Fed Up with Katie Barbaro

Updated: Nov 19, 2021

Joining the conversation this week is Katie Barbaro, Author of Fed Up: An Illustrated Guide To Food Freedom. Katie's most significant journey has been healing her relationship with food and her body, which inspired her to create her book. Her greatest hope is that “Fed Up” helps to de-stigmatize eating disorders, dismantle diet culture, and inspire people to follow their own creative spark in whatever way feels most delicious to them.

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Conversation with Katie Barbaro

Calla: I know, at one point, when we are reading your book, Leanne was like, Oh my gosh, Katie's in my head, she can see it. And then with your drawings, I was like, She's our I bet in this spot that you're drawing right now. So it was really special for us to read. So we're so thankful that you're here.

Katie Barbaro:

Oh, I'm so grateful to be here. That's so awesome. It's so exciting. I know we started talking about it before the book even came out. And now it's like a physical thing.

Leanne: It is a physical thing! I'm obsessed. I was telling Calla. It was like reading my brain. I also struggled with eating for 15 plus years, and you don't know how long the time is right? Until you look back and you're healed. You're like, Oh, my God, this held me prisoner for, you know, 15 years of my life. And it's funny because you think that you're different, or your thoughts are unique. And this is a struggle that you have. But I've heard of obviously many 1000s, maybe millions of people having eating disorders. But reading the words that I said to myself on these pages was insane for me. This book was amazing for me to read.

Katie Barbaro: Oh, that makes me so happy. Yeah, that is one of the things about recovery, where you're like, Oh, I didn't even realize this was the voice that was playing in my head on repeat. And then to realize that you're not alone in that, too. Like, so many people have that voice implanted in their heads. And yeah, I think that's why I wrote it, because I was like, oh, I can't just recover from this and pretend like, oh, everything was fine.

Calla: It's kind of a teaching opportunity for other people. And just like a relatable, relatable thing. Really.

Katie Barbaro: Totally. I don't even know if teaching is the right word. Because it's just permission-giving. I feel like if I could do anything, it's just like, oh, there's room for me to be all of myself. And I'm not, you know, I'm not alone. And I'm not weird. And yeah, there's

Leanne: We're all a little weird I think. There's a little weirdness in our own ways, you know? That's what makes everyone themselves.

Katie Barbaro: Exactly.

Calla: I do want to know, what led you to get this book out into the world?

Katie Barbaro: Good question. I felt pregnant with this book. I felt this book was inside of my body. And yeah, and I'm sure you know, you're both in creative pursuit. You know, you're creating this podcast, you've created so many things. So yes, it was that gestation period. The story had been living inside of my body and I just knew I had a book in me. I thought it was a different book that I was meant to write. I thought I was gonna write a book about when I took a solo journey around the world, and...

Leanne: I do have questions about that.

Katie Barbaro: Love it. Yes, I am happy to have to answer that. But I realized sitting down I was like, oh, that journey of mine was only possible because of this dream. Like this was the precursor to being alive in my life in a new way. I felt very much like, the story doesn't need to live inside of me anymore. I can live on it in a book and then I was talking to a good friend of mine, who was like, it sounds like you need a book deal.

Calla: Wow, that is so cool. So did you sit down in one fell swoop? Did you pick the project up? Put it down? Did you battle with yourself? Because that's where I'm at with mine. That's like birthing inside of me. I'm curious about your process.

Katie Barbaro: Oh, I love that so much. Yeah, it seriously is like a birthing process. Um, so I made the real decision, like a real commitment. January 2020, that I was like, I'm gonna write this. I'm gonna commit to doing it and oh, my God, I had so many stops and starts in that, you know, I was like, Okay, I'm just gonna sit down and it's gonna come out. And that's not how it looked for me. I had one day where I sat down and outlined the whole thing. And then I was like, okay, but how do I, I needed to take a break for a week, you know, and then, yeah, I just had this vision of like, writing it cover to cover. And it's not exactly how it happened. But then when lockdowns happened in March of 2020, I was living in New York. And I found myself living completely alone. And I was like, Okay, this book is my boyfriend. I'm gonna wake up early and show up every day. I joined something called Cave Day, which was amazing, I highly recommend it to anybody who works remotely or has a project that they want to really dedicate time to. They made it virtual, but it also was an in-person thing they do in New York, where somebody moderates a room and the focus is on monotasking. So you're encouraged to have one project or one task that you're working on, and you go into the cave. And you know the creative process is like all about going into the cave, right? And there's these sprint's that you do, where you're encouraged to just have that one, project active. And that helped me a lot to stay focused and to stay accountable. You'd have breakout meetings and breakout rooms with some of the people in the meeting and be like, Okay, what are you working on today? You know, so I was talking about it and doing it and that helped.

Calla: Yeah, that's awesome.

Katie Barbaro: It was Yeah, it was so great. I feel like if I had tried to do this alone, I would still be working on it. If it weren't for my publisher who was like, I believe in you and I'm going to give you a deadline. I really work well with limits. And then those meetings and just waking up every day and making that the thing that I was committed to.

Calla: Have you always been a committed person? Or was this like new skills that you were developing as you're working on this?

Katie Barbaro: I am committed to certain things. I tend to be more committed when it involves other people's expectations. So actually writing this book for me like no one other than my publisher who is like I'll give you a book deal but you have to have it done at this time. No one was asking me to do this. It wasn't like this report on my desk by Monday like the world didn't ask me for this but I was like, I need to get it out. So this is one of the first things that I like really followed through and committed to for myself. I've been very reliable when it comes to like doing projects for other people.

I'm curious about your own process Calla, what is the are you writing a book, or is it something else?

Calla: It's more essays and observations I've always wanted to write. I'm forever the person that is doing the work but never putting it out there. So I'm in that process but I'm actively working on it, but it just doesn't come as fast as I would like. I to have the vision of sitting down and going, you know, cover to cover and having it done. But, you know, life happens, I'm very curious to check out the things that you just mentioned.

Leanne: I see illustrations in your book future as well like you. Because she's a little doodler. She writes notes for her kids' lunches every day. And they've always got little doodles in them. So I see it. I see it happening.

Katie Barbaro: Oh my gosh, I love that. So, yeah, do it. The way that I felt about it, I was like, Okay, I actually, I knew that I needed to have fun in the process of writing it. Because like, that's the energy that gets transmitted when someone reads the book. If I'm having fun telling my story. I'm like, okay, it really did feel like I was having a sleepover with myself for most of the time that I wrote it.

Leanne: I felt like that reading it. I feel like I know you. Not to be weird, but I feel like we had lots of sleepovers already.

Katie Barbaro: I love that that's the best review I could possibly get. You picked up what I was putting down. Like, I'm just in my, in my, you know, hanging out with my inner child. And, like, letting myself actually have fun is what makes it a fun thing to read. Or if I'm stressed out when I'm writing it. It might feel like, oh, wow, she worked really hard on this, but not like,

Calla: Yeah, you have to have that balance. I think with something so heavy, you know what I mean? You need the light to be able to go deep on a very personal subject. I know Leanne, you can speak to that.

Leanne: I think that it being in your handwriting and it having all these illustrations and metaphors, the metaphors were my favorite even on the front cover of her in that prison and all those sentences that you lock yourself up with about, you know, why you're not worthy enough, or why you shouldn't eat at this place. It literally has you in chains. Just from seeing the cover, I knew I would like it. But I think all of those metaphors and all of your little doodles and everything adds light to something that is so dark and has taken a lot of people down. I have clients that they don't necessarily have, I wouldn't say full-blown eating disorders but disordered thinking, and it just comes out in things that they say and I used to never notice those things. But in healing, you pick up on the red flags, like oh, no, like, you shouldn't be talking to yourself that way, you shouldn't be limiting yourself in these ways. And it is like a very dark place that people can find themselves in. That's why this book was just so wonderful. I want to know, because we talked about you being a committed person, you were clearly committed to dieting for a very long time. And I think that's the beauty of going through something like that is you know, you can focus on something and stay committed, even if it is in an unhealthy way. But for our listeners, will you talk about how your disordered eating came to be and what brought you to a place where you knew you needed healing?

Katie Barbaro: Sure, yes. Yes, that's such a good point. I was super committed to dieting. It's so interesting like you're saying, We don't even realize what it is that we're committed to sometimes, or what thoughts are running our lives? For a long time, I just had the belief that my body needed to be different for me to be successful. For me to be accepted. I mean, even just to accept myself, you know, when I lose X amount of pounds.

Leanne: Yeah, when I lose five more pounds in five more pounds, and five more, I get it.

Katie Barbaro: It's just the carrot that keeps dangling right in front of you. Because as long as you're trying to fill that hole with a goal with anything, anything outside of yourself, it's going to lead us down this path of unfulfillment, which is, you know, part of my journey has been removing the judgment from the path that it's taken me to get here. I am so grateful. Honestly, I'm so grateful for all the years I spent dieting all yours I spent with this eating disorder, and all of that because that was the path I personally needed to wake up from it. And you know, I for a long time, I got by in a way that I was able to justify right like the I became addicted to dieting once I started losing weight, and I was like, Oh, this is really effective. I'm so excited. Like this is great. But if it was actually effective, I would have been happy losing the weight that I lost. I was. Now I can, you know, just maintain and live here and live a happy life. But I became addicted to that feeling of success. I just became addicted to the praise that I got. And then it's like, oh, I lost all this weight and I wasn't getting as much reinforcement anymore. I was like, Okay, well, I must need to lose more or keep doing this. So we just kind of created this hamster wheel, but one that is very normalized in our culture. Dieting is so normalized. I was like, well, this is what hot people must think. Or this is what it's like, inside the brain of every attractive person I know. They must be calculating calories in and out, and how much they're, you know, how much they weigh this morning, and whatever. I just assumed that that's what it was like inside of the brain of happy people. It's insane now that I think about it, but it was such an assumption that I didn't even question. And so what really woke me up and what alerted me to QUESTION, Okay, well, maybe some of the stuff that I've believed my entire life isn't true is when I developed bulimia. So it was like this very intense time of my life, I had just gone through a really earth-shattering breakup. And I, you know, basically, all of the pain I was feeling inside manifested in this eating disorder. And I'm grateful for that, too, because it was the, I think I wrote this in the book that it was finally a flag red enough to get my attention. Even though there were many red flags or pink flags along the way. With some of my obsessive thinking, this was the first time that I admitted to myself, okay, maybe I need to start looking at this, even though it took a long time, it wasn't like it was an overnight thing. But it at least switched. The way I was approaching it, in my mind.

Leanne: Kind of like a little alarm bell went off.

Katie Barbaro: Totally, yeah.

Leanne: Well, what was your first step after that alarm bell, to seek help?

Katie Barbaro: It took me a while to prioritize getting help, because while the alarm bell went off, I was like, trying to fix it on my own for a long time. But I started to tell friends, I started to tell just a few people at a time, but still, like at the beginning, was very much like, "I'm kind of dealing with this, but don't worry, I'm fine."

Calla: Just dropping eggs. You know, people want to pay attention and pick them up. I mean, guilty. We all are.

Katie Barbaro: Right. Right. I've like Don't worry, I just feel like I should tell you so that I feel like I'm being transparent.

Calla: Everything's okay.

Katie Barbaro: Everything's Fine. Yes. Big Fat fine. And I was like, I was really not fine. I went to therapy even and it's just like, didn't work out for me. I felt like, at the time, I was just like, Oh, I think I wanted therapy to work faster. And like our first three sessions, I made my therapist cry. I was just like, Oh, okay. I'm too much for this person.

Calla: You and I are going to be good friends.

Katie Barbaro: Oh, I love it. Yeah. So yeah, exactly. I was like, maybe I graduated therapy.

Calla: That's a new pin, "I graduated therapy".

Leanne: I'll get you a hat.

Katie Barbaro: Please print me a certificate. Yeah, give me my copay back. I made you cry, that's not how this is supposed to work. I mean, the real help came when I got surrendered enough to actually like, Okay, I'm not gonna keep lying to myself. There was still a layer of lying to myself. Or, like, having it under control, I think was part of my disease or part of my eating disorder, that mental obsession brain was like, telling me, you know, that I needed to get it under control myself. And as soon as I surrendered, that was when I really started to enter recovery. And it was just the willingness to be seen in all of the insanity. I'm like, Okay, I have nothing to hide. I started going to like anonymous groups and my willingness to be seen and not hide even the ugly parts are what I perceive to be the ugly parts of my experience. That's when I really started to feel recovery and feel what it meant to live authentically.

Calla: I found your book to be incredibly spiritual, incredibly spiritual, and it mirrored a lot of my experience too. And I think that's where I leaned into it because to be seen authentically, like that is very difficult. And I know that you have experience with stand-up and comedy and putting yourself out there and things like that, how is this different?

Katie Barbaro: Yeah, good question. It is different than comedy because, in comedy, there's an expectation that there's going to be a laugh or a punch line and there's a bit of safety in that. I kind of hid behind that laughter. And even though there are funny things, like the book is funny, but I knew that I needed to be willing to be seen just honestly. I think for a long time I hid behind laughter like, if it felt safe to share my story, if there was also something funny about it. There's a sort of power that you can get from being able to joke about something, it does give me sort of power over it. And I believe that that's true, but there's a way of doing that without making light of the experience. So there's a depth that kept kind of opening up and the experience of recovery for me was very spiritual. I had to surrender to a power greater than myself whatever you want to call that. It's amazing because connecting to that which feels like what our true nature like who we all are, is the path that we're all on and so even if someone hasn't had a struggle with food or their bodies there's something in all of our lives convincing you that you're not that connected to that stream of infinite love and you know, just purity that we're all connected to, and that we all are on a certain level. So yeah, that's like what I feel most passionate about. I'm connecting with people and helping them to uncover their authentic connection to that the authenticity is so important right?

Leanne: It's everything because even if other people don't catch on you know yourself when you're being authentic and when you're not and I think that's what's so powerful about the eating disorder mentality is it's a complete distraction from being or doing what you feel in your heart you should be doing or being. The person that you know you should be striving to be every day like the best version of yourself. There was one drawing in your book and it was this big scale and you're saying My life is balanced and on one side of the scale I'm improvising but it was like you know dieting Monday through Friday and binge eating this and doing all this and then on the other side it was like I ran five miles and you know I worked out. Yes, it was balanced but it was all this distraction and then exercising and the eating disorder to make up for all this behavior. Was that was your life? And it is funny because you do think it's balanced you're like well I have to make up for this. But there shouldn't be anything to make up for in the first place. And that's I think, when people aren't healed, that's the part that just doesn't connect.

Katie Barbaro: Totally, the balance is coming from your little eye right? If we think about our ego as being the little eye and then the big guy that we are, is the infinite spirit and the truth of ourselves, our authenticity or connection to the universe, right? Balance is presence, right? Balancing, being here, and the little eyes like "Oh, I know how to be present." I'm gonna if I run five miles and then I have a protein shake, and then after that, I follow that up with like, five almonds, and then I talk to this person, whatever like it's this insanity. That is like mimicking balance or mimicking presence.

Leanne: That's been the hardest part too. We had an intuitive eating coach on a few weeks back. And she talked about how one of the hardest parts for people is when they do decide I want to let go of this control is the mimicking balance, like you said, What do I do with my thoughts? And my time because it consumes so much of it? Like, how did you deal with that part when you decided to let go? And then all of this room opened up? Like what did you do with it? Is that where the book came from?

Katie Barbaro: Yeah, that's part of it. That's a great question. I had many, many days and nights where I was just beside myself, like, What do I do? Like, I have the night to myself, I'm not gonna binge on cookie dough right now. I also stopped drinking at the same time, and it kind of had a similar pull as my, my disordered eating behaviors had. And so there was this significant emptiness there. And yeah, I mean, first, a lot of it was just feeling everything that came up, right? Everything that came up in that void, needed to be felt and just held and it didn't need to have meaning attached to it, or, you know, it didn't need to take me down with it. But there was significant pain that I had been unwilling to feel, and that I was numbing with all of these distractions. And so that was a big part of it. And then another part was just getting curious about who I actually am. I'm not obsessed with dieting and being quote, unquote, fit, and all of this stuff that has been hijacking my brain, what do I like? I started watching Netflix, sometimes. I would only watch TV when I was with a partner or with a boyfriend. And, you know, I was like, oh, what do I want to watch? Like, this was revolutionary for me. I was like, What do I actually like? And it's true, drawing helped me with that, because I was like, Okay, this is the silliest thing ever. I'm like a 27-year-old woman, and I don't know what I like, I'm like, What are my, what are my favorite colors? What do I like to watch on TV? What do I like to eat? What are my favorite things? If I'm not eating or balancing my macronutrients, what do I want?

I worked with a life coach at this time as well, which was helpful. She encouraged me to just pay attention when I felt like myself when I felt expansive. That was when I started drawing more. I started drawing during an Inktober challenge four years ago at this point. And it was just something that caught my attention and that piqued my curiosity and following that following my curiosity was what led me to start journaling in that way and expressing myself like that. And I found that like, getting all those nuanced feelings, like all those feelings, like came up, like needed a way of being expressed and, and drawing them was helpful for me.

Calla: Yeah, I can relate to that.

Leanne: I did this the same thing. It's funny when you tell yourself for so long, certain foods are off-limits, and certain foods are good because they fit as you said in your macros or they're low calorie or, you know, no sugar added or not sure, no sugar, but no sugar. They're keto. Whatever. I was, like, chewing gum all the time, thinking that I like chewing gum. But I realized after like years later, I was only chewing gum because it kept my mouth busy, so I wouldn't be eating. Like that's that was totally and if I was getting as I have like TMJ problems I was getting like issues from this because I was chronically chewing gum. And I realized at one point I don't even really like gum. Like I'm just doing it because it's keeping me on good behavior. Do you know what I mean? And then like, Yes, I was eating Halo Top ice cream all the time. It's shit ice cream. It was good because it was low-calorie. It's amazing. It's amazing when you actually sit, okay, apart from these rules, what do I like? And then you try certain things and you don't judge yourself and then it was so eye-opening because I never really made this connection that you just talked about here and in your book you had a whole chapter on curiosity, figuring out yourself because it doesn't stop at food. It's you've spent so much time and brain energy on this eating disorder thinking that you don't you maybe don't know that you'd like to draw or you don't know what books you want to read. And so relearning yourself and that self-discovery it's like such a beautiful and healing thing and to read the chapter

Calla: In hindsight going through it sucks.

Katie Barbaro: It can suck or it can be fun, right? You decide. It's scary first because it's a literal void. You're like, Okay, if I admit that, I don't know who I am. What the heck is gonna happen? Like, am I a serial killer?

Leanne: And that's a whole other book.

Katie Barbaro: Yes, the next book is am I a serial killer? Maybe it's called like, Cereal...

Calla: You could draw a heck of a cover for that one.

Katie Barbaro: Yeah, totally. I am a serial killer. I love cereal, even though I didn't let myself eat it for a long time. It has been such a gateway for like, freedom in other areas of my life, right? It's not all about food. But it also is about food. Like sometimes people try to compartmentalize the like, well, I've been very rigid and controlled when it comes to my eating. But in every other area of my life, I'm very free. And I'm such a free spirit. Why are you like heating up boiled chicken?

Calla: That stresses me out so much. Just hearing that, that I'm a free spirit. No, no, you're not.

Leanne: Yeah. Yeah, I know. I joked with Cal, I thought I was spontaneous for the longest time. And then I realized, that I'm engaged to someone who really is spontaneous. And he'll like bring up plans that were not planned. And I will be like, I wasn't planning for this like I wasn't prepared. And I'll be a little brat about it. And I'll still go do it thinking like, oh, look how spontaneous I am. But the whole time I have anxiety.

Katie Barbaro: That is so funny. Yeah.

Leanne: There's a beautiful part of your book where you have kind of healed through the eating portion. And you're working more on the exercise part of all of your mentality and you got on the scale. And you told yourself if this was a specific number, then you would go for a run to as basically a punishment right? But if it was not, then you would treat yourself and then probably still go for a run. But then there was the other on the other part of the page it was, I think your body kind of talking to you like, what will make me feel good. I want to hear about your mentality and changing your workouts from a disciplinary thing to nourishing your body type of mentality.

Katie Barbaro: Yeah, this was a big one for me. Like I felt like I was recovered. And then I was like, oh god, there's a whole new layer of things when it comes to exercise, and all the ways that I was getting this validation from my daily yoga practice or my daily runs, or whatever it was. And one of the tenants of intuitive eating or the principles of intuitive eating is engaging in joyful movement and really tuning into your body about what that means and just getting to the place where I even knew what that meant was like a journey where it was like but I think I want to run like I feel I'm gonna feel bad if I don't run it's like, oh, I'm gonna feel bad if I don't it's like this. Like I'm addicted to running Okay,

Calla: Yeah, it's a new layer.

Katie Barbaro: It's a new layer.

Leanne: Do people even work out because they actually want to? Who does that?

Katie Barbaro: You guys are addicted to your own endorphins. It's so individual, right? And it's moment to moment, too, right? It's like being honest with ourselves, when we're making each decision that we're making, whether it's about what we're eating, or what we're how we're exercising, or just how we're spending our time, right? Like, what's underlying, what's the underlying motivation here? And I think in the part that you're talking about in the book, I could feel I was like, okay, whoa, I felt this insane compulsion to weigh myself and then make a decision based on that number. And if that's the underlying motivation if changing that number, or celebrating that number, or if that's the thing that's permitting me to move through my day, in a certain way, like, that's not who I want to govern my life. And just bringing awareness, there is a big step, it really is.

Leanne: It's a scary step.

Katie Barbaro: Yeah. And like sitting with myself, instead of moving and running, and just sitting with that discomfort that comes up in the window of like, I want to weigh myself or in that window of I want to go for a run and knowing it's a compulsion and just pausing there. Like we bring more safety into our bodies, the more we can pause in those moments of discomfort, and be with whatever is underlying the compulsion. And, you know, I had a sponsor once who told me to, if I wanted to bend or if I wanted to, like, eat something compulsively right, like, uh, you know, if you're hungry, and you eat something, that's, that's fine. But like, I can tell, when I'm doing something out of like, I'm gonna just get on and

Leanne: Bury it.

Katie Barbaro: Bury it. It always comes back up. So she would tell me just set a timer for five minutes, maybe 10 minutes, and just be with whatever you're feeling. And at the end of that, you can go ahead and have whatever you thought you need it, whatever you need, it's fine like you can choose again, at the end, when the timer goes off. This isn't about you telling yourself you can't have the thing. But it's figuring out what's underlying the need for the thing. And so the same thing can be done with wanting to run, wanting to exercise. Wherever there's that, like, I need to, I have to, if I don't, something bad's gonna happen like that kind of urgency. That's where pausing is going to just bring lightness into an area of our body where there's tension, where there's a feeling of unworthiness, a feeling of you know, not being enough, somehow. And yeah, my journey to discovering my own life what I like was kind of fun I discovered ecstatic dance. I don't know if you've ever done that.

Calla: What is that tell me everything?

Katie Barbaro: I would love to. I was living in New York at the time that I started. But there's, it's a global community of people who get together. It's like a conscious dance party. So there's no, there's no drugs or alcohol there. And there are no phones allowed on the dance floor. And there's a DJ who just plays a set that just guides the energy. And everyone's encouraged to move their bodies. However, they want.

Leanne: That gave me so much anxiety.

Calla:l I'm laughing because I like reading your face. I'm just like, I would pay big money to see that.

Leanne: I'm like, let me put my hood on.

Katie Barbaro: Goodbye. Like, give me a Zumba class, and I'm fine, but tell me I just move my body?

Leanne: What was your first experience like? Did you know what you were showing up to?

Katie Barbaro: Sure. Okay. Well, I posted on Facebook, I was like, Hey, does anyone ever want to just like get together and rent a room and dance to music?

Leanne: Your account got flagged that day.

Katie Barbaro: One of my friends posted, "This already exists. It's called ecstatic dance".

Calla: Oh, damn, okay.

Katie Barbaro: I thought I was really onto something there but okay.

Leanne: I won't trademark it now. That's fine.

Katie Barbaro: Yeah, like I was like, I guess I didn't really have a good name for it. And so yeah, I showed up I'm, I was so grateful that I went by myself. It was one of those things if I had brought a friend to it, I would have been so codependent about like, oh God, are you having a good time? Is this weird for you?

Leanne: I would be like that with myself! Am I okay?

Katie Barbaro: Yeah. Well, that's like the beauty of it, right? There's this anonymity about just being in this room of strangers. And you're, you know, it was like this amazing microcosm to just notice everything that was coming up for me. And this has happened, like, I've been to dozens, maybe hundreds of ecstatic dance things at this point. Well, I don't know. I've been to a lot. And actually, part of my solo journey was like, I did, I volunteered at exotic dance festivals in Thailand and Bali. It's such a cool thing. It's so powerful, right? Because it allows you to just experience life without, notice the stories that you're putting on to things like, even if it's just like, oh, that guy is really sexy. I want to dance with him. I was like, what is going on? Like, why am I you know, like, whatever the internal monologue is, it's like, oh, what is like keeping me from just being with myself right now? You know? And then it's this awesome. Like, yeah, it's not always you kind of find what authentically is moving you and sometimes it's like, really slow, and sometimes it's whatever. And you kind of notice like, oh, I'm really self-conscious right now. Like, great, cool. A lot of people are like, oh, I'm really like, feeling myself right now. You know, and then you let yourself be the instrument that you are, you know, like, we're all kind of part of this Amoeba of dancing. And, or being still you know, some people just lie down on the floor.

Leanne: That would be you, Cal, there you go. You'll be on the floor laying down.

Katie Barbaro: Oh, my gosh, I want to go to an ecstatic dance with both of you.

Leanne: It would not be very fun. I would be shaking. In the corner. Calla would be just trying to remove herself.

Calla: I'd be lying there trying to like teleport somewhere else.

Katie Barbaro: Oh, my God. That's so funny.

Calla: We have to try it at some point. t

Leanne: Oh, God, don't put that on me.

Calla: I think it'd be amazing.

Leanne: I gotta, I gotta stop running first. I got to get past that part and then move on to the ecstatic dance. I feel like when you're very judgmental of yourself, you can also tend to be judgmental of other people as well with not even realizing it. Where did you just walk in and just let all that go? Or I'd be like, Whoa, like, Whoa, what's going on? Over there? Like, you know what I'm saying?

Katie Barbaro: Yeah, that's a great question. Um, I think it's like, such a pure intention of like, what's being created there? That even if I'm judgmental, I don't take it seriously. Or, you know, it's just like, oh, if I'm judging that person being them. I mean, it's just so clear that it's a mirror for myself, right? Like I'm like, oh, I'm just don't let myself be that kind of weirdo. And it's a great way to practice boundaries. Because you can you can kind of like dance with people. If you make eye contact and you just like to move towards them. It's like, you can feel like, you know,

Calla: Katie, what did you bring to HTC today?

Katie Barbaro: Are you feeling the ecstasy in your body?

Leanne: This is our first podcasting dance party just letting you know.

Katie Barbaro: I love it. So if someone's like approaching you and you're like, I don't want to dance with this person. You just do little prayer hands and you're like thank you but No, thank you. That's it. That's like, like universal language for "I'm good"

Calla: I'm trying that out with my kids after school immediately.

Katie Barbaro: You're like, thank you. But no, I'm in my own bubble. Do not approach.

Calla: I mean, if I take anything from today, it's gonna be that.

Leanne: Calla's prayer hands are just this *middle fingers*

Katie Barbaro: Make your own afternoon snack.

Calla: I love that. I love that. It is tough. The boundaries that you've had to create not only just for yourself, but like with others through this whole process. Because it is a true transformation of self like I'm sure a lot of the people that you have in your life now. Don't know the new Katie. Is that safe to

Katie Barbaro: Yeah, or don't know the old Katie you mean?

Calla: Yeah, yeah, sorry.

Katie Barbaro: Yeah, yeah, I like pretty much know me now. But yeah, it's um, yes, a lot of it's still learning process honestly of what boundary what creating boundaries really means and like just being able to tune into what feels good for me to like oh being around this person I feel a bit of like my people-pleasing tendencies are coming up you know or I feel you know like there's this like at the time I had a writing partner that I was working with like when I really started my recovery work and it became very apparent that this person didn't respect my boundaries when I would tell you know about like just a variety of things and I ended up cutting off the relationship which was really challenging for me right like triggered all of my fears of like, disappointing people and feeling unsafe because of Oh, this person's not gonna like me anymore and all of this stuff and I had to be very firm about it. And years later like it's been three years since that happened at least and he sent me a message and was like thank you for doing that like you did the right thing and I was wow yeah, I mean that's that doesn't always happen like if ever anybody listening it doesn't happen but you have to let go of that outcome being a possibility for it to be like that but that was just like yeah, it just made me realize how powerful it is when we really stand in our truth and it is actually very loving even though there's a voice in my head that says oh no you're gonna hurt somebody. The truth is if being honest and being rude and of course non-violence, you know rooted in compassion but having first compassion for ourselves and our experience and letting ourselves be here and have the needs and wants and desires and preferences that we have and yeah, so it's been an ever-evolving process.

Leanne: There was a part of your book that like really read well the whole I can't say it enough the whole book resonated I'm just beating a dead horse but there was one part where you said you know you couldn't really relate to the love your body message but you could relate to the respect your body message and that kind of helped kind of propel you into a healthier direction. How long did it take you or have you gotten to a place where you can say like I do I love my body no matter what shape size season I'm in.

Katie Barbaro: Yeah I don't even know how to answer that in the length of time it's like a day it's like a momentum moment. Commitment to it is right because I feel like our natural state is love right in general. So if there's if I catch myself feeling self-critical about really anything but often but part of my body or something like that, it's like whoa, okay. Thank you for responding to that in like Oh, thank you This is showing me where I'm not letting like love in and so that like having that orientation has helped me a lot but it's like I don't know how to describe it exactly. Other than like, it's just so obvious to me that my body I feel like it's so grateful for my body like what do you when I connect with the big guy that I am I'm like, Oh my gosh, my spirit could only be here through this body like through like this is just such a gift. And I don't want to take it for granted. And if I do it's also just a natural thing but it's such an obvious confusion because this is like my access to planet earth comes through this body. And so if I ever do get into a rut of like taking it for granted or not appreciating it for what it is, um yeah...

Leanne: I think I see her say so like, you would say like if you are standing in the mirror and judging yourself and not really liking what you see at the moment is that more of I guess that would be more of like a shallow and, like less grateful wavelength that you're you're thinking on and you try to get back to like, I have two legs. I have two arms, and I have a brain and I can speak like, Are you talking about that kind of appreciation?

Katie Barbaro: Yeah, exactly. It's kind of like if I'm telling myself like, Oh, I wish my body was different. It's at this, like lower frequency, which is lower and isn't necessarily bad. It's just like, oh, whoa, I'm down here, right now. And then that part of me needs love too, it's not like, snap out of it, you shouldn't be doing this. It's just like, Okay, let me experience the part of myself that thinks that I need to have like a flat stomach, and thighs that don't rub together, you know, and then being with that, just like the pause that happens with the compulsion to run or eat a handful of trail mix without thinking about it, and all that stuff, you know, not that that's those are bad things, right? Those aren't, this is all neutral. It's like neutralizing treating myself and having the outlook of equanimity when I'm doing this, right. So like, it's so easy to get into a spiral of judging myself, and then judging myself for judging myself and then judging myself for that, and that and then like, Oh, God, runaway train, right. So as soon as at whatever stage of that cycle, I can come back, come back, right? And be there and pause with myself and not pressure myself into changing anything, or having a different thought. Just being there with myself. That's where the love comes from. That's how it authentically arises from presence. It's just presence.