Why “Guiltless”, “Skinny”, & “Sinless” Foods Will Wreck Your Diet





All of these words are used to describe countless recipes, foods, and products. They promise “all the satisfaction with 1/2 the calories!” and to leave you feeling “guilt-free”. It’s like having your cake and eating it too! (mmm cake). But they all have one, major, MAJOR problem.


They impose morality on food. 


Have you ever made a recipe that called for 2 Tbsp of guilt? Or perhaps, 1/4 cup of regret and a dash of shame? I don’t think so.  By labeling things with terms like “skinny” or “sinless”, we impose morality on our food. We imply that this “skinny” version is somehow better and superior than the regular (implication: fat) version because “skinny” is seen as more highly valued in our society. These implications have real ramifications – people feel bad, they feel like they fail, and that can deter people from actually succeeding at whatever their goals may  be.  You can’t feel better about yourself if you’re berating yourself for choosing the “sinful” version of something over the “sinless” version.

We have to ask, do we derail people’s dietary efforts by imposing morality on food?



And I get it. Fitness and health marketing is 90% clickbait. I mean, check out the title of this post – it’s flashy, it’s a little clickbaity, and you probably thought you were getting into an article about something entirely different.  And is there anything inherently bad about making lower calorie/fat/carb/whatever versions of someone’s favorite foods or drinks? Absolutely not. I know it’s hard to “sell” something that doesn’t have those terms in it when you’re describing that sort of product – we don’t really have a lot of non-value laden terms to describe those things. Honestly, I don’t think the use of those labels is in someway malicious or done with ill intentions, but it is illustrative of how pervasive the idea of “food guilt” really is.

But I do think that removing moralistic terms is important. I think divorcing morality from food is incredibly important. And I think that, even small linguistic changes like not calling something “guiltless”,  can have big impacts. And even further than that, I think an individual’s decouple morality from food for themselves is HUGE. It’s not easy, I mean clearly that stuff runs deeeep, but it is a worthy pursuit.


***************************************************************************************P.S. if topics like this interest you and you want to learn all about seeing through diet and fitness industry bullshit, achieve your physique goals on your own terms, learn about flexible dieting, and get your own custom macro based plan, today is the LAST DAY to sign up for the “Flexible Dieting & Freedom” online workshop!

We only have a handful of spaces of left so get your tickets ASAP.


Get more info here!

Purchase tickets here!

Refuge Strongman Competition Recap

Even one week later, I’m not sure how I feel about this contest.

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There are two very distinct sides – one logical, one emotional. The logical side says: This contest highlighted my biggest weakness, which is a good and necessary thing. It was also the best training cycle I’ve had in I can’t even remember how long. And since I picked this contest based purely off of training needs, that’s great. The emotional side says: I am so soul crushingly disappointed that I didn’t perform anywhere NEAR my potential. It’s pretty miserable to feel like you’ve work really hard, know how well you can do, and then feel like it all basically falls apart. So let’s recap. 


I drove (well, my mom and I drove) 10 hours to the town where the competition was being held. I didn’t need to do any water manipulation to make weight, which was nice, but 10 hour drive with no water & no food is pretty miserable. I felt pretty great the night before and morning of the contest although my lat that I had strained (really I had popped a rib out of place and my lat spasmed very painful for awhile before I could get the rib put back in)  a few weeks prior was a little cranky but nothing a little biofreeze couldn’t handle.

>At the venue, I warmed up, talked to some people, and got ready for the first event which was circus dumbbell. I was a little disappointed in my performance but the dumbbell was different (as usual) and kind of slippy so I just didn’t get it together. Considering I zero’ed a similar dumbbell at my first contest of the season, I was just happy to put up some reps.

Next was conan’s wheel which is my jam. I loooove me a conan’s carry. The implement itself was very wobbly and tilted A LOT so I made sure to pick it before it was my turn to go. I made some mental notes on adjustments and then got ready. I spent a good deal of time trying to get the implement to just sit steady before starting. I picked it up, took a few steps and was getting ready to settle in for a looong walk and then it fell. It fell right out of my arms and I just stood there in disbelief. I thanked my judge, walked off the competition floor, stopped to get my cellphone, and walked right into the bathroom with all of my gear still on and just sobbed. I ugly cried in that bathroom for a good 15 minutes. I was SO disappointed. I knew I could have done really well at that event and just felt overwhelming disappointed. I did my best to get it together before my next event but I couldn’t really shake off that feeling.


The next event was a progressive deadlift that got heavier and my lat wasn’t feeling great at this point and I was basically still internally sobbing so I just put on my headphones and hung out until it was my turn. I pulled 2 reps, couldn’t pull the third and again was just pretty defeated.


Farmer’s walk was next, which is something I usually like. I warmed up a little and basically just said “fuck it” and that I was going to have fun and just run fast. The competition floor was pretty slick so I went a little slower than I would have liked but I took 3rd which was not last so I was okay with that. It was short and sweet.

I changed for stones, taped and tackyed some of the other competitors, taped and tackyed myself, and basically just told myself that I would not stop moving. No matter what, I would NOT stop picking up that stone. I ended up taking 2nd in the event, only being beat by 1 rep, and got 10 reps of a 140# over a 45-48” bar (I think?). I felt pretty good about that and was glad I ended on a positive note. I knew points would be close and I didn’t have enough to take 3rd without an event win on the stones so I would be 4th (last).


On one hand, I improved a lot on my circus dumbbell and stone performance. And overall, I improved a lot just training for this show. I don’t think I’ve made that much progress in training in a long time. But my head game is weak. Really weak. Like weaker than my strict press weak (and that’s just pitiful).  I had a lot of other life stuff going on the week of the contest and couldn’t shake it when I was competing. My anxiety levels were pretty high and then when shit happened (aka conan’s wheel), it just all came crashing down on me and I had a hard time recovering from it. So naturally, I filled up my Amazon shopping cart with books on sports psychology because I do not want to feel that disappointed ever again. 

I’m moving into my off season (and bulk season! YAY) and really excited about the training changes and program. But in the meantime, I made a little video of a bunch of training clips from the past 8 months because a) I need to get them off my phone/google drive and b) 10 hours is a long time in the car and video editing helps pass the time. Onwards and upwards. #teamtryharder


Should You Throw Out Your Scale? Plus, ONLINE WORKSHOP REGISTRATION

Several women (and men) have a rather shaky relationship with the scale: they dread it, they loathe it, they hate it. And one of the common solutions to this loathing is the idea that we should all just chuck that scale right off the side of a building. And then, BAM, LIBERATION!!!

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[it doesn’t have to be like this]

But is this actually the case? Are we all of a sudden liberated because we don’t weigh ourselves anymore? I mean, are we actually free of all the bullshit negativity that we associate with the numbers on a scale? My initial inclination is to say “well, duh, yes because no numbers = no negative shitty feelings!” But, the more I think about it, the more it seems like the notion of just never stepping on a scale again is really just an avoidance tactic. The solution is just to avoid something that serves as the physical representation of some much deeper issues. And yes, smashing that thing could be incredibly cathartic, but does it actually do anything to change the issues at hand?


How many times have you heard someone say (or maybe you’ve even said these things yourself):

“The scale said I was up 3lbs and it ruined my day”

“After vacation, I don’t want to step on the scale”

“Getting weighed at the doctor makes me anxious and I hate it”

“If I could just lose 5lbs, I’d be so happy!”


These statements all center around weight changes as quantified by a scale. But the problem isn’t really the scale.

All of these statements really hint at someone’s unhappiness with their body and I don’t think throwing out the scale or avoiding the scale is something that changes that.


Are there times when individuals really SHOULD avoid a scale? Absolutely. For example, scale avoidance is usually recommended for individuals recovering from eating disorders. And for some, throwing out the scale does liberate all of those thoughts and issues. However, for the majority of people, that doesn’t seem to be the case. I know that it certainly wasn’t the case for me. 

YES, the use of metrics besides a scale (like progress photos, body fat percentage, how your clothes fit, etc.) is incredibly helpful, especially when assessing body composition changes. BUT what if you could simply divorce the feelings of unhappiness from weight? What if you could learn to be happy in your body despite what a number says? What if you were able to view that number for what it is – a metric, a data point, a damn NUMBER. It is not a self-esteem rating, it does not tell you how great of a person you are, and it should not have any  bearing about how you feel about yourself on any given day. What if you didn’t have to avoid it, stress about it, or feel bad about it?

Decoupling self esteem from the scale is no easy task and it involves examining a whole lot of stuff like socialization, expectations, body image, motivations, social scripts….and you get the idea. It’s a lot of stuff to wade through. I think making your way through all of this stuff is pretty critical for physique change success and, more importantly, it’s important for the pursuit of living a life where you like the skin you’re in.  

With that in mind, Jason Struck and I created a workshop aimed at addressing the issues mentioned above AND helping people achieving whatever physique-related goals they may have. This workshop is so much more than a “here are your macros, go eat something” workshop.  It is aimed at creating lasting, sustainable change and success. We hope that people come away from this workshop not only feeling and performing their best, but with a sense of body confidence and freedom to do what they want with their bodies, no apologies or negative feelings necessary.

If you’re local, come join us! It starts this Saturday. Just click the link above to get your tickets!


Because we have had such interest in an online version of this workshop, we are offering an online version of this workshop a very limited group. This group will receive:

  • a PDF of information on how the workshop functions
  • video recording of presentations/lectures/workshop each week & any materials that are used
  • individualized macro calculations and adjustments
  • access to FB discussion group just for members
  • weekly email check in with Jason and Gabby (me!)


This 10 session/13 week workshop costs $99 and will start August 28.  The group will be limited to 30 participants. You must purchase “tickets” to get started, so get them early!