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Embracing Intuitive Eating As An Athlete in Midlife with Pam Moore

eating disorders intuitive eating joyful movement midlife midlife nutrition un-dieting

If you’re an athlete in midlife,  trying to navigate a changing metabolism, fluctuating energy levels, or body composition shifts, this episode is a must-listen. In this episode, Pam Moore helps us explore why intuitive eating is compatible with an athletic lifestyle. 


Pam’s an occupational therapist, journalist, and stand-up comedian turned intuitive eating counselor. Her story, from a sports-averse child to a marathon and Ironman competitor, highlights the possibility of profound personal change. She gets very candid as she discusses disordered eating and the grip of diet culture, two struggles many athletes know all too well.

In a diet-obsessed world, intuitive eating feels revolutionary. Pam calls out the pitfalls of macro counting and calorie obsession, revealing how these practices can harm our relationship with food. Instead, intuitive eating offers balance and empowerment by truly listening to our bodies. What we must remember is that this is a continuous journey, and tuning into our bodies takes practice. 

Body image is a big challenge for midlife athletes, especially in form-fitting gear. Pam's insights on overcoming comparisons are so encouraging. She advocates for finding joy and community in athletic endeavors, making choices based on body needs, not societal pressures. Intuitive eating helps tune into hunger cues, recognize fullness signals, and prioritize emotional well-being. You can imagine why these skills are essential for empowering athletes to show up well each time they train. 

By the end of the episode, you'll feel empowered and inspired. Intuitive eating isn't just about making peace with food; it's about redefining your relationship with nutrition, exercise, and self-image. For midlife athletes, this perspective is liberating, allowing you to embrace your athletic journey with a new joy and freedom!

To learn more about Pam and the work she does, be sure to check out her website at to access her free newsletter, Real Nourished, her podcast, Real FIt, and more! 


Jenn Salib Huber: 0:00

Hi and welcome to the Midlife Feast, the podcast for women who are hungry for more in this season of life. I'm your host, dr Jen Salib-Huber. I'm an intuitive eating dietitian and naturopathic doctor and I help women manage menopause without dieting and food rules. Come to my table, listen and learn from me trusted guest experts in women's health and interviews with women just like you. Each episode brings to the table juicy conversations designed to help you feast on midlife. And if you're looking for more information about menopause, nutrition and intuitive eating, check out the Midlife Feast Community, my monthly membership that combines my no-nonsense approach that you all love to nutrition with community, so that you can learn from me and others who can relate to the cheers and challenges of midlife.

Jenn Salib Huber: 0:46

Hey, everyone, welcome to this week's episode of the Midlife Feast. I'm really excited to talk about the intersection of midlife athleticism and especially those who might be in a high performing kind of sport world and intuitive eating.

And my guest today is Pam Moore, who is an occupational therapist who does a lot of journalism, a little bit of standup comedy, and is also a certified intuitive eating counselor and she brings a long, long history of her own personal athletics and sport and also kind of disordered eating to this place where she's at now. And you know, when I talk to people who are, who are athletes, who still consider themselves athletes, who still compete athletically and are also trying to navigate all things midlife and, on top of that, trying to untangle from diet culture, it can feel really complicated. So we have a great discussion about what some of those challenges are.

Jenn Salib Huber: 1:53

She has some great advice for anybody who's who's in the thick of that, and I think that this conversation will be really helpful to anyone who's who's trying to, you know, navigate midlife as an intuitive eater, but especially if you're still very much in the world of sport, where talk about food is fuel and talk about performance is still happening a lot. So I hope you enjoy this episode.

Hi, pam, welcome to the Midlife Feast. Jen, hi, thanks for having me. I'm always so excited to have conversations with other fellow non-diet dietitians who are also intuitive eating counselors, because I think that we bring I think we bring some unique experiences, usually a combination of personal and professional to this space, but these are always conversations that I look forward to. So thank you so much.

Pam Moore: 2:43

Yeah, same, it's an. For me it's the beginning of the day, so this is like a wonderful way to start the day.

Jenn Salib Huber: 2:48

Yes, because we are eight hours apart, seven, something like that. It sounds like it, yeah, okay, so can you just tell me a little bit about, like, your story, like how did you? Because we're going to talk about athletics, we're going to talk about the athletic culture and that kind of intersection with nutrition and intuitive eating, but I'd love to hear a little bit more about your story.

An Unlikely Athlete

Pam Moore: 3:07

Sure, let's see. Well, my athletic story begins very young with hating anything to do with sports. Never a natural athlete at all. I had glasses since I was six. I'm very nearsighted and I refuse to wear them. So you can imagine how that would have supported my athletic skill building. Not well, not well at all. So I was picked last for everything. Hated everything.

Pam Moore: 3:31

Got into running in high school, kind of by a fluke, because I don't know. My friends convinced me to join the lacrosse team, which was predictably a terrible experience. But I was like but I can run, I actually. Once you get over the feeling of like I'm actually going to die on the street after running a block, once you get over that and you get over the hump, like you know, little by little you can do more and more and that was really empowering. So I got really into that, ran my first marathon when I was 21. Got really into all that stuff. You know was never like elite or super competitive, but kind of competing against myself.

How an Eating Disorder Was Disguised So Well

Pam Moore: 4:05

And I think I started developing, probably like most women, like body image issues, food issues around my teenage years and it was never anything that could have been like diagnosable. So I thought it's not a problem that I'm obsessed with food. I'm just doing food wrong. I'm just binging on the weekends and I don't even know that you would call them like full-on binges, but it was definitely unhealthy. Oh, I do that because I'm out of control. It took me a long time to realize, oh, that's because I've been restricting, that's because I've had all these rules. I became an occupational therapist right after um college. I went to grad school for that. I did that for a while Um so, kind of ironically, I'm like in healthcare, right, but mentally like not super healthy, not even realizing it and transitioned to a career as a journalist you know, freelance writer.

Pam Moore: 5:00

In 2014, after my second child was born, started writing about health and fitness. Again, I'm like oh, I'm supposed to be like an authority in all of this, not even realizing that my relationship with food and exercise was pretty unhealthy. I had run marathons. I had done Iron Mans. After my second kid was born, partly in an effort to lose weight, partly just for something different, I was doing CrossFit.

That was when things went really downhill for me, because I started counting macros. Yeah, that was a nightmare. And I had tried a lot of different versions of let's call them diets, they were lifestyles in my mind. During the macro counting phase, a friend of mine said to me what's your goal? When are you going to be done with this? And I was like goal done. This is how I live now.

Jenn Salib Huber: 5:48

Yeah, it does become part of your life. It becomes part of your identity right. Like I joke that. Like knowing calorie counts was my party trick. Like you could ask me any food at any time, serving sizes, brands, like I knew it off by heart.

Pam Moore: 6:03

Oh yeah, and you could get the energy of like 25 engaged women who are like planning for their wedding. If you could take the energy they put into like calorie counting and exercising, like we could have world peace if you just channel that in a different way.

Jenn Salib Huber: 6:18

A thousand percent.

Pam Moore: 6:19

Yeah, yeah, so macro counting CrossFit world, yeah, so you're in this macro counting CrossFit world.

The Moment Diet Culture Came Crumbling Down 

Pam Moore: 6:30

Yeah, and that was like my rock bottom. The last time I counted anything was waiting for. I was waiting in my kitchen with my laptop. I remember this moment. I was waiting for the chat bot for this app that I was using to tell me what to eat, because I was very concerned about how hungry I was, because I was like this was supposed to be flexible dieting. I wasn't supposed to be starving. This wasn't a diet. Why am I so hungry? And I'm waiting for it to respond? And finally was like what am I doing? I'm going to be 40 years old in a week and I'm waiting for my computer to tell me what to eat. This is insane. This is insane. I think I can figure out what I need to eat and I just said I'm going to stop this for a week and I never looked back. That was kind of it.

Pam Moore: 7:10

And then I started diving into like, well, what would it mean to not be doing a lifestyle, so to speak, air quotes and started reading. I think the first book I read it's by that, mark David. Do you know Mark David? I think that's his name.

Jenn Salib Huber: 7:21

Psychology of Eating Guy. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Pam Moore: 7:23

I I think that's his name Psychology of Eating Guy. I forgot the name of the book. Maybe the book was even called the Psychology.

Jenn Salib Huber: 7:26

I'm looking around my office, I think it is. I think it's the Psychology of Eating or Eating Psychology or something like that.

Pam Moore: 7:30

Something like that when is the book? It should be on one of my shelves. Anyway, that was the gateway. Then I got into intuitive eating. I got certified as an intuitive eating counselor. I just dove into that world and was like, wow, I want to help people learn to release this. Like what felt to me like a backpack of cinder blocks that I was carrying around and not even realizing it.

Jenn Salib Huber: 7:59

That's my story in a very small nutshell, because, regardless of when people go into studying dietetics, we know that at least 60 or 70% of them go in with some kind of disordered eating, if not eating disorders, and, as often, with the goal of peaceful relationship with food. It's like to figure it out, to make it perfect, believing that there's some secret to eating that we don't know right. I mean, that was certainly like a big part of my journey and somebody asked me the other day and I was kind of saving this question to ask you, but somebody asked me why is it that it is primarily dietitians who are leading the intuitive eating kind of parade?

And you know, they said this was actually for context, was actually a discussion with a medical doctor who said you know, there are lots of people who talk about nutrition. There are lots of, you know, doctors and other people who are, you know, talking about nutrition. Why is it that only dietitians are the ones talking about intuitive eating? I have thoughts, but do you have thoughts on that?

Pam Moore: 9:06

I'd love to hear your thoughts, thoughts, but let me just caveat this by saying I haven't studied this. I haven't interviewed people. This is purely based on instinct. My husband and I like to joke that my specialty is acting like I'm an expert on things I actually know nothing about. Sometimes I'm deeply insecure, but sometimes I'm way too confident. So let me just say that I don't think there is a right answer to this.

Jenn Salib Huber: 9:28

I don't.

Pam Moore: 9:28

No, but my sense and you're a dietitian so you tell me but my sense is that, for one thing, nobody knows more about dietetics than dietitians. You're not nutritionists. You're not nutritionists. You could take a 20-hour course and then slap a I'm a nutritionist on your website you have. You could take a 20-hour course and then slap a I'm a nutritionist on your website, right. Like you have gone to school, you have to take boards, you have to do continuing ed, you have a lot of knowledge of the body and what we need. I think everybody looks to dietitians of like what should I eat? Like you said, you're looking for the answer and you are skilled in understanding the science behind nutrition and dietetics and the psychology behind eating and what we really need. So I think that's one big reason. I also think there's something culturally about the type of person that the dietetics field attracts.

Pam Moore: 10:16

I've seen this myself in OT. As an OT, we often align with PTs, right, we do a lot of the same work, we see a lot of the same populations, we have many of the same skills, but we don't have all the same skills and there's a certain type of personality. And again, I don't know if there's research on this, but I was in the field for over 10 years. I've observed this, so take it with a grain of salt. But OTs tend to be a little more artsy. We tend to be more like woo right. Pts tend to be more organized into structure. One of the reasons I was very turned off by PT and didn't apply to PT school was I saw that you had to take organic chemistry and physics. I was like screw that.

Jenn Salib Huber: 10:59

There's a certain type of personality.

Pam Moore: 11:00

I think that would gravitate toward that. Ots aren't great about, like you know. We just want to do what we do, but we don't want to like market what we do. We don't want to be business owners necessarily. We're just like oh, that comes with the territory. If you want to have a business, you have to do it. So I think that the type of personality that comes to dietetics is probably a little bit more like perfectionist and more like well, if I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it right. And you, so you, you know, if you go, if you're going to have an Instagram account, you're going to post every day because someone told you you had to. So you're gonna, you know, and I think there's value in that right, because you are getting your message across. So that's part of that. That's my sense.

Understanding Food As a Subject, Not an Object

Jenn Salib Huber: 11:37

No, I think the other reason, too, is just that you know, when we're talking about food, 99% of the world sees food as like an object, right and versus. Anybody who is in the field of intuitive eating and really trying to understand food almost as like a subject, realizes that you know, what it's made of is only just this tiny little part, and what it does for us is just this tiny little part. So, you know, everybody wants a meal plan, everybody wants a list, everybody wants to do this.

Don't do that without thinking about food in this bigger picture, and I think that you know people who work in this field are in that unique position of we're not just looking up calorie counts and nutrient tables, right. We're trying to understand, like why do you eat? Well, you know, why do you enjoy eating, how does food fit into your life, how does it enhance your life, and is there anything that you want to include more of because you enjoy it? So, anyway, that was just like no, I love that.

Pam Moore: 12:46

I love that. I think that's a really nice way of putting it and I think I hope to see more dietitians taking that more holistic approach, because not all dietitians do.

Jenn Salib Huber: 12:57

No, I think that there are definitely more of us, though, who are especially, I think, anybody who's done this for a while, right. I think that there are definitely more of us, though, who are especially, I think, anybody who's done this for a while right, I think anybody who's done this for a while is like, oh, diets don't work. They know that intellectually. You know, I remember, like doing my internship and, just like you know, going over the cholesterol lowering diet with people and just basically having people's eyes like glaze over and like knowing they were going to leave that office and like throw it in the bin before they get to their car, because there was just no context, it was all just a do this, don't do that, and that's not how people eat.

Jenn Salib Huber: 13:34

So let's get talking about athletics, because, um, so we have had people uh, we've had Val Schoenberg on the podcast talking about eating disorders. So we, you know, trying to touch on these different aspects of life, and one of the things that I see in my community and in, you know, friends that I have, is that this transition to midlife, when you are an athlete, when your identity as an athlete has been part of who you are for often decades, it gets really hard to kind of go gently through midlife and especially if you're also trying to change your relationship with food, it's really difficult to create a bubble Because everyone still talks about food in a very prescriptive way in the world of athletics right, and it's often for function and form, not composition in the way that diet culture would normally talk about it. So, yeah, I'd love to talk and hear more about kind of your experience with that.

Pam Moore: 14:36

Yeah, I'm glad you asked that because, okay. So I find this very interesting. I don't know if you know this, but when I took the certification for intuitive eating, evelyn Triboli said she's one of the authors of the for reader. Listeners that might not know she's one of the coauthors of the intuitive eating book. I mean, she literally wrote the book on intuitive eating. She said we kind of wish that we had not named it intuitive eating.

Tuning in: Is it Intuitive or Experience? 

Pam Moore: 14:59

The word intuitive is a bit of a misnomer, and I find that interesting because in one way I'm like, yeah, a little bit, but in another way, no, because when you think about intuition, like what is your intuition? It's like it's a feeling, right, but sometimes that feeling is not just out of nowhere, it's also based on experience. So let me give you an example. Right, like, there's the intuition. My intuition might be telling me you need an Oreo right now. Right, you really need that right now. But then I can use my brain to be like do I, though, like this is a trick I used to use on myself a lot of time early in my intuitive eating days, when it was very like unmooring to think I guess I could have an Oreo. Oh, my God, there's no rules. Wow, what do I do?

Pam Moore: 15:44

I would imagine I would have this like I would visualize like a pantry full of Oreos and I would think you can eat every last one if you want Now, do you want one? And then I would get really more. That would help me get more in touch with what do I really want. Maybe I still did touch with what do I really want. Maybe I still did. Maybe I'd have one or two or three or whatever, but just knowing, just going, wait a minute, but you can have all of them. Do you really want it? Sometimes I didn't. It was like getting in touch with like is it because you think you can't? You still think you can't? Okay, so that's like a form of intuition, then we've got but I think that's a really good one because that got you out of the scarcity mindset.

Jenn Salib Huber: 16:21

Yes, right, the dieting mindset is I can only have it under certain conditions if I've earned it, blah, blah, blah, blah blah. And it's really difficult to be intuitive with what you need, to feel satisfied If you feel like you can't have it because we're human and our brains just don't like that. So we're telling yourself I can have this anytime.

Pam Moore: 16:42

I think is actually a great way to tap into that abundance kind of intuitive mindset for sure, yeah, and I think people confuse the word crave like what am I craving versus what is my intuition telling me. Because I always hear people say, oh, if I ate intuitively, I'd eat mac and cheese all day long, or pizza, what have you? Whatever? Quote, unquote bad food they thought they couldn't have. Just like, maybe you thought your intuition was leading you toward a toxic relationship, but that wasn't your intuition. That was like maybe some unresolved childhood wounds, right, you know what I mean? Your North Star was a little off because you had some healing to do. So sorry, I'm getting a little bit off the topic, but as far as sports, let's get back to that.

Pam Moore: 17:18

Yeah, like I have never been on a long bike ride and said to myself you know, what I'm craving right now is a salted caramel gel. I've never actually craved that. I've never actually been like I think that would taste amazing. But through experience and a lot of trial and error and mostly error, I learned the hard way that I don't feel good if I don't eat enough. So I've had to experiment with what is enough for me and I have kind of nailed it down to almost a science. So I think people might go.

Pam Moore: 17:46

But if it's a science. If you're just eating on a timer, how is that intuitive? Well, it's intuitive because I've had the experience of not feeling well, two, three, four hours into the ride, not recovering well, soreness that I didn't need to be experiencing. I consider that intuition going hey, I've done this before. What happened before building it Like? I don't know if you've ever read I think it's blink. Is it blink? By Malcolm Gladwell, where he's talking about like? Is that the one where he's talking about how, like, airline pilots with lots of experience tend to make better decisions? Surgeons with more experience tend to recognize the signs of a heart attack earlier, even without the metrics there's?

Jenn Salib Huber: 18:26

some of that going on.

Pam Moore: 18:27

For sure. Yeah, you get experience. Just like with your first baby, you're like, oh my God, what kind of cry is that? I don't know. The second baby you're like, oh, that's croup or whatever it is. I mean, that's croup in the kid. Yes, yeah, you just know. And is it into it? You might go. I had a or like I don't know. My husband was really sick. He had appendicitis and I just took a look at him and I was like, oh, usually you're acting like a baby when you're sick, but we need to take you to the hospital. You look bad. That could have been intuition, but it also could have been 12 years of working in hospitals and seeing people in the ICU and knowing what death looks like. So that's intuition too. So what?

Why Practical Eating is Still Intuitive Eating

Jenn Salib Huber: 19:07

you said are very still aligned with intuitive eating. One is practical eating right. Practical eating is part of intuitive eating. Being able to anticipate your needs is absolutely part of being an intuitive eater, but also focusing on how you feel when you're eating or not eating in a certain way Exactly All of that is still part of the intuitive eating conversation.

Pam Moore: 19:30


Jenn Salib Huber: 19:30


Identifying What Works For Your Body In Performance Mode

Pam Moore: 19:30

I've tried eating all kinds of things. I've tried eating trail mix, I've tried eating cliff bars, I've tried eating all and it comes back to like I do well with gels and I read all this stuff. That's like you should avoid sugar. Midlife women should especially avoid sugar. Avoid sugar, avoid sugar. I'm like, yeah, I don't think I'm eating sugar for breakfast every day, but I know scientifically that's what my body can use during a workout and that's how I feel well, and when it stops working I'll change it, but for now it's working.

Jenn Salib Huber: 19:57

Yeah, and sugar is just fuel, right? I mean, it always surprises people, I think, to learn that when it comes down to using the glucose, your body doesn't know if it came from a gel, it came from a dried cranberry or it came from a potato, like, if it needs the energy, it just needs the energy. And how you deliver that energy can be part taste, part practicality and part just availability. What do you have, right? You know one of them I can only imagine, because I've never been in the athletic world, the active world, yes, but not athletic.

Jenn Salib Huber: 20:33

You know, and there is such, there's such a focus on performance and about food being like the linchpin of performance. You know it's either going to make or break the run or, you know, like people talking about food, like it's this be all and end all. And so when I'm working with people who are maybe still in athletic, competitive worlds, that is the hard part is kind of separating out the knowledge from the hype, from the lore, the rituals, with actual like well, how do you feel? And they're like, I don't even know how I feel. I'm just doing what I think I should be doing.

Pam Moore: 21:12

Yeah, that's a tough dance, because part of being an athlete is actually pushing your emotions aside when your body is telling you this hurts, I want to stop. You're a good athlete if you can go. Yeah, but can I just get to that telephone pole? Can I just get to that next crack in the pavement? Can I just keep the pace here? Can I just not slow down? That's a good athlete. That's a mentally tough athlete. So if that's a skill that we're honing, then how do we break out of that? When it comes to food, it's a dance and it's not easy.

Pam Moore: 21:41

But I would say, I think, a really great resource for your athletic readers who want practical advice. Do you know of Steve Magnus and Brad Stulberg? I don't. They're like. I guess you'd call them human performance experts. They're athletes and they have a great newsletter called the Growth Equation, and I like following them on social because they're all about like there's no magic bullet. It's all about consistency.

Exploring Your Why Behind Your Eating Habits

Pam Moore: 22:05

So what I would say to the athlete who doesn't like their relationship with food because they feel like they're too obsessed but they're not sure how to get out of it. I would like you said how do you feel, but how to get out of it. I would like you said how do you feel, but also, what's your? Why Are you trying to win? Are you getting paid for this? Are you a professional?

Pam Moore: 22:21

If so, yes, food is part of the equation and maybe you even have a dietician on board that is helping you plan your meals and your macros and all of that, because maybe that is the improvement that you need. But for most of us, it comes down to consistent, good habits, like on a daily basis, outside of your sports. Are you getting three meals a day at least? Are you eating your pre-workout snack If the workout is more than an hour, are you bringing your electrolyte drink with some calories in it? Nail down the basics first and then worry about am I getting enough protein? Or even, first off, am I getting enough calories? A lot of athletes aren't getting enough calories, which really is question number one for everyone.

Pam Moore: 23:04

Are you eating enough?

Jenn Salib Huber: 23:05

Yeah, because paying attention to protein if you're not eating enough is pointless, because your body's just going to burn it for energy.

Pam Moore: 23:12

Right, that's the part that people don't realize A hundred percent, and I think people also. We've read so many times that women should be following a 12 or 1300 calorie a day. Are we allowed to say calorie counts on here? I don't want to trigger anybody. I make fun of those all the time. Okay, good, good. Then your listeners know that's BS. That's a diet for a child.

The Need for More Grace and More Consistency All At Once

Pam Moore: 23:34

We are women and I think it's also important to note like there are some days where, like you're just hungrier than others, go ahead and eat. Yes, you know. Just like some days you want to go to bed at 8, where your normal bedtime is 10. Do you beat yourself up for that? Like you know, as a writer, sometimes the words flow and sometimes like they don't, and I'm like, okay, well, I showed up, I'm not mad about the words not flowing, they'll flow tomorrow. You know. Just, it's like anything else. Have that consistency, have compassion for yourself, and being hungrier on one day than another is not a character flaw.

Pam Moore: 24:09

I think we've been conditioned to think that. It is because, as women, I think we're under so much pressure, because we want to feel good and we're being told that our value is our body. I'm not saying it's necessary. Men, have the other thing going. Men are like their value is their bank account. Their value is their net worth. We are reduced to our bodies. It's a shitty model and we're supposed to fit into it. But also, if we don't love ourselves, like feel bad about that. Like, oh gosh, wait, we're in this age of self-love, but wait, I think I could only love myself if I lost X amount of power. You know it's like it's, so I think I would want your listeners to also know it's hard. I don't want them to listen to this and go, oh, is it supposed to be easy? It's not. It takes work. But I also think it's possible, or else we wouldn't do what we do.

Jenn Salib Huber: 24:58

Exactly, and I think I love that your message as well is around like what is your why? Like, what do you want your sport to do for you? Or you know, what do you want your sport to be with you as you kind of go to this next season of life, because most 40, 50, six year olds are past their performance prime, I guess you could say, like you know, nobody is, you know, competing in the Olympics at 65 with 20 year olds alongside. Like there's some realities there of aging bodies, which is fine, that's what bodies do they get older and they change. That's not a value judgment. That's what bodies do they get older and they change. That's not a value judgment, but one of the. You know, for example, someone, um, that I've been working with is, um, you know, a competitive mountain biker, and this transition has resulted in a change in her.

The Real Questions to Ask Yourself

Jenn Salib Huber: 25:47

I think it's the weight to something ratio the power to weight ratio yes, exactly yes, and you know trying to focus on, like are you still enjoying riding? Yes. Are you still enjoying competing? Yes. Do you still enjoy the social aspect that you know being outside? Yes, and yes, and yes. Well, what don't you enjoy being slower? Well, you know what are you, what do you have to? What would you lose, like, what would be the, what would be the cost of focusing on that metric versus maybe shifting to the other metrics a little bit more? But it's hard, I get it. I really do.

Pam Moore: 26:24

It is hard, but that's a mental trick I use on myself all the time. If I do have like a bad body image day, then I just ask myself well, wait a minute, do you want to go back to your old disordered habits? Do you really want that? Would it be worth it? Let's look at the cost-benefit analysis. Number one it never changed my body as much as I wanted it to. It didn't even quote unquote work and it made me miserable. And so when I see something in the mirror that I'm not like super excited about, I'm just like, hey, you know what. Maybe this means you really enjoyed the food on that vacation and you were really present with the people you were with, instead of stressing about the French fries. Like that's worth it to me, that's worth it.

Jenn Salib Huber: 27:06

Absolutely so. Look, can we talk a little bit about body image and sport? How I mean. That's hard at any age, right, when your body is changing and you get to midlife and, as I say, you know, these changes are programmed into our DNA. As we go through this transition and loss of estrogen, even if you're taking hormone therapy, your body composition will change, and that is really tough. I had somebody just yesterday comment on an Instagram post saying the scale hasn't changed, but my clothes don't fit the same. Yeah, that happens. So I can only imagine that in the athletic world, in the world of performance especially, that is extra hard. Is that true? Am I wrong about that?

How We Wear Athletic Gear Differently in Midlife

Pam Moore: 27:52

No, I think it's true. I don't know. I don't know if it's in some ways yes, possibly, especially like in my sport, cycling like we wear skin-tight spandex there's no hiding from it. At the same time, I so in some ways, yes, and absolutely. When you look around, like we're prone to like comparing ourselves to other people, if you're competing or training with younger people or people that you know have somehow magically escaped that, you know that's hard.

Pam Moore: 28:20

But at the same time, I also think ask any athlete how they feel about their body before a workout and after a workout and I think 99% will tell you we feel a little better in our skin after. So I think the fact that you're still out there doing the thing and because you're an athlete, you know, even if at some points in your life, or maybe currently part of it, is about weight loss or was about weight loss, there's also so many other factors. It's about the competition, the joy, like you said, like being outdoors, being in community, having a goal. All of those things are a piece of the pie rather than just the potential for weight loss being the whole pie. So I do think that's kind of a buffer.

Jenn Salib Huber: 28:58

Yeah, no, I think that's a great point. How do you see intuitive eating being a skill that can help athletes at any age, but especially in this kind of midlife messy, middle?

Pam Moore: 29:11

I think it's a great skill because for me at least, and for many of my clients, it's and you've probably seen this too it's like a gateway. You know, usually we see gateways like marijuana is a gateway drug, right, and I'm like, intuitive eating is a gateway to self-awareness, because you are literally checking in with your gut, you know your body yourself, to ask yourself hello, we have another guest on this podcast. Sorry, Jen's cat just made an appearance.

Jenn Salib Huber: 29:40

Um, for those listening, uh, and knocked over a bunch of stuff, including, like, some water, and it's all good though it's all good.

Pam Moore: 29:45

No, no worries at all. Um, animals bring so much joy to our lives. Um, not for me, not cats, but I get it, I get it. Um, I'm not a cat person, but anyways, like where you I mean you because you're checking as an intuitive eater you're asking yourself three to five times a day, however many times a day you eat, what would be good right now, as opposed to what should I do? And I think, especially as women, we have been conditioned to be people pleasers. We want to be with the perfect Pinterest house. We want to be checking all the boxes with the perfect Pinterest house. We want to be checking all the boxes.

Moving Beyond Eating a Salad Because You "Should"

Pam Moore: 30:19

I think a lot of your listeners have been like, hey, if I do everything good enough, if I look good enough, if my house looks good enough, if blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, then I'm okay. We're using that as a coping mechanism. But that stuff doesn't matter. And I think, as we enter a midlife, we start to realize more and more that's a load of shit, that we've been served and it's not serving us. And so what do we want? So, starting with food, that's like a very simple way to go. What do I want? Looking at a menu and going what do I want instead of what should I have? And that doesn't mean never having a salad, right? Maybe you do want the salad, but maybe you want it because you want that crunch or because it's a hot day, or you just haven't had a vegetable in a couple meals and you're like, oh, I could use a vegetable. There's a lot of reasons to want a salad other than you should get one, yeah.

Pam Moore: 31:02

And so I just think it's a gateway to self-awareness, and I think self-awareness is a really important skill for athletes. You may have a training plan that's telling you one thing, but your body is full of good information and maybe your body is telling you you know what. My training plan called for a really hard set of intervals today. I was supposed to do five, but after three I'm gassed. I think I need to throw in the towel and try again another day. That's okay to do.

That's probably even better for you. You know what I was supposed to have an easy day, but 15 minutes in this easy effort still feels hard. Maybe it's a day to just do yoga or take a short nap. Those skills are so important and I do think that the fear for athletes is like what if I become a couch potato? What if I'm not myself anymore? What if I'm not a competitive animal anymore? That's not going to happen. You still care about the sport. You still have that competitive fire. I think sometimes, by going easier, it allows you to go harder when you need to. I actually think it's a great skill and it's a great skill for life. It's a great skill for setting boundaries and exploring what you want to explore.

Redefining Self-Care in Midlife

Pam Moore: 32:12

Did you read real self-care? Real self-care? No, I haven't read that. I cannot recall the author's name. It was a big deal last summer. But she's like look, self-care isn't a bubble bath or a yoga class. Real self-care is knowing what you need and asking for it and advocating for it. And we live in a system that's designed to really deprioritize women's actual needs because we're caregivers. And we live in a system that's designed to really deprioritize women's actual needs because we're caregivers and because, at least in the United States, we don't get maternity leave, we don't get state or nation subsidized childcare, we don't even get healthcare unless it comes with your job. There are so many reasons why, institutionally, it's hard for us to prioritize ourselves. So the book's kind of like railing against the system. But it's also saying, like F, this self-care that you can get in a spa, that's not self-care. Self-care is knowing who you are, what you need and asking for it and getting it.

Pam Moore: 33:09

And I think, starting with food. And I would also say, if that's too scary, like if you have someone listening going, but geez, I've been on a diet my whole life. I literally don't know how to eat. Okay, start somewhere else. Start with take yourself to the movies. What movie do you want to see? What time do you want to go? Don't go with a friend. Carve out three hours for yourself. What sounds fun? What sounds fun? Put your phone away and ask yourself what sounds fun to me, and then maybe dive into food later.

Jenn Salib Huber: 33:42

And also when you learn the skills of intuitive eating, interoception, attunement, learning to listen, learning to connect with your needs, it really does spill over into the rest of your life. So it really is a skill that you can apply to other things.

Jenn Salib Huber: 33:56

A thousand percent so if anybody's having just a hard time with like I don't even know what I need. Yeah, I agree. I think intuitive eating is such a great place to start, because you do learn those skills, yes, and you learn to respond to them in a flexible way, in a forgiving way. That isn't all or nothing, that isn't about like do this, not that.

Pam Moore: 34:20

Yes, and one of the cornerstones of intuitive eating that I think people don't get when they find it on TikTok or Instagram, is it's grounded in self-compassion. It's not the hunger fullness diet, it's. If you don't already practice self-compassion, that's a big part and you're going to learn it and you have to learn it. I don't think you can be an intuitive eater without self-compassion, and self-compassion doesn't mean looking in the mirror and going my God, I look like a supermodel today. It's looking in the mirror and whatever you see going, even if I don't love it, I can respect it, I can accept that this is me. I'm going to feed this body, I'm going to nourish this body, I'm going to take care of this body as I would if it were like my child, you know. So it's a. It's an opportunity for for many people for like spiritual growth, and I don't mean that in like a religious way.

Pam Moore: 35:06

You know, I mean that in a, in a way that's accessible to all, no matter what you believe in.

Jenn Salib Huber: 35:12

Absolutely Well. I think that that's a great place to kind of put a cap on this conversation, but it has been amazing. So what do you think is the missing ingredient in midlife, pam?

The Missing Ingredient According to Pam

Pam Moore: 35:24

The missing ingredient. Well, I hope it's not missing, but if it is, I would encourage all midlife listeners to seek new experiences like adventure. I think that we are like uniquely poised here at this point in our life to know what we want and to have the confidence to try something new. Just see where your curiosity leads you, because it's such a gateway to growth and joy, and just experiencing the flow and the presence which is where we all want to be, and I think I don't know like I never saw my mom do anything like new or cool in her 40s, but like I'm exploring comedy lately and it is lighting me up so much. It's just like filling my soul and I'm like I am so glad I didn't tell myself I was too old for this.

Pam Moore: 36:15

Yeah, or gravel biking was new for me Like I never saw myself like riding a bike on single track, you know, but I am, and it's so cool Like there's always more to learn.

Jenn Salib Huber: 36:26

Yeah, adventure is the spice of life, that's for sure. I love it. So where can people learn more about you, pam?

Pam Moore: 36:33

Go to pam-more M-O-O pam-morecom. That's my website. You'll find everything there, including my podcast archive, my free newsletter called Real Nourished, that you can get in your inbox with totally free, intuitive eating information and inspiration. Yeah, that's the best place, awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining us today.

Jenn Salib Huber: 37:08

Thank you for having me, Jen. It has been such a pleasure episode and found it helpful. Please consider leaving a review or subscribing, because it helps other women just like you find us and feel supported in midlife.

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