Today's Episode


Hi. And you are so very welcome to another episode of the Jessica Cook podcast.

Thank you for tuning in.

Let's get stuck straight in today.

I want to chat to you about food and how to change your food habits.

And these are things that I wish I had have known years ago.

It is crazy out there.

I mean, it is just crazy out there.

If you were to believe all the things on social media and on the internet, in my opinion, you're left believing that the reason you're struggling to be fit and healthy is because you still yet don't know how to eat healthy.

And I wish I had a known years ago that the stuff on social media, all these things that people are peddling um to do with food are really unhelpful and they don't work.

And it's one of the reasons that I stayed three stone overweight for so long.

I was always fluctuating with my health.

I was really unhealthy for years and it was only when I dropped all of that advice and I let go of the food obsession and actually worked on changing my relationship with food.

Did I actually go on to become fit and healthy?

I don't drink alcohol anymore.

Alcohol was a big problem in my life.

I was drinking way too much at the weekends.

It had become a massive issue.

I kicked that on the first of May 2022.

I have also kicked comfort eating.

It's done.

It's dusted.

I don't comfort eat anymore.

And it's the most wonderful freeing feeling and it's something I want to share with you and help you.

If you are struggling with food.

If you feel like you are going around and around in circles if you find yourself trawling through social media looking for more information about food.

I am talking to you.

I am talking to you today if you have been on every diet under the sun, if you have cut carbs, if you have seriously restricted your food, if you have calorie counted, if you have weighed your food, I am here to tell you that you are looking in all the wrong places, all the wrong places.

It's all lies.

But the weight loss industry don't want you to know this.

They want to keep you trapped and stuck in this cycle of, I don't know enough about food.

Once I do, I'll have it cracked and I'll be healthy.

Have you ever heard that having a glass of warm water before every meal helps you become healthy?

Well, I did and it's, it's not true.

Have you ever heard that if you're going to eat dessert?

Have it right after your main meal?

Absolutely crazy.

Have you been told, take your time when you eat, avoid distractions such as screens or books while you eat?

And has that helped you?

I don't think so.

Have you been told that the problem is you just need to limit processed foods and then you'll be Tickety boo.

All great.

Yeah, I don't think so.

Have you been told to bake or roast your food instead of grilling or frying?

Have you been told to eat less calories?

Have you been told to be aware of your hunger and respond to what your body tells you.

Once you have that cracked God, you're going to be fit and healthy, right?

You're going, you're going to just all of a sudden feel really good in your clothes after a couple of weeks.

All crazy.

And if you've noticed it's all what to do, what to do, what to do when to eat times, to eat things, to eat, extra things to eat.

I mean, I read an article the other day and it said in order to eat healthy, we need to focus on adding in more healthy food and not focusing on what we have to get rid of.

I mean, I had enough problems as it was when it came to overeating.

The last thing I needed was somebody on the internet telling me to actually add more healthy food.

And, you know, I had a client years ago and I remember I was training her back in when I owned a gym in Galway.

And she said to me one time, she came to me really excited and she said she had cracked her nutrition that she saw what the problem was and she was going to on top of her porridge every morning, um have two slices of brown bread and that was going to fix the issue.

And her issue was her problem was that she was overeating and she thought that by adding more food at breakfast time, this would help her not be hungry, going more into lunch.

And she knew deep down um, a wonderful client, still a very dear friend.

She knew deep down that this was absolutely crazy.

Um And it's really easy to, to judge that story and think what, how could she have thought that adding two slices of brown bread to her porridge was the key to eating healthy.

But this is what we are being taught and told or this is what we're kind of subjected to or what we, what we come across on social media.

And a lot of um a lot of fit and nutrition advice out there is about is about this kind of stuff like we have this extra thing and then you won't be so hungry here.

And if you notice it, it's all still about food and eating.

And one of my biggest issues with food was that I over ate, I overate and I comfort ate.

They were my biggest things iiii I overate because I was a comfort eater.

I was a huge comfort eater.

Always seeking comfort through food.

Uh Mostly in the evening times after dinner, I would come back from a long day's work.

I would eat a healthy dinner, but my portion size would be way too big.

Um I do all the house stuff, put the kids to bed, sit down on the couch and I would eat stuff.

I would either have five packets of crisps or a packet of biscuits or I would have like three desserts or two desserts.

Um God, that sounds really bad.

Like desserts.

I don't mean like ice cream with apple crumble three times.

Um, but like those little dessert cupcake things.

Anyway, it was still a lot of food.

I can't believe I was trying to defend myself there.

Um That, that would be my, my, the times that I would comfort eat, I also sought comfort through my dinner.

I just couldn't seem to be able to sit down and not eat overeat.

I had to have big portions.

I had to have them.

I had to get that comfort from my food.

Breakfast and lunch were ok.

Um However, around four o'clock in between lunch and dinner, if I was having a particularly stressful day, I would then comfort eat.

I would go to the fridge and I would have like five slices of cheese with some ham or, um, I might have had a scone all food related and I got stuck in this trap because I believed that I hadn't found the science to eating.

So I experimented a lot.

I cut out carbs for my dinner.

I cut out carbs for my breakfast.

I gave up snacks.

I added snacks.

I, um, started counting calories.

I weighed my food.

I got those like ladles and measuring bowls and I got smaller plates and I just went down a really obsessive route.

To the point where I would get really trim.

But because I was doing everything that was unsustainable, then I would pile all the weight back on, especially around Christmas time or holidays or anything.

Triggering that like brought me right back to overeating and overdrinking.

And I got to a very, very dark place mostly with alcohol where I really was stuck.

I really was at rock bottom.

I didn't want, I felt like I didn't, I couldn't go on anymore the way I was going and so began my journey of transformation of learning what the actual problem was.

And like I mentioned, I kicked the alcohol habit in the first of May 2022.

And the wonderful thing is I kicked it so well is that I don't need to define myself through sobriety and I don't count the days or I don't think I'm still not drinking.

I don't drink, I'm free.

It's terrific.

And, and how I did that, I'm going to share with you now, the same with comfort eating.

I don't get through another week and think, oh, I didn't comfort eat this week.

Kind of really holding on tight.

Delighted that I here I go.

Thank God, thank God because I, I, I've been like that back when I used to overeat and overdrink and comfort eat.

And the times the very temporary times that I would go through where I wasn't doing that, I would be.

What's that expression where you're like, holding on tight to the rails, like white knuckle riding at the get to the end of the week.

And I would be like, oh my God, I didn't come for, oh my God.

And when I, when you feel like that, when I felt like that, it's a clear sign that you're not going to last, that it's not sustainable.

Um, but that's how I operated for most of my adult life until I actually let go of all the things that weren't serving me anymore.

And I committed to stopping to do the same thing over again and expecting a different result.

That's one thing that I'm really working on committing to, to stop doing the same things over and over again and hoping to get a different result.

And I was chatting to a client the other day and she told me she's a member of my Thrive Academy program and she told me that for years, she had done the same as me and then she joined my program and she kind of continued to do the same with what she was doing.

And she had like 1 ft still on all the things she was doing and another foot into my thrive Academy program and she doesn't do that anymore.

She's like fully into thrive Academy.

However, we were just having such a laugh about how true that is that there's something in that, that we, we when we know something doesn't work but we've done it for so long, we can be really scared to let go.

And this was my client and it was so honest of her.

And that was me too.

I only transformed when I genuinely let go of things that weren't working.

And if you are now listening to this and you're stuck in a cycle of weight gain and weight loss of eating healthy and not eating healthy, then what you're doing isn't working.

And what happens with a lot of women myself included is that you blame yourself and you don't look at what's not working.

So for example, another one of my clients for years and years, she dieted and did all these like really restrictive, unsustainable things and she temporarily got to a place where she felt good in her clothes.

But because that those things aren't sustainable, she would stop and you don't even notice when you're stopping like she didn't even notice just slowly and surely, you know, that expression like old bad habits creep in.

Well, that means that you haven't fully transformed.

However, what most women do and I did this too is that we say, oh my God, I can't believe I did that.

I mustn't have willpower.

I mustn't have motivation.

So we blame it on ourselves.

And then over time, we muster up enough courage to go at it again and then we do things again that aren't really working long term, but because they work temporarily and they show you results, you think?


That's it.

If only I can keep doing that.

So you white knuckle ride it to the end of every week and you think?

Oh, my God.

I did another week where I didn't eat sugar.

Oh, my God.

I did another week where I didn't skip workouts.

But you feel it in your bones that it's temporary.

That means something needs to change.

Or you'll spend now the prime of your life to the rest of your life on this cycle of never really finding true health, true confidence.

And I want you to develop true health because with that becomes freedom, you find the freedom to love yourself again and through finding the freedom to love yourself again, you release yourself from the shackles of these unhealthy habits that have been holding you back and you also release yourself from all those things that have been put upon us as women, like the toxic standards of a woman's body, like society's standards of what beauty should be.

So we let go of being really hard on ourselves, of trying to diet and and do all these things that are only symptoms and we actually get to the root cause of our problems and we actually then heal, get healthy and then we focus on being human and what it means to be a human and we become strong and we strive for things and we thrive and we let go of that crappy, small minded diety weight loss industry, sort of stuff that we, that we are so much better than, and that we don't need in our lives as powerful, intelligent, strong women.

And when we feel the freedom to step into that power and we don't feel like we need to conform to society or do things because everybody else is doing it or talk about weight loss or how much we hate our bodies because all our friends are talking about it.

And when we truly change, and then we become role models just in our circle by our actions.

It's amazing.

It's really, really amazing.

So I've chatted to you about my transformation.

I want to talk to you now about how you can change your healthy eating habits.

And there's just a couple of things I want you to know first.

So as human beings, we have certain needs that need to be met.

Um six needs comfort, certainty, variety, connection, growth, and contribution.

And we will do anything to meet these needs, whether they are unhealthy and or healthy.

And a big feeling for most humans at various different points in their life is that they feel like they are not enough.

I know I have felt that like that for absolutely years.

And it was one of the reasons I comfort, ate and drank so much alcohol, understanding that is a really important part of changing your food habits.

And the reason for that is, is because when our needs aren't being met or when one or two or three of our needs aren't being met, we go to our unhealthy habit for that need to be met and let me give you a little example.

So I have for a long time, felt uncertain and unsafe.

And what I didn't realize at the time was this was the reason that I was overeating and turning to food for comfort because I was TF food gave me comfort and it gave me certainty.

It gave me comfort in the sense that a little bit like smoking gives people comfort is if you think about it, when, if you think about me having my dinner, putting the kids to bed, going through a really stressful time in my life, feeling really anxious, having no understanding of inner peace and calm for myself, getting to bed, putting the kids to the bed at the end of the night, sitting down on the couch and eating a packet of biscuits, blood flowing into the stomach, taking that deep exhale of breath.

Feeling again, a feeling of calm washing over me and a feeling of letting go.

And I want you to really remember that the next time you are, you've had your dinner, you're like, that's it.

I'm not having anything sweet after dinner and you go to the couch and you think I need something, I need something and you go and get something or if you're having a big dinner portion and you don't want to overeat.

I want you to notice the feeling that you have sought and you'll notice that feeling that you've sought straight after you have eaten the thing.

And if you think about it, when you overeat or when you comfort eat, when you go through five packets of crisps, when you go through seven biscuits, you sit back, all the blood is rushing into your stomach.

Your digestive system is working hard.

You take a deep exhale and you go, oh, it's just before feeling really bad.

And you think, wow.

And you let go and you temporarily feel very, very calm.

That's what I was getting out of comfort eating and no amount of rationale or logic or telling me what to eat and when to eat was going to stop me getting that need from food, that need of comfort that I so desperately craved that I didn't have in any area of my life.


I didn't know how to take care of myself.

I didn't even know I wasn't taking care of myself.

I didn't know there was no comfort in my life.

There was just stress and anxiety and I felt so bad all of the time.

It makes such sense to me now that I sought comfort from food and knowing that comfort is a really important need in humans.

Remember there's six needs, comfort, certainty, variety significance, connection, growth contribution it's crazy, bad habits change the tempo in your body.

Alcohol changes your state.

It gives you the thing that you're craving.

Overeating, comfort eating changes your state.

It meets some of your needs.

However, there are other ways to meet those needs, healthy ways to meet those needs.

But, and this is where it gets really interesting.

It can feel like there is risk involved with doing the healthy thing.

So we stay with the unhealthy thing because we crave certainty and overeating and drinking too much alcohol.

There's, there's a certain certainty that it gives us a certain certainty that it gives us.

However, if we said, well, that's it.

I'm going to go and work out if that's it.

I'm going to start my own podcast.

I'm going to, I'm going to start meditating.

There's a, there's a lot of uncertainty that goes with that and us as humans with our 6 million year old brain.

It's scary.

Our brain wants to keep us safe.

We don't like being out of our comfort zone.

We don't like uncertainty.

We like variety, but uncertainty is scary.

There's certainty in overeating.

There's certainty in drinking and what's absolutely fascinating is that there's a way to change and there's five steps and I'm going to share them with you.

However, I want you to be really clear before we move on that.

If there's an unhealthy habit, you are cracking, trying to crack like food, it's important now that you understand that.

Dieting and, and the what isn't important, you've enough knowledge to go and write a book, you know, that you don't need to need more.

You don't need to need no more stuff.

That trainer on Instagram that's telling you about a certain amount of grams of protein to eat.

You don't need to know that you don't need to know that level of detail.

I know if I put a gun to your head, like an actual gun to your head.

And I said, I'm going to shoot you.

If you don't eat healthy for one day, you would know exactly what to eat.

But the weight loss industry wants to keep us distracted and it wants to keep us focused on all these symptoms and not get to the root cause.

But understanding the root cause of your unhealthy food habits is understanding, first of all, what needs that unhealthy habit meets for you.

And it's either comfort, certainty, variety, significance, connection contribution.

And then understanding that these bad habits can change, they change the tempo in your body and they change your state and that's what you want.

Unhealthy habits can, can really provide comfort, can really provide certainty for you, however, you can get that elsewhere.

So step number one is really to let this sink in and to be really aware of yourself when you're eating, listen and watch and observe when you're sitting on the couch and you're eating food, observe when you're having a big dinner portion, just observe it, observe and think what needs are being met.

Oh, I, I, I'm craving comfort.

I'm craving certainty.

And if you're not used to this kind of way of thinking, it can be a little bit difficult initially.

However, coming from somebody who comfort, ate and drank too much for 20 years and then did this to change, it's just like everything else at the beginning.

It can feel a little bit irritating like you're not getting anywhere.

And then with a little bit of practice one day, you'll have a eureka moment and you'll be like, oh my God, I just ate that because I was seeking comfort.

Oh my God.

I, I crave certainty.

I get certainty through food, through that feeling afterwards.

By the way, the feeling afterwards you sit back, you relax, things, feel temporarily certain, you know, the feeling you're going to get.

So I want to share with you five steps of the chemistry of transformation.

Tony Robbins.

I went to a couple of his events and it was the first time I heard about this.


So five steps.

Number one satiation, you have to be doing something over and over and over again and you have to start getting sick of it.

That is step number one.

So that's what happened to me with alcohol and comfort eating.

I was doing the same thing over and over and over again and I started to get really, really sick of it.

I started to get sick of it.

I was doing it to get certainty and to get comfort and I was just doing it over and over and over again.

So I just got full of it.

Step number two, dissatisfaction.

I got to a point where I was doing it and it stopped feeling good.

It stopped feeling good.

I really started to feel this self loathing every time I did it.

So I went from a Friday night having a having rose in the back garden with the sun shining to thinking life doesn't get better than this.

That's what I thought because I was stuck in this trap that I didn't even know I was in and that's what can happen without awareness.

You don't even know you're stuck in this trap.

However, I moved to step number two in 2020 2021 2022 and IIII I stopped getting any enjoyment from it.

II I was just sitting there having rose going.

I'm sitting here having rose.

What am I doing?

What am I unhappy?

Why do I need to just always drink at the weekends?

What is it about my reality that I'm not happy with?

Why can I not seem to have an absolute ball on a Friday night without alcohol?

Why I got so sick of overeating?

I got so sick of comfort eating.

I was so sick of it.

I could hardly look at myself in the mirror.

I remember one time I'd had like three viennese worlds, two packets of crisps.

And I had just committed that day to that.

Was it being healthy?

I was beginning to just identify with somebody that was healthy and like I'm healthy, I'm healthy, I'm healthy and I just felt so desperate that I just woke up that next morning and I thought I can't do this anymore.

Here I go again.

The same with drinking.

I'll never forget.

One morning, one Sunday morning, I woke up desperately hungover, just dying of a hangover.

And I just my first instinct when I woke up, I just thought, oh, no.

Oh no.

I have the whole day of being hung over.

I have a whole day of self loathing ahead of me.

And I'm also going to feel bad on Monday.

I'm not going to feel quite right Tuesday and by Wednesday and I thought I, I can't do this anymore.

So step two is, is dissatisfaction.

So step one, satiation, getting full of it, doing it over and over again and just thinking, I'm done.

Step number two, dissatisfaction.

You're doing it now and it doesn't feel good.

Step number three, you've reached your threshold.

That's when you move to a point where you think I'm out of here, I'm done.

And this happens, this happened for me when I started to get to get really aware with step one and step two, I must say I helped step two along for those of you listening to this podcast a while when I wanted to stop drinking, I started to video myself on my iphone drunk, just talking to myself privately in the bathroom and then looking at it the next day, um I found that really, really helpful and it's, it might sound a little harsh, however it's facing up to the truth.

Um which I, I needed to do.

I think alcohol can be so glamorized.

And the picture we see is of women sitting around having a lovely glass of wine and a nice glass.

And the reality is if we took a photograph of our faces after three drinks, I'm not so sure it would feel like that marketing image.

Uh It certainly didn't for me.

So you need to reach a threshold, you need to get to a place where you think.

I don't know how I'm doing it, but I am out of here.

That's a really important step and you can amplify that step by doing things that I have done, making yourself aware of all the reasons why you're out of here and why you're so sick of it.

So step number four is insight understanding that it's you that it's not the things around you.

It's not that you're so busy in work that you've long gaps between meals.

So therefore you come home and you eat too much.

It's not your partner's fault for sitting there and eating crisps.

It's not your partner's fault for drinking.

It's, it's, it's, it's having an insight and knowing that it's you, knowing that it comes from you.

Um, it's me, what's going on in me?

What's, what's going on in me, in me and turning it inwards.

That is where you have, that's where you create an opening.

That's where you jump and this opening is really small and it doesn't come around very much.

So when you get that feeling, you need to really, really act on it.

So you jump from, it's me, what's going on in me and then you jump and you start making changes and you come up with something better and you do something better.

For example, you might decide you are going to get that same certainty and, and, and get that level of comfort from lifting weights three times a week that you're going to get a strong body that you're going to feel empowered and you're going to get those wonderful certain feelings from exercise.

Um You have to act when that feeling comes.

If you don't act, you just go and you start step one again and you go around and around in cycles.

Does that feeling make sense?

Can you look back at a time and think?

Oh God.

Yeah, I remember when I nearly changed and then I didn't, you need to take action when you get to that feeling.

So step one is satiation.

You need to be full of it.

You need to be doing the same thing over and over again.

Step number two, dissatisfaction.

You're doing it over and over again and it's not making you feel good anymore.

Step number three, you hit a threshold.

I'm out of here.

I'm done.

Step number four in sight.

It's me.

What's going on in me?

What, what am I getting out of the unhealthy habits that I'm doing?

What needs, am I trying to meet and how can I meet them in other ways?

That's when you need to jump and remember you're jumping into temporary uncertainty, lifting up a set of weights and following along on a workout program is going to make you feel uncertain, doing anything new, is going to make you feel uncertain.

I started a course two weeks ago and I am genuinely blown away by how loud my inner critic got.

You're not, you're never going to amount to anything.

Why are you even bothering?

You're not good at anything?

Why do you even speak honestly?

Like it just, it blew up.

And the reason that it did I've realized was a couple of things.

Number one, the course I find really, really difficult and I find it really hard to understand and yet it reads so simply like I'm reading it and I'm like these are like, it sounds simple and then if I try and go and articulate it or describe it, I'm stuck and it just left me feeling really bad in myself.

So I think understanding that doing something new and adopting a healthy habit, letting go of an unhealthy habit and replacing it with a healthy habit.

You're going to go from feeling comfort and certainty even though it was bad for us to uncertain and discomfort and very much most of the time for me anyway, that discomfort and uncertainty will put me off the good thing because my inner critic will bubble up so loudly that II I just can't take it anymore and I don't want to do it.

Life is tough enough.

So I'm in that very vulnerable state where I want to quit.

And if any of my members are listening in, if you look back to when you started with Thrive Academy, I'm sure you felt the same that while you're building those habits and building the habits of exercising and the thrive times and our five step framework pas it's feeling uncomfortable and you're questioning if it's going to work, are you up for the challenge?

And you're kind of white knuckle riding it, hoping you don't quit for the first couple of weeks.

And that's just your brain uncertain with discomfort because you're doing something new.

It's really powerful when you know that because you can really use it to your advantage and you can hear your inner critic and then there's ways to help that inner critic and silence it, which I'm actually discussing on the next episode.

Well, I hope you found this episode helpful.

I hope it gives you the courage to let go of those really small minded negative things like dieting and restriction and calorie counting and grams of protein, grams of fat and myfitnesspal and slimming roll and Weight Watchers and all those things that keep us down that keep us descending into the cave of chaos.

And I hope you are able to step up the steps out of the cave of chaos and into a new empowering time of your life where you step into your power and you really feel what you're capable of.

And you are, you begin your beautiful journey of transforming your relationship with food.

If you stick with this, it will come and you won't be, I promise you you won't, you will get to a point where food is just you sit down, you have breakfast, you sit down, you have lunch, you sit down, you have dinner.

I never thought that was possible.

I thought people were lying when they said that it is possible when you heal your relationship with yourself, you let go of so much of the food habits that, that you may be currently doing.

Now, if you enjoyed this episode, I would appreciate it so, so, so much.

If you could share it with a friend, it is my mission to help women over 40 get fit healthy and find the freedom to love themselves again and by you sharing this little podcast episode with somebody you care about it is helping me get in front of more people.

Thank you so much and have a wonderful day.

Thanks for listening to another episode of the Jessica Cook podcast.

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