. So, I mean, yeah. It’s really rewarding. I’ve have had people in my practice that went from sluggishness, you know, bloat, you name it just extreme health problems and going off gluten transformed their health. So it depends, it could be any symptom.
There are people that don’t have any gut symptoms at all. I had a patient that came to me with psoriatic arthritis and she couldn’t take Humira because it caused a fake tumor in her brain, which is a side effect of Humira. Rheumatoid arthritis, any kind of auto-immune, gluten should always be looked at if you have auto-immune and auto-immunity is one of the greatest, in terms of the numbers, it’s going up faster than almost any disease.
Doug: That’s so important. And thank you so much for sharing that. For those who you know, may have been eating gluten their entire lives, who are [00:25:00] really, I don’t want to say dependent, but really tied to those carbs. Do you have any tips for changing that diet, I don’t want to say enjoyably, but a little more easily?
Sheri: Well again, make sure you really need to be off gluten because it’s tough. I’ve cried. I’ve sat, you know, stood there in the aisle at the grocery store and cried or been at a social occasion where everybody else ate something that I really wanted. And it was super hard. So going off, gluten is not easy.
I’m not going to sugar coat it. But if you really do have to go off it, there’s a lot of gluten-free options now, there are gluten-free breads, there’s keenwah, there’s gluten-free pizza. Those are not healthy examples, but squashes are really healthy examples of things to eat that are good carbs.
And it’s actually a starchy vegetable. So you were getting a vegetable. So it makes spaghetti squash for pasta, use acorn squash use butternut squash. I’m like big squash fan. And also, you know, check ahead when you go to a restaurant, maybe call and ask them, you know, what do you have? That’s gluten free on your menu so that you don’t have awkward social occasions where you’re interrogating the staff, is this gluten-free or not?
There’s an app called find me [00:26:00] gluten-free, which you can go on to. So there’s so many tools, you can go on a celiac.org, even though you’re not celiac per se. It’s a very, dependable, accurate website for listing what has gluten and what doesn’t.
Doug: That’s excellent. And for listeners, all of those links are going to be in the show notes or the description.
If you’re watching this on YouTube. I should say I’d love to touch on the idea that it’s not always about framing it. It’s not always about removing things about the things that we cannot eat. Perhaps looking at the ideas of the things that we choose to eat, the things that we get to eat. For me personally, I’ve reduced the weed in my diet. Not entirely, but I’ve noticed how some of those things that we see as a trade off for this week are actually quite delicious. As you mentioned, the spaghetti squash and the other types of squash and, keenwah, that’s fantastic. I’d love to know what your take is on the psychology of choosing to be gluten-free or to eat this way?
Sheri: I’m so glad you said that because even though we talked about that at the beginning of this podcast, about how negative it is to say, don’t think of a pink elephant, don’t eat sugar, it’s so important to embrace what we can do. So focusing on let’s add [00:27:00] this, let’s choose that, let’s have the squash, let’s try the keenwah, let’s eat extra protein to satisfy ourselves and eat extra healthy fat, let’s eat nuts and seeds instead of grabbing those Ritz crackers. Right. So that we can actually feel good. So what’s the payoff? How do you feel? Feeling good is a very, very powerful internal motivator. First is the scale. So I mostly tell my patients stay off the scale because that’ll usually mess with your head, but feeling good, having more energy, psychologically having that boost, sleeping better, that’s the positive cycle. So choosing these other foods will lead to feeling better, which will lead to choosing those better foods. So it’s a positive cycle that is so much more productive than saying, don’t eat gluten, don’t eat meat, don’t eat sugar.
Doug: Absolutely. And looking at your own experience, working with clients, how long does it take after changing that diet for people to notice, I’m actually feeling much better?
Sheri: Honestly, between three days and three months. Some people immediately notice a difference. Other people, it takes longer. It depends. So, it’s always [00:28:00] fun when it’s really fast, oh my gosh, I feel so much better.
Right? We always want quick result, but it’s not always a quick result. So, It just depends. I’ve got an 18 year old that is in college. And the poor thing is a freshmen that had to go off gluten, but she’s doing great. Within two weeks, her bloating went from extreme where she would wake up feeling like she was pregnant, to just feeling great, not having to undo her pants after she eats feeling awesome.
Her hair’s not falling out now. And that’s been about four weeks. So, that’s probably a more common amount of time. Give it about four weeks.
Doug: Thank you so much for sharing that. Because oftentimes, we are looking for that quick result. Someone might try it for a week and say, nothing really changed, where you just kind of got to give it some time to actually show its results.
Sheri: Well, if you really want the result with gluten, I’m going to say this. This is where I do get a little extreme, but just for three weeks, don’t even have one bite because one bite’s a lot. So one bite is hundreds and hundreds of pieces of gluten. One piece of gluten, just brushing up against a crumb can make a person with celiac sick.
So imagine how many crumbs are in one bite of wheat bread or [00:29:00] one bite of a hamburger bun. So just remember if you actually trying to do an experiment, you can have all those gluten-free foods. You can have all the squash and gluten-free hamburger buns but do not have even one bite if you’re going to test out gluten to see if you really are a sensitive, that’s my advice.
If you get results by just cutting down on wheat, awesome. But if you really want to know if you’re sensitive, I would say, go for it for three weeks.
Doug: And talking about the gentle approach that you had touched on earlier. I really think that’s so important because oftentimes some people will respond to that, you know, the drill Sergeant where everything is rigid, there are complete rules, but there’s so many others that just does not work for them. They just shut down. And so I think that’s so important. And looking at your own process, when working with clients, what does your approach look like?
Sheri: So gentle. And I always say, look, if you want to go off gluten, we have to be strict. So maybe we’ll just wait and just think about it. Or maybe, yeah, maybe just cut down for now. I always just say, there’s no bad foods. That what you eat doesn’t make you a bad or good person. And what you weigh, does it make you bad or good either. There’s a really good movement called [00:30:00] healthy at every size, H.A.E.S. And what’s nice about that, is there are people that are considered overweight that are still healthy. Their BMI may be high, but their labs are good, they feel good. So taking the stigma out of the weight and the stigma out of how we eat, because so many of my patients won’t feel so guilty when they eat something.
And I say, no, no, that’s fun food. It’s okay. You got to have it sometimes because it’s not sustainable to try and be perfect. So I don’t eat perfectly. I’m a dietician. I don’t, I eat some fried food. I eat some sugar. I don’t like the whole perfect thing, but obviously if you have celiac, there’s medical conditions where you just have to do without, and that’s where I think a support group comes in and just, you know, getting in touch with your emotions, getting support, having a good cry sometimes. And that’s where also I come in is just that the emotional support and having that, emotional intelligence that I would like to think I have.
Doug: Yeah. And looking at your process and perhaps, the psychology of it. We had talked a little bit before about losing weight and perhaps, recovering from disordered eating. I’d love to know, What your process is when working with specific cases like [00:31:00] this?
Sheri: Well, that’s something I haven’t even mentioned is that, that was literally my career for 10 years, was eating disorders. That’s what I did.
I was with the Raider Institute, which used to be the premier eating disorder treatment facility in the country. They had 27 units all over the country. I was the director of nutrition therapy for them. Then I helped create Monte Nido, which has replaced the Raider Institute. I think they have more than 25 or 30 eating disorder treatment centers all over the country.
And so that was my whole field was eating disorders. Severe, severe anorexics were under my care. Also extremely obese. They would mix them at the Raider Institute. So I had a 56 pound woman and I had a 640 pound man. So I have dealt with a lot of extreme eating disorders, people that purged, you know, 40 times a day, people that took laxatives.
So there are laxative bulimics. And so I’ve seen everything, nothing shocks me or surprises me. And then I’ve just, you know, have people that just are compulsive eaters and emotional eaters. So there’s mild, there’s extreme. So my approach is never one size fits all. It’s always based on that person and their [00:32:00] story.
And how are their parents when they were younger? Because often it comes from family of origin, often it comes from abuse, It might come from being forced to finish their food, you know, being part of that clean plate club. So it really just depends on that person. Like I said, it ranges from extreme to just mild compulsive eating tendencies.
Doug: I think that’s such an important point to stress that it’s not always the extreme of someone is, you know, clinically defined as anorexic or obese or bulemic or something like this. It’s that, we all at times perhaps can struggle with our eating. And sometimes it’s just, you know, compulsive, sometimes it borders on that disorder eating. And I’d love to know, with all of your experience at disordered eating, what is the general psychology of disordered eating, and how does it go from like a small problem to a compulsion?
Sheri: Everyone’s story is so different. So for an anorexic, it’s typically control, you know, in a big way it’s control. They have a need to control their life, and their weight and food is a way to control their life and have that control.
They typically are type A people that are hyper achievers type A type of people, or [00:33:00] abused also. If they’re sexually abused, then that’s protection to become invisible and shrink away and that type of thing and have control. And then if you’ve got someone that’s maybe obese or they’re just compulsive overeater, and maybe that person was also abused and the food is a way to cope and have that buffer like a boundary, they’re forming a boundary against abusers.
You’ve got people that were just given all the wrong messages when they were kids, like don’t eat that. Don’t eat that. Finish your food. You’re overweight. So just those negative messages has created such a head trip with them that they’re not in touch with their hunger and their fullness. So that’s kind of one of my basics, is that I help them get in touch with their hunger and their fullness. And get out of their head with their food and get back in their body, you know, eat with mindfulness and all foods are okay. So with eating disorders, it’s really important not to be on a diet, it’s especially important to get away from the rules and get back in touch with the emotions.
Doug: Yeah. And looking at the background of eating disorders, how they actually develop. I think that’s such an interesting point that it doesn’t have to be perhaps a big T trauma, like a car accident or sexual abuse. It could be a bunch of [00:34:00] small things that develop, or just as you mentioned, messages that we get as children.
So many times I tell people, you know, when we’re in that zero to seven age, we’re like a sponge. We’re just soaking up every single bit of information because we don’t really know what’s going to help us in life or not. And so it’s part of our survival.
Sheri: Yeah. I’ve got people that were put on diets when they were really little or they were too skinny when they were little. So their parents worried about them being too skinny and shoved food down their face and made them finish their food. And so they got out of touch with their natural fullness and hunger cycle because kids naturally know when they’re hungry and full, unless there’s abuse or they’re being forced to finish their food.
Do you still work with people with disordered eating?
Sheri: Oh, yeah, that’s probably always about 30% or more of my practice.
Doug: Nice. That’s excellent. And I think that the gentle approach, especially for people who are just figuring this out, I think that sounds like such a valuable resource. And for anyone listening, who maybe perhaps questioning or looking for a resource to help with disordered eating, I definitely recommend reaching out to Sheri. This has been an absolutely fantastic conversation. So just a couple more questions for you, Sheri, I’d love to [00:35:00] know, you know, looking at your process, are there any odd bits of advice that you give to clients that perhaps run against the grain of what we’re taught, what we hear from the society. I thought your point about being overweight and stable, who is perhaps sometimes better or often better than yo-yoing up and down, I thought that was a really interesting point.
Sheri: Yeah. That goes against the grain, so to speak. Also I think just the fact that I really am an anti diet person. I think there’s, you know, most nutritionists will recommend at least some sort of meal plan or diet. And I tend to say, look, if you go on a meal plan or on a diet, you’re going to go off of it.
And when you go off of it, excuse my French, all hell breaks loose. Right? So it’s better to be gentle and go for the lifestyle change, go for the internal process of how hungry am I, how full am I? We work on body image, you know, that type of thing. So it’s nutrition therapy, let’s not joke.
Just like, what you do is hypnosis therapy. And this is impossible to separate food and feelings. They’re extremely connected. We do try and separate them a little bit, so people can get a little more objective, but they’re so connected.
Doug: Absolutely. [00:36:00] And looking at your practice, where can people find out more about you, and are there any resources that people can access?
Sheri: Absolutely. So my website again, is movetowellness.net. And, I do virtual so people can see me from all over the country. And I have a lot of blogs I’ve written, I’ve written at least I think 15 blogs on my website that are very educational meant for the lay person. So I’ve got blogs on gluten-free.
What is, you know, isn’t meant to be, intuitive eating, which is what we’ve been talking about. Talking about restaurant eating and some tips for that or tips for when you’re traveling, I have tips for how to help your kids eat healthy when they’ve gone back to school, and more. So I’ve got a lot of blogs if you go to my website for, you know, some basic, hopefully easy to read and hopefully entertaining writing.
Doug: Perfect. I definitely recommend listeners to check it out. And finally, Sheri, do you have any parting words of wisdom or advice that you’d like to leave listeners with?
Sheri: Oh, boy, I should have prepared that one.
I will say the core of everything, the core of good nutrition, the core of anything in terms [00:37:00] of your life and health is self-love. So I want to just say, practice self-love for good nutrition.
Doug: That’s excellent. Sheri, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.
Sheri: Thank you so much, Doug. It’s been really great talking to you.
Doug: What fantastic information we got from Sheri today. I want to thank Sheri for giving her time and giving her information.
And if you gained some nugget of wisdom from this episode, I encourage you to subscribe. Click the plus sign on your podcasting app or click the bell if you’re watching on YouTube, because you won’t want to miss episodes that are coming next. Sheri and I both put in our time to make sure that you got this valuable information and I’m asking you to take just a moment of your time to help us out. Those subscribes help this podcast to be more visible to people who need this information.
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I want to thank you again for joining me. My name is Doug Sands, and I help compulsive and emotional eaters to end the obsession with food and make peace with it. Often in as little as two sessions. Thank you so much for joining me for this episode. And I look forward to seeing you in the next one.
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To your journey towards better health,
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