She's Brave Podcast - Kristina Driscoll

New York Times Best Selling Author of SKINNYTASTE SIMPLE Author Heather Jones on Holistic Weight Loss and Wellness

January 23, 2024 Kristina Driscoll Episode 68
She's Brave Podcast - Kristina Driscoll
New York Times Best Selling Author of SKINNYTASTE SIMPLE Author Heather Jones on Holistic Weight Loss and Wellness
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this week’s episode, I have a heartfelt conversation with Heather K. Jones. Heather, a dietitian and wellness guide, co-authored the New York Times bestselling “Skinnytaste” cookbooks. She opens up about her past battle with emotional eating, substance abuse, and self-image issues. Twenty years ago, Heather chose to stop skirting around her problems and faced her inner demons, which significantly changed her life. She discusses her program 'Feel Better, Eat Better' which advocates a love-centered approach to weight loss, involving addressing inner fears, mental health, and emotional needs without using food for comfort. Heather also shares her journey of overcoming a serious speech impediment, advocating the importance of self-love, respect, and listening to your body's needs.

In this episode, you will be able to:

  • Uncover the impact of emotional eating on weight loss and well-being.
  • Embrace a healthier relationship with oneself to promote lasting change.
  • Explore the root causes of emotional eating and learn how to address them effectively.
  • Cultivate eating consciousness and mindfulness for a more balanced approach to food.
  • Trust the wisdom of your body to guide your relationship with food and emotional eating.


About Heather:

Heather K. Jones, R.D. is a registered dietitian and a wellness guide. Specializing in nutrition communications, weight management and behavior change therapy, Heather has spent the last 20 years empowering women who struggle with food, health and emotional eating issues.

She is the creator of Feel Better Eat Better, an online weight loss program for women who struggle with emotional eating, binge eating, overeating or body image issues, and the co-author of the New York Times best-selling Skinnytaste cookbooks.

Heather has had hundreds of articles published in healthy-living magazines, including SELF, Fitness, Good Housekeeping and more, and she has contributed to numerous health books 

She also spent seven years working for CSPI and its award-winning newsletter, Nutrition Action Healthletter, and five years working with Oprah and the Best Life team.


Connect with Heather: 

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/heatherkjonesdietitian/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/heatherkjonesrd/

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/heatherkjonesrd/

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/heatherkjonesrd/

Sign up here for my free Masterclass to discover 7 soulful steps to end emotional eating and release weight without diets or willpower: https://www.feelbettereatbetter.com/?oprid=18153&ref=185950 

 



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Kristina:

Hey everyone, it's Christina Driscoll host of this she's brave Podcast. I'm so glad you're here with me. I did not start out brave at all. But I learned that we can do brave things, one small step at a time. After caregiving for my husband and son for 12 years, it was definitely time for my next chapter. I wanted to get brave women's voices out there in the world. And more importantly, I want all of you to have the courage and the resilience to live your best authentic life. So come along with me and learn how to live your best life. And I want you to hear the brave voices of women all around the world. Hey, everyone, it's Christina with this she's brave Podcast. Today, I have a really amazing guest. Her name is Heather Kay Jones. She's a dietitian and wellness guide. She empowers women to end emotional eating and release weight. without dieting. Do you want to know more, I want to know more. She's also the New York Times Best Selling co author to the skinny taste cookbooks. Her program feel better eat better is a holistic, whole person love centered approach to weight loss. Heather, about 20 years ago, you stopped trying to put a bandaid on your issues. And you started to face your inner fears. This changed everything for you. Welcome. Welcome, Heather. Thank you so much. Yeah, so let's go back about 1520 years ago, and find out what was going on in your life. And this is a really different angle to wellness and weight loss. And I want to know all about it.

Unknown:

Well, what happened for me is about 20 years ago, I went through a really dark time in my life, I was having struggles with not only food, and body and sort of I would binge eat, and then I would starve myself and I would binge and I would starve myself and I would cycle through that. Or it had been since I was very, very young since like 15. So that had been going on for some time. But also just so many areas of my life, were not working at that time, I was going through a divorce. And I started to have almost 15 panic attacks a day when I was going through this divorce, and I was also struggling with binging with how much I drink. And also I was doing drugs. And I was doing a lot of partying in my life. So there were so many areas of my life that were messy at that time. And I was working in the health field, I had a nutrition degree, I was supposed to be the person who was telling everybody else how to live a healthy life. And here I had very unhealthy components of my life. So it's like I you know, supposed to be the health professional on one end, but my own life wasn't in a very healthy state at all. And so during that time, I started to really look within instead of running away from the things that were going on, I started to look within and I started to say, Okay, what's going on within me, that is causing me so much pain that it's causing me to create so much chaos in my outside life. And I was doing a couple of books at the time, in the meantime was one of them and you can heal your life is the second one books that I had found when I was rummaging around the self help of the bookstore when I was just desperate for help. And these books really talked about this process of starting to look at your thoughts, your beliefs, and starting to clean up what was going on in the inside and starting to really notice how I talk to myself and how I thought about myself and how I just treated myself and also how much I ran away from the emotions in my life. Anytime I felt any uncomfortable emotion in my life, I would run away from it. And I feel like when you're running away from emotions, you're running away from your life. So that was the path that started me on this inner work. And was to do the inner work as I started to change my relationship with myself, change how I talk to myself change what I thought about myself really started to look at my fears and the beliefs and the things that weren't true. And I started to release those things. My relationship with food also started to change. And I started to use the things that were most painful in my life. And I started to use them as sort of portals instead of letting them rule my life. I was like, okay, what can I learn from these things? I struggled with my speech I struggled to speak when I was young. So I started to look at that and say, what's going on inside of me? And how can I use that to help me and then same with my relationship with food and my relationship with men, and I use all of the most painful parts of my life, as portals into self growth and to understanding myself and treating myself with kindness and respect.

Kristina:

I love this so much. You know, before we hit record, you had touched on that you've had a really serious speech impediment as a child, you had serious stutter became such issues. And I actually want you just share some of that story with us. Because that is part of I think, why you went off the rails, like you said, Oh, my gosh, like they basically had an eating disorder. And you had, you know, panic attacks. And you were using substances and appropriately and I mean, where did all that come from? Well, a lot of it started with a lot of struggles as a child. So tell us more about that. Because when you just touched on it a few minutes ago, before I hit record, I thought I need to know more about this. Yeah,

Unknown:

I started to stutter. When I was very young, I think I was around three or four, my dad struggled with his speech as well. So I think it's something I had imprinted from him. And then when life became more chaotic, and harder to manage, and my childhood home, which unfortunately, wasn't always the safest place to be, I think that started to manifest itself as a way for me to try and manage my life in some way. And so I struggled for many, many years, and I was in therapy for my speech from a very young age, I think I started in seventh grade, and I went from like, seventh grade until I think, like 11th grade. So I was really in therapy for that for a long time. Luckily, the therapist really understood the anxiety that was at the root of this and really understood that it was something that was going on in the inside, as opposed to a lot of speech therapists that focus on tools or techniques and sort of thinking that it's something wrong with the brain. And all I know is that for me, the speech therapist helped me, but I didn't really release the fear of speaking and really be able to speak with more fluency like I do now, until I started to do this internal work, until I started to create a loving relationship with myself, until I started to understand that when I was really feeling closed down, and when I couldn't speak, it was because I was in a place of deep fear. I was either afraid of being judged or afraid of being attacked or afraid of being persecuted. Or, you know, I started to really understand what was behind all of that speech. And I wasn't in what I would call an open hearted space, right? When I'm in an open hearted space, my speech flows, because I'm just speaking with ease. But when I was shut down, I would start to realize, oh, my gosh, if I'm scared to speak right now, there's parts of me inside that are in a lot of fear. And instead of ignoring those parts, I started to really become the parent to those parts. And I started to really understand that this was a sign for myself that I needed to go within I needed to slow down. And that's true with people who struggle with food as well, oftentimes, in this diet obsessed culture that we live in, people think that the answer is going on a diet or they need to, you know, have more willpower in order to change. But if you're using food for emotional support, you are not getting at the root at what is going on. And so craving for food or a craving for alcohol or a craving for something to distract ourselves, I always say as a craving for unconditional love.

Kristina:

That's so funny. Can I just interrupt you, it's so funny, because that's one of your quotes that I had written down to discuss with you. And emotional food craving is actually a craving for unconditional love. I'd never heard that. But it makes a lot of sense. Tell us more.

Unknown:

There's an emotional need, we're using the food to try to get an emotional need met, right? We're trying to feel better, we're trying to get relief, or we're trying to get comfort, or we're trying not to feel we're trying to numb out. And so there's an emotional need underneath that. And so when we don't look at what that emotional need is, and we don't learn how to get that emotional need met in another way, and instead we try and just diet our way into a healthier relationship with food, it doesn't work. And so really starting to slow down and get curious about what is going on inside of you. So when you have an anxious urge to eat or an anxious urge in English, so many ways that we distract ourselves in today's world. It can be shopping, it can be going online, it can be binging on Netflix, but when we feel that anxious urge, and especially in the world of weight and diets The normal response is to either resist the urge and use willpower to try not to do that thing, or we give in to the urge, right? But there's a third option, which is to get curious about the urge, which is to stop and get curious about what is going on and get curious about is this craving coming from a place because my body actually needs food? Or is this an emotional craving, and I need to emotionally support myself. And so having tools to emotionally and mentally support ourselves, I have found, really creates the kind of freedom with food that I think we all want, because we all have to eat, right. And we all connect with food, and we all go out with friends, and we all celebrate with food. And food is such a huge part of our lives. And when you have an uncomfortable relationship with food, it's like you can't run away from it, it's always there. And so I think what we all crave is freedom. We want to feel good in our bodies, we want to feel at ease with the foods that we eat. And it's natural to want to have an easy relationship with food. Like I believe that it's very intuitive and natural for us to feed ourselves. And when we do the inner work, we're able to get back into that flowy place with food, and really start to listen to the wisdom that our body has for us.

Kristina:

Ah, so beautifully said, I mean, just knowing your history to now of your childhood and everything like you are the beautiful, beautiful example of this very courageous woman who has overcome so much to where you are today with all these successful cookbooks and successful programs, which I absolutely love. I want to go a little bit deeper on one of your programs, that you basically encourage people to use their internal support system and refocus their energy. I think that's the feel better eat better program is that that one that you have a number of programs, but you have seven things in that program. And number one is shift your mindset. Anything else you want to add to that I want to go through these seven, because I thought that they were so powerful, I

Unknown:

think you Yeah, so that's what I always say is step number one, most people who have struggled with body and food and weight for so long, they start in the opposite place, they start on the outside, they start by thinking about the foods they're going to eat or the exercises that they're going to do. And of course, that is an important component of this. But when you're doing that, from a place of fear, and you're trying to create change from a fearful, anxious place, it never ever works. It doesn't work in the long term. So I start number one, we're starting to shift your mindset and starting to shift your perspective and starting to think about food and your relationship with food from a different point of view. And if you can start to shift your mindset from there's something wrong with me, I'm broken, I'm cursed, I have bad genes, I'll never be able to fix this, like that typical sort of victim mindset that we all get them because we spent so many years in this what feels like a battle with food and a battle with our body. And when we can shift that into Okay, what if this is a call for me to heal? There's a good reason why this is in my life? And what if I give them a new point of view and start to think, okay, what can I learn from this? Instead of how can I fight this? And how can I get past this? And how can I finally lose the weight so I'll feel confident and don't feel free. Instead, we shift our mindset now. And when you start to treat yourself with kindness and respect now and you start to go within and have compassion for yourself, you find that you're able to feel better now, regardless of the size that you're at, because that feeling of confidence doesn't come from your body size, it doesn't come from how you look, even though we're all very conditioned to believe that to be true. Confidence, True Confidence comes because of what's going on inside of you. It's when more of your self, your true self is present. Right? It's more of that natural confidence that starts to occur as you start to treat yourself with respect. And so that mindset shift and just starting to look at things from a different point of view is huge. It makes the biggest difference in the world. How you treat yourself is the most important thing, the relationship that we have with ourselves is the most important relationship that we'll ever have. And yet, most of us don't focus on that most of us focus on at least in my case, the relationships. You know, I was really concerned about helping everybody else and making sure that I was pleasing everybody else and I was in kind of that people pleasing mode and afraid of being judged, hence the speech. And it's funny because I feel like the natural born givers in the world when they learn how to create a healthier relationship with themselves. They Give from this really balanced place they actually become the balance to give her is that they're meant to be, and they're giving from a place of wholeness, instead of giving from a place of fear.

Kristina:

I totally agree. Totally agree. Number two, get your beliefs into alignment with your desires.

Unknown:

Yes, so this one is all about, again, doing that deeper inner work and starting to look at any beliefs that may be in the way of you creating change. And these are often very unconscious. So for example, if your entire circle of friends, if they all go out, and they all over eat, and all of your relationships are based around food and a certain way, you may be afraid to change because you'll no longer connect with your friends in the same way, right. Or if you unconsciously use the weight, in order to create like a safety barrier between you and the world. And this is again, usually very unconscious, and you believe that it's safer for you to be at a certain size, or you want that sort of feeling of safety that comes from the weight, then you also will keep sabotaging yourself. Because this other belief is more important to you the safety is more important to you, unconsciously. Right. And same with the connection, like the connection is more important to you. So going within and starting to look at those kinds of things. Another one is comfort food, right. So if you believe that the only way you can comfort yourself, and the only way that you are able to push down the feelings of being alone, or the feelings of not being enough, like if you believe food is your only way to get relief, then of course you're not going to change, right, you have to show yourself that you can get relief and other ways and you have to speak, I find to the parts that hold these beliefs, and let them know that you the adult self are there to sort of drive the bus, right. And so it is really starting to look within and look at the certain beliefs that these different parts of you hold, and starting to release those and starting to re educate your inner world and starting to show yourself that you can change and that it's safe to change. So creating the space to let yourself know that it's safe to change.

Kristina:

Beautifully said I just love everything. And I feel like I'm learning so much from number three, understand your hunger and your emotions. Yeah, so a lot of

Unknown:

people, they're not very tuned into their bodies, they're not very aware of if their hunger is coming from an emotional place or a physical place. And so just starting to be aware, and to stop before you eat anything. Take a couple of breaths, come back into this moment now and really check in become more mindful of when you're grabbing food. Are you eating food just because it's there? Are you eating food? Because you're looking for emotional support? Are you eating food because you feel nervous and anxious? I mean, just stopping and seeing or are you eating food because your body actually needs food. So starting to get more conscious, I call it cultivating eating consciousness of when you eat and why you eat and just starting to bring that awareness because a lot of people are eating from a very unconscious place. And so just starting to become more aware of that.

Kristina:

Know so good. Number four, get your emotional needs met without food. I love this. Yes. So once

Unknown:

you are aware that you're actually eating because there's an emotion there, then you start to realize, like I said, instead of just resisting the craving, instead of trying to use willpower not to cave into it, or instead of giving into it. And going down that familiar path, you take the third option, which is to get curious about what's going on inside of you. And I have a tool called The Five Minute promise where if you can just say to yourself, Okay, the food is there, or the drink is there, whatever it is that you're going for. And if in five minutes, I still want it, then I can have it. It gets like a little mind trick, right? A little mind hack. But if you say I'm going to take five minutes, just to go sit down, be with myself, find out what's going on inside of me find out what the beliefs are how I'm feeling and I have different tools to help people go within and just see if you're able to connect more with the parts of you that are in pain and get those emotional needs met without food. And so that's key, and it does take practice. But it is 100% possible for any of us to do that kind of work.

Kristina:

I love it. And that's so easy to do. I was thinking about my husband and I it's part of our routine now that after dinner, we love to watch British shows. So we have like a whole slew of them. So we sit down and we have an ice cream bar every night. But I'm going to try that five minute thing. I'm going to start doing that every night and saying okay, I'm gonna wait and maybe I'll wait 10 minutes Another night and then see if I still want that ice cream bar because yeah, and one ice cream bar

Unknown:

a day, like, it may not be a big deal for you, you may find that it's not emotional. Sometimes you just eat because it's fun. And I think that's perfectly okay. But just checking in and bringing more consciousness to it like, do I really want to eat this? Is there an emotional reason I'm eating this, just adding that extra piece is you I love that I

Kristina:

love that. Okay, number five, connect with your intuition and fuel your body with care, I just even love the way that's written. Thank you.

Unknown:

I think our bodies are so incredibly wise, I always give the example of an acorn knows exactly what it needs to do to grow into an oak tree, we don't have to tell the acorn what to do that divine intelligence that runs through the acorn naturally knows what to do to grow that acorn into a tree. And that same divine intelligence is running through us. But because we are in a controlling or obsessive or not very balanced relationship with this body that we have, we are not tuned into that. And we're not aware of how much our body is just so on our side, I mean, think about when you're cut your finger, and your body immediately knows what to do to rush to heal that. And so our body is always trying to get us to a weight that's going to best serve us a weight that is going to create the best life experience for us. And so as we do the inner work, and as we get back on the same team with this amazing body of ours, you're able to tune in and pay attention to what your body needs, and what your body is calling for. Because your body is always pointing you towards the foods that are best going to serve you, it's always giving you clues of what it needs. And when we ignore the hunger cues, which is what I used to do when I was in the diet realm. I mean, I had a health degree and I would get a craving to eat and I would go outside and smoke. Because that would be me I know. Because I was so afraid my dad was 100 plus pounds overweight. And so I grew up with a mother who was very concerned that I could possibly end up like my dad. And so I was very afraid I had a strong belief system, that if I wasn't really careful and didn't ignore my own hunger cues that I could end up like my dad. So I had absolutely no trust in my body at all. And so when we start to trust our own bodies, and start to trust the wisdom of our bodies, and start to care for our bodies, so instead of eating to shrink ourselves, which is what I did for many, many years, I was not concerned about nourishment at all I was concerned about is this going to help me stay at the weight that I think I should be at, or there was just no nourishment. And so as we start to shift from eating, to shrink ourselves to eating to nourish ourselves, eating from a place of care, it seems like such an obvious thing. But when you're caught in that diet mentality, and when you're using food for emotional support, it's not always the first thing that you think of. But as you tune back in as you do the inner work, this also starts to unfold in a really natural way. You start to naturally want to care for your body, you start to naturally want to feed your body with foods that feel good for it. Oh,

Kristina:

I love it. Okay, number six, take inspired and consistent action. Yes, so

Unknown:

this is about once again, doing the inner work and really being intentional with your days and being intentional with how you show up for yourself, and how you tune into what your body needs, then you start to get into a really flowy place where you're taking action from inspiration, again, because you feel good about yourself, because you're treating yourself with kindness because you dealt with those inner blocks. And you're aware when things come up in your day to day life that trigger you and upset you. And instead of immediately going for food, you're emotionally supporting yourself. And so that inspiration in that inspired action starts to unfold with ease. And this is so different than when you're going on a diet and you're forcing yourself to do things you don't like. And you're forcing yourself to work out in ways that you don't like. So again, you start tuning into what are ways that I can move that actually feel good for me that feel fun for me, and you're taking inspired action and you're doing it consistently so it just becomes the norm it becomes what you do. Yeah,

Kristina:

I absolutely love that too. And number seven, stop trying to fix yourself. Yeah, I

Unknown:

always say stop trying to fix yourself and start trying to love yourself or choose to love yourself because as long as we have that mentality or that mindset that we're broken, that we need to be fixed. It's always a very resistant feeling that we're bringing into this journey with ourselves and it always feels like there's something wrong with us. And instead we want to respect ourselves where we are now love ourselves where we are now get curious about what is going on inside of us. And I share an exercise, which is if you close your eyes and think about somebody that you love, so much, right? Somebody that just you love them with all of your heart. And then think about if that person gained 10 pounds, 20 pounds, 100 pounds. And then ask yourself, if you would love that person any less, because they gained this weight, right? And the answer is always, of course not. You love them because of who they are because of their inner being because of who they are not because of what their body looks like. And so you might be concerned and be wondering what's going on and be curious about what's going on with them. So we can do that for ourselves. Right? Continue to love ourselves, wherever we're at right now and have that curious compassion for ourselves, that work so much better than believing that there's something wrong with us and that we're broken. And because we've struggled for so long, there must be something where I was what I used to think there must be something terribly wrong with me. I have a nutrition degree, I have all the information I need. Why can't I figure this out? Why do I keep doing this to myself. But as I turned towards myself with compassion, curiosity, it really opens things up. So it's the same way we treat somebody that we love the same way we treat someone who is going through a hard time, we just have to turn that back on ourselves. Yeah,

Kristina:

wow. So beautifully said I want to share a little story. And my late husband used to say this to me every so often. He used to say, I will always love you, and I will love you, no matter what way you are, you could be 400 pounds and walk around in a potato sack. And I would still think that you're beautiful. And I will always love you. So I think that helps me a lot. It's a very, very powerful thing for a man to say to a woman, right? Yes. It's wonderful. Yeah, beautiful.

Unknown:

You deserve that kind of love. We all do. And yet it's so rare. And it's just not what we normally think of that. It's like this, of course, right? Like you deserve. I deserve that we all have to,

Kristina:

yeah, I hadn't thought about that in a really, really long time. And I like how we can do that for ourselves. Like we can think of other people. And I'm the same way like, I don't care what somebody weighs, I care what's inside. And everyone's bodies work differently to some people's set points, or they just gain weight more easily. And we've got all that going on, too. I think we judge ourselves and assume that other people are judging us. And if we can let go the judgment of ourselves. It's just so incredibly powerful. I

Unknown:

love that, you know, they're showing now and like the epi genetics world, which is that our genes are not our destiny, like are some points can change our bodies can change our bodies can get back into an optimum balance state. And so all that is more flexible than I think we Yes. And our beliefs. Yes. And our bodies are so connected. So that mind body connection is everything. Yeah, totally,

Kristina:

totally agree. There's a tendency towards certain things. But that doesn't mean that we have to go in that direction. Or even proving it scientifically, right like that. You're not doomed to such and such. Right? Other This has been so enlightening. So beautiful. I feel like you are helping. Not only me, but all of my listeners, is there anything else that you would like to share with my listeners?

Unknown:

Thank you so much. It's been such a pleasure to be here. Just if anybody is struggling with food or body or weight or confidence for a long time, I just want to remind everybody that it doesn't matter how long you have struggled for, it doesn't matter how old you are, it is 100% possible to create change. But you have to do it in a way you haven't done before. And creating change from the inside out and starting to have the courage to look within and starting to remember your own power. And remember that it is 100% possible for you to create a healthy life that feels good for you.

Kristina:

abaa so beautifully said with that everybody including me needs to know how to find you like your social Instagram, Facebook website programs, tell us how we can find you,

Unknown:

you'll better eat better is my main course. And that's my five month course. And I've had 1000s of people go through the course and so it's a pretty special place. And Heather Kay jones.com You can find me there. It's my main site feel better eat better.com as well. And I have lots of free materials and lots of things that you can do to check out and then I also do free emotional eating sessions twice a month inside my Facebook group. I know one of you on my site as well.

Kristina:

I love that and all of this is going to go in my show notes. So so that people can literally just go to the shownotes and click on your links and jump onto your website because I think what you're doing is just incredibly powerful. And thank you for being here today and sharing your story of a young woman who really stuttered a lot and has been so courageous and literally changed everything about your life. It's just a beautiful story. And it's so beautiful what you're doing in the world. Thank you so much, Heather.

Unknown:

Thank you.

Kristina:

Hey, everyone, thanks so much for taking time out of your busy life to listen to today's episode. I love learning about what makes you brave. I'm here with you. I see you. I hear you and I want to hear from you. I want to know how you're showing up as being brave and authentic. Connect with me on Instagram at she's brave podcast, or come join our community in the she's brave podcast Facebook group. I'm sending you so much love. Until next time, keep being brave.

(Cont.) New York Times Best Selling Author of SKINNYTASTE SIMPLE Author Heather Jones on Holistic Weight Loss and Wellness