Today on the podcast, we have Emily Field, a registered dietitian who integrated macro counting into her dietetic practice. We talk about where macro counting fits in terms of diet culture, insulin, and blood glucose. Emily shares fantastic suggestions for those who are currently tracking, and habits you can be looking at right now that are going to help you in the future to let go of tracking. I hope you come away with some actionable things that you can start to put into practice, to move you a little bit further forward on your fitness goals and your own journey. So make sure you stay till the end of today’s episode; it’s one you won’t want to miss!
Find show notes at bicepsafterbabies.com/252
- Blood sugar and insulin (13:17, 16:01)
- Diet culture (26:06, 27:20, 29:57, 44:51)
- Your likelihood of success is greater if one has to possess these 5 attributes (36:54, 38:07, 39:07, 40:09)
- Comparison against yourself (41:00)
- The transition from macro counting to informed eating (44:50, 46:02, 48:39)
- Every opportunity when you are tracking is an opportunity for education if you take the opportunity (47:04)
You're listening to Biceps After Babies Radio episode number 252.
Hello and welcome to Biceps After Babies Radio. A podcast for ladies who know that fitness is about so much more than pounds lost or PRs. It's about feeling confident in your skin and empowered in your life. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke, a registered nurse, personal trainer, wife, and mom of four. Each week, my guests and I will excite and motivate you to take action in your own personal fitness as we talk about nutrition, exercise mindset, personal development, and executing life with conscious intention. If your goal is to look, feel, and be strong and experience transformation from the inside out, you, my friend are in the right place. Thank you for tuning in, now let’s jump into today’s episode.
Amber B 0:45
Hey, hey, hey, welcome back to another episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke. And today on the podcast, we have Emily Field, who is a registered dietitian and we have a fantastic conversation about macro counting and how she's integrated that into our dietetics from our dietetic training into her practice, as a dietitian, we talk about diet culture, which I feel like is such a buzzword today. And where does macro counting fit in terms of diet culture? We talk about insulin and blood glucose, which I also feel are hot topics. And I make the point in the episode that I feel like people understand enough about those two topics to be dangerous but need more to really understand them. So Emily does a fantastic job of breaking that down. And then we end with the big question that a lot of people have the transition from macro counting to letting go of tracking: what does that process look like and how do we be more successful in it? And the suggestion that Emily has was something that I never thought about, and is such a good thing for those of you who are currently tracking to be aware of because there are practices and habits and things you can be looking at right now while you're tracking that is going to help you in the future to be able to let go of tracking and fantastic recommendations that she has, at the end of episodes. Make sure you stay till the end. And if you liked this episode, go ahead and leave a quick rating and review on the platform you're listening on. That really helps the podcast to be able to be shown to more people. And as always, share this podcast episode with anybody that you feel would benefit from this. If you'd like the content, the best thing you can do to say thank you to the creator is to share it. So I'm really appreciative when you guys share the podcast episodes. Without further ado, let's jump into that interview with Emily Field.
Amber B 2:40
All right, I am so excited to have Emily field here today with me on the podcast. Emily, how are you doing? Thanks for being here. I'm really excited about our conversation.
Emily F 2:51
Yes. Thanks so much, Amber. I'm happy to be here.
Amber B 2:54
So let's start with a little introduction for anybody who's listening and may not know anything about you. Just kind of give us a little bit of background on you, who you are, what your qualifications are, and specifically who you serve, and what you do.
Emily F 3:05
Yeah, well, as you said, my name is Emily Field. I am a registered dietitian. And I would call myself at this point, a macros expert. I own a completely online coaching practice much as you do. And I'm usually helping women learn how to eat, get strong, be fit, and feel lean. So a lot of times people are coming to me saying, “I just want to look like I work out. I'm putting on so much work in the gym, but I just don't look like the part.” And so usually that means that I'm teaching them how to eat more. But I'm also working on their mindset and probably their metabolism at the same time throughout all my offerings or all of my services because that's what ultimately makes people extremely successful.
Amber B 3:46
Yeah, totally. I'm curious, did you ever work in a hospital setting or clinic setting before going online? Or did you go straight to an online practice?
Emily F 3:54
No, I actually worked my– one of my very first jobs was at the women, infant, and children programs. It's very common for dietetics grads and newbie dietitians to go into community nutrition. So that would be the WIC program. And I ran a clinic in St. Louis, Missouri. So that was an extremely eye-opening experience for me on a lot of different levels. And from coming from a– I would say middle-class background. Growing up very middle class and then working with pretty poor people. And it was just great for me to be kind of immersed in that, and just have a shake-up on my understanding of the world, and how nutrition helps and serves that population.
Amber B 4:34
That's really cool. Yeah, I worked a lot with dietetics majors. I was a nursing major and so a lot of our prereqs for the dietetics majors were the same. So I did a lot of classes with dietetics majors. And then when we got into our programs, we kind of split off. So I always loved working with the dietetics majors but during dietetics training, did you also have hands-on training in the clinics in the community to be able to make that transition? I'm just a little curious about the dietetics training.
Emily F 5:07
Yeah, absolutely so big to become a dietitian, we go through our four years of school, and we graduate from a dietetic program. Usually a four-year undergrad college. You're not done there, though. You have to go into an unpaid– usually unpaid internship. And a lot of times, that's paired with maybe a master's degree but a lot of times, it's not. And that is 1200 hours of supervised training in the field. So you're rotating between community sites and political sites. I was lucky enough to be able to pick some hands-on farm sites, schools, wellness centers, and things like that. So there is a little bit of flexibility where you can go but ultimately, every dietetic intern is kind of completing ours at all these different sites to kind of get a taste of where we could all work. I think it's kind of like a job try-on but it's also to train us. And I learned through that process that I was like, “I don't know what I like.” I didn't feel at home at any one of those sites and have a really tough time for me in my early 20s. Like, “Did I pick the right major?” I was like, “Did I pick the right profession?” I loved everything up until that point. And then as soon as I got into the real world, and saw how it was applied, I was having a really tough time. So like what many people do, just go to school. Just continue to go to school and figure it out later.
Amber B 6:23
If you can't figure it out, just kick that can down the road and go to more schools.
Emily F 6:25
Yeah, so I actually graduated with a master's degree in public health, which really rounded out my understanding of nutrition and how it fits into those spokes of the wheel and an entire community of health or an entire– yeah, how it fits for the community and how well-rounded an individual could be and what health actually means. It's not just limited to nutrition. So that did buy me some time. I did land that wage job and then eventually, I found myself at an online-based, wellness coaching company where I did telephonic health coaching over the phone.
Amber B 6:56
That's awesome. So what made you in the first place want to pursue a dietetics career or a degree? I honestly didn't even know what dietetics was until I was in the pre-nursing track. And I was with all these pre-dietetic students. I didn't even know what a dietitian was up until that point. So I'm curious how did you find out what that was? What led you into pursuing that degree?
Emily F 7:21
Well, it’s the same with me. I mean, I remember working right alongside my nursing friends. So it is true. We are very overlapped in a lot of the classes and under undergrad. And we are sharing notes and things like that on the cool things. We were doing cool things that we were doing. So I do have fond memories of that in college. But it was like I didn't know what a dietitian was either. I had a few experiences in high school where I saw a dietitian because my mom didn't know what to do with me. She was always very skinny. And food never was a problem for her. And so she didn't understand why my thyroid was failing, and why I was gaining weight. And so I did have an early experience with a dietician. But it was really very, very brief. And I wasn't really moved by that experience. But I knew at some point in entering college, I was like, “I want to be in a field where I help people help themselves.” So that really narrowed down kind of an adjacent medical field like psychology, or physical therapy, and then also nutrition. And honestly, I feel like it was just the right place, the right time for me. I selected nutrition as my major. And you know how they just try to push you on a four-year track and get you in those classes right away? And nutrition is packed. Dietetics is a packed degree. So you need to be working on that as soon as you're in college. And so that's what happened to me. I landed in those early nutrition classes and fell in love. And it was kind of like that was it from that point on. So I was very lucky in that respect.
Amber B 8:41
I'm really curious about the training that you received. So this question comes from the fact that you are an RD and you use macro counting, and you have that with your clients. I've talked to many RDS that feel like they didn't really understand or learn the in-depths of– they learned what macronutrients are but taking that step to macro tracking or using that as a tool they didn't feel as confident or comfortable. And maybe that's program-by-program and maybe that's year by year. Things change whether you went through your RD in the 80s-90s, right? So I'm curious about your program, how was that presented? And how did you start bringing that macro counting as a tool into your own practice as a dietitian?
Emily F 9:28
Well, first say that my main pushback to an argument like that to people even dietitians who say we didn't learn this in school is that's not really the point. That wasn't really the point in undergrad was to teach you all the approaches that we could use with clients, and I would argue that I didn't necessarily learn the ins and outs of intuitive eating. I didn't learn the ins and outs. The best thing I probably learned out of school was a really great foundation on motivational interviewing, which is simply coaching which is really the basics of coaching as a methodology. So I wouldn't say that's what we were meant to do. And so that's my pushback there. They're supposed to teach us how to think, and how to be critical thinkers and maybe better decision-makers. But it really comes with practice, and you develop your practice, which is really what it's called over time, come to worth working with clients. So yes, to be fair, I did not learn how to macro count or coach in the very real sense that I use it right now in school. But what I did learn is I had a really awesome experience at my college with biochemistry and that is nutritional biochemistry, which is essentially how nutrients are turned into energy in our body. So the very complex relationship of metabolism. My professor was extremely ahead of her time. She knew how to teach it well. And most people would say they hated that class. I loved it. No, I loved it. And I think that really just formed the foundation of I'm a wide person. I want to know how things work. So her teaching and my receiving of that information, I think, probably set the things in motion that I was gonna kind of go this route with a more technical approach to nutrition with clients.
Amber B 11:11
Yeah, and one of the things that I've heard you talk about too is that one of the beautiful parts of dietetics and having dietitians is that there are lots of different ways to apply that knowledge, right? So you learn the basics, the foundations in school, and then there are dieticians who are hayes, dietitians who are intuitive eating and there are dieticians who use a lot of these different tools to be able to serve people and serve clients in different niches. And that's a beautiful part of it. And so you've kind of carved out utilizing macro counting in into your practice. And what does that specifically look like for you when you're helping your clients?
Emily F 11:48
Well, I would say that the basics of what I try to coach people on are forming a foundation of having well-rounded meals because we know that if we have some protein, some fat, and some carbohydrate at every meal, we're going to very balanced and stable blood sugar, which for most of my clients solves a lot of problems. So if we could just ignore numbers for a hot second and just get people eating more whole real food in macro balance, we're gonna solve a lot of problems. But the very next logical question comes to them, which is well, how much protein, how much fat, and how much carbs do I need? So it ends up being a very natural conversation to teach them what a sizable appropriate portion of protein might look like or a sizable appropriate portion of carbs might look like for their active lifestyle. Things like that. And then all of a sudden, you're on a fast track to setting targets for the whole day and teaching people how to meal plan and prepare for that. So I think it was very natural for me to go that route, especially with the foundation of balanced blood sugar and PFC eating.
Amber B 12:44
Yeah. So with blood sugar, because this is a kind of a hot topic and things that I think people know just enough about to be dangerous but not enough about to actually understand the concept, can you talk a little bit about blood sugar? Maybe getting a little into the science, but just a general understanding of when we talk about blood sugar, why does that matter? And why would managing or stabilizing blood sugar be something that solves problems? What are those problems that you're seeing in your clients that then diminish when you start to stabilize someone's blood sugar?
Emily F 13:17
Well, I guess I'll just say that blood sugar balance or the manipulation of your blood sugar turns on and turns off several other hormones downstream. So we actually have an opportunity every single time we eat to turn on and turn off certain hormones, starting with our master hormone – insulin. So when we eat carbohydrates, our body will take in those carbohydrates and digest them, and we will absorb them and those carbohydrates become glucose. And so you've heard the term blood glucose, also termed blood sugar. It will rise in the blood. So that's just the way our body is getting that fuel into the blood and all of our cells are using it. So this is what we need to live, is what we need for energy, and it takes insulin. Our insulin comes to act as our anabolic hormone insulin comes and pulls that glucose into the cells and that's a well-working system. Your insulin will come to grab that glucose, put it into the cells, and clear it out of the blood on a well-working system. Unfortunately, we can have some disease processes that will make it harder for insulin to do its job. And so that glucose or that sugar stays in the blood and stays pretty high in the blood for a long period of time. I guess I'll just leave it like that. And so when our blood sugar tries to be tightly maintained within a range, that would be what we would call stable blood sugar. It's staying kind of between a buffer. We'd say 80 to 120. And then when you have to eat meals, it would rise a little bit, but it would come back down to normal. And then in a broken system or a system that has some problems, we would see that blood sugar fluctuate really, really high way above 121, 140, 160, something like that. And maybe even drop off very suddenly. I like to compare it to a picture of rolling hills or a picture of a roller coaster. And so what we're looking for is a picture of rolling hills where our blood sugar has been fairly stable, it's pretty mellow, it rises and falls with our meals, it's not very dramatic. And that you can imagine feels a lot different than riding a roller coaster all day long. So there are several things I teach about PFC eating that would make for better-balanced blood sugar. But essentially, it boils down to how many carbs you're eating, what form those carbs are in, and whether or not those carbs are surrounded by or eaten with fat and protein. So that's the foundation of their approaches eating more whole real food carbs, limiting that carbohydrate amount, or figuring out what is the sweet spot for you. And then always pairing those carbs with fats and proteins for better absorption, more rolling hills blood sugar.
Emily F 16:01
So to answer your question very directly, if you don't have a great blood sugar balance, you're going to experience low energy with those low blood sugar. You might experience cravings. I see women experience, particularly anxiety or hungry with those lows. You might see poor workout performance or poor recovery from workouts, you might have a very variable appetite throughout the day. When we're in those lows, then we're reaching for foods like our crunchy-snacky, high-sugar, high-carb foods because our body is smart. And it's telling us to go grab that sugar that we need, that glucose that we need. And then you're on a high and then you're crashing again. Same sort of feeling. Then you're in a high and then you're crashing again. So when we are able to mellow that all out, you can experience a lot better energy, a lot more well-managed cravings, and maybe no cravings at all. Much better, like more predictable workout performance and recovery, stuff like that.
Amber B 16:52
Yeah, that's so good. And I appreciate you going through that whole process. I feel like, again, people I feel like know enough about things to be dangerous. And I feel like many women have gotten the idea and heard from a lot of people that insulin is bad. It gets this demonizing effect of, well, insulin is just bad and wrong. And it's not, it's a normal, natural, healthy process in the body. It's the way that our body gets access to glucose. It's just a way to push glucose into the cell. And like you said, in a normal natural body, there are no problems with that. It's when we get resistance to insulin, or when we have not insulin not being produced that we start to get problems with it. And so understanding that the regulation of blood sugar is really helpful in helping women. I love the analogy of the rolling hills versus the roller coaster. Yeah, that makes a whole lot of sense as to it's not that the ups and downs are bad, that's very normal and natural, but when they become very extreme, have a different experience of what that feels like.
Emily F 17:57
I'm very excited. I got a continuous blood glucose monitor just to try. Yeah, so I got one. I was reading directions. I was about to start it today. And I realized, “No, I should have read these last night and been completely fasted and not drunk anything, not workout for two hours, put it on, so you could calibrate.” So I'm excited to put it on tomorrow and excited to see what I can learn because I obviously have the foundational knowledge of what I think will happen, but it'd be really fun to experiment with the type of carb, pairing carbs, and carbs in liquid form versus solid form. Lots of really cool experience experiments that I can do.
Amber B 18:32
Yeah, that's always really fun. Doing experiments on yourself and taking the foundational knowledge that you have and seeing it applied in real life is really fun. So going back to one of the things that I had mentioned before that there's I feel like there's a huge wide divide among registered dieticians, and you have ones that hate macro counting, you have ones that like macro counting, and you have ones that are only intuitive eating, you have ones that are hayes, whatever it is. So I'm curious and I want to dive a little bit more into that. Why do you think that is, we kind of started talking about it a little bit, but I want to dive a little bit more into it, why do you think that is? And is that a good thing? Is that a good thing for the profession of dietetics? And is that a good thing for clients of dietitians?
Emily F 19:20
Yeah, that's a really good question. I personally think that having a specialty and owning a niche and being an expert in that niche helps clients. So it's okay if we start to specialize and we take our background, which was very general, and then start to really niche down and then attracts the right client, and then it's gonna be a seamless, helpful, awesome relationship. I don't really see that as a bad thing. What I do think is a product of that is that we're all competing in the same space. Let's just say online. We live very much online. And so what the consumer or the client sees is battling. They think that we're all fighting. And the truth of the matter is, as a dietitian that focuses on macro tracking, I am in my own lane, and I don't really see what other people are doing. I also don't use inflammatory language that bashes what my fellow professionals are doing. So I would say that the mature professionals in the field are hanging out in their niche serving their clients, and they're blind to what other people are doing. I don't really want to say it's like young dieticians or new to the field dietitians, but I do tend to think that with age and the longer that we are in this profession, we start to realize that we know nothing. And the longer that you are an expert, the more you realize you know nothing and there's always something left to be learned. And I also think that we allow for more nuanced, the older, the more mature, the more professional the more that we like hanging out in this profession.
Emily F 20:55
So you see less bashing, you see less like cutting down on other dieticians, or cutting down on other approaches the older that you get, and the longer that you're in the profession. I don't know if you see the same thing with nurses or other healthcare professions, but that's what I see. I will say, I think as a professional, we owe it to the masses to specialize as I said, and ultimately, different people have different needs and respond to different approaches. So it's amazing for what's amazing for one person is probably not going to be amazing for another. And so it's good. It's an okay thing that we specialize. And so while I specialize in macro tracking, that would not be the best fit for somebody that is really triggered by numbers, hates data, and doesn't really respond to that sort of thing. They actually want to have a little less involvement in their food. So that's fine. But another person actually might love meal plans and really thrive with somebody else taking that off their plate. So who am I to say that dietitian who's serving that client is wrong? We're all getting help. They're all getting help. And that's kind of how I feel about it.
Amber B 22:02
Yeah, and I think to your point. The older you get, the more you realize there's a lot of nuanced. The more you realize there are a lot of ways to get to the end result. And it's not just one way that is perfect for everybody. And there are a lot of different needs out there and different types of people and how awesome that we can have lots of different types of coaches and lots of different types of dieticians to be able to serve those different client needs. And I think you said the key is when you can pair the dietician, or the coach, or the provider with the type of client that responds very well to that style, or that that tool that they are teaching and use it and when that happens, then they're able to take off. But this idea that we think that our way is the best for everybody in the whole world. I think, as you said, the older you get, the more you realize that's really silly to think. Maybe it's egotistical to think that your way is the best and only right way, for every single person in the world.
Emily F 22:58
Yeah, it's impossible. I'd say if you're a client, or you're searching for a coach, you know that there's probably a better fit approach for you that suits your personality, your lifestyle, the way you view the world, the way that you interact with data, or not. So if you find that you're watching coaches or professionals online, which is an awesome thing because you can do is try them on. I would say my Instagram is a great front door to my coaching practice. So if you like the way I talk online, if you respond to what I'm talking about, like you see yourself in my content, we're probably going to be a great fit together. But you can do the same thing with other coaches. If you find a professional being very divisive, please take note of that and decide if that is a marketing tactic that you feel good with. And if it's a marketing tactic to reach their ideal client, or if it's actually that that professional is pretty rigid in their practice. So I guess I want to round out that thought by saying one of the best things that happened to me is the internet. I'm so happy and thankful that I can reach clients online, but it also means that sometimes I need to take a stand on things, even when I truly know that there's more nuance, and I'd say there's probably happens 80% of the time, I am talking in nuance, or but I'm also trying to attract that person to me. That's going to be the best fit for me because I'm running a business, and you do the same thing. So sometimes, what we say should never feel rigid and divisive. You should be able to distinguish whether or not it's a marketing tactic, or if I actually really feel very divisive. Coaching or things like that.
Amber B 24:29
Yeah. Honestly, that's one of the reasons that I started a podcast because I was like, “I want people to be able to try me on in a sense. And if you like the podcast, you're gonna love my coaching. And if you hate my podcast, you probably should not. I'm not the coach for you. And that's a really great thing for both of us to understand and know.” I was just so I recently got on TikTok. We're testing it out and trying it out. I feel a little bit like a fish out of water in there. But it was so funny. I was listening to a TikTok expert, and she was talking about, especially in TikTok, she's like, “Stay out of the gray.” She's like, “If you're someone who likes to have nuance, and you like to say, “Well, there are lots of different ways to do it.” She's like, “You're gonna get eaten alive on TikTok.” She's like, “You have to be black and white.” And I'm like, “That's so not me. I want to lean into the nuance.” I want to be like, “It's different for everybody.” And so when she was saying that, I was like, “Oh, yeah, I don't know, if TikTok is the right place for me. I feel like I can't have the nuance that I want to have.” But anyway, it was just it is an interesting dynamic you bring up of that balance between marketing and attracting your ideal client, as well as recognizing that you aren't for everybody and that they're you can't serve nor do you want to serve every single type of person.
Emily F 25:45
Yeah, I think the people that are doing really well on TikTok. I would agree with you are the people that are like black and white into their niche? Yeah. I mean, they're probably aspects of my coaching that I could probably go hard in. But that's boring to me. I am a business owner that has a lot of passions. So just I'm okay with that medium.
Amber B 26:06
Yeah, yeah, it's been an interesting trial for sure for us. One thing that I wanted to kind of pivot into and talk a little bit about is the term diet culture because I feel like it is a buzzword. We talked a little bit beforehand before we pushed record on just it's something that comes up for me in my coaching and online, I think a lot too, even more so, on the internet on social media, this idea of diet culture. And I feel like maybe it's better now. Maybe you just don't listen to it as much as I used to. But I feel like, for a very long time, there was a big push against macro counting. And it was like Intuitive Eating vs. macro counting, haze vs. macro counting like we were in this battle. And diet culture was like this word that was thrown around as a weapon against macro counting. So I'm curious and I would love to just kind of explore this a little bit with you and open up this probably what is a huge can of worms, but we'll keep it tight of like first of all, I think it's important to find diet culture because I think people throw that term around and means a lot of different things. So let's first define what we're talking about when we talk about diet culture. And why was that such a thing? Why is that such a thing that it's thrown around as almost a weapon in industries?
Emily F 27:20
Yeah, I would say that my understanding of the term diet culture is that it's kind of a social expectation that tells us that we should eat and look typically lighter, thinner, smaller, a certain way and that we will be more accepted if our bodies look that way. And I think it's also that we might put aesthetics before physical, psychological, and general well-being. So you're really putting an aesthetic or what your body looks like, ahead of all these other things. It's more important than all these other things, which is obviously not something that we believe in. In my opinion, and I'm not an expert in this area, I would call on my dietician, and expert friends that are in this world of body image coaching. I would probably call on them for this, but we hear so much of this because the people that were harmed by diet culture are now all grown up. And we're probably reexamining our own relationships with foods. We're having kids, and we might be examining the way that they talk about food, the way that they talk about their bodies. Maybe we're cross-referencing that with the way that we grow up. And my personal opinion is that millennials and Gen Xers we're all on the internet now. And we are in places of influence. We are higher in our careers now. And we have a ton of conversations about it now. That's, in my opinion, where this is coming from. And we have an awesome generation of Gen Z coming up and looking at us as examples and be like, “Yeah, we don't have to do it that way.” And I'm so happy for them and proud of them for saying that stuff. But in my personal opinion, it's coming from the fact that we are all grown up and we are examining ourselves or going to therapy, we're unpacking. It wasn't really about fun growing up in the 90s and 2000s in a very extremely fat-phobic environment.
Amber B 29:01
For sure. Yeah, yeah, I think that's it's really good. I think you're kind of hit the nail on the head as you get older, you start to reexamine those things that you just kind of assumed were just the way things are like, thinner is better, smaller is better, fat is bad. That was definitely the water that we were raised in, the air that we breathed in, the 90s and 2000s. And as you get older, you start to look back and say, “Oh, wait a minute. Someone told to me. That isn't found the truth. That's just because somebody told that me, and I just accepted it and went with it. And now I'm getting older. I'm realizing maybe that's not actually true. Maybe fat isn't actually terrible.” Maybe like you
Emily F 29:45
Or thinness in front of every other metric and–
Amber B 29:51
Everything else in your life, right? Yeah, at all costs. It's like fitness at all costs was definitely the message that was perpetuated a lot.
Emily F 29:57
I had an awesome client a few years back who told me I thought it was eye-opening, and earth-shattering to her when I shared my weight online as I was like doing some sort of experiment or something. And she's like, “I just didn't know that there were women that were heavier than me.” In her mind, she was like, “150 pounds is the most that I can be” because that was ingrained in her. And so chasing that number was so pivotal and monumental for her whole life, for her whole adult life. And so when I shared that I was 158-165, I've been all over the place up there. She's like, “It honestly, was earth-shattering to me.” And I think that even I don't think that's an overt thing people think about all the time but it's probably an undertone. It's probably an undertone to a lot of people listening. And I'd say that like we were just talking about, its overtones in the 90s and undertones in the 90s. We're looking at movies, commercials, and our favorite characters on TV. Their dilemmas and their humor were all very fat-phobic. And so that's just the media, like if you're in sports, and you've got teachers and got trainers, and you've got people of influence in your own life that are speaking that whole same language. We just inherently grew up thinking that being in a bigger body is bad and chasing a smaller body is the only thing worth matter like worth your time. So that's what I would say is diet culture. We're moving away from that as the end all be all at all costs. And so I guess sometimes people can wrap up macro tracking and macro counting into that. And I think both of us would agree that there's nuance here, and you are allowed to want to change your body. And you can also do it from a place of love and respect and not hate, which is where I think overtone of diet culture.
Amber B 31:38
Yeah. And I think, yeah, I'm so aligned with so much of what you just said, and especially this idea that I think the reality of diet culture, and the way that we've been speaking about it is definitely true. And I think what happens is a lot of people then start to push back against this notion that thinner is better. And it sometimes then goes to the opposite extreme of like any type of trying to change is coming from a place of negativity about yourself or from a fat phobic desire or whatever. And I think what you were saying, and what I totally agree with is that there is a middle ground between those two extremes where the desire to change, desire to manipulate, and desire to create a different reality for yourself is not inherently bad. It's bad when it's done from a place of self-loathing, or “I'll be better when,” or “I will be worthy when I am the size.” When it's done from a place of curiosity, it's done from a place of desire to grow, from a desire to push yourself from, “Let's see what I can do. Let's challenge myself,” when it comes from that place, it comes from a much healthier place than, “I'm not enough until I weigh 100 pounds.” And that's where the danger really starts to show up with that.
Emily F 32:54
Well, I mean, the way you entered this question, made me think of 2019-2020, early 2020, which I feel was the peak of the arguing.
Amber B 33:05
Okay, so it's not just me. I felt like there really was a war going on online.
Emily F 33:10
I felt like I would never attack, but I was watching it all godown. And I feel like I hit a little bit. Not necessarily hit but I just was quieter about– I wasn't going to argue because I again believe in nuance. I believe that Intuitive eating, non-numbers-driven data-driven dieticians are doing an awesome job, and I appreciate what they're doing because the clients that work with them are not going to find success with me. And I kind of expected to see the same respect backward, and it wasn't always happening. But I will say I feel like it's calmed down. But if you were caught up in that, at that time, what would you say? How do you describe how you're different? What you are doing is different from diet culture?
Amber B 33:51
Yeah, well, I think one of the things that I've really pushed a lot and realized, again, as I've matured and aged in my ability to coach, and my ability to work with all different people is really this idea of macro counting as a tool. And I think macro counting can get very dirty in that it can be just like any other diet where it's like, “This is the right way to do it, this is the wrong way to do it. And if you do it the wrong way, well, then you suck and you're a problem. And you need to just do it better. Just do it. It's not hard. Just track harder. Just hit your macros.” Why are you having such a problem? So I think that comes from an underpinning of women going through the 90s and 2000s and having gone through lots of different diets. And so they bring that expectation of like, “Oh, this is what it's like to go into a diet” and so they come into macro counting. They're like, “Well, this is how I've done in the past. Someone just told me what to do, and I just did it.” And so they kind of take macros, and they turn it into a diet, and so I've really tried to push back against that, and in my coaching really recognized removing the rigidity out of macro tracking, removing the like, “You have to hit your numbers, and if you don't do it, then you're a bad person.” And you're gonna get results and instead, approach it with curiosity and realize that it's a tool and realize that the tool should work for you, not you working for the tool. And that's really how I tried to help balance that idea of rigidity and diets and the restriction that comes from the feeling of restriction that comes to diets. And instead recognizing, “Hey, we can use this in different ways at different times of our lives.” And each client can use the tool a little differently. I have clients counting macros in a variety of different ways because they found how to take that tool and customize it to what they need in their life.
Emily F 35:39
I completely agree. I think a lot of times people find macro tracking and macro counting from the lens of a diet. This will help me finally lose weight. And so we're capturing those people, we're happy to have them. But then we're also trying-
Amber B 35:53
Move this way. Yeah.
Emily F 35:56
Look at all those ways that you can use it, and look how you don't have to use it forever, kind of.
Amber B 36:01
I always cringe a little bit when I'm doing SEO searches or Google searches to try and get content ideas. And when I ever see, “Does the macro diet work? How to do the macro diet.” And I'm like, “Oh.” I just cringe every time because I'm you're right, we are attracting those people who are looking for another diet and then trying to coax them out of it. And kind of move a little bit more into that nuance. Speaking about clients and getting clients success, you and I have both coached a lot of clients and started likely to notice patterns of what helps people to be successful. So I'm curious for you, what are some of the top five attributes that you can kind of peg in someone's like, “Okay, if you have this attribute, your likelihood of success is higher than someone who's coming in without that attribute, or who doesn't have that attribute.”
Emily F 36:54
Well, we did just touch on it. So I would say lead with curiosity, instead of leading with the outcome that you want to achieve. It's great to have goals but I'd love it if you were able to say, “I am curious about what I can accomplish. If I do these things, I'm open to the outcome that it will bring me even if it doesn't look exactly the way that I've imagined.” So leading with curiosity is a trait that I look for in my coaching applications for sure. Yeah, number two, I would say that if you are willing to be a beginner, we're probably going to get along. Because there's a lot of unlearning that has to happen. And sometimes that comes with forgiving yourself for what you did before. So it's okay if you come to us, having had a long history of dieting, or a long history of believing a certain thing about yourself, or a certain thing about nutrition. But if you're willing to trust an expert, also be willing to just be a beginner and be bad at it. Because when you apply new skills, it's going to feel really clunky in the beginning. But if you're, again, trying to apply this perfection, and if I just follow these rules, I will be better. That doesn't really leave a lot of room for growth or grace for yourself. That's tough. That's tough to coach around.
Emily F 38:07
I'd say another pattern of a person who's or type of person who's most successful is probably somebody who's willing to expand their timeframe or let go of timeframes altogether. Because when you have an urgency around like weight loss, or fat loss, or something like that, it tends to not go as well as you want it to. You're always going to be disappointed. I can understand time-dependent goals for the sake of, I don't know, just like, “I want to accomplish this in this amount of time where this is all I have to dedicate. This is when my motivation is highest, my discipline is going to be great.” Having finite timeframes is okay. But if you're willing to expand it a little bit further, or even let go of it, you might accomplish even more than you realize. So I guess it doesn't really it's nuanced. But I would say if you're able to let go of like, “I want to lose 20 pounds by this day, or I want to be this size by this date,” it tends to go a lot better and the client is more successful. Yeah, great.
Emily F 39:07
Number four, I would say is focusing on moving forward so not going back. Meaning not having respect for an old version of yourself. But realize that you're not going back there. You are only moving forward and it's terrible to compare yourself to old versions of yourself, or places that you used to be in your fitness, or places you used to be with your leanness. And I know you particularly are really great about talking about this because you've had aesthetic goals, you've had fitness goals, you've had competition-based goals, and you're only going forward and humans are meant to evolve. If we're always constantly chasing an older version of ourselves, it's usually not– I find this with the belike pre-pregnancy weight, or the pre-pregnancy body, or the body that we had in college. That is not realistic usually to look at that as your metric of success. Instead, I want you to form up. What if you could be so much different and better if we were just looking forward? So the more successful client is somebody that has a forward vision, forgives, or blesses that person in the past, and moves forward.
Emily F 40:09
The last one I would say is if they're willing to let go of the belief that the smallest version of themselves is the healthiest version of themselves because it might not be. And sometimes they do go together, sometimes they don't. And so a lot of times clients will come in with a vision, again of themselves in the past, or a vision of their friend who has the same weight, and same height, and they want to be like them, or influence or something like that. But to get to be the smallest version of themselves, they are sacrificing their mental health, they're sacrificing maybe even physical health in order to get there. And I'm not in the business of leaving you worse than when we started. I want you to be better on many, many fronts than when we started. So I would say that if you're willing to break up with that, if you're willing to just let go of that the smallest version of yourself is the healthiest version of yourself, then would probably be a good fit, and you're probably going to be more successful in coaching.
Amber B 41:00
Yeah, those are, those are really good. And I especially love this conversation of comparison against yourself. I think that is the sneakiest way. We get that like, “Oh, yeah, I'm not supposed to compare against my sister. I'm not supposed to compare to my friend. And I'm not supposed to do these comparisons.” Even though we do them. But we know, on some level, that it's not really good to do them. It's not really healthy or helpful to do them. But I feel like the insidious one is the comparison against ourselves because we feel like on some level, that's it. That's an accurate comparison. It's an apples-to-apples comparison. It's me versus me. How does that not work? So it's insidious because we don't question it. And like you said, it is still an apples-to-oranges comparison because it's you in a different timeframe, it's you in a different context, it's you in a different age, it's you in a– there are a whole lot of differences that make it apples to oranges comparison, not apples to apple comparison. And that trips up a lot of women and thinking like, “Well, my body used to be there. So on some level, I should be able to get back there, or that was the best place for it.” Or, “That the place. That's the pinnacle of everything.” And then it always becomes trying to get back to what we felt was the pinnacle. And spending your life just chasing that one moment in time when you felt like, “Oh, that was everything I wanted.” It's really dangerous,
Emily F 42:17
I tend to help clients get out of that with one of the things I mentioned. I touched on process-based goals versus outcome-based goals. So instead of saying to yourself, “I'm going to accomplish x in this amount of time, or I'm going to get to this body that I had before in this time.” I asked them to set to reframe that as a process-based goal because you have literally no control. As much as we want to say we do, we have literally no control over whether or not you're going to land at that body weight, or land at that body size, or shape, or whatever. There are so many other factors going on that are out of our control but what you do have control over is your habits. And we know that your most common habits are the typical habits that you engage in all the time and are probably going to lead you to have the body or the fitness shape or size that you're looking for. So if we say, I'm going to set out and try to do this one thing three times a week for 12 weeks and see what it brings to my life, I'm open to the outcome. It's probably going to lead me in that general direction of where I want to go. But that is much more gentle. And it leads to curiosity versus rigidity. And usually, that helps people be a little bit more successful in their pursuit of those goals.
Amber B 43:31
Yeah, back to that curiosity that you said really makes people successful. Let's see what happens. Let's do X, Y, and Z for 12 weeks. And let's see what happens. And when you can let go of like, “No, this has to happen, or this is the only outcome that I will accept, or this our bust.” That yeah, it counteracts everything that you're trying to accomplish and is stressful and makes it mean things about you, and then you feel bad about yourself. And it just leads to all sorts of unhealthy things.
Emily F 43:59
Amber B 44:00
Okay, the last topic I want to hit on before we wrap up. And that is the transition between, because you said this earlier, you don't necessarily want your clients counting macros forever. And I'm the same way. It's like I do it as a tool. And it's a tool that you that's really valuable to understand and learn about and use. But it's not something that you necessarily have to do for the rest of your life. And so that transition from macro counting to more intuitive eating or I like to call it informed eating because I think we can use the information we gained and have that still continues to guide us. But that transition away from tracking can feel very scary for people, especially for women who finally found success aesthetically, with that tool, and then it feels like letting go of that tool is going to make them lose all their success. So how have you found to help clients make that transition a little bit easier?
Emily F 44:50
Well, luckily there are tons of things that we can do and that's what coaching is. Find the thing that works best for you. We're not going to say this is the blueprint, but by and large, the thing that I tried to coach from the very, very beginning is knowing that you're probably going to let this go. So if you lead with that mindset, then you are paying attention differently to how you feel, maybe how that food looks on your plate when you serve it up, and you are tracking. If you like the timing of your meals, or how you feel when you are well-fed, or under-fed, paying attention and not just blindly trying to hit your numbers is one really great way to set yourself up for months from now, or maybe years from now, when you decide that you don't want to track anymore. So take lessons learned from tracking and keep it up, even when you're not tracking. So that might be probably leading with protein in your meals, eating balanced meals. Being picky about those high macro foods and maybe less picky about those low macro foods, those high volume foods, things like that. So if you're not paying attention, when you're tracking, it can be really tough to gather that data on yourself and know what it feels like to be well-fed or to be under-fed and know where to go and how to fix it when you aren't tracking.
Emily F 46:02
So another thing I do is I help people decide if there is a different season that's maybe more appropriate to track than others. So maybe they focus on it. When they do have the bandwidth to focus and they're less likely to track when they don't have the bandwidth. And that's totally okay. You cannot have all the balls in the air at the same time. And we do know that tracking does take up a bit of bandwidth, there are shopping differences, and there are meal prep and meal planning differences. There's getting in your app, there's maybe a little bit of math sometimes. And that might not be appropriate for every single season of your life. So I might help people decide whether this is the right season or a wrong season to be tracking. And that's totally okay. Another thing that people might do is track food when they're away from home and not when they're at home. So that just reinforces the nutrition education that you get from interacting with your app and tracking your food. I always say this. Every time you track, it's a basic education opportunity. You are learning what macros are in what food you're looking at and what serving sizes look like on your plate, which is all data for the future. Only if you're paying attention.
Amber B 47:04
It's such a good point because I think you're I think a lot of people just track and they just kind of do it mindlessly. I have to track this thing. But what you're saying is really important. You're saying that every opportunity when you are tracking is an opportunity for education if you take the opportunity. You actually have to be like, “Oh, let me learn what is in this food. Not let me just track it and not even look at the numbers.” It's like, “Let me take this opportunity to do a little bit of education.” And I think what you said about having that eye toward “I don't want to do this forever. And so I need to learn X, Y, and Z in the meantime.” Yeah, it gets you to get to that point where you feel like you can let go of it. But if you haven't taken an opportunity or advantage of that opportunity to learn in between those two extremes, it can feel like, “Well, how can I let this go? It literally does everything for me. It doesn't make decisions for me.”
Emily F 47:50
Because yeah, use yourself effectively turn. Yeah, you've effectively turned it into another diet plan, a meal plan, a program that you have rigid rules, which is what you were trying to get away from in the first place.
Amber B 48:00
Emily F 48:03
Last thing I'll say and then I'll pose it to you because you probably have more to add to this list. But I'd say that even just tracking protein, which is typically one of the harder macros to meet, and maybe the most effective for what our clients want. So if you just track protein and aim to get close to your target, that can be really freeing to just let go of the fat and carbs. So eat to your wants, make PFC-balanced meals, and build a plate how you want. But if you're just kind of keeping an eye on protein, that can be one step in the direction of maybe moving more intuitively into leading your needs are more informed eating, as you said, with macro counting.
Amber B 48:39
Yeah, I think one of the things that I work a lot with clients on is baby-stepping that process and it's so exactly what you just said is like, if you've been tracking carbs, fat, and protein, releasing the handgrip a little bit, releasing that grasp on that nothing that makes you feel comfortable and confident, who listen and a little bit and only focusing on tracking protein can be one baby step towards letting go of that feeling of control in the way that you felt it before. And learning to rely more on trust in yourself is one way to do it. And then you can baby-step in other ways. Maybe you track your breakfast and your lunch and you don't track your dinner. And so you go into that dinner, knowing, “Hey, I have X amount of carbs and protein left, but I'm not going to track it. I'm just going to kind of eyeball it and figure that out.” Right? So it's like slowly making those decisions to let go piece by piece can allow you to kind of baby step away from that life vest that you felt like you held. You had to hold on to it for so long. But I always teach clients I said the goal is not to control. The goal is trust. And the bridge between where you are usually when you start coaching with me and where you end up is sometimes control. It's like we go from feeling out of control. Most clients come to me feeling very out of control. We get them to a place where they feel more in control and they have this tool and they're following it and they're feeling really good. But that's not the end destination, the end destination is trust. And for trust to happen, there has to be a letting go of feeling like your control is reliant on external sources and more reliant on internal. And that's integrating that knowledge that you learned. That's why this idea of like intuitive eating, I feel like, I like to call it informed eating. And I feel like it's like in the middle between intuitive eating and macro counting. It's like I'm not throwing away what I learned during macro counting. I'm using that education. But I'm also integrating my body and body cues to be able to make that informed decision. I'm using both my body and my brain together to make decisions about what I mean.
Emily F 50:36
I would say that my clients, and you probably experienced this too, when they go on vacation, and they let go of tracking because I always say there's a difference between eating like you disrespect yourself and diligently hitting your macros. There are a lot of choices that you have.
Amber B 50:49
There's a lot of gray in between. There are lots of nuances.
Emily F 50:52
Yeah, and you are allowed to fall anywhere in there. But unfortunately, a lot of the times when people come to us, they're only oscillating between those two. The two extremes. So while they're working with me, you can't hide from vacations, you can't hide from being sick, you can't hide from periods of time where you're less motivated. So we get to practice or try on your personal gray areas where I kind of talk and it's not my gray area. It's your gray area. So we get to decide what habits and behaviors belong there. And so a lot of times when they come back from the vacation, they're like, “I knew I could feel when I was underfed. And I knew that when I went to bed, eating this type of meal, I was gonna wake up feeling this way.” And so it was a great cushion. A little bit of a learning experience to be like, “Yeah, you can start to trust yourself. Your default behaviors are changing.” And yeah, we can use that for the future that information for the future.
Amber B 51:42
That's right. Really, really good. Well, Emily, this has been amazing. If people are wanting to connect with you, wanting to learn more about you and your programs, where can they find you?
Emily F 51:53
They can find me online at emilyfieldrd.com. And like I said, I feel like Instagram is the front door to my business. So if you would like to try on my approach and yeah, my philosophy, you could come over to Emily Field RD on Instagram and see me there because we do a lot of education there.
Amber B 52:10
Yeah, she has a fantastic page. I highly, highly recommended a follow there. Emily, this has been fantastic. Thank you so much for being on the podcast.
Emily F 52:18
Yes. Thank you so much, Amber, I hope you have a great day.
Amber B 52:20
I hope that you learned a lot from that episode. Emily is fantastic. And I really appreciate her insights about the things that we talked about on the podcast episode today. And I hope that you're coming away with some actionable things that you can start to put into practice to be able to move you a little bit further forward on your own fitness goals and your own journey. That wraps up this episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm Amber, now go out and be strong because remember my friend, you could do anything.
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