EP 74 – From Bikini Competitions to Confident Intuitive Eater with Katie Valley

by | May 2, 2022

EP 74 – From Bikini Competitions to Confident Intuitive Eater with Katie Valley

Show Notes:

In today’s interview, my guest and I discussed her experience of competing in bikini fitness competitions.  In this very candid interview, Katie Valley shared what it was like training for and competing in bikini competitions, and how this influenced her body image and relationship with food and exercise.

Katie talks about how her unhealthy obsession with weight and calories morphed into an obsession with health and “clean eating”, and when she realized that her healthy pursuits were really not so healthy.

Now having repaired her body image, and trusting her body as an intuitive eater, Katie has found the freedom, peace and confidence she always wished for.

As a new mom, she shares an inspiring message about how her daughter will grow up in a home free from diet talk and body shame.

Inside, Katie shares some excellent tips to help improve your relationship with food and body that apply not just to pregnant and postpartum people, but to us all.

What you’ll learn by listening:

  1. What’s often really going on behind closed doors of those people who are often looked to as “role models” for fitness and health
  2. Why it’s so problematic to complement people’s body
  3. How to tell the difference between a healthy lifestyle and Orthorexia
  4. Why weight, fitness and nutrition are only a small piece of a person’s overall health status
  5. Why so many women struggle with negative body image
  6. Tips to improve body image and relationship with food during and after pregnancy (and always!)

About our Guest:

Katie Valley is a Holistic Nutritionist and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor whose goal is to dispel the myths of diet culture and reinforce a holistic, health-focused approach to wellness. After her own experience with disordered eating and poor body image, Katie found true healing by practicing Intuitive Eating and Body Acceptance. As a new mom, she recognizes the power in that healing and the impact it will have on her choices while raising her own daughter.

Mentioned in the show:

Katie’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/katievalleywellness/

Katie’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/katievalleywellness1

Free Intuitive Eating Affirmation Cards: https://www.katievalleywellness.com/intuitive-eating-affirmation-deck

—About the Host—Kim Hagle is a certified Personal Trainer, Body Image Coach, mom of four and founder of Radiant Vitality Wellness. Through mindset coaching and intuitive movement and eating, Kim helps women go beyond the desire to lose weight so they can feel healthy and confident in their now body.

— Want to feel good in your body without focusing on weight.   Download “5 Steps to Feeling Healthy, Happy and Confident (without obsessing over the scale)” – our FREE guide that will help get started with the non-diet approach.  Inside you’ll learn 5 simple shifts to feeling better in your NOW body! www.radiantvitality.ca/freeguide

—Ready to take the next step?  Visit our website to learn more about our coaching programs www.radiantvitality.ca/programs

—For health professionals looking to adopt the non-diet approach in your business, visit Kim’s mentor, Stephanie Dodier’s site for free resources to get started.  https://www.stephaniedodier.com

—Let’s stay in touch! Kim is on Instagram and Facebook @radiantvitalitywellness.  Or visit her website at www.radiantvitality.ca

—Disclaimer.  The information contained in this podcast is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice.  Always consult a health care professional about your unique needs.


[00:00:00] Kim: Well, Hey there, friends and welcome back to the joyful movement show. This is episode 74. And I’m your host, Kim Hagle certified personal trainer and body image coach, registered holistic nutritionist. And today we’re joined by my friend, Katie Valley. Katie is a holistic nutritionist and certified intuitive eating counselor, whose goal is to help dispel the myths of diet culture and reinforce a holistic health, focused approach to wellness.

After her own experience with disordered eating and poor body image. Katie found true healing by practicing intuitive eating and body acceptance. As a new mom, she recognizes the power in that healing and the impact it will have on her choices while raising her own daughter.

And that’s exactly what we talked about in this episode. So this episode really picks up on where I left off in episode 72, where I discussed exercise red flags; how to know if your relationship with exercise is really healthy, or if it’s crossed over into the line of disordered. Katie in this episode, shares very vulnerably her story with competing in bikini fitness competitions and how.

Her belief that her worth was really tied up in her body image led her into that industry in the first place.

And how preparing for those competitions and the training regimen that required such strict eating and exercise control only further damaged her relationship with food, exercise and her body image. She talks about how she transitioned out of bikini competitions when she realized it wasn’t healthy for her, but how then her obsession with calories and weight switched to an obsession with health, which also was still problematic. And she talks about how she came to that realization, that her relationship with health even had some red flags.

So it is a very vulnerable and honest interview. I will give the content warning that if hearing about disordered exercise, disordered eating, negative body image, isn’t great for your mental health right now that this may not be the interview to listen to.

That said there is a lot of good stuff in here, both in hearing Katie’s personal experience, and in how she saw that it wasn’t healthy for her and how she managed to transition her way out of that.

Towards the end of the episode, we talk about Katie’s experience being a new mom. She’s just had a new baby and it’s a really inspiring conversation where she shares how she’s so excited to be able to raise her daughter in a diet culture, free home, where she’ll never hear those messages- that her body isn’t good enough or that thinner is better, that she needs to control food to maintain a certain ideal. And Katie shares some really great tips for new moms, pregnant and postpartum people to help maintain a good relationship with food and their body image. But what she shares is not just applicable to the new moms. It is something that applies to each and every one of us.

So, I really hope that you enjoy this interview as much as I did. All the Katie’s contact information is shared in the interview, as well as linked up in the show notes. She’s got a really great free resource for you. An intuitive eating affirmation card deck. So each day you can pull a card and keep your thoughts about the relationship you want to have with your body at the forefront.

All right, well, without any further ado, I’ll turn it over to the interview. I hope you enjoy.

Well, Hey there, Katie. Welcome to the joyful movement show. I’m so excited to have you here today.

[00:04:01] Katie: Thank you so much. I’m excited to be here. Thanks for having me.

[00:04:04] Kim: Oh, it’s my pleasure. And I know I’ve been looking forward to this conversation for quite some time. We were speaking about this a little while ago, but we put things on hold because she just had a new baby.

So congratulations.

[00:04:17] Katie: Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, motherhood is definitely been, um, an adjustment, so, but I’m happy to be back and doing these things,

[00:04:25] Kim: so, oh, well, I’m, I’m excited that you’re here. So we are going to have a great conversation today. For context for our listeners, you and I met in a professional mentorship, a non-diet professional mentorship. And, um, I realized when you shared some of your story, that we have a lot in common. And I think a lot that our listeners here on the show will relate to as well, as far as your journey through fitness. So look forward to chatting about all that shortly, but why don’t you get us started by just telling us a little bit about yourself and how you came to be doing the work that you do now.

[00:05:00] Katie: Yeah, it was definitely a journey. So I am in private practice just to kind of talk about my professional self, in the intuitive eating realm for those listeners, I’m sure they’re familiar with it. But I didn’t start out being an intuitive eater. I mean, I was born in intuitive eater, we all know that, right. But I didn’t start out professionally, as an intuitive eater and like a lot of things, I think it was my own personal experience and ultimately my own healing that brought me to this work and incorporate it with how I work with my clients.

I have, a really extensive dieting history, you know, Heavily influenced by diet culture, which is the world we live in. And, and also I saw it in, in my home life as well. My mom was actually in the military. And so I grew up seeing her having to make weight for the military. For those of you who don’t know, there’s like very strict I’m I’m hoping they’ve relaxed by now.

so I just kind of always had that narrative in my head that, you know, thinner was better. It was what I saw on TV. It was what I saw people trying to achieve. And so I just got into my teenage years, college years, and I just had this, obsession, this need to feel like I needed to, change my body or be smaller. And I’m on the tall side also. So the descriptors that other people always use to describe me was that I’m bigger than everybody else or, or all these things that we are conditioned to feel like is like a bad thing.

So there was always a little shame about you know, stores not carrying my sizes cause I need a tall or even my shoes, like just all around having that narrative. So, I carried that into my young adult years, obviously so much so that I know we talked about this before, you know, pressing record, but I started to compete in bikini fitness competitions. And I know that we’ll talk about that a little bit more later, but you know, I, I came from a place where I, 100% believed that my worth and my value was based on my body, what it looked like. And that led to a lot of diet and binge cycles.

And I probably my mid to late twenties really kind of hit a rock bottom with my relationship with food and body. And so that kind of transitioned to, okay. You know, obsessing about my weight isn’t working. Let me try obsessing about my health. And so I kind of traded one obsession for the other. And that’s when I actually went down the path of becoming a holistic nutritionist and starting my practice. And I eventually recognized that this mindset about food and body was still problematic, even though it wasn’t quote unquote about the weight, it was still problematic, not only for me, but also for my clients.

So that’s what eventually brought me into researching kind of the psychology around eating with intuitive eating and, doing the mentorship program that we did together and, and, other things. So I needed to, of course, first learned to embody it myself, and then I was able to carry it over into my professional life as well. Yeah.

[00:08:20] Kim: Well, great. Thanks for sharing that, that story. And I know when I heard you talk about bikini competitions in the past, I instantly related and could identify with. Though I never competed, I never, ever did, but I did think about it and I investigated that world a little bit. But I have always been afraid to show my body in a bikini. So I knew I’d never be able to get over. To to compete, but the desire was there.

So let’s talk about those early days and then we’ll talk about, you know, how that transformed into health obsession, and then eventually into intuitive eating, but bring me back to your bikini competition days and what initially drew you to the sport.

[00:09:01] Katie: Yeah, that’s a really good question. Um, and I feel like there’s a couple, there’s a couple of things that absolutely influenced me being brought into the sport. Um, the first one was the environment that I lived in. Um, the environment I did not live where I live now. Um, I currently live in Michigan. I was actually living in, um, Florida at the time and it was very much influenced by fitness culture.

Just the, um, the people that I met, um, kind of admired that. Um, I had friends and family that were already in that competition arena. Um, so again, I saw it as something as being admirable and I think I just wanted to prove that I could do it, um, that I had the discipline to go through the rigorous training and dieting, um, to be able to do something that not everyone was capable of doing that was really enticing to me. You know, I always told myself I was very, I’m a very goal oriented person. So I knew if I set that goal, I would, whatever cost I would accomplish it. And so there was that aspect of it.

But then if I actually really look into it, I had just gone through. Uh, breakup. And so I feel like I was, I was needing something to kind of control. I was needing something to kind of latch on to. And so I really think that also had an influence, um, and me wanting to kind of tie up my self-worth into changing my body. Yeah, that way.

[00:10:48] Kim: It’s interesting what you see in hindsight, right? Yeah. Um, okay. So for the listeners who. Maybe don’t know a whole lot about that world, what do bikini competitions involve? What does training for them involve? Is it a fitness competition or what are, what are you training for? What does your training program look like? Walk us through the process a little bit.

[00:11:13] Katie: So that’s a really good question. There’s actually different categories. So there are fitness competitions, where it’s not only about your physique, but it’s also about your performance. Um, but then there are more of like the aesthetic competitions where they’re actually looking at, um, your body in such a critical way. Um, they’re looking for symmetry, they’re looking for muscle definition. They’re looking for all of these things and it was less about, there was no performance involved. It’s literally you were walking on stage, doing a series of poses and then you’re walking off the other side.

[00:11:49] Kim: So there’s no test of your athletic ability here?

[00:11:51] Katie: No, not in the ones that I was doing. There are, like I said, there’s certain categories, there’s certain, um, there’s all different kinds. Um, but the one that I did was just, um, an even in, within one competition there’s different categories. So, um, so I competed in bikini fitness was again, purely aesthetic, that there was no performance. There was nothing. Um, it was basically who looks best, who looks like an athlete in a bikini essentially.

Um, so training was really intense. Um, Very disordered you basically, when you first start out, you work with a coach, you work with someone who, who is fluent in that industry who can put you on an eating plan, who can give you a workout schedule, um, who has connections even with gaining access to performance enhancing drugs, even like w you know, I’m just being fully transparent here. Um, and so there was that all of that was kind of set up in, lined up for me. And I think it was so easily accessible because of, um, where I was living at the time. It was so common that fitness culture was so common. Nobody pointed out how toxic or disordered any of it was.

Um, so training looked like multiple times a day. It was six days a week. Um, lots of cardio, lots of fasted, cardio strength, training and things like that. And I remember having like one rest day and I would be so depleted by that day. I even remember my coach telling me, like, don’t even go walking around the mall, you’re going to be too exhausted. You’re not even going to have the energy literally, do not do not do anything.

[00:13:49] Kim: Wow.

[00:13:50] Katie: Um, because also the caloric intake I was taking in was less than the daily requirements for a toddler. So add on top of that training two, sometimes three times a day, six days a week, I was very depleted. It was, it was hard. Yeah. I don’t know how else to describe it.

[00:14:18] Kim: Yeah. But you were committed.

[00:14:21] Katie: I was committed. I had to prove I had something to prove. Um,

[00:14:24] Kim: What, what, what were you trying to prove? What would winning mean to you or about you?

[00:14:29] Katie: Yeah, I, I think it just meant, honestly, it meant that I could do something that other people weren’t capable of doing. I think that’s really what it was. And of course the, the praise. I mean, people constantly compliment it. How disciplined I was. Oh my gosh. I, I wish I could do that or I wish I had the discipline. And so there is that like, feeling of, I don’t even know how to describe it. Like yeah. Like betterment, honestly.

[00:15:03] Kim: Yeah, yeah.

[00:15:04] Katie: Yeah. You feel better than other people because you’re capable of doing this. It’s it’s awful.

[00:15:12] Kim: Yeah. But I know that you’re not alone in that. And like I said, though, I never had competed, i, I know the feeling of seeking that external validation, like, especially when we struggle with self worth and body image. When other people praise your body and tell you look good and you’re so disciplined and so healthy, you know, you start to believe that, well, this must be good. Then even if I feel this way, it must be good because the world certainly thinks it’s amazing. So.

[00:15:45] Katie: And the ironic thing is, is I was so uncomfortable with myself during that time. Like I, I think about it all the time. Like I was so antisocial, I wouldn’t go anywhere because I was afraid of being tempted by something, whether it be a food or a cocktail, um, you know, I was newly single and I didn’t date the entire time I was doing this because I felt like I couldn’t, I had to 100% committed to this lifestyle. Um, and so I missed out on a lot, but the benefit of competing certainly did not outweigh the cost.

[00:16:28] Kim: Now we know that competitive athletes have to be disciplined and be focused if they want to win. And well, that’s one thing. When did you realize that that just wasn’t working for you at.

[00:16:44] Katie: I think, honestly, it was, it was this instance where my mom actually came down to see me. Um, and she wanted to take me to like, um, like for a weekend she was going to take me out after I was done competing. We’re going to kind of relax a little bit. And we were out to dinner one night and I ordered a like a very dieting meal. Right. I was still trying to like, stick to, well, first of all, I didn’t know how to eat, after having months of it written out for me. I had no idea what it meant to eat like a normal person, and I’m doing quotations for any body listening. Um, I had no idea what to eat. And so I tried my best to stick to what I know. And the salad came out with an oil based dressing on it. And I broke down crying because there was oil on my salad. And I’m like, this is not, this is not okay. This is not, I need help. Like I need, this is, yeah, this isn’t working.

[00:17:47] Kim: So just in an instant there you were done with competing. That was the end of it all.

[00:17:51] Katie: It was, I would say it was a turning point. Um, but it’s still in the back of my mind. I thought that if I could figure out a way to have more balance that I could still continue to either compete or still manipulate my body or still diet if I figured out a way to make it more bearable, essentially.

So it was a turning point, but it definitely didn’t. I did not come. I certainly didn’t compete after that. But, um, that wasn’t specifically the reason. I had attempted a couple of times after that, and, uh, It didn’t, I couldn’t stick to the diet. I was on the binge side of every time. I would try to go back and restrict again to prepare for another show. I found myself. Um, becoming a binge eater.

[00:18:45] Kim: Wow. Okay. So then is that when you switched to focusing on your health, did you think that focusing on healthy, eating in quotes or clean eating was the way out of the bingeing? Or was, was there another,

[00:19:00] Katie: in a sense, but, um, this was, this took years, um, in full transparency. I became a binge eater. I ate in secret a lot too. Because once, you know, once you just spent so many amount of time and so, so much part of your identity is how you eat. Um, you know, you start worrying about what other people would think if they saw you eating certain foods. So there was a lot of binge eating and grocery store parking lots, um, sneaking roommates food. So I just, I swung from dieting and binge eating even just within one day. Okay. Tomorrow I’m going to get back on track. I’m going to set this goal. I’m going to do X, Y, Z, and then by seven o’clock at night, I am uncontrollably eating everything. And so, and it was, it just kept, I kept swinging back and forth even within a 24 hour period.

[00:20:05] Kim: And I, I so appreciate the vulnerability that you’re sharing. I know this isn’t easy stuff to talk about, and I know that I can relate. And I know that the people who are listening will relate to parts of this story too. And this is, this is what happens right. When we try to be so perfect for so long and can’t maintain that anymore. Then we lose control. Right? Like after years and years of trying to control, then we lose and we go so far the other direction I can identify with being a binge eater as well, too. And then the like about tomorrow, I promise I’m going to do better. And every time I try to do better, I’d fail even worse and such a vicious cycle. And it really, really messes with your self esteem and self worth. And.

[00:20:49] Katie: Well, it also messes with your health, right? So, cause you were kind of asking, like what, what kind of segued you into being worried about your health is, um, all those years of yo-yo dieting, um, weight fluctuations, um, you know, what that was doing to my blood sugar, all of these things really did start to affect my physical health.

I remember going into like a regular physical and them drawing labs and then it was like, I mean, I don’t even know how to describe it. Like everything was outside of the normal range, you know, and I’m just like, okay, so clearly what I’m doing, isn’t about health. Clearly something’s got to give. Me being preoccupied with my weight is costing me being healthy.

And so that’s when that shifted for me is like, okay, now I’m going to, trade my obsession with weight loss with health, because you know what I was doing, the foods that I was choosing and all of these things was based on calories and things like that. So then it became about nutrients. I mean, it’s a step, you know, it’s uh, but it’s certainly not the journey I would choose for other people, for sure. But

[00:22:07] Kim: yeah. So paint a picture. You’re no longer counting calories. You’re no longer weighing and measuring your food necessarily, but what are you doing in this.

[00:22:15] Katie: Yeah, I’m counting ingredients, right? Can I pronounce all of these ingredients? And I, um, am I, you know, am I only choosing foods that are health enhancing in my, in my opinion. And, um, but there’s still so much restriction in that so much that can, um, cause you to go still the other way. Anytime we feel, you know, so that forbidden fruit phenomenon, anytime we forbid something or say we can’t have something then, um, that typically does backfire eventually.

So, you know, that’s and one of the interesting things about that time in my life is again, the praise and the feedback. Like, oh my gosh, you eat so clean and quotation marks, you’re eating so healthy. And, and I, I felt better about it at that point in time, because I was like, yeah, it’s not about the weight, it’s about how you feel. And it’s about it’s. I mean, of course it’s about how you feel, but, um, there was still that sense of, um, worthiness tied in with, with how I ate.

[00:23:26] Kim: And like, was it really not about your weight or was there still some consideration about like, if I do everything right, that I should be able to control my weight.

[00:23:36] Katie: I’m sure that was in the back of my mind somewhere. Right. But, um, yeah, I really did feel like I was doing the right thing by um, not worrying about the quantity of the food I was eating, but the quality of the food, I would say. Um,

[00:23:56] Kim: so you said at the very beginning that eventually you started to realize that that was problematic too, not just for yourself, but for your clients. So how did it all fall apart for you? Cause this is, this is very common in our culture to chase health, right? To only eat whole or organic or gluten-free or clean foods for the purpose of our health. How did you, where did that fall apart for you?

[00:24:22] Katie: Yeah, I think it was when I started really learning more about intuitive eating and the psychology around eating. Um, I think the thing that people really need to understand is like the preoccupation with health, this, this obsession, and this true belief that everything related to your health is within your absolute control -it can actually manifest into something called orthorexia. Um, and, and so that is when I kind of heard of that initially, I was like, oh, is this, wait, am I doing that? Hey, this is wrong.

So I think, it just piqued my interest, like, oh my gosh, it’s true. Like I’m still having this obsession with the food that I’m eating. And even though I took weight off the table or at least thought I did, I thought I was doing something good. Um, but now that I’m more educated on intuitive eating, I’m an intuitive eater, I guide my clients into becoming into an intuitive eater- I definitely see the warning signs. Right. And I see it. But the general public doesn’t always see it.

And that’s, what’s so scary about disordered eating behaviors, um, and how normalized that they have become.

[00:25:50] Kim: I, yeah, I agree. Orthorexia, especially, and though it’s not a diagnosable eating disorder, at least not at this time, it’s that obsession with, like you say that our health is within our control and doing everything we possibly can to try to control it and attain perfect health status through eating, you know, all the quote unquote perfect foods and exercising a certain way and all of that. Um, yeah. So what have you learned in all of this journey about health? Um, What does health really mean to you now?

[00:26:30] Katie: Yeah, well, I’ve learned that, um, you know, health as I’ve healed my relationship with food and exercise specifically, is that what we eat and the physical activity that we do is such a small portion of what actually influences our health and not everyone has access to health in general. I mean, that’s what I believe. That’s what, like healthism is it’s that health is one’s individual responsibility and there’s not like a systemic issue involved, which there totally is. There’s so many factors that influence health. Um, it’s called the social determinants of health if you’re familiar.

Um, so health to me is just like feeling, making choices that are based on, um, Your, your body’s innate ability. Right? So making choices that are nourishing, but also are just for the fact that it tastes good and I’m enjoying it when it comes to food. Um, health enhancing behaviors, like getting enough sleep, which is hard to do with a newborn.

Um, I actually, I, I posted something on Instagram, um, not too long ago when I was cleared to start physical activity again, and that, and I was like, uh, this will not be happening if I’m not getting enough sleep, sleep comes first. So it was nothing that I felt like forced to have to do. It’s if I have the energy, if I have the time and it feels good in my body and doesn’t feel, um, like an obligation or uncomfortable, then, then yeah, I want to do it.

[00:28:13] Kim: It’s all about considering our mental and emotional and spiritual health, as well as the physical. Right. And not placing all of the onus on just our physical body, which I would even argue that, you know, orthorexic type behavior isn’t even healthy for our physical body, but it’s certainly is not supportive for the mental, emotional, spiritual wellbeing.


[00:28:37] Katie: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

[00:28:39] Kim: And I love that you brought up access and the social determinants of health. Um, I didn’t really even grasp that concept until the last couple of years, either that health is not within our individual control, that it’s a systemic issue and our ability to access health has a lot more to do with the environment and the social factors that those things that we have access to. So really important point to bring up.

[00:29:04] Katie: Yeah, absolutely. We’ve got genetics, um, our environment, even access to medical care, um, social circumstances, all of those things. Um, individual behavior accounts, you know, for, um, you know, a large percentage of that. When we break that down into even further, like I said, the food and physical activity is such a small portion of that.

We want to look at sleep patterns and stress management and risk related behaviors, drug, and alcohol abuse. Those are, those also are included in that, um, individual behaviors that make up the about, I think it’s like 36% of our, our health, according to the social determinants of health.

[00:29:49] Kim: So. Now you’ve made the switch to this more intuitive eating lifestyle. You’ve healed your body image. You’re moving with joy. What’s become available to you as you’ve let all of that obsession go?

[00:30:06] Katie: Life. Very simply. Let’s be life. Um, the ability to travel and go on vacations and actually enjoy the moment without being obsessed about what food I’m eating, being able to eat cultural food without any kind of guilt or shame around it. Um, having a family, and not worrying about what pregnancy would do to my body. Oh my gosh. I would not have had such, such a fulfilling experience of my body growing and changing. Had I still been stuck in that, that mindset?

[00:30:47] Kim: Oh, that’s huge right there.

[00:30:48] Katie: Yeah. It’s absolutely huge. I don’t take it for granted one bit.

[00:30:54] Kim: So why do you think. So many women, especially struggle with their relationship with their body and food.

[00:31:03] Katie: Oh, 100% the culture we live in, um, diet culture. It’s, it’s that, um, belief system it’s so ingrained in us that focuses and values like our weight and size. Um, even over wellbeing. I know wellness culture is kind of being the new diet culture. Um, but you know, it’s that idea that like, thin bodies are more desirable and healthy and you know, that culture normalizes, disordered eating behavior. It, it influences the media like what we see on TV, what we see in magazines. Granted it is definitely evolving and it’s becoming more inclusive, but it’s going to take a long time before we start seeing more diversity and, and social media and, and recognizing that that’s okay, right. So we’re, we’re kind of stuck. And especially as women, um, these like unrealistic beauty standards and these then ideals, these things were introduced throughout history, often during times when women were gaining power, the ability to own land, the ability to vote all of these things. And so patriarchy on top of that, it was, it was used as, um, a way to oppress women.

Um, and so that’s really where it all kind of developed from. And I think when I started learning that. That made me so mad I was going to, I was going to curse, but I was like, that pissed me off.

I was like, what? No way. Because if you think about when I, the way I described kind of what my mind was going through in the moments of, of, of dieting severely, I had no time to think about or do anything else. None at all. And that’s essentially what happens when we diet.

[00:33:16] Kim: Yeah, it kept you out of your power, right? Like all of the things that you wanted to do in life were not available because you had to be thinking about your body and your food. And like you say, it’s, it’s not your fault that you thought this way or that anybody who’s listening thought this way, you’ve been taught to think this way, your whole life through all of the messages and all of the influences that were exposed to.

One of our colleagues, Jolynn posted something on Facebook or Instagram last week that I thought was just, it was very tongue in cheek, but it was so clever. And she said something along the lines of, we have to teach our daughters to hate their body. Otherwise the diet industry will collapse within one generation.

[00:33:57] Katie: I saw that. That was so good. And it’s, it’s true. They, they count on, first of all, we need to realize they count on diets failing for us. They count on it because if it, if they worked quote unquote, if they worked and did what we wanted it to do, they would go out of business. Right. They count on the fact that we blame ourselves for not having quote unquote control and all these things and needing to jump from one diet to the next or one plan to the next.

They count on that. That’s how they make the billions of dollars every year.

[00:34:37] Kim: What other product in the world would we keep going back to if it had a 95% failure rate, right? It’s brilliant, but really sad at the same time.

[00:34:49] Katie: Yeah. Well, and, and I can’t remember where I read this, so I apologize if I don’t give proper credit, but you know, not only that, but think about like a prescription drug. You know, how doctors are always talking about how to treat certain conditions, weight loss can happen. It’s like, okay, well, if a prescription drug had a 95% failure rate, no doctor would ever prescribe it. So why is weight loss still being prescribed the doctors. Yeah. So it’s just, it’s crazy. It’s insane.

[00:35:20] Kim: Yeah. Yeah. But they are masters of manipulation and convincing us that it’s our fault. Right. We are the ones who screwed up. Therefore it’s the reason the diet failed isn’t because it’s the diets fault is because we screwed up. But if there were one way or one way to do this, wouldn’t we all know it by now when we all have had it figured out. And wouldn’t we all have so-called ideal body that they say is available to us. Like we’ve got to think critically about this and know it’s an industry that is built on our insecurities.

[00:35:58] Katie: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

[00:36:00] Kim: Well, as a girl, mom, aren’t you glad you figured all this stuff out before you had your baby.

[00:36:06] Katie: Oh, my gosh. Yes, I am. So like, I get emotional about it, thinking about it, thinking how, you know, I’m, she’s not going to be able to live in a bubble. No, but she certainly, there are certain things that she will absolutely not hear in her home. And you know, I’m going to raise her understanding what diet culture is and cultivating resilience essentially against those messages, because I can’t protect her at school or when she’s at a friend’s house and what she’s hearing there. But she is not going to witness her mom dieting or talk talking negatively about her body or using exercise as punishment. She’s not going to see that at home. So grateful for that. And I’m grateful for all the resources and professionals like you and our mentor and everybody out there that that’s going to be available to her that maybe wasn’t available when I was going through initially things as a teenager and younger. It’s going to be amazing.

[00:37:08] Kim: It is. It is. Yeah. So what advice do you have for any other new moms out there are expecting moms in terms of all of this and cultivating that resiliency in their daughters and sons.

[00:37:21] Katie: Yeah. There’s so much that I could say, honestly. And I feel like diet culture is especially toxic to pregnant and postpartum moms. Like I’m I’m witnessing it. And again, thank goodness I have that resilience against those messages. But I’m witnessing other people’s struggle through different like mom forums and stuff like that, that myth that we should be able to quote unquote, bounce back after pregnancy and, and that narrative has become so normal that women think it’s abnormal if they’re not able to get back into the size that they were pre pregnancy. And I’m just like, oh my God, like, where did that come from? Why do we believe that? Um, So, yeah, there’s, there’s a lot of even diet culture during pregnancy and postpartum.

Um, so if I had to give some advice, if you’re not familiar with intuitive eating and body neutrality find someone who is. We have to, um, we have to listen to our body and trust it. Uh, you know, I’ve, I’ve said before, now that I’ve been pregnant, I was like, gosh, pregnancy does feel like a crash course in intuitive eating. You you tend to have kind of like that heightened awareness of physical needs and emotional needs and feelings like, um, and things like hunger and cravings and the need for rest. Like we have that kind of, um, heightened awareness for that. Um, and as an intuitive eater already, like I, I realized I didn’t really have to put much thought into any of that when I was simply being attuned to my body and I entered it as best as I could.

Um, also. Wear clothes that fit.

[00:39:16] Kim: Thank you.

[00:39:17] Katie: Please wear clothes that fit if you are, um, you know, going through pregnancy or even postpartum. And this even includes bras and underwear. I mean, that was one of the first things that I had to, um, buy, but one of the biggest things to help me feel comfortable in my new and changing body was wearing clothes that fit me comfortably.

Um, Felt like what I witnessed a lot was it was kind of like a badge of honor, the longer you could stay in your pre pregnancy clothes while you’re experiencing pregnancy. And I was to a point where I was like, forget that, like the moment this feels uncomfortable, it’s coming off.

So, um, and then, I mean, I feel like this could go for anybody, but try not to compare yourself, your pregnancy, your body, um, to anybody else. Body diversity is very real. I mean, I actually, I, I started showing which would be what most people considered early and I received comments about it. But again, I had that kind of like built in resilience that I was able to just kind of brush it off. But someone who already struggles with body image that could have been so, so harmful.

Um, so, you know, just don’t compare what you’re eating either during pregnancy. Um, because some people have food aversions, some people need to eat more frequently to keep nausea at bay. There’s all these different factors.

So those would probably be my top three things. Um, if you’re trying to embrace pregnancy and understand intuitive eating and cultivate a more positive body image through the whole thing.

We need to normalize body changes, stretch marks are normal, normal.

[00:41:14] Kim: And I think Katie, I think this is great advice, not just in pregnancy and postpartum, but for anyone, right?

Like we should all be wearing clothes that fit and feel comfortable. We should all not be comparing ourselves to other people, right.

[00:41:27] Katie: And I think it’s just, people are so alarmed, right. Because your body does change pretty quickly during pregnancy. And so I think there’s a little bit of like, Oh, no associated with it, but there doesn’t have to be, it’s completely normal.

[00:41:42] Kim: It’s completely normal, but everybody thinks it’s their business. People commented on you showing early. Like I had somebody in my first pregnancy asked me if I was carrying twins, because I guess I was really big and people would even ask me how much weight I gained. Like it’s none of your freaking business.

Like why do we think pregnancy is a free pass to like make all these body comments? I don’t understand.

[00:42:04] Katie: I don’t either. It’s so true. So true.

[00:42:07] Kim: Yeah. Anyway, great advice. Great advice for the pregnant and postpartum people, as well as just anyone.

This has been such a really valuable conversation and we’ll, we’ll wrap up here in a couple seconds, but I want to ask you my signature question that I ask everybody who comes on the show, which is what does joyful movement mean to you?

[00:42:27] Katie: Ah, I love that question. I’m so glad you ask. Um, you know, and maybe you’ve gotten this answer before, but it’s. It means to me just how it sounds. It’s something that I enjoy doing. Um, if I don’t like an exercise or a movement, I don’t do it. Um, I spent way too long, punishing myself with certain exercises, but certain things just do not appeal to me anymore, and that’s perfectly okay. So, um, I just, I love moving my body. I, um, By no means feel the need to like stick to a schedule or a plan. Um, I still really enjoy strength, training and long walks and, you know, just anything that, that makes me, um, Like, I guess, more excited, energized, like those are the, those are the terms that I kind of associate with physical activity now, as opposed to depleted and punished.

[00:43:22] Kim: I love those words excited, energized. So you’re looking at movement as a way to add to your life and help you feel and function your best as opposed to just controlling or shrinking your body in some way. Absolutely. Amazing. Uh, well, Katie, this has been a really powerful conversation and I, again, just want to say thank you for sharing so vulnerably and openly, because I know that others who listened to this podcast have similar struggles and your story and your journey through that. Your transformation of mindset will really inspire the people who are listening.

[00:43:59] Katie: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure.

[00:44:02] Kim: Uh, it’s my, it’s my pleasure, honestly, um, for the sake of our listeners who want to follow up with you and stay in touch, where can they find you?

[00:44:10] Katie: Um, Instagram, really Katie valley wellness. Um, and then my website, I, I write a lot about my experience with intuitive eating. I have a couple about pregnancy, intuitive eating, um, and that’s www.katievalleywellness.com

great. And

[00:44:26] Kim: you had a free resource to share with our listeners as well today, right?

[00:44:29] Katie: I do. Yes. I created some printable affirmation cards, um, some intuitive eating and body image, affirmation cards. You can download them, you can print them on like thick paper and cut them out and they’re there your own, um, cards to pull from each day or whenever you feel like you need a little inspiration.

[00:44:48] Kim: Ah, I love that. I love having something tangible like that to keep it top of mind and keep those thoughts quality.

[00:44:55] Katie: Yeah, absolutely.

[00:44:57] Kim: Great. Well, thanks so much for being here today, Katie, it’s been such a pleasure chatting with you.

[00:45:02] Katie: It was great chatting with you too.