Psycho-Spiritual Wellness: A Path to Feeling Normal Around Food
If you’re new around here, welcome! This page will explain everything you need to know about Psycho-Spiritual Wellness, and hopefully answer some questions.
First, let’s start with a definition of Psycho-Spiritual Wellness:
Intrigued? The FAQ below explains EVERYTHING.
Understanding Psycho-Spiritual Wellness: An Epic FAQ
Want a quick crash course in Psycho-Spiritual Wellness? The FAQ below will get you plugged in fast. What you’re about to read is actually the preface of my book, Daily Reminders on Psycho-Spiritual Wellness. It contains everything you need to navigate the path towards feeling normal around food.
Now, let’s get started with the most popular question:
Hi, I’m struggling with my weight. How do I lose weight?
By listening to your body. Your body already has all the wisdom it needs to be its natural weight. The struggle begins when we stop listening to the body, namely hunger and fullness. So, the over-simplified answer is to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full.
Yeah, knew that. But I can’t stop when I’m full.
Yeah, I feel that. This is where most people struggle. And this is why I’m not a huge fan of dieting or “mindful eating” – because they don’t address the psychology or beliefs that fuel overeating and self-sabotage to begin with. That’s why Psycho-Spiritual Wellness focuses first and foremost on psychology to help you stop overeating.
What is that word, Psycho-Spiritual Wellness?
Psycho-Spiritual Wellness helps you learn how to feel normal around food and stop overeating through 100% psychological and spiritual practices. I don’t talk about diet or exercise because it’s not my area of expertise and, in my opinion, it’s only 10% of the equation.
Ex-squeeze me?! What do you mean food and exercise have nothing to do with it?!
Hear me out. If you eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full, you can still achieve your natural weight — even if you’re eating hamburgers all day. Although, I don’t think anyone really wants to eat hamburgers all day.
Maybe in the beginning you will. But after a while, I think you’d get sick of it. (Ever seen Super Size Me?) And if you are truly listening to your body, I don’t think anybody really wants burgers all the time. Maybe just once in a while. That’s how I like to enjoy them.
No no. I’m the ONE person — the total freak — who would actually eat burgers and never stop if I let myself eat that way.
Once I started coaching, I was actually shocked to learn that most people feel this way. Except no one talks about it because we’re all convinced that we’re the only ones! And this is what diet culture has done to us. It has shamed us out of eating.
I promise that, as someone who has personally struggled with compulsive eating — with “eating well” all day only to shovel entire sleeves of cookies into my face at midnight — you really do “get over” eating the “bad food” once you start listening to your body. (You won’t even call it “bad food” anymore.)
So you’re telling me that I can eat burgers and cookies and still lose weight?
Yes, I am. But you might be missing the point of Psycho-Spiritual Wellness. The point isn’t just to lose weight and look good and THEN feel food. The point is to learn how to feel bad so that you can deal with the uncomfortable feelings (like loneliness or anxiety) that trigger compulsive eating to begin with. The point is to learn how to feel any feeling without being swept away by it — that way you can listen to your body regardless of how you feel.
Sounds like a lot of listening and feeling. Will that airy fairy stuff really work?
Oh baby, yes it does! But there’s a formula that looks slightly different for everyone. Generally speaking, first you need to get reacquainted with your body. Get back in touch with hunger and fullness. Practice eating exactly what appeals to you and also practice stopping when you’re full. The Stop, Drop, & Feel helps A LOT with all of this, but it can be difficult! Fortunately, it gets easier with time and practice.
Yeah you just lost me. Because if I stop dieting, won’t I gain weight?
Maybe… at first. See the second stage of giving up dieting — the “rebel binge” phase. Super scary, but a rite of passage for everyone. Before you run off, because this isn’t what you signed up for, please know that after Stage 2, your weight will start to normalize and, if you were overweight before, you’ll naturally lose weight as your body finds balance.
But can’t I do this without gaining weight at all?
Most people who have been restricting their diet for years (even decades) HAVE to go through the rebellion binge phase (stage 2 of giving up dieting). Everryyooneee does, including me. And yes, I gained a little weight, and yes I lost all that weight, plus a little more.
But the goal of Psycho-Spiritual Wellness isn’t just to lose weight! It’s to learn how to feel normal around food first and foremost. But since everyone gets panicked about weight gain, I will share the way to reduce the magnitude of the rebellion binges.
How? Tell me the secrets.
By practicing the Stop, Drop, & Feel relentlessly. All the time. All day every day.
You can even do the Stop, Drop, & Feel when you AREN’T about to binge. In fact, emotional check-in’s like that are a great way to 1) develop emotional awareness, 2) continue developing emotional tolerance, and 3) prepare for the heavy onslaught of emotions that bubble up after you stop dieting and begin to feel your feelings.
Because, public service announcement: getting yourself to stop overeating and achieve your natural weight probably won’t feel the way you want it to feel. It’s actually going to suck (see this truth bomb for that rude-yet-necessary awakening).
That sounds awful. You lost me again. Why am I even here?
You’re here because you’re tired of gaining and losing the same 10 pounds over and over again (“weight cycling”). You’re here to learn how to feel normal around food by finally doing something so radically different — giving up dieting — that it just might work.
Yeah. That’s right. I am sick of gaining all the weight back after each diet. But what do I eat?
Yeah I read that, but what about sugar?
If your body wants it, eat it! And if you’re really struggling, get a copy of my best resource on this topic: Stopping Sugar Addiction the Psycho-Spiritual Way. It’s an 81-page workbook that will help you stop feeling magnetically pulled towards sugar without actually restricting sugar!
But sugar is bad. Dairy is bad. There are lots of bad foods. You can’t possibly be encouraging me to eat those things?!
Yes, I am. Especially during the stage 2 rebellion binges. If it’s what your body wants, EAT IT.
You lost me again!!
Hey, it’ll be okay. Whenever you panic, just go back to the eating guidelines: eat exactly what appeals to you when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, and feel your feelings when you want to eat when you’re not hungry.
This will equip you with REAL LIFE SKILLS! You know, the skill of becoming tolerant to discomfort so that you can achieve your goals, because everything worthwhile in this life takes some amount of discomfort.
Yeah you have a point, but I’m scared of eating sugar and gaining weight. So, am I screwed?
Look, I hear you. And honestly, Psycho-Spiritual Wellness isn’t for everyone. If your only goal is to lose weight, then you might not be ready. I think someone has to be really fed up with failing at diets before they can give it up. And I’m here when you’re ready!
Pretty much, Psycho-Spiritual Wellness is for spiritual-seeking bad asses who are ready to take a good look at themselves and own their sh*t (i.e. own the fact that they’ve been using food to numb their feeling). You will feel like crap in the beginning (see this post where I prepare you for that) and that means you’re doing it right.
Soooo you’re saying that I’m going to feel awful, possibly gain weight, and that it’ll be alright?
I am. Maybe that’s the “psycho” in Psycho-Spiritual Wellness 😉
Har har, but really, this all sounds awful. So, one last time, why am I here?
Because if you follow all of these steps, you’ll finally be free from food obsession. You’ll stop thinking about food all day. You’ll stop letting your weight dictate your mood. One day, you’ll get hungry, and it’ll be the first time all day that you’ve thought about food! This will free up so much mental energy for getting back to LIFE.
Oh, and as you continue on this journey, you’ll probably lose weight. But it’ll just be the cherry on top. Because all you ever wanted, deep down, was to feel good about your body and stop binge eating. And because you worked on the psychology of overeating, you recognize that “getting skinny” won’t solve your problems or bring the happiness you thought it would. And now that you’ve got your head straight, you’re in full BAD ASS GET IT DONE MODE.
You’ll get to a point where someone can put a platter of cookies and cakes and sweets in front of you and you won’t even want it. Or you’ll have one bite and stop.
This type of “self-control” becomes possible because, at this point, it’s not even self-control! It’s just you being in sync with yourself. If your body doesn’t want sweets, you won’t give it sweets. And after the rebellion binges, you’ll probably find that it doesn’t.
There is so much LIFE available to you outside of food obsession. It takes grit to get through the tough spots – and there will be times where you backslide (like the time I did) – but if you keep going, you will get there.
Alright, I’ll give it my best shot. I’m honestly very scared.
I agree that it’s scary. It terrified the bajeebers out of me, too. But hey, you don’t have to do it alone. You can always reach me by email (hello @ karidahlgren.net) to ask questions or express concerns. Pretty much, email me when you’re in panic mode. I got you.
*deep breath in* *big sigh out* Ok. I’m going to take the plunge into Psycho-Spiritual Wellness.
Awesome! Let’s do this.
Together, of course. 😊✨