Satisfaction Factor

#48 - Embodied Recovery & Diet Culture as an Attachment Figure with Heidi Andersen

August 24, 2022 Naomi Katz & Sadie Simpson
Satisfaction Factor
#48 - Embodied Recovery & Diet Culture as an Attachment Figure with Heidi Andersen
Show Notes Transcript

This week we’re talking to Heidi Andersen, a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Supervisor, Certified Eating Disorder Specialist Supervisor, Registered Yoga Teacher and Embodiment Specialist.

During Heidi's career, she has worked as a therapist in residential, PHP, IOP and outpatient levels of care with people struggling with eating disorders. She currently maintains an outpatient group practice of Body-Centered Psychotherapists specializing in weight inclusive treatment for the intersection of trauma, attachment wounds, and eating disorders through a body liberation lens and somatic approach. Heidi is a member of the teaching faculty for the Embodied Recovery Institute, a 3 phase training program for professionals working with clients with eating disorders. She is also the author of the Reclaiming Beauty Journal and Wisdom Deck, a resource created to support women and femme identifying people in building a self-compassionate relationship with their body.

We had an amazing conversation with Heidi about the importance of embodiment in healing our relationships to food and body, how diet culture can act as an attachment figure, and how communities where we can show up as our authentic selves are integral to the recovery process.

Here's where you can find Heidi:
Website
Instagram

You can stay up to date on all things Satisfaction Factor by following us on IG @satisfactionfactorpod!

Here's where to find us:
Sadie Simpson: www.sadiesimpson.com or IG @sadiemsimpson
Naomi Katz: www.happyshapes.co or IG @happyshapesnaomi

For this episode's transcript, visit: www.satisfactionfactorpod.com

Naomi Katz:

Welcome to Satisfaction Factor, the podcast where we explore how ditching diet culture makes our whole lives more satisfying. Welcome back to Satisfaction Factor. I'm Naomi Katz, an Intuitive Eating, body image, and self trust coach.

Sadie Simpson:

Clinical Mental Health Counselor Supervisor, Certified Eating Disorder Specialist Supervisor, registered yoga teacher, and embodiment specialist. During her career, she has worked as a therapist in residential, PHP, IOP, and outpatient levels of care with people struggling with eating disorders. She currently maintains an outpatient group practice of body centered psychotherapists specializing in weight inclusive treatment for the intersection of trauma, attachment wounds, and eating disorders through a body liberation lens and somatic approach. Heidi is a member of the teaching faculty for the Embodied Recovery Institute, a three phase training program for professionals working with clients with eating disorders. She is also the author of the Reclaiming Beauty Journal and Wisdom Deck, a resource created to support women and femme identifying people in building a self compassionate relationship with their body. Let's talk to Heidi. Heidi, first, I'm really excited to chat with you because I kind of feel like we're talking to a local celebrity. Because literally everywhere I go, when I talk a little bit about what I do, and what we do here on the podcast, everybody's like, do you know Heidi? And I'm like, well, kinda.

Naomi Katz:

Oh my god. 100%. That's true.

Heidi Andersen:

Aw. Well, I've just been around a long time. 20

Sadie Simpson:

Yes. years, I've been in Asheville. 20 years.

Naomi Katz:

I hear you that you've, you know, been around in Asheville for a while. But I think your work also has made an impact in this community, because that's certainly- I think both of us have had that experience of, like, anytime we're in community with people talking about Intuitive Eating, or, you know, body liberation, or eating disorders, or any of that stuff, your name always comes up, which is just awesome.

Heidi Andersen:

That's good. It's good to feel appreciated. Or at least at least I've been like loud enough about this, that now people are like, better know Heidi's talking about this topic.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes. Awesome. Well, let's just dive right in. Can you tell us a little bit about what has been your personal experience with diet culture?

Heidi Andersen:

I think that it's interesting, because I've heard so many stories from people through the work that I do in my practice about all the different places in childhood that diet culture comes in and messes with a person's sense of self. And really, for me, I can honestly say that I was very sheltered from diet culture growing up. I- the only memory I have is my mother on a diet, eating like turkey burgers, and the whole house smelling like turkey burgers. But there was never- I don't remember her talking badly about her body, there was no shaming of us and our bodies. I just didn't have a lot of diet culture stuff in my circles. I- looking back, I do think one of my very best friends in high school had an eating disorder that I didn't realize until kind of reflecting backwards. And, you know, I grew up in, I would say, a straight sized body, not- not a thin body, but like, conventionally attractive and athletic. And I had a shape that was attractive to people. So there was like, some privilege there. And it really wasn't until my early 30s, when I had some medical stuff happen, and had kind of a big weight gain in response to that, that I really had my own experience of- I think what it was was like losing the privilege of being in a straight size body, and being in, you know, probably at that time, still a straight size body, honestly, but at the higher end of the straight size body. And what that brought up for me as far as my sense of worth was really kind of shocking, because I was 30 years old and thought I had really great confidence. And what I realized is it was very much confidence based on like the comparing mindset- like I'm- I'm lovable and enough. So when I looked back I was like, wow, I used to compare myself to all the girls, and, you know, it was really like a comparison mindset that was very kind of insidious, that I didn't realize I really had until I lost the privilege. And that- that- that experience in the 30s kind of really set me off on my own exploration of these- these topics for myself, not just for- for other people. I recently read an article from Aubrey Gordon, where she suggests that people who do not hold a certain marginalized identity like fatness cannot say that they have internalized fat phobia. She says, when people who have privilege struggle with body image, what they actually have is internalized dominance. I believe this was true for me growing up white, cisgender, able bodied and straight sized. Although I did have less power holding identities, like being female, and a highly sensitive person, I definitely had the sense of internalized dominance that I did not want to lose. It wasn't really in my conscious awareness, but it was there. And this internalized dominance created damage in my relationships with other women, and with myself, and created long term self objectification tendencies. All of these things definitely were an impact of diet culture, and all systems of oppression, really. I think this is why being seen and seeing others for the beauty of who they are as humans has become so important to me in the present day, and why learning and listening about all kinds of oppression is an important value for me now.

Naomi Katz:

Wow, yeah. That- that's a very different story than I think we hear a lot of time. But it's also- honestly, I relate to that a lot because I think it's very similar to how things went for me. I also, you know, lived in a straight size, conventionally attractive body, like pretty much my whole life. And it wasn't until I got older, and, first off, stopped dieting and stuff like that, and like my body- like I am- I am now small fat, I am no longer straight size- and really having to come to terms with like all the stuff that, like, you don't have to come to terms with when you're in a societally acceptable body. It can be complicated.

Heidi Andersen:

Yeah. Yeah, and for me- like I- that shift and change happened the first year of my marriage. I'm divorced. And just the- like, the vulnerability that was brought up inside of me around my worthiness and my lovability really had an impact on my marriage. And I think that's why people know me around here, is because when I- when I got divorced, I was kind of openly working on my issues in front of the world, through writing the book, Reclaiming Beauty. So I think that's why folks know about me and this work. And that book came out like seven years ago. So yeah.

Naomi Katz:

That is such a beautiful way to like funnel that work out into the world too- like something about just being so transparent, and doing that work in front of the world, is very vulnerable, but also just kind of beautiful in a lot of ways. Because I think it's a very common shared human experience, really, that most people just don't talk about or do in public, but people who are brave enough to do so really do a service to everybody else.

Heidi Andersen:

Yeah. Well, the ironic thing was, when I released my book, I actually was, like, actively engaging in weight suppression, like, totally out of my consciousness. Like, I worked with people with eating disorders, and was actively engaging in a behavior without even realizing it when my book came out. So that was a whole nother layer of, you know, a couple of years after my book comes out, and I'm like, oh my gosh, I am actually not in full alignment with this message. And it was a very humbling kind of realization. And then the journey of, like, no longer doing the weight suppression that I was doing, and then allowing my body to kind of return to its natural shape and size- like that was my- my own personal real reclaiming beauty journey- was like, just the kind of the terror that comes up inside of you, where you're just like, okay, it's not in alignment for me to do these behaviors, I want to be in alignment. I'm gonna have to just trust this process. Then there's the opportunity to really face and heal all of the things that our relationship with our body is really getting projected on. Right? It's getting projected onto our body, that's the chance to heal. At least that's what it was. for me.

Naomi Katz:

It's so common that we- that we find these additional layers to peel back- that, like, we're doing these things that are kind of disconnecting us from our bodies and from our values, and like we don't even really know we're doing them at first. And so like that process of just always, like continually peeling back these layers and getting more and more to the heart of who we want to be in this world. And it's a process. I love hearing people talk about their own journey with that. Because, again, I think a lot of times people get this sense- especially when we're talking to people who are professionals in this field, that have done a lot of this work- I think there's this sense of like, well, you just know what you're doing. And I think it's so important for people to hear that, like, even those of us who are doing this work, and who are doing this work in front of the world, sometimes have other stuff that we still need to go back in and deal with again. Like it's not one and done for anybody.

Heidi Andersen:

My friend, Rob, who helped me sort of self publish my book, he was like, you know, Heidi, you just have to know that once you put this book into the world, the world is gonna make sure that you are in alignment with this in every single way. He's like, you're gonna have to be on this path. Are you ready for that? Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I mean, I was sitting and like reading a paper about something related to the eating disorder world, and, like, saw the thing that I was doing, and I'm like, oh my God, this is a behavior. And I just- like, this is hilarious, because I know every behavior to ask, you know, in the first assessment, and it just- it was like such a blind spot. Because like my journey was also kind of- overlaid my healing of my attachment stuff, because, you know, divorce definitely makes you look at all of those kinds of things. You know, it was this equating, like, I have to be a certain size and shape in order to get love. Right, that was like embedded unconsciously in my developmental history, just because I had had privilege in- in size, right? And so then, on the other side, it's like, okay, I have to really look at this piece.

Sadie Simpson:

So one thing I'm really curious to hear a little bit more about is about Embodied Recovery. And how did you get involved with this in your professional work?

Naomi Katz:

And if I can add on to that, can you also like define embodied recovery for us a little bit, and for our listeners?

Heidi Andersen:

Sure. Sure. So the main approach that I'm using in my work these days is called Embodied Recovery for Eating Disorders. And it was created by two women, actually, out of the Triangle here in North Carolina, Rachel Lewis-Marlow and Paula Scatoloni. And Rachel was a- has a history of a body worker, and she's also a sensory motor psychotherapist. And Paula, long term eating disorder therapist, and also Somatic Experiencing practitioner. So they kind of brought their experience together, and really started to ask the question, like, why is the body not at the forefront of eating disorder treatment. And, you know, in my training as an eating disorder specialist, most of the approaches are top down approaches, right? CBT, DBT, those kinds of things. The body and like what the body is saying is not at the forefront. So this- this way of working, Embodied Recovery, really brings the body to the forefront, and really wants to ask, like, what is the body saying about maybe trauma physiology that's in the body, the conditions of attachment, and the sensory system, and- and how is a person and their relationship with food and their body being used to regulate and navigate those three areas. And I just have loved this way of working so much. When I found Embodied Recovery for Eating Disorders, I was honestly feeling kind of burnt out, because I felt like change was happening, but not like deep transformational change with my clients. And this really felt like the missing piece for me. And I had like a full body yes the first time I was there at the training, and have just done everything I can with them. Paula isn't part of the teaching anymore, but so Rachel has kind of taken it on, and there's some teachers- and I'm part of the teaching faculty, and it's just felt like a real match for- for me.

Naomi Katz:

So traditional eating disorder treatment modalities are very much- when you say top down, basically, it's that we primarily are healing and dealing with the cognitive part of eating disorders- like the thought processes, the eating disorder thoughts, like those kinds of things. And we're not necessarily healing the connection to our bodies and the ways in which we've been disconnected to our bodies through an eating disorder.

Heidi Andersen:

That's correct.

Naomi Katz:

Embodied Recovery comes in and kind of does it the other way around, where we like start with learning to be in our bodies, and hearing what our bodies are telling us, and things like that, and use that to address the cognitive parts of an eating disorder. Is that right?

Heidi Andersen:

Yes, yes. And in Embodied Recovery, like recovery equals greater embodiment. And the more that we can be in our bodies, the more we're going to have access to recovery. And also, recovery is not necessarily about taking away behaviors. Recovery is about adding in regulation tools and other strategies for needs getting met, so that then the behaviors can be released and let go. So Rachel talks a lot about recovery as an additive process, which I love. And that's like the main thing that I took out of it at the beginning. And I would just say it to my clients over and over again. And there would be so much appreciation, because it really honors that there is something about disordered eating behaviors that really are there as a protective strategy in some way. And that has to be honored first, before folks are going to let go.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah. That's something I talk with clients about a lot also, is that, like, whatever behaviors they- you know, and I don't treat eating disorders, but I certainly work with folks who have disordered eating, or sometimes even actually clinical eating disorders in the past, that they have- you know, that they're a little distance away from- that, like, getting to that point of recognizing that, like, any of those behaviors have been functional coping mechanisms in the moment. They were like a way of surviving whatever it was that they were going through. And so it's not serving them anymore, and we want them to find other coping mechanisms, but that doesn't mean that we need to feel shame, or guilt, or like, oh, that was the wrong thing, about the behaviors as they existed at that time. And I think that's so important.

Heidi Andersen:

Yeah. I talk about it as honoring the protectors. Like we have- we have to honor the protectors and what they have done to get us where we are in our lives.

Naomi Katz:

Absolutely. I love that so much. That's so important. So obviously, this is very different from how traditional eating disorder recovery and therapy work goes. And I think that one of the things that really stands out to me with this method is that it kind of requires that we do some work around how we see bodies, both ours and in society, and that like we kind of address that head on a little bit- which, I think, sometimes within traditional eating disorder therapy methodologies and stuff like that, we avoid that conversation to some extent, or there's the sense of like, that comes later. I'm curious just how that plays out within this- this context for you.

Heidi Andersen:

The way that it comes up pretty- pretty quickly at the beginning is- you know, in Embodied Recovery, I often start by just helping and educating folks on the nervous system, which is something that lots of people are talking about now. And the nervous system is really a way to kind of start to get curious and befriend our body, and what's happening with it, rather than being at war with it. So we have a place in our nervous system, which is- like, people call it the window of tolerance, the window of resiliency- where we're feeling safe and connected, where things- triggers can happen, but we can kind of come back into it. And that- that window of tolerance is- the size of it is going to be shaped by our trauma history, our attachment, and sensory sensitivities. So as far as this question of, how do we address the social context of bodies, that comes in around attachment. Where, if our attachment figure is- is diet culture- right, that's the social context- and- and we are not feeling like we're measuring up to diet culture's conditions for love and belonging, it is going to make our window smaller, and then impact our ability to feel safe and connected more often. So we talk about it through that lens at the beginning. Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

That's fascinating. And can you tell us more about how diet culture functions as an attachment figure, and sort of how that plays out?

Heidi Andersen:

Yeah. So as mammals, we are wired for connection, and our attachment system is driving the impulse for connection, because that's what we need to survive as mammals. So attachment figures, they can include kind of the things that we think about usually, like caregivers and family, but it could also be like community, cultural, societal, or even spiritual framework. So attachment figures have conditions of attachment. So they're the rules that you must follow to gain safety and connection. So in order to belong in the desired community, a person might have to shut up parts of their authentic self to gain the safety and connection that's necessary for survival. With that kind of said, let's say that diet culture is the attachment figure. So, you know, what are the conditions of attachment from diet culture? Like, what- what do we know? You've got to be thin, you have to be able bodied, right? So you get, you get to have love and belonging if you're thin and able bodied. And that's what's going to actually create safety, because attachment is about safety. So if you're not thin and able bodied, right, you're like, okay, I gotta figure out how to get love and belonging in diet culture. So that's when you should be like dieting, or doing whatever behaviors to manipulate your body, or else you should feel shame about the size of your body. So I think when- when diet culture is your attachment figure, and you're bought into that- which, bought into that sounds a little judgmental, because I have so much compassion for why that happens, yeah- then it creates sort of a challenge, because, you know, we- anybody who's listening to this knows that, you know, diets fail, that there's natural size diversity in the population, that it's biologically impossible for some people to be thin, that it's tons of diversity in ability, and that, you know, weight cycling causes more harm than just keeping, you know, a maintained weight, that diet- diets cause harm. So eating disorder behaviors, disordered eating, there's tons of things that we can do that cause harm to ourselves, if we're trying to meet the rules of the diet culture. So the thing that's interesting in the attachment world- you know, in the attachment world, we're all trying to get like secure attachment. That's the place where we can feel that safe and connection. But when your attachment figure that is the place where you need safety also causes harm, that's called disorganized attachment. So that's what happens for folks who maybe are in larger bodies, and they're trying to follow the rules of attachment, but that actually causes harm to their system- and not just larger bodies, people of all shapes and sizes, who are doing all the food and exercise manipulation in a way that causes harm. Starvation, not getting enough nourishment, causes a sense of threat inside.

Naomi Katz:

So what are maybe some of the signs, or symptoms- maybe that's not the right word- maybe you can guide me with language a little bit here- but like, what disorganized attachment look like for somebody who's experiencing it?

Heidi Andersen:

Yeah. Well, so in the context of diet culture as an attachment figure, I think it would be that, like, part of you is trying to do the things that the culture says you should do so that you can get love and belonging, and then part of you also is kind of feeling like, wait a second, like, this isn't safe, or something about this is against my authentic self, or I have to harm myself in order to- to get the love and belonging, right. And then that's a moment, I think, where a person- if you start to kind of get curious about that- where a person has like an opening for shift. Because of course there's ambivalence about giving up attachment to diet culture, but for folks that are in larger bodies, as a marginalized identity, like safety is not really going to ever be possible in diet culture.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah.

Heidi Andersen:

And- and so for folks who are- who are living in larger bodies, they are going to need to develop resiliency, and maybe increase confidence. They're gonna need some space for the grief and anger of not being able to meet the conditions of the attachment figure. But then I think also there's a- you know, we're going to grasp on to diet culture as an attachment figure if we can't yield into belonging. So kind of building those places where a person can feel a sense of safety and belonging for their authentic self is going to be part of what helps a person let go of the grasp of diet culture.

Naomi Katz:

Sure, like if diet culture is the community or like the structure that you're attached to and trying to break the attachment for, adding in a community or a structure where you are safe, and like where you can be nurtured, and- and explore, and all of that stuff- I mean, that makes sense as a way to sort of shift out of that diet culture place.

Heidi Andersen:

Yes, yeah.

Naomi Katz:

And I mean, I think we- we know- I think we've talked- we talk here plenty about how important community is in this process of recovery from diet culture- recovery from eating disorders, certainly- but even recovery just from diet culture, in general- finding those communities is so important. And so hearing you say that- I mean, that just- like on a visceral level makes so much sense.

Heidi Andersen:

In Embodied Recovery, we talk a lot about developmental movements. And the developmental movements are kind of these movements that are wired into us from the very beginning of our life, about the relationship between what we want and need, and kind of going for what we want and need. And then our attachment figure is going to shape like how free we are to go for what we want and need. So you know, it's- Embodied Recovery doesn't necessarily use Intuitive

Naomi Katz:

I love that. Eating- although I love Intuitive Eating, and I think it's on a beautiful path- it uses these developmental movements. So the developmental movements are push, reach, grasp, pull, and yield. And they correlate to the ability to have clarity about what it is that we want and need. So like in relationship with food, it's going to be clarity around our hunger and fullness, clarity about like our preferences, and that's all related to push. And then it's going to be the ability to reach directly for what we wanted to eat, and that's going to be related to reach. And then the ability to kind of bring in the nourishment that we want and need, and that's related to grasp and pull. And then the ability to like rest, and digest, and have an integration of that what we want and need, and that's related to yield. And so we can think about your relationship with food, right? If diet

Sadie Simpson:

Oooh. culture is your attachment figure, and there's all these

Heidi Andersen:

The way it's interrupted, then we can't truly rules about what you should want or need, it's gonna really feel satisfaction yet, with food, or nourishment, or our interrupt those places, and you- you won't feel permission to follow through that cycle. And that cycle is called the relational cycle, but it's also been called the satisfaction cycle. And I think about it every time I hear y'all's podcast. self.

Naomi Katz:

That is fascinating. I don't even really know exactly what to ask, but I would love if you could, like, elaborate on some of that- like how those elements of the relational cycle maybe show up a little with- in a little more detail, and maybe how you work with folks to heal that cycle.

Heidi Andersen:

So when you start at the beginning of the cycle, the developmental movement of push is like a movement that helps us to kind of feel embodied. It's- the task of that movement is embodiment. And when we can kind of drop into our bodies, then we're going to have more like insight and clarity around what we want and what we need. So for someone who has that push movement interrupted, trying to figure out their relationship with food and their body, they're going to maybe not have any sense of their hunger and fullness cues- like they might not have any of that interoceptive awareness, that ability to track their internal sensations. They might not have any sense of like where their body stops and starts, because they don't have that kind of proprioceptive awareness, which is like knowing where we are in space. They might be a person who says I don't know every time you ask a question. If that's like, a sign that you might have- I love the language here- they call it push interrupted.

Naomi Katz:

I love that.

Heidi Andersen:

Yeah. I love it too. It takes me back. Yeah, so if push is interrupted, and it's impacting insight and clarity, then in Embodied Recovery, we're going to play around with the body with experiments that are going to play around with bringing that push online. So, you know, we have, in Embodied Recovery, like lots of somatic therapies. We use tons of fun props, like physio balls, and weighted blankets, and things to grasp on to, things with good sensation. Like the senses is the language of the body, too, so we're really trying to bring all of that in. So that's an example with the push.

Naomi Katz:

So push is really about attunement to your physical body, and like your- the physical sensations in your body. So this is, I think- like in Intuitive Eating, this is a big thing. And you see a lot of times where folks- so like when I first start working with people, I use the universal attunement question with them a lot, which is literally just checking in with your body- do I feel pleasant, unpleasant or neutral? And what I see a lot of times with folks is that, initially, they're answering from their thoughts about their situation, not from like, the actual physical sensations in their bodies. And so we use this to sort of bridge that gap a little and start to recognize like, no, that's a thought, that's not a physical sensation, and stuff like that. And this sounds very similar to that- of that, like- like, the physical sensations are not in your head, they're not stories, they're not narratives, they're, like, the actual physical things you feel in your body.

Heidi Andersen:

Yeah, yeah. Yes. I love that. I love the universal attunement question. That's great. I'm gonna keep that for my- for my books too. You know, the nervous system education is the beginning of this Embodied Recovery process, and learning the language of the body is another beginning part. So just like- like, you know, in therapy school 101, you get a feelings wheel, right? So there's like sensation chart words, to help people start to learn that language. When you start to invite curiosity around the internal experience of the body, this is a way to start befriending the body, where so many folks who struggle with food and body, you know, they- there's so much self criticism, there's so much hatred, there's body disgust, there's, like, body phobia. So we're trying to find a way to build curiosity about how building a relationship with the body can actually serve a person. And- and, you know, learning about the near senses and the far senses, learning about sensation, words, this is all really helpful beginning stuff as far as getting to know your nervous system and your- your own embodiment.

Naomi Katz:

Oh my god, I'm going to find a sensations wheel.

Sadie Simpson:

Seriously.

Naomi Katz:

I have a feelings wheel I use with people, but I've never even considered a sensations wheel. That is genius.

Heidi Andersen:

I have one I can share with you.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh my gosh.

Naomi Katz:

I would love that.

Sadie Simpson:

The second you said that, I was like, oh, how do we create this thing? Because that has got to be so helpful for folks to be able to see words of sensations that they may be able to identify with, that they've just been so disconnected from for so long, or just haven't really considered that these are valid feelings, these are valid sensations. And to be able to have that as a visual is amazing.

Heidi Andersen:

Yeah. And so many people like, will- when I talk to people about this way of working- people that are very attached still to the top down, will be like, how are you doing that? People with eating disorders are so body phobic. And something that I've really appreciated from Rachel, my mentor in this work, is she talks about how people are- are body phobic, but they're not anatomy phobic.

Naomi Katz:

Oh, that's interesting.

Sadie Simpson:

Mmmm.

Heidi Andersen:

Yeah. So if we talk- start talking about anatomy, then it's starting to- it's a way to help kind of diffuse some of that body phobia. But also, it's not body phobia, it's fear in the body. So having a language to talk about the sensations, the fear in the body, the nervous system, and how that's impacting all of it, you know, that- that can also start to build this curiosity about how do I move the fear through my body, is a way that you're going to be able to kind of reclaim a trust and loving relationship with your body.

Naomi Katz:

And I imagine that's especially important for folks who maybe have a history of trauma, which can do a lot of work disconnecting- so like it can make it to where people don't feel safe being in their bodies. And so, finding ways to make it safe to have these conversations, and to like- even like the things that you use as sensations, so things like weighted blankets, and stuff like that- like just offering these like structured safe ways to start to reconnect to those things, I can see being really powerful for folks who have like a history of being disconnected from their bodies because of trauma.

Heidi Andersen:

Yeah. Because the- the window is safety and connection, right? So trauma, like I said, is one of the things that's going to make the window smaller. Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

That's amazing. So can you tell us about reach, and the other relational cycles?

Heidi Andersen:

Yeah. So reach is about our ability to directly reach for what we want and need. And so, for example, with diet culture, it's like, okay, I know what I want, but am I going to give myself permission to reach for it, if it's something that's not in the diet culture rules, right. And when we can reach effectively, when reach is working, then we're able to be effective, and we can respond to our needs. If it's not ability to go straight for something, you're either gonna, like, kind of collapse and be like really mad, or you're gonna be kind of sneaky, and side to side, and like, reach for it, you know, in a side to side way. So that can come up with different food and movement behaviors. So that's reach.

Naomi Katz:

So it's more- it's kind of about having permission. Like it's that unconditional permission element, basically- that like you are allowed to have this thing, and there's not a rule standing in your way.

Heidi Andersen:

That's right. That's right. Yeah. And that's going to be- you know, this is really- I'm talking about specifically related to food, but it's really all everything that we want and need to go for in our life, right.

Naomi Katz:

None of this is ever just about food and bodies, right? Like it's always about all of these different parts of our lives.

Heidi Andersen:

Yeah, yeah, exactly. So yeah, so grasp and pull, that one is how we get satisfaction. When we can grasp, and pull, and bring in things that will nourish us, then that gives us satisfaction. So if a person like is not able to do that, if grasp and pull is interrupted, then there's not an ability to take in what they truly need. They might like grasp and pull things that they don't truly need. Like, for me, one of my foods that I love to eat excessively when I get stressed out is Swiss cake rolls. And I just love Swiss cake rolls. But like Swiss cake rolls, I will grasp and pull and grasp and pull, and they don't always nourish me and satisfy me if I were to sit down and have like a lovely, lovely meal with lots of different flavors, right? So Swiss cake rolls is what I always think of as like grasp and pull interrupted for me. It's like, what's that Swiss cake roll? And then I think about in all the places in my life. Like when I was dating, was I going for the meal, or was I going for the Swiss cake roll?

Sadie Simpson:

I love that so much.

Naomi Katz:

Also, that is totally what I am- what I'm calling people who like aren't meeting my needs now. They're just a Swiss cake roll.

Heidi Andersen:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

Okay. And we can see- I'm just sort of drawing all the parallels to Intuitive Eating here.

Heidi Andersen:

Yeah, I love it. Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

Because like, it's just, like- it's lighting up my brain. And so grasp pull, we can see as being like, emotional eating, and like coping with our emotions. So where like the- the food isn't actually meeting the need. It might be telling us that there's a need that needs to be met. And like, maybe it's all that's within reach in the time, and maybe it is provide- like it might be providing something for us. But it's not actually meeting the need that's there for us.

Heidi Andersen:

Yes.

Naomi Katz:

I am a big believer that there is nothing wrong with emotional eating- that like that is an absolutely valid coping mechanism. And also coping mechanisms don't actually meet needs, they just help us to cope if we are not able to meet the need in the moment, kind of.

Heidi Andersen:

Yes. Yeah, yeah.

Naomi Katz:

And so I can see how this sort of plays out in this grasp pull.

Heidi Andersen:

Yeah, I definitely agree that there's space in our normative attuned relationship with eating for emotional eating. So yeah, I definitely agree with that. Yeah. So in Embodied Recovery, we're going to play around- like with reach, and with grasp pull, we're going to play around with experiments where we're physically engaging like the actions of reach, the actions of grasp and pull, while we're kind of looking at this material with folks.

Naomi Katz:

That's really, really interesting.

Heidi Andersen:

Yeah. So someone in my office, if we're working on grasp and pull, they might have a scarf on one end, I might have a scarf on the other end, and they're like practicing like that physical action of bringing it in.

Sadie Simpson:

Wow.

Naomi Katz:

That's so interesting.

Heidi Andersen:

Because this is all wired from our very early developmental years. Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

And even just viscerally, hearing you talk about that, I can totally see that there was probably a time in my life, even, where I would have held back in like pulling on something if somebody was pulling on the other end, and like how that could be like a visceral way of understanding that you're like holding back in something and like not allowing yourself to fully grasp and reach. Oh, wow, that's powerful.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Heidi Andersen:

That word, visceral, right? Like, it's- it's bringing it into the body, which is a place where a lot can shift and change. Yeah. Yeah. So then- so then there's yield. And yield is like, you know, this is like the opposite of our- of our hustle diet culture, like, you know, do do do do do, right? Yield. So when yield is interrupted, then a person is going to feel more of that their nervous system is going hot, is what I call it, and as they're trying to strive for love and belonging. And so, in order to have digestion in our nervous system, ingestion and digestion needs to happen when we're in that window that I talked about at the beginning. And so yield is really important for bringing the food and the nutrients in, and allowing them to, you know, provide the nourishment. So many people skip yield with everything. And yield is connected to relaxation. And if it's not able to happen, then it has- it's called a completion barrier. That's what happens when you aren't able to yield. And then a person just goes right back into the cycle, like pushing on to the next thing, next thing. So that yield interrupted is a really big one for folks, too, with eating disorders, because of kind of the striving. The- the behaviors- that is going to come out either with the relationship with food, or even maybe the relationship with movement. They don't feel like they can, like, safely rest and still get love and belonging. So yield experiments in the office are so fun, because my- in a previous life, I was a yoga teacher before I was a therapist. So I get to bring out all my yoga props and you get everything out for yield. And- but it's surprisingly difficult for folks to allow themselves to yield for all the reasons that we understand.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, that like, slow down, and rest, and like,

Sadie Simpson:

Mm-hmm. just not be hustling and being productive.

Heidi Andersen:

Yeah, and then if your attachment figure is diet culture, and it's like you need to be thin and able bodied to get love and belonging- right- that's efforting and efforting. And- and so inviting the yield, I think the first thing that happens for folks is to realize that's where like, a lot of the grief will start to come. It's like, wow, I have really been in this disorganized attachment pattern with diet culture. And- and then allowing the yield, like we need support to collapse instead of yield. So that's where like bringing in and connecting folks to all the places of belonging that are starting to be built now. And places to go, and listen to, like the Satisfaction Factor podcast. I have people listen to your podcast all the time, right? There's- letting people know there's communities now that are there for folks to really land in their authentic selves, and let their bodies kind of go to whatever natural shape and size they want to.

Naomi Katz:

That's awesome. And we so appreciate that you do that.

Heidi Andersen:

Oh, yeah. Yeah. I'm excited to have you all as a resource. I always say, okay, listen to this podcast.

Naomi Katz:

So- so yield is- it's about the rest, but it's also about, like being supported in that rest. Like I'm picturing- because you mentioned yoga- I'm picturing like, Shavasana. Like, where you find like a supported resting pose, essentially. And like, whether that's the floor, or a prop, or what, but you're supported in that resting pose, and that that's part of what makes it feel safe.

Heidi Andersen:

Yes, yeah. Yeah. You're supported in the rest. And you're also supported in like, just being in your authentic self, and not having to strive, or prove, or achieve, or be a certain shape and size to get love and belonging, but to just feel that in the space.

Naomi Katz:

I have goosebumps right now.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes. That was so- Yes, agreed.

Heidi Andersen:

And I love facilitating this with clients so much because, for me, like kind eyes is like one of the most powerful somatic ways of communicating that you just- you're going to sort of accept- accept someone wherever they are. And so I just love getting my kind eyes on and helping clients build their little nest to yield in.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, you know, it's so it reminds me so much of- again, something that we've talked about on the pod before- about the difference in community within diet culture versus outside of diet culture, and how community within diet culture tends to be more competition and comparison based- like you said, the striving to meet those diet culture standards and things like that- whereas, community outside of diet culture, you're like truly connecting with people, and you're being your authentic self, and they're supportive in what you're doing, and like, you're- it's like a whole human experience that- that you're not just like competing with each other all the time.

Heidi Andersen:

Yes, yes. Yeah. And this sort of leads me full circle back to Reclaiming Beauty, which is the place I started before I got into Embodied Recovery. And for me, people have said over the years, oh, that's a terrible name for a business, Heidi, like, you don't want to be like talking about beauty. I'm like, that's the whole point. Like, I want to- sort of- how can we see that word beauty in the way that it's meant to be, which I think is really like, can we land in our authentic self and- and experience love, and acceptance, and- of our of ourselves and from others. And so this kind of yielding- right- like this releasing of the diet culture conditions for our love that is very aligned with what I feel when I think about this process of reclaiming beauty. So I love that part of it, too.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh, my gosh, I love that so much. So how do you currently work with folks? Like, do you see clients? Mostly one on one? Do you run groups? Is that all in person? Do you offer online programming? How do you work with people?

Heidi Andersen:

So I have a group practice in Asheville. We are body centered psychotherapists and offer one on one psychotherapy. It's myself and two other amazing folks. And we have groups- there's a possible support group for people who live in larger bodies that's going to be coming in the fall. Sometimes I run online groups. Yeah, that's kind of the main way these days.

Naomi Katz:

So if people are interested in working with you in any of those ways, where would they find you? How would they go about doing that?

Heidi Andersen:

So the website for the business is reclaimingbeauty.com. And I've sort of pared down social media to just Instagram right now, and that is @reclaimingbeauty. And those are the- those are the places.

Sadie Simpson:

Are you only licensed to work with folks in North Carolina, or can you work with people outside of North Carolina?

Heidi Andersen:

Yeah, so I am only in North Carolina. And Caitlin Craig is also part of my practice, and she's also only in North Carolina. And we are bringing someone on that's going to be doing embodiment coaching, and they will be able to see folks over the state- the states- anywhere. You know what I'm trying to say.

Sadie Simpson:

Thats awesome.

Naomi Katz:

That's great. That is really great. And within North Carolina, can you see people virtually, or do you only see people in person?

Heidi Andersen:

Yeah, so it's- it can be virtual or in person. I personally love doing this work in person because of the- there's so much like nervous system resonance that's part of healing the ability to be able to land back in your safe and connected zone, but it can be communicated over the internet. I had a client recently who just had tears in her eyes and I was like, are you alright? And she's like, I just feel so much of that kind eyes energy. You know, like I was sitting over here giving her the kind eyes. Yeah, so it was really touching.It can be communicated and lots of the experiments can happen over the computer. You know, we've gotten creative as everyone has had you over this these times.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah. All right. Heidi, as we are wrapping this up, we always ask our guests the same question. What is satisfying for you right now?

Heidi Andersen:

Well, so at the moment, I am at the beach, enjoying some sunshine, and I can only read fiction books when I'm at the beach for some reason. Something about the way that my nervous system works. I can like read a book like crazy at the beach, but at home for some reason, I can't relax and settle. So I am reading an amazing book. And I'm appreciating that my attention is so filled with this book. So I'm- yeah, I'm able to grasp and pull and bring in my reading satisfaction and nourishment.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes.

Naomi Katz:

That's fantastic. Well, Heide thank you so very much for joining us today, and talking all of this through with us. It's been fascinating. And especially thank you for taking time out of your vacation to have this conversation with us.

Heidi Andersen:

My pleasure. And I just- I am so appreciating this podcast, and your wisdom, and what you are doing with the podcast. So- and it's so awesome that you're in Asheville too.

Naomi Katz:

This- Asheville has such a great community around this stuff, and it just- and I feel like it's growing all the time. And it's just wonderful. So thank you for being part of that community. And yeah, we just loved talking to you today. Thanks again to Heidi Anderson for joining us. We hope that you have gotten as much out of this episode as we did.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, that was really great. I love talking to Heidi, I love that she is a local resource for us. That feels kind of selfish to say, but it feels great to have her in our community. And I'm so excited that everyone else out there listening, whether they live locally to us in the Asheville area or they live not local to us, get to experience the awesomeness of Heidi as well.

Naomi Katz:

If you've enjoyed this podcast and you would like to let us know that you can come find us on Instagram at @satisfactionfactorpod. We'd love to hear from you over there. Or one other simple thing that you can do is leave us a rating and a review on Apple podcasts or Spotify. Those ratings and reviews help bump us up in the rankings and reach more people. So we always appreciate that.

Sadie Simpson:

That's all for us this week. We'll see you next time.