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   20 episodes



Binge Dieting Learn how to change your relationship with Eating

Betsy Thurston MPH RD, Integrative Health Coach, Registered Dietitian, Eati

20 episodes

Dec 10, 2020

How to Balance the Food You Eat 

It’s hard to talk about eating without tying it to ideas about nutrition, so it's helpful to understand what makes up the food we eat and how it affects our bodies. Different foods have different functions in the body. There is no one answer to the question, “What should I eat?” However, there are guidelines to help you balance it out.

In today's episode, I touch on the science of food. I talk about the different food groups and the general rule of thumb when eating. Tune in to the full episode to get the most valuable insights on the nitty-gritty of the food we eat.

I am now offering a virtual 7-week CLASS!

The class is geared toward behavior change. It is for people who struggle with maintaining a stress-free relationship with eating. 

The class will include pre-recorded videos, audio recordings, handouts, membership in a Facebook community. Enrollment is ongoing! Register now so that you don't miss out on all the content!

If you would prefer more individualized help, contact me so we can schedule a private virtual session.

To sign up for the class or get private help, you can send me an email at or visit my website.

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full podcast episode:
  1. What is the primary goal of eating?
  2. Learn about the nutritional qualities of the food you eat.
  3. Discover the importance of keeping a low glycemic index.
Resources Episode Highlights The Goal of Eating

Balanced, healthy eating correlates with stable blood sugar levels. When you control how you eat so that you don't starve yourself and then overeat in the next meal, the body’s ability to self regulate many biological processes is maximized. Remember: your brain runs your body and relies on glucose or blood sugar to function. Keeping your blood sugar stable is crucial to health and also to decreasing disruptive food cravings.

Incorporating snacks between your meals can help regulate your blood sugar. A good snack would be something that includes protein and fiber. When eating, keep in mind that fun foods that aren’t thought of as “healthy” can be worked into an eating program.  

What Makes Up the Food We Eat

The macronutrients that our food contains are protein, carbohydrates, and fats. All foods in the world are either one of these or a combination of them.


Carbohydrates are either simple or complex. Complex carbohydrates are generally better because they come packaged with other nutrients such as protein and fiber. Quinoa and brown rice are more complex than white rice and white flour, for example. Because the body was not designed to process excessive amounts of sugar, it can get confused and overreact when eating large amounts of sugar/refined flour/convenience foods. As a result, it can influence the process of the hormones involved in the body's response to knowing when to stop eating.

The Food Groups

The primary food groups include:

  • Proteins. We can get proteins from both plants and animal products. Some diets may be low protein, like a vegetarian diet, or high protein, like the Keto or paleo diet. You need to investigate what works for you and what feels good in your body.
  • Dairy. Dairy tends to contain large amounts of calcium and other important nutrients. It can be a wonderful source of protein. Still, some consider dairy to be harmful to the health of the body. The topic is controversial
  • Fat. Fat serves many functions in the body, including the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and minerals and the lining of all cell membranes. It helps us feel satiated and can prevent overeating. 
  • Grains.  Grains such as wheat, rice, oats,  and quinoa provide energy as well as a number of important B vitamins and minerals. Grains are carbohydrates that can provide a stabilizing effect on blood sugar. 
  • Vegetables. Vegetables are probably the master food group and the basis of a multitude of scientific research correlating them with reductions in disease risk. It is almost impossible to eat too many vegetables; they often come packaged with protein and they always have an abundance of healing phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. 
  • Fruits. Fruits, like vegetables, are powerhouses of nutrition. They don’t come packaged with protein but they do contain many of the same healing phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals as vegetables. It is beneficial to include several servings of fruit a day. 
Comparison of Different “Diets”

Any “diet” comes with a diet mentality; if you are on a diet, part of you will want to resist it. Diets are naturally unsustainable, and in the long run, generally, create an unhealthy relationship with eating. 

A 2009 study compared four popular weight-loss diets using similar calorie counts. They looked at the ratios of protein, carbohydrate, and fat. After two years, the conclusion was that all the diets were equally effective in losing or maintaining weight. The success was primarily attributed to matching the people to the right eating methods, not the percentage of the macronutrients. In the long run though, no diet correlated with lasting change. 

Instead of getting stuck in details, it's more crucial to go back to the basics of eating intuitively.

Food Consumption Across History and Culture

Each culture has a food consumption system based on many factors. These factors dictate how they eat and include religion, social rules, their ecosystem, and more. Even today, there are hidden factors affecting your dietary choices.

Ways of Eating That Are Not Helpful

Science has red-flagged any way of eating that excludes entire food groups or has strict rules. Some people however do report feeling best on a strict diet plan, and can maintain this way of eating for years.

While this is not typical, it does work for some, and as long as the body receives all essential minerals and vitamins and there are no psychological impulses to rebel, these rigid programs can be effective. Since the great majority of people can’t sustain these strict programs, though, intuitive eating and balanced eating is recommended. There is no exact answer to the question, “What should I eat?” 

In general, scientific recommendations for optimal nutrition also includes a minimum of packaged, processed, refined foods. 

The Glycemic Index

One key marker for problems with weight management is insulin resistance. When this happens insulin stops working correctly in the body, which causes other hormones to become impaired. 

The glycemic index is the amount of glucose released into the blood after eating any carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are important for health and are found in grains, vegetables, fruits, and dairy products. Low-glycemic-index carbohydrates cause a slower rise of glucose and insulin in the blood, which is good for the body and are better metabolized than high glycemic-index foods. White rice and white potatoes and candy, for example, are high glycemic carbohydrates. Quinoa and legumes and broccoli are examples of carbohydrates with a lower glycemic index. 

The Invitation

Consider making it your goal for the next couple of weeks to focus on eating vegetables and other low-glycemic-index foods. Balance meals with lean protein, such as fish or red meat, as well as fiber. This combination will keep you satisfied while also keeping your blood sugar regulated.

Keep in mind not to get stuck in specific food rules. Believing foods are forbidden will create fear and stress and can lead to resistance, food cravings, and overeating. 

5 Powerful Quotes from this Episode

“No one can tell you the best way to eat; it's something that you have to know for you.”

“We need to stop giving food power and labeling it good and bad.”

“This is a matter of what works for you, what feels good in your body, what works in your lifestyle, what do you enjoy.”

“So you might be wanting me to tell you exactly, “What do I eat? Tell me what to eat right now.” And I can't do that because there is no answer to that.”

“So relax, sit back, enjoy the journey. It’s a wonderful journey; you learn about yourself. And along the way, the weight will start to come off, and you'll start to understand your habits, and you'll start to make little changes, and it's all going to fall into place, and it's going to be awesome.”

If you listened to the podcast and enjoyed it, please share and post a review!

Have any questions or want to schedule an appointment? You can email me at or visit my website.

To making peace with eating,


Nov 26, 2020

How to Use the Hunger Scale for Intuitive Eating 

How to Use the Hunger Scale for Intuitive Eating

Wouldn't it be nice if you can give your body permission to eat without feeling guilty? Often, we rely on binge dieting strategies and beat ourselves up for the short-term numbers we see on the scale. But what will happen if we tune into our hunger scale long-term and eat to honor our body?

In this episode, I discuss two essential skills to gain control over your weight. I will also introduce strategies for tuning into the body's wisdom and tracking hunger numerically. Make sure to tune in to the full podcast to learn more about how you can teach your mind to change how it sees eating.

I am now offering a virtual 7-week CLASS!

The class will include pre-recorded videos, audio recordings, handouts, and membership in a Facebook community. 

Enrollment is ongoing! Register now so you don’t miss out on all the content!

If you would prefer more individualized help, contact me so we can schedule a private virtual session.

To sign up for the class or get private help, you can send me an email at or visit my website.

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:
  1. Discover the concept behind intuitive eating.
  2. What does the hunger scale look like?
  3. Learn how you can apply the gold standard of the hunger scale into your eating.
Resources Episode Highlights The Concept of Intuitive Eating

The basis of intuitive eating is to learn to tune into the body and trust your own wisdom. As a result, you will make better food choices naturally and eventually attain a healthy body weight for you, not for others.

While diets work short-term, mounting fact-based studies prove that these can be detrimental in the long run. The mentality involved in dieting creates a mental block and self-sabotage in the bigger scheme of things.

Meanwhile, intuitive eating takes a little longer to be effective. It’s not a quick fix, and it tends to be unstructured, which can be scary for a lot of people.

Intuitive Eating as an Art Form

Combining intuitive eating with structure means allowing life and food to work together while being aware that sometimes structure is helpful. Being able to walk this balance is an art form.

Many programs like Weight Watchers are educational in terms of food portions, calories, and food value. Calorie apps can also teach you a lot, but they can also be the root of the problem if you hate breaking the rules. However, it often does not hold up in the long term because of the “Today I'm on; tomorrow I'm off” mentality.

No one can sustain that for their entire life. You need to see eating as a way of honoring your body. It’s easy to stay focused when eating intuitively because there are no rules to keep track of. Instead, you will develop a continuous mental script that focuses on what your body feels.

Introducing the Hunger Scale

The best way to stop your exhausting diet cycle is to get to the root of the problem. The hunger scale refers to physical—not emotional—hunger.

Emotional hunger happens more suddenly. In contrast, physical hunger usually happens more slowly over time. However, it's important to note that each person experiences physical hunger a little bit differently.

Generally, the hunger scale looks like this: the negative numbers signify hunger, zero is neutral, and the positive numbers indicate feeling full or satisfied.

The Negative Scale

Here’s a better look at the negative scale.

  • −10: You’re so hungry you feel like you’re going to die or pass out.
  • −8: You’re starving.
  • −6: You’re very hungry.
  • −4: You’re hungry.
  • −2: You’re feeling the first pangs of hunger.
The Positive Scale

Here's a better look at the positive scale.

  • +10: You’re so full that you’re physically sick.
  • +8: You’re extremely full.
  • +6: You're very full.
  • +4: You’re full.
  • +2: You’re satisfied.
Your Homework: How Hungry Am I?

Start recording the food you eat using a food diary or a phone app. Write down the food, the time, the portions of the food you're eating, and the number on the scale which reflects how hungry you are. It doesn't matter if you're still eating if you already feel stuffed. Here, you're just recording without any judgment.

After you finish eating, write a second number which reflects how satisfied or full you feel. Having a mental dialogue would help you fight off the resistance of food recording.

The Gold Standard

We’re working toward a gold standard that is more or less a narrow range of −2 or +2. It means that you eat before you're hungry and you stop before you're full. Remember: eating when you're overly hungry pushes you to overeat or eat too fast. Stopping before you're full is the best way of honoring your body and managing your eating.

The Importance of Patience & Self-Compassion

Success in this journey means understanding that it is a journey. It is putting your foot in a gray area of thinking positive and forgiving thoughts. Keep in mind that self-talk is a massive source of sabotage.

You must develop self-love and forgiveness, understanding that you are doing the best you can do at any given moment. Remember: eating is not black and white. Hence, you must allow life into eating and its rhythm and flow to work together.

5 Powerful Quotes from this Episode

“You have to have a mentality of, ‘This is the way I am going to eat to honor my body because what I'm eating right now feels good in my body.’”

“All those ads that you see that tell you you can lose lots of weight fast, that is not going to work in the big picture. It's a waste of time, energy, and money, and it feeds the mental cycle of feeling like a failure with dieting. That is absolutely at the crux of the problem.”

“You must have patience. You must have self-love. You must let go of guilt. You must relax. You must be in the flow of, ‘I'm doing the best I can.’”

“It's not good for your body or for you to be a binge dieter. Yet, in the moment, we act in the best way we know how. So ease up, please, on yourself.”

“It's hard to develop the skill of allowing food intake and food cravings with life because the problem is life is about flow and rhythm and unpredictability.”

If you listened to the podcast and enjoyed it, please share and post a review!

Have any questions or want to schedule an appointment? You can email me at or visit my website.

To making peace with eating,


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