Holistic Health Radio Episode 19: Breaking The Binge Cycle with Olivia Patrick, founder of Shape Your Mind
Click below to listen to Episode 18 of Holistic Health Radio. If you enjoy the episode be sure to subscribe and leave us a 5-star review!
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In this episode I’m joined by Olivia Patrick, a clinical psychologist and director of Shape Your Mind in Sydney. Her practice has a strong focus on helping individuals with disordered eating, body image or weight-related issues get back in touch with themselves to rebuild trust, self-respect and heal their relationship with food and body.
Today Olivia and I are tackling the topic of binge-eating, and more specifically how to break the cycle and have a more peaceful relationship with food. Some key topics we address in this episode include:
- What is binge eating and how it’s different to emotional eating or overeating
- The common warning signs and side effects of binge-eating if you suspect you or someone you know may be struggling
- How to seek out a specialised eating disorder practitioner and why this is important
- Helpful strategies to break the binge-eating cycle
- Plus how to get back on track if you do experience a binge episode
Speaker Background – Olivia Patrick
Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?
I am a clinical psychologist and director of Shape Your Mind – a psychology and dietetic practice specialising in treating eating disorders and body image issues. Our focus is to help individuals improve their relationship with food, their body and themselves!
In your own words, please describe your own health journey/body image journey and where you’re with it now.
I have always been incredibly passionate about food and eating! I was lucky enough to grow up with a mother who was an excellent cook and rarely cooked the same thing twice. We always had family dinners together at the table and I remember this being such a positive experience. No food was off-limits and I don’t recall there being anything labelled as good or bad food when I was growing up.
I was always one of the shortest in my class at school and a very late developer, however my body image was okay until my first serious boyfriend taught me that the way I looked was not acceptable! He would compare me to models in men’s magazines and explicitly point out where and how I didn’t measure up. He also encouraged me to diet for the first time the year after I left school. The relationship (thankfully) didn’t last, but years of body shame and fad dieting followed! When I was at uni studying psychology, I was struck by how many of my female friends also struggled with their body image and were on constant diets. There were other people in my life around the same time, both male and female, who were very unwell with serious eating disorders and it became very apparent to me that something needed to change in our society, and I wanted to be part of that change. I took courses in the psychology of appetite and eating and read as much as I could about eating disorder treatment and improving body image. I stopped dieting (I was never really able to do it anyway, I just experienced a whole lot of unnecessary guilt when I continued to eat the foods I loved) and applied everything I learned to improving my own body image before choosing to specialise in this area.
I have had a wonderful relationship with food for a very long time now and I am lucky in that I have also found ways to enjoy moving my body. I am not someone who has ever enjoyed going to the gym to work out on my own, I need it to be fun or I just won’t do it.
What I have found is that I can enjoy almost anything (almost! I’m looking at you, running) if it’s with the right people! From tennis lessons with friends (we didn’t take it seriously enough, so our coach dumped us!), to training in Krav Maga for a couple of years (loved the adrenaline!), it’s all about having fun while I’m doing it. My favourite thing now is lifting heavy weights with a group of amazing women and coaches at a female-only facility. The focus is on athletics not aesthetics and it is the most positive and empowering environment that is completely in line with my ethos. Plus we laugh constantly, which is really what keeps me coming back!
Having said all this, I have to note that no matter what my behaviours have been throughout the years I have always been in a smaller body. I am very aware of the privilege that this has given me throughout my life. No matter how good or bad my body image might have been at any given time, I have never personally experienced discrimination or oppression of any kind because of my weight and I need to acknowledge that.
What are you passionate about at work and in your own personal life?
I am incredibly passionate about helping people improve their relationship with food and their body, and in doing so, their quality of life. I get so much joy from seeing people learn to enjoy eating again, without guilt or shame, and to see them create a life that they are excited about living. I’m also very passionate about teaching the younger generations that they are worth so much more than their appearance so that we can start to create a real shift on a societal level rather than just an individual level.
In my personal life I’m passionate about a lot of things! Kindness to animals, reading, finding Sydney’s best pizza, dirty martinis and spending time with my amazing friends and family.
Where can we find out more about you?
Facebook: Shape Your Mind
Hi future friends, I’m Sarah King, a Health At Every Size (HAES) Exercise Physiologist and health coach.
Science, not trends is the foundation of my approach. By nourishing the body and mind with scientific facts we can build foundations for a life of realness, not just wellness.