Listen To Your Body Podcast 308 Why It Is Time To Take Diet Culture Out of Nutrition Coaching w/ Christina Montalvo

Why It Is Time To Take Diet Culture Out of Nutrition Coaching w/ Christina Montalvo

Diet culture sucks. The stories that we have been conditioned to believe about our worth, the patriarchy, white supremacy, and so much more all play into how we feel about movement, exercise, and our bodies. Instead of viewing your exercise routine as a way to manipulate your body, I challenge you to embrace the limitless other benefits of movement. 

Listen To Your Body Podcast 308 Why It Is Time To Take Diet Culture Out of Nutrition Coaching w/ Christina Montalvo

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Key Takeaways

If You Want To Embrace The Infinite Benefits of Movement and Exercise You Should:

  1. Work to unlearn what you have been taught to be true and stop focusing on body manipulation
  2. Embrace the positive aspects of movement and exercise that do not have to deal with weight loss
  3. Acknowledge the false ways that you have been defining your worthiness and work to shift your mindset towards something more positive
  4. Lean into the things you don’t know and unpack the beliefs you have for yourself

Removing Diet Culture From Movement with Christina Montalvo

Christina Montalvo is a great friend, coach, gym owner, and someone who has personally been fucked over by diet culture. She created a unique women’s only strength and conditioning gym that does not encourage fat or weight loss. Christina is here to challenge you to unlearn what you have taught to believe is true and start thinking more critically about the ways you move your body and the reasons behind it.

Embracing the Infinite Benefits of Movement

If you start out having expectations of fat and weight loss when going into a movement routine or working with a trainer, the chances of you feeling disappointed and getting stuck in a cycle of giving up are much higher. Instead of putting pressure around how and why you are moving your body, lean into all of the other benefits of movement and exercise that have nothing to do with weight loss. This can lead to a higher retention rate as a provider and a greater sense of accomplishment as a client. 

Unlearning What You Have Been Taught To Believe Is True

There is a good chance that if you choose to engage in movement solely to manipulate your body, there is a much deeper reason guiding your decision-making. By acknowledging the false ways that you have been defining worthiness, checking your privilege, and making yourself your first priority, you can frame your purpose in a nourishing way instead of ripping yourself down. 

While it may be hard to unlearn how society has told you to engage with movement, it is only by leaning into the things you don’t know and unpacking the beliefs that you hold within yourself that you can truly start to embrace holistic movement and reject diet culture. 

Have you ever experienced an inclusive space where the infinite benefits of exercise and movement are prioritized over weight loss and body manipulation? Share how you work to create that space for yourself and reject diet culture in the comments below. 

In This Episode

  • The importance of separating movement for health and wellness sake from movement for body manipulation sake (8:12)
  • Why associating movement and weight control or body manipulation is a problem (11:10)
  • The role of social justice when dismantling patriarchal standards and diet culture (18:24)
  • How to navigate the space between body autonomy and potentially harmful diet practices (23:38)
  • Common themes that are signs of searching for something deeper than a surface physical transformation (27:02)

Quotes

“I think what’s harder than learning anything new is unlearning everything that we have always thought to be true.” (10:14)

“The benefits of exercise and intentional movement are absolutely infinite, and it’s so crazy because I think that the benefits can be and are different for everyone.” (13:33)

“In any case where you are solely operating or participating in something from a place of fear or shame, that is not healthy, that is inherently unhealthy, and that is such a detriment to the wellbeing of anyone.” (18:19)

“Obviously a human can autonomously choose fat loss or weight loss, but there is a much deeper reason why they are choosing it.” (26:01)

“Whenever we are engaging in intentional weight loss, everything else in our life becomes much more grayscale. We turn down the intensity and the importance of everything else in our life, and the most important and prevalent thing becomes our bodies, our food choices, our calorie burn, what we look like, what we weigh. And so in some ways, it is a really socially acceptable way to just ignore and pacify ourselves to all these deeper, much more real, much more powerful, much more impactful problems or areas of focus in our lives.” (28:46)

Links

Join the Tune In Membership Group Here

What Is Intuitive Eating Free Training Series

Follow Christina on Instagram

Join the Listen To Your Body Insiders Newsletter

Steph Gaudreau Website

Why It Is Time To Take Diet Culture Out of Nutrition Coaching w/ Christina Montalvo FULL TRANSCRIPT

Steph Gaudreau
This is Episode 308 of the Listen To Your Body podcast. On today’s show, my special guest Christina Montalvo is sharing why it is far past time that diet culture is taken out of nutrition coaching.

Steph Gaudreau
The next evolution of Harder To Kill Radio is here. Welcome to the Listen To Your Body podcast. on this show, we’ll explore the intersection of body, mind, and soul health, and help you reclaim your abilities to eat and move more intuitively, hear your body’s signals, and trust yourself more deeply.

Steph Gaudreau
I’m Steph Gaudreau, a certified intuitive eating counselor, nutritional therapy practitioner, and strength coach. On this podcast, you can expect to hear expert guest interviews and solo chats that will help you deepen your trust with food movement, and your body. Remember to hit the subscribe button and share this podcast with your friends and loved ones. Now, on to the show.

Steph Gaudreau
Hello, my friend. Welcome to the podcast. Thanks so much for hanging out with me today. Oh, you are in for a special treat. Because what happens when you get too passionate, fiery, certified intuitive eating counselors and strength coaches together on a podcast to talk about why diet culture sucks, and, more importantly, our own stories about how we’ve had to grow and evolve and change over time. Well, you get this show. I’m so happy to have Christina Montalvo. On the podcast today, she’s someone I’ve struck up a really great friendship with over the last year or so. And it’s been so wonderful to bring her on the podcast. We talk a lot about Christina’s journey, not only as a gym owner and a coach but as someone who much like probably yourself and myself, has been really fucked over by diet culture. And we’re gonna get into that today, as well as a few other spicy nuggets. So you may want to have headphones on for this. I mean, the show has an explicit rating and always has but out of an abundance of caution, you may want some headphones on for this one. Before we hop into the show, I want to share a win. This is from my tune in membership. This is my monthly membership where I’m doing group coaching every month about things like intuitive eating our bodies, wisdom, listening to our body tuning in, and so much more. And there are winds going on all the time. And I want to share one with you from one of my members.

Steph Gaudreau
She says I’m feeling a big shift in my thinking, I find myself asking, is this what I want a lot over the last week, the agency is growing. And I’m feeling joy over things that I have felt bound to and resentful of. Even just a few weeks ago, I also made some advocacy moves with my doctor this week, who’s my voice and clearly asked for what I needed. And she responded in a super helpful way. I love this win because it goes to show how powerful this membership really is for helping people shift. Not just their relationship with food, but really their thinking. And when there are thoughts that don’t serve us, there’s negative self-talk. There are challenging emotions. That’s the stuff that we’re working through all the time. And I have to say, What are you waiting for? If you haven’t joined yet, and I say that with the most love I can muster but also a little bit of like, kick the baby word out of the nest. I want to encourage you to check the membership out. It’s a group experience. We are in a community. It’s not on Facebook, because Facebook is a distraction factory and it’s full of diet culture. And if we’re going to step away from it, we need a safe space. And so that’s what the membership does. Every month we have a theme. We’re exploring some aspect of intuitive eating, mindful eating our bodies wisdom, building strength, leaning into the flow and so much more. It’s an incredible group of folks and I would really love for you to be there. So now’s the time. Go and check it out on my website, StephGaudreau.com look for the insiders right up there.

Steph Gaudreau
The menu and go check it out. Get involved, I would love to welcome you into our community. All right, without further ado, let’s jump into this very spicy episode with my very good friend Christina Montalvo. Christina, welcome to the podcast.

Christina Montalvo
Thanks. I’m so excited to be here.

Steph Gaudreau
I’m so excited to be here we first met oh my gosh, how many years ago was this? A few. I feel like…

Christina Montalvo
Seattle, is that we’re thinking of?

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, like, it’s like we’ve, we’ve orbited each other for years here. We’re both doing similar work in the world, and we send each other 15-minute boxer messages. So I’m excited. We’re finally sitting down to have this conversation here on the podcast.

Steph Gaudreau
You know, I’d love to know, what is transitioning for you in your life currently has, you’re going through some pretty big changes. And I think it’ll be helpful to kind of set the stage for you know, where did you come from? Where are you going, as people are listening to this?

Christina Montalvo
What’s not shifting? Just like the grand shift, right? Um, gosh, I don’t even know where to begin answering a question. I guess I’ll start with the current stuff. Now. And then we can backtrack a little bit because there’s been massive changes, you know, just throughout my journey. So what I currently own a women’s only strength and conditioning gym. It is a very inclusive space we do we being me, as the Royal ‘we’ here.

Christina Montalvo
Um, do not facilitate encouraged talk about fat loss, nothing related to the size and shape of anyone’s body that’s in there. And it’s been my baby for so long. And I’m actually in the process of closing its doors for a number of reasons. But it has been it’s very bittersweet, very bittersweet, and I’m going through just an identity crisis, there’s a huge shift with that a lot of my worth was, you know, that was my claim to fame, like gym owner, strength and conditioning, which is all this stuff, you know, and also being a trailblazer in holding a gym space that doesn’t facilitate weight loss. I mean, that is unique. In my experience, people don’t really understand it. So it’s time It’s bittersweet, but that’s just a huge chapter of my life that’s closing so that’s a big shift right now.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, totally seismic massive shift. You know, when when you talk about a gym space where health or weight loss fat loss is not the focus or body size manipulation is not the focus I mean, we’ve had Kim Gould from autonomy movement on the podcast before and we’ve had other folks on the ‘royal we’, have had other folks on the podcast before talking about this issue and yet it is so incredibly foreign and when people are out there in the world and they’re like you know, I’m interested in movement for the sake of like all the other benefits that movement brings me, why is this still such a hard sell to people of separating these two aspects of movement for health and wellness sake and movement for body manipulation sake like why’s is so difficult in your opinion?

Christina Montalvo
Gosh, I think because all of us are exposed to this idea of those two things being one and the same I think our entire lives I can’t even remember a time in which that wasn’t how it was always being presented always I mean, I can remember growing up in there were you know Jane Fonda tapes and Tae Bo tapes VHS Mind you, of course, you know all over my house and each of them had its own messaging on there like lose 10 pounds or tone up or trim down and you know, then we go into the Jillian Michaels era and now we’re talking DVDs, not VHS right when same thing and I bought them all and they were all like, lose 20 pounds in 20 days, it was all together it was never presented as a separate topic.

Christina Montalvo
And to take that one step further, it was never even presented as an option like it’s not even an option. So that’s like the at-home tape kind of example but also go to any other gym probably is and I can only speak to the United States but any other gym in the States. That’s a that’s their marketing ploy. That’s their, their widest casting net. That’s their, that’s their easiest sell. That’s typically how you can get people in there. In any gym, a privately owned commercial gym doesn’t matter. Because, Hey, get a consultation. We’re going to tell you how to we’re going to teach you how to lose weight and keep it off or whatever the bullshit marketing is right? And so when you’re like I own a gym, and people have just learned their entire lives lit like literally, they’re entire lives that, Oh, that must mean this thing, it must mean that we’re changing the size and shape of our body. That’s the expectation. So I think what’s harder than learning anything new is unlearning everything that we’ve always thought to be true.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, I was having a conversation with somebody recently about that, if they wish there was just a reset button, or there was some kind of brain bleach, that would just erase all of this shit, right? It’s like learning the new stuff, but also on learning the old patterns in the old beliefs and the old programming and where it comes from is, is really a challenge. And I said something like, you know, I don’t think we can ever unlearn it, it’s 100%. Like, it just becomes a little bit less dominant, I think over time. And so even setting the expectation that you’re going to be able to unlearn everything and only ever have good thoughts about this stuff in the future. Is is unrealistic? You know, from your perspective, if somebody is listening to this podcast, and they’re just brand new, and they’re like, wait, what I mean, why, you know, what else is there to movement, besides trying to control the size of our bodies? You know, what’s your case for why making this connection is important, right? Giving somebody another aspect of movement to connect to, and also why associating movement and weight control or body control is a problem?

Christina Montalvo
Yeah. Okay. So I’m gonna answer this in two separate ways because I think it kind of, it’ll hit it from two, I think, very important aspects. First and foremost, would be for that beginner person who’s like, what this is completely new and foreign to me. And this was also my case, as a personal trainer, because I did use a previous shift was shifting from being a fat loss focus, and also fat loss obsessed, fitness professional. And that was the probably one of the first biggest shifts that I had was participating in the learning in simultaneous unlearning, however, looking back, and what I started to notice at that time was, if you’re holding space for people, whether you own the business, or you’re just a trainer, you know, working for someone else, every single time 100% of the time with clients, the expectation with movement was weight loss, right, and I was a part of that their attrition rate was so much higher, because if they ever felt like it wasn’t working, they’re like, whatever, what am I paying for this isn’t working, then you know, they would leave my gym, leave my space, and lather, rinse, repeat literally until the end of time. And so I started to think a little bit more critically about that. And I will tell you what, and I did not shift into intuitive eating anti-diet space. I did not shift into that from a business perspective. But I gotta tell you, it there’s absolutely some positive business aspects to this. Because my retention rate once you remove that pressure, and once you remove that, that shame and this idea of like, it’s only working if this, now we get to actually lean into, and really hammer home all the other benefits to movement, and exercise which to answer your question. Oh my gosh, the benefits of exercise and intentional movement are absolutely infinite. And it’s so crazy because I think that the benefits can be and are different for everyone. So for me, it’s a great way to manage my mental health and my anxiety that may not be true or applicable to everyone, which goes to show how amazing it can be right depending on the individual, but it’s irrefutable, the benefits are infinite. And we still we’ve taken weight loss off the table.

Christina Montalvo
In this case, I’m going to answer this again from what might come across as a fatphobic comment, but I’m obsessed with science and research, research, and data and numbers as a way to kind of make sense of things. So when we think about the hierarchy of fat loss, and I’m using air quotes, the hierarchy of fat loss, the lowest amount of percentage of like calories burned and stuff is exercise and movement on a good day on a good week on a good whatever your timeframe. 10% is controlled by movement 10% of your caloric burn, your resting metabolic rate is controlled by exercise. So it’s even from that fat loss focus realm. That’s nothing and people are killing themselves obsessing with like, I’ve gotta burn more calories. I got seven days a week, like no days off, like all or nothing and it’s like for 10% Are you kidding? That sucks. Mm-hmm. You know, so I think both of those ways coming out that question would have helped me to hear when I was entering into this space.

Steph Gaudreau
Hmm, totally. You know, we’ve talked about this before. And I think it’ll be helpful, maybe to hear some insight into your own kind of progression, right? Because as practitioners as coaches, one of the things, you know, I’ve heard a lot of criticism, for example, in the anti-diet space, or the intuitive eating space with mindful eating space, whatever you want to call it, right?

Steph Gaudreau
This kinder, more compassionate way of approaching food and movement, one of the criticisms is often something like, well, now you all are just riding the coattails of the next thing that’s happening. And I think from your perspective, and mine, there’s been a really interesting self-discovery of like, Oh, fuck, I didn’t even realize that I was just perpetuating the patriarchal and sort of like white supremacist ideals and beauty ideals like I didn’t even realize I was part of the machine. And then once I realized what I was doing, I had a choice. Do I keep doing it? Or do I find another way? So I’m interested to see like, what is your sort of evolution been? You mentioned earlier, you were a fat loss coach at one point, but why is it so important to you now that you have learned the information that you’ve learned? And you’ve decided to forge ahead in this new direction, which is receiving obviously lots of criticism? Because it’s not to the way things are? Isn’t it?

Christina Montalvo
Yes. So this is something that has also shifted and evolved over time. So initially, this became important to me from a very selfish place, because I was aware of how detrimental it was to me. And it was that and I think that’s kind of how, how we all operate as humans, like, we have to have that self-awareness first, how is this choice professionally and personally affecting me on a personal level, and I mean, I was, I was so incredibly disordered, so disordered, my body never became, quote, unquote, sick enough in the way that it presented for a number of reasons. And so everywhere I turned, I was just applauded for my dedication. And which then made me even more obsessed, and I can’t, I don’t know if it… I don’t remember what the straw that broke the camel’s back was, but it was very similar, kind of a combination of like, I am trying so hard to lose, like, point two pounds. So the work was never worth the reward.

Christina Montalvo
And I was like, just like point two, I’m like, oh, I’m just gonna, I don’t know, like, remove point two, five grams of race and like, just do the crazy configuration of Jenga that was going through my head. So I thought, you know, this is garbage. And that’s what started it. You know, as evolution has continued, it became more than just about me, right? How much more of a benefit, can I help facilitate for my clients if they’re not starting and stopping all the damn time if they’re not operating from a place of urgency if they’re not exercising from a place of fear or shame, and that alone, it’s like, holy shit, duh. Any In any case, where you are solely operating or participating in something from a place of fear or shame, that is not healthy, that is inherently unhealthy, that is such a detriment to the well being of anyone. So that was the next phase. The most current phase, I’d say within the past, maybe two years, year and a half, was this larger social justice, marginalized communities, the patriarchy, white supremacy, I have goosebumps, as I’m saying this, like, how can anyone argue against this side? It’s crazy, right? Knowing what you know, and having been through it, and also getting this choice again, do I continue to uphold these patriarchal standards? Do I really want to participate in the objectification of women? Do I want to be responsible for helping to reduce women to what they look like and what they weigh? How knowing that there’s not even $1 amount that I would accept in return for perpetuating that stuff? White supremacy? I mean, all you have to do is Google how does… what did I even have to Google? You probably know, also Steph. There’s simply ‘how fat loss is rooted in white supremacy’. And it’s gonna there’s so many different things that pop up. It’s, it’s undeniable, and I think it starts with us as humans, and then you’re like, Oh, my gosh, the implications of this are massive. It’s me, then it’s my immediate whatever my immediate impact, then it’s my community, then it’s oh my gosh, there’s this massive social justice implication. And to your point, I think we absolutely. We got to make a choice. Did I answer your question at all?

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah. Okay. Um, well, I think because a lot of folks in the community a lot of listeners to this show even have had a similar evolution, there’s been this unfolding, right where you said typo earlier and I was like Billy blanks like, my, my feedbag work or I used to do in my living room like the firm and oh, yeah, snap in the stick and all this stuff. Denise Austin, you know, 7 am in the living room, but it was never for fun. It was to always try to be smaller, right?

Steph Gaudreau
With the, you know, Weight Watchers and counting points. And in as little as possible, we’ve both done triathlons like ended up in the insurance space. And so there’s a lot of parallels with people. They’re like, yeah, I started off, you know, teens and 20s. And I was doing really restrictive dieting, and then it sort of morphed into something else. Right, the lifestyle stuff, but there was still a lot of restriction. And my relationship with food is still kind of nutty. And now it’s like, it’s all kind of breaking open. Yeah. And I feel like a lot of the listeners to this show are also in a similar space of similar growth and evolution. And it’s just really interesting to look back and see all of these different kinds of lifetimes that we’ve all lived.

Christina Montalvo
Yeah, I want to something that just occurred to me as you were talking to something else that really helped me was being able to acknowledge my own privilege, and the ways in which when I was coaching, fat loss, and participating in fat loss, I mean, I just had so much unchecked privilege, you know, it’s like, oh, you’re eating McDonald’s, and the fat loss space is not conducive to I feel in my experience wasn’t and to my knowledge still isn’t conducive to acknowledging privilege. It’s like, is anyone talking about food scarcity? Is anyone talking about the privileges that we have to be like, I only shop at Whole Foods, and my grocery shopping Bill $700 a week for one person? Like, those were things that I absolutely bought into, and defended, because I was super healthy. And like, it’s not my fault that all y’all aren’t as healthy as me. But how privileged was I? And so the acknowledgment of my privilege was also huge. I mean, it punched me in the face. And I thought I’m so glad that I know better now.

Steph Gaudreau
Mm-hmm. Absolutely, that and I think for me, one of the bigger bear points has been really learning about the social determinants of health. Yes, yeah. Food is like one tiny sliver of the top. And it’s interesting, because, you know, many of us are highly trained in certain areas, we want to stay in our lane with what we’re teaching and educating about, but there is this bigger acknowledgment? And are we even willing to have the conversation acknowledging that there are certain things that people may not be able to change, for example, their race, or is very difficult to change, for example, their financial situation, the environment in which they live, and how all of these things do impact? And then we have this like, lens through which we teach her that the subject matter that we’re experts in that we’re just talking about predominantly because it is what we know. Yeah. And so how do we hold those spaces for people? Right, is the challenge.

Steph Gaudreau
How do you handle I ask this question, sometimes to people that I know really well because I’m truly curious about what you say, Oh, no, I should No, no, it’s not a bad question. But there is a bit of a push, pull in some circles with wanting to honor and believe in and honor people’s autonomy to choose what is right for them.

Christina Montalvo
Yep

Steph Gaudreau
Versus what we know to be potentially problematic and harmful. re diet, culture, and all of that sort of stuff. So how do you navigate that space?

Christina Montalvo
I love this question. Actually, this word and this idea of like, I just honor my client’s autonomy, this shows up in my DMS, often through other coaches and professionals. And sometimes they’re more combative in nature. And sometimes it’s just a genuinely open conversation. You know, I’m, and I’m just going, I’m just going to be honest, I think it’s bullshit, to be completely honest with you. Yes, honoring autonomy, but does that person let’s say, there’s a coach who operates and says, you know, I’m going to hold space and allow for my client to autonomously choose intentional weight loss, intentional fat loss, I call bullshit. Because are they fully aware of the implications of this? Right? Do they have all of the education and resources to really understand what that means? Is that coach doing the poking and the prodding of figuring out truly what is it that they’re looking for? Because without I’ve come to learn and how I speak about this with my clients is, it’s never about the weight loss, it’s never about the fat, we have to go deeper. I owe it to my clients, as I feel we all do as coaches, to hold this space, to take them deeper, and to give them these observations.

Christina Montalvo
And to give them the tools and the resources. Ultimately, and maybe this is bias, and maybe I’m an asshole. Both true. But I almost feel like it’s so, that autonomy piece is still being fueled by something else. It’s not being fueled by intuition. It’s not being fueled by highest self, I think it’s being fueled by something a bit more superficial, it does feel real, I understand that because I was there. But there’s absolutely something deeper to dig into, obviously, a human can autonomously choose fat loss or weight loss, but there’s a much deeper reason why they’re choosing it.

Steph Gaudreau
I really, yeah. What do you find with your clients tend to be some of the themes, because I’m hoping that somebody listening to this might be somewhat stuck in this space, right with not knowing what to choose? Because diet culture, and beauty ideals and the patriarchy and white supremacy, white supremacist ideals are always there. They’re always there. In the world that we’re in today, right now in 2020. Right, this is, this is the way the world is working. And so people are stuck in this. It’s almost like you’re the child of divorced parents. And I say that as a child of divorced parents, where you’re like, I don’t know who to listen to, I don’t know. I understand that there are potential downsides to intentional fat loss. And I look back at my life, and I’m like, how is this served me in the past? Where’s this gotten me. And yet it is so tempting. It is. So everywhere, it is so consuming. And I feel like I’m stuck in the middle. So what are some of the themes that you’re seeing with your clients that are deeper than Yes, the surface physical transformation that they’re looking for?

Christina Montalvo
Great question, love this question. Some of those themes are, they’re sensing a lack of control in another area of their life, that can be within their partnership within their job within their finances. And also, this is rearing its head a lot, because it’s 2020. And I think we’re all realizing that any sense of control we thought we had was a lie. Like, oh, shit, we’re not in control of anything. And so it’s definitely been showing up. Now, as people are looking for this, you know, their nervous systems are creating equilibrium. So if I can’t get control, literally anywhere, I’m going to control my body. So that’s one thing. The other theme is it’s also how I call it is intentional. Weight loss. Intentional fat loss is like the most socially acceptable form of self-abuse, but also the most socially acceptable adult pacifier. It’s a great way to the way that I teach this, the way that I kind of explained it is, whenever we’re engaging unintentional weight loss, everything else in our life becomes much more grayscale, we turn down the intensity and the importance of everything else in our life. And the most important, the most prevalent thing becomes our body, our food choices, our calorie burn, what we look like what we weigh. And so in some ways, it’s a really, again, socially acceptable way to just ignore and pacify ourselves to all these deeper, much more real, much more powerful, much more impactful problems or areas of focus in our lives, because everything just kind of gets toned down. So those are the two themes that I see pop up most often. Hmm, I’m sure there are a lot of people relating to that right now. Right?

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah. Especially like you said, this, this concept that there’s a control that we have the control that the control we thought we had, isn’t there anymore, and that, you know, food being something that we’re engaging with, on a daily basis, right, it is one of those things that staring us in the face. Yeah. And I love how you said it does become a socially acceptable way to manage those feelings of lack of control, or of wanting to just not have to deal with the really, really hard or not having the resources actually even to deal with the really hard stuff. So that’s just kind of what came through to me as you were, as you were talking about that, and I think it’s so important to give people that space to explore.

Christina Montalvo
Yeah, yeah. And it’s harder to, that’s something that’s been coming up, you know, to take that one step further with these themes. When I’m presenting these things in these options for my clients to start, you know, unpacking for themselves. It’s a lot easier to just default to my body. This is just easier. And I also I can occupy spaces virtually or otherwise and discuss these on I’m, I’m having a, I feel fat today, right? That’s like, oh, all the shit that comes in response to stuff like that versus, um, for example, my partner and I are having a hard time or you know, work is incredibly stressed like just whatever those other stressors might be whatever those other and these can even go so far as to like early childhood traumas and stuff. That stuff there’s such a stigma around it, which is unfortunate. And I it that is, that is the way that it is I wish it wasn’t. Um, so yeah, it’s you’re also more just socially accepted, and you’re universally understood. When that becomes your problem that you present. Like, I just feel fat, or I need to be good today. People are like, Yeah, totally. But if you’re like, my partner and I are going to get divorced, it’s like, oh, you know, it’s, that seems like it’s too much to bring to the table. It’s too personal. So we get to present it as something else.

Steph Gaudreau
Mm-hmm. Yeah. And part of what we teach, right, is you and I both is this idea of, what are the alternatives to talking about our bodies? Or are we talking about other people’s bodies as the default? Yep. of complementing that, like, we have to stretch a little bit, we’re going to have to grow a limb. Hmm. And that can also bring up things like boundaries, you know, people are like, I don’t want to talk about my body. That’s a much more risky feeling conversation, than just say, Yeah, I just, you know, I can’t stop eating because #COVI15 or whatever.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, yes. And then you know, boundaries, which then people don’t want to set boundaries, so then we are they’re uncomfortable. So then we go into our people-pleasing tendencies, and then our perfectionist tendencies, which is also upheld by white supremacy. And so I think one of the greatest things about intuitive eating is that look at all the things that we just listed about, right. When you coach fat loss, it’s like, Where’s your willpower? Make better choices, just try harder, never miss a Monday. And it’s like such surface-level bullshit. And I can say that now looking back, but let me tell you what the time I was like, this is, this all matters so much. Like, you know, the shit I was talking about on Instagram was like, hashtag motivation, hashtag willpower. And it’s like, oh, my gosh, just how surface level that was, you know, and I do feel that on this side of the dining space if you will, we are able to have much more meaningful and impactful conversations for sure.

Steph Gaudreau
What’s your, your sort of greatest hope going forward for the work that you’re doing in the world? Because you’re shutting down your gym, you’re going to be, you know, moving into doing new things? What are you? What are you hoping is going to come out of that work?

Christina Montalvo
God Steph!

Steph Gaudreau
I decided, like, throw the easiest question at you at the end of the conversation.

Christina Montalvo
You have so many hopes. And you know what, the theme of both of those things, there are two things specifically that come to mind. But honestly, the largest hope the theme that connects those two hopes for me is that women are able to understand their own innate power, which I also think comes from a sense of a deep divine knowing of their own worth. And that’s it that’s purpose like they’re their worthiness and their purpose are two things. Or I should say it this way, their power and their purpose are two things that every woman is innately worthy of pursuing, and harnessing and cultivating and then also, in any way, small or large, pouring that back out into the world. And when I say the world, it’s can be as small as their families, it can be is as big as their community. And it can be as massive as you know, the entire world and it’s all worthy of pursuing.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, I was gonna ask, you know, when you say purpose, so one of the criticisms I often hear about purpose is that it very serves other people and give of yourself until your MC or it’s a very almost patriarchal notion as we know, working, working, working and having to like consume and put things out there. I mean, how do you help people frame purpose in a way that’s really resonant and nourishing and like you said, true to the higher self and true to what feels expansive for you.

Christina Montalvo
So great question, my gosh, um, before we even start to really talk about purpose, we do start the conversation of the false ways in which they have been defining worthiness. And that showed up for me a lot where I felt that unless I was in service of other people, or helpful, like directly helpful to someone else that I had zero wordiness zero like, What? What’s the point if I can’t just constantly be of service to other people in my personal life, and then in a service based business? We start with that conversation first. You know, I just had that conversation this morning. a dear friend of mine was like, I feel like a piece of shit. I slept in late. I’m like, girl, you’re your body literally told you what it needed. How can you deny that? I said, Would you say that to your kid? If your child slept in late, would you look to your kid and say, God, you’re just like, a worthless piece of shit. No, you’d be like, Oh my god, you’re probably getting sick. Like, right? It’s just so different. We speak to ourselves so differently. But for me personally, what I’ve learned, I can’t be impactful I cannot do anything, even if I want to, to my but the best of my ability if, if I’m not accounting for myself first. So my purpose needs to be first and foremost to myself. That is not selfish. It’s necessary.

Steph Gaudreau
I love that. Yeah. I’m in agreement.

Christina Montalvo
Good. I’m so glad.

Steph Gaudreau
Well, no, I’m but it’s the things that we’re talking about are so nuanced. Yes. Right. There are there’s there are layers to it. And in this world, especially now where we are driven by quick information and quick memes and sound bites, and, you know, the 24-hour news cycle and viral headlines and fucking Instagram reels and like, it’s, this is one of the reasons I love having this podcast is because there is a chance to get into the, into the nuance to hear the nuance, even someone’s voice as they’re talking to hear the layers to this. And I think the more we can lead into that, the more deeply we’re able to process that even for ourselves. And it’s just great. I love how you defined purpose. You know, you sharing your story and how you’ve changed and you’ve learned to lean into the things that you didn’t know and unpack the beliefs that you have for yourself, have helped you serve your clients in an even deeper way. And I think that that is just, it’s just wonderful. And I appreciate you coming on the show and sharing that with us.

Christina Montalvo
Thank you. Your questions were so great. Amazing. So great. This was so awesome.

Steph Gaudreau
Thanks. I don’t always get to the Get to the point. My questions are rarely succinct. Because that’s just how I process stuff. So…

Christina Montalvo
Yeah, that was good. I was going to say you should be a professional podcaster. But you kind of already are. You’re doing it.

Steph Gaudreau
Spent five + years. Yes. Is telling, right, if that’s something that sticks around, and you truly have to love to do it if you’re still doing after doing it after that long so yeah, this is right.

Christina Montalvo
Yeah. Being I’m so excited to be here. And I’m so honored that you asked me to come on crazy. Thank you so much.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah. 100% Where can folks connect with you if they want to learn more about you peek into your world and what you’re doing?

Christina Montalvo
Instagram is the best so @Christina_Montalvo. I can’t do Facebook anymore. I just it’s just Instagram. You know, I can’t do Facebook. So Instagram is the best way to connect with me for sure.

Steph Gaudreau
Awesome. We’re gonna link that in the show notes. This has been so fun to chat with you officially here on the podcast. Christina Montalvo. Thank you for being on the show.

Christina Montalvo
Thanks, Steph.

Steph Gaudreau
All right, there we go. I told you, it was going to be a spicy one, a good one. But Christina is always someone that really makes me think she thinks about things from a different perspective. She was doing this work long before I was. And I hope that you were able to understand that there are other people other than me doing this work out in the world. And like, if you find comfort and, and solace, and you feel motivated by the things we talk about on this podcast, it doesn’t just have to end when you stop listening. There are lots of folks out there doing this work. And I hope you go follow her on Instagram because she always has great things to say and like I said, makes me think you can get the show notes for this episode at StephGaudreau.com. And don’t forget to get my free training, all about intuitive eating. It’s called what is intuitive eating. I get questions about this all the time and I put together a free training for you. You can get it on my website, just head to StephGaudreau.com/training and go ahead and dive in. If you’ve been wanting to eat intuitively if you’ve been curious about it, you’ve heard about but you’re not sure you bought the book but it’s collecting dust on your bookshelf. Just go listen to the training StephGaudreau.com/training. Alright, with that being said, that’s all I have for today. Thank you so much for joining me. Stay tuned for next week, we have another incredible guest coming your way, someone who’s going to be sharing some personal stories of a personal journey. She’s someone who is such a bright light and really inspires me to live more authentically and wholly out in the world. So make sure you join us for that episode. And until then, be well.

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Hi, I'm Steph!

Lord of the Rings nerd, cold brew drinker, and depending on who you ask, crazy cat lady. My mission is to help you fuel for more, not less: bigger muscles, strength, energy, and possibilities. We’ll do it with my signature blend of science, strategy…and a little bit of sass.

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