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May 2012

{Wisdom Wednesday} Intuitive Eating Guest Interview with Shelley Chapman

A healthy relationship with your food and with your body is the essential ingredient to intuitive eating. No one knows this better than Shelley Chapman. This former compulsive overeater is now a shining example of a well-fed woman and she helps others find their own balance, too. Shelley {better known as the Food Relationship Coach} has some priceless wisdom to share. I had so much fun interviewing Shelley -we’re definitely on the same page when it comes to food, freedom, & fun – and I hope you enjoy her insights as much as I did!

Shelley Chapman, EdM, is a Wellness Expert, Food Relationship Coach, Author and Founder of The Harvard graduate fuses psychological principles with personal experience and nutrition to create new media and live experiences that teach women emotional wellness tools to heal their relationship with food, their bodies and their lives. Shelley has helped thousands of women transform their lives, rock their relationships and love their bodies with her Q+A videos through her weekly newsletter.

Shelley Chapman | the Food Relationship Cooach

Kellie Adkins: Shelley, you call yourself the Food Relationship Coach™ and you help women {heal their relationship to food and their bodies with emotional wellness tools}. What prompted you to do this work? Was there a turning point in your life or have you always been able to tap into your own innate wisdom around food?

Shelley Chapman: I always say that I have an invisible tattoo that says ‘foodie’ ! I grew up in a family that loved to cook and eat – we always enjoyed food and so did I! I’ve always been interested in food, even as a child. When my parents would travel, I requested snacks because I wanted to know what children in other countries were eating. I have always had a love for food but I haven’t always had a good relationship with food. At 17 my parents divorced and it wrecked my world. I experienced a lot of shame and hurt around the break up of my family and I turned to food for emotional comfort, without really noticing that I was doing so. Every day after school I would come home and just eat myself sick, literally. I internalized a lot of the emotional pain from the divorce and it was easier to eat myself past the point of being full and to extreme discomfort. When asked what was wrong, I would explain away the pain as a stomach ache rather than focus on the real emotional pain. This behavior followed me into college and it wasn’t until 9/11 that I was forced to deal with my own pain as a result of being caught in the aftermath of the horrific events on that historic day. I started seeing a counselor and was diagnosed as a compulsive overeater. As a result I started group therapy, but I really felt something was missing: my voice. So I started experimenting with dietary lifestyles such as veganism, vegetarianism and fasting. While it taught me a lot about nutrition, I still didn’t feel I was honoring myself and really trusting “Shelley”. Besides, I like chicken and cheese (organic of course)! It wasn’t until I made a decision to move to Brasil without knowing the language or anyone and using the transition to reconnect with my center and the Goddess within, that I really honed into my intuition and became best friends with myself, my body and my food. That trip really sparked my desire to serve others and do meaningful work. The concept of feeding your body more than just physical food really began to speak to me and the Food Relationship Coach was born.

KA: What advice would you offer someone who’s struggling with emotional eating and trying to connect to their own inner wisdom?

SC: Eat. Relate. Love. The word Eat is multi-faceted because it involves physical, spiritual, and emotional food. It’s about eating what feeds you –on all those levels—rather than creating a ‘yes’ and ‘no’ list. Your mental and emotional food include the thoughts that you think and what you choose to take in on a mental level. It also includes taking in what it feels like to be you and appreciating yourself and your body as it is –even if you have to just choose one thing you love! Imagine what it feels like on a daily basis to soak in what it feels like to just be you, to be authentically yourself?

Emotionally, can you digest what’s happening and let it go? Or are you dwelling on emotions without acknowledging them and letting them hijack your mood? Spiritual food is also really important, whether or not you’re religious; finding a spiritual practice –like yoga, meditation, communing with nature, or journaling –that feeds you at the soul level is crucial.

Then there’s the physical food; I always tell my clients, “eat what you L.O.V.E.” The L stands for eating foods that give you life; whole foods with minimal processing are best. The O stands for eating foods that are obedient to your body, so respecting what your body needs and wants by avoiding foods you may be intolerant of and that don’t agree with you. V is for eating foods that you vibe with, foods that naturally appeal to your senses. And the E is for eating food that gives you energy: ultimately, that’s what food is about!

The second piece of the practice is Relate. This involves cultivating relationships that both nurture and nourish you in both your personal and professional life. It’s essential that you can express yourself and can find your own voice in your relationships.

The last part, Love, is what happens when you become a well-fed woman: when you’re able to nourish yourself well in body, mind and spirit. Then you’re really able to give, receive and unabashedly express an undying love for yourself and those around you.

On May 21st I will be inviting and guiding 20 delicious women (hopefully you who are reading this) to cultivate their best bodies and create a loving relationship with food by becoming their own BFFs. The Body Food Freedom Formula starts May 21st. Get the formula to lasting weight loss in this breakthrough virtual program that is about allowing your best body and not beating it into submission. This program is designed to give your body numbers that it loves without counting calories, points or miles. Helping you uncover the body you’ve always wanted and emerging into the beautiful, sexy, radiant woman you’ve always wanted to be! Jam packed with weekly best practices, in depth soul inspired worksheets, group coaching, guest teachers from leaders in weight loss and body love, recipes and a group of BFFs who are ready to support you becoming your best! Sign up here

Connect with Shelley!

Twitter | Facebook |  YouYube | Book What’s Eating You: 5 Mental Meals to Feast on for Emotional Wellness

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