Inspiring Women: Jacqueline B.

Inspiring Women & Their Relationship With Food

Disclaimer:The information provided by these women is for information purposes only and is not advice given directly from me. Eating lifestyles that work for them may not work the same way for you. If you have, or ever have had issues with food, these answers may be triggering. This is a space for women to bravely share their story. If this is in any way triggering to you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me for support.

In this blog series, I ask women from my life questions pertaining to their relationship with food and how it affects their eating lifestyle. They share their individual dietary struggles and how to overcome them. They also give their honest opinion about diet culture, Health At Every Size (HAES) movement, and how to practice intuitive eating. Each of these women are inspiring to me and I hope that you can also be inspired by their stories and ways of practicing mindful eating habits.

Jacqueline is a USC and FIDM alumna. She now owns Silver & Gold Boutique, and writes for the Prettiplease Blog. She is an overall awesome woman that is willing to share her story about her relationship with food. Jacqueline shares how she has been on and off diets consistently since a young age — she currently says, “My plate is now full of foods high in nutritional value. This style of eating, which I have only adopted within the last year or so, has greatly influenced my overall quality of life!…But even more importantly, I’ve been more active and positive about adopting a long-term healthy lifestyle.[sic]” Read more to find out how Jacqueline overcame the vicious dieting cycle by developing a permanent lifestyle change. Connect with Jacqueline on Instagram!

Jacqueline Bridgford - Harvesters Headshot
“I can tell you from my own experience that happiness starts from within and self-acceptance is the first step to making a positive change in your life!” – Jacqueline B.

What has been you biggest dietary struggle and how have you overcome it?

I would say that my biggest dietary struggle is overeating, especially at night. I try to manage this issue by using portion control, eating out less, and eating more of the “good stuff” to crowd out the “bad stuff.”

Explain your current eating patterns. How have they influenced your overall quality of life ?

My current eating patterns are probably the best I’ve ever consistently had in my life. I eat small meals throughout the day and incorporate more veggies & fruits. My plate is usually full foods high in nutritional value. This style of eating, which I have only adopted within the last year or so, has greatly influenced my overall quality of life! I’ve been pretty consistent with my eating habits and as a result, I’ve lost about 50 pounds since May of 2017. But even more importantly, I’ve been more active and positive about adopting a long-term healthy lifestyle.

Do you believe that restrictive dieting at an early age leads to disordered eating? How so?

I think restrictive eating can definitely lead to disordered eating. I remember being put on my first “diet” around the age of 10 and being told exactly what I could eat and couldn’t eat. Being so young, this was done through a medically supervised program and I am thankful for it in retrospect, but I do also believe that this set me up for a battle with food and eating in general later in life. Dieting in my youth was the best course of action for me at the time, but once I got to choose my food for myself, I didn’t know what to choose and often felt guilty for my food choices. I’ve only recently been able to break the cycle of dieting (restricting), eating whatever I want, feeling guilty, dieting, and then repeating the whole cycle over again.

What is your opinion on the diet culture and how do you think it has influenced society?

I don’t think dieting is the answer – I think learning how to manage your own specific relationship with food is most important. The “diet culture” seems more punishing than rewarding, in my opinion. A lifestyle change (vs. a temporary diet) is what I believe works.

What does intuitive eating mean to you and how do you practice it daily?

Since I try to eat every few hours, I get cravings rather than actual feelings of hunger. I will think to myself: “would I eat some ____ right now?” and fill in the blank with a food item that is healthy. If the answer is “yes,” then I’m probably actually hungry. If the answer is “no,” then I’m probably just craving junk food.

What is your opinion on the “Health at Every Size” (HAES) movement? How has this changed your view on health, beauty and nutrition?

I think the HAES movement is a positive one. I can tell you from my own experience that happiness starts from within and self-acceptance is the first step to making a positive change in your life!

Explain how your current eating patterns have changed your overall health and well being.

My current eating patterns have left me feeling happier and healthier than ever before. I don’t get a midday crash and I actually feel more energized while eating less calorically dense foods. I used to look for a sugary “pick me up” around 3pm everyday, but now I workout or eat something that is going to help me stay energized.

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Share some tips on what you do when eating out at a restaurant.

When eating out at a restaurant, I will usually get a salad with chicken (dressing on the side) or some sort of white fish with no butter/sauce. Salsa is a great alternative to dressing, so I will opt for salsa whenever it is available. Also, ordering a side or two of vegetables is always a great idea!

What advice would you give to someone dealing with similar health/food issues?

I would tell them to get an idea of how many calories to eat per day and make that number work for them and their lifestyle. For someone like me who enjoys eating out with friends but also dislikes restricting food intake, that could mean 1) working some exercise into your days, 2) budgeting for days when exercise is not possible, 3) eating out less often instead of making it a routine, or 4) making social gatherings more about the people and less about the food.

What is your “food philosophy” that you strongly believe in?

My food philosophy is that “food is either feeding disease or fighting it.” We all can agree that food is essential and that no matter where you lay your head down at night, food is essential to your well-being. It truly defines your quality of life and can be nourishing to your body but also detrimental to your health if you are not careful.

What is your favorite food/recipe that you enjoy making?

I will share my favorite recipe from Ina Garten! I love making Brussels sprouts because they are so versatile. Here is a link to her exact recipe I’ve been using lately: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/roasted-brussels-sprouts-recipe2-1941953

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