If you’ve been following my work for a while or read Girl Boner, you know that this topic is close to my heart. Embracing my sexuality helped me heal from a severe eating disorder, and set me on the path to all-things-GB. I’ve since met and heard from countless people who’ve struggled similarly.
These are just some of the reasons I was grateful to have registered dietitian and eating disorder expert Robyn L. Goldberg in the Girl Boner Radio studio. She’s long been one of my favorite dietary experts to feature in nutrition articles, because of her vast knowledge, non-dieting approach and commitment to body-positivity.
Robyn has been in private practice in Beverly Hills for the last 22 years, working with kids, tweens, teens and adults with body image issues, eating disorders and medical challenges. Early on, she saw that the traditional route of dieting poses all sorts of problems. So she learned to approach food from a weight-inclusive standpoint and has been helping people regain trust and confidence in themselves and their bodies—rather than guide by the many damaging external messages that work against us.
“Society’s message is really what needs to change,” she said. “It’s not the person, which sadly has been filtrated by all of those messages.”
Learn about food rules and sexual empowerment, healing from disordered eating, supporting a loved one who’s struggling and more on by streaming the full episode on Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify or below! The episode also features wonderful thoughts from Dr. Megan Fleming, who weighed in for a listener who’s concerned about her libido and weight changes since starting antidepressants. Read on for a few important takeaways from my chat with Robyn.
1 Restrictive eating can flatline your libido.
Many people attempt to diet or restrict their way to feeling sexier, but limiting or avoiding entire nutrient groups can act as more of a buzzkill.
“If an individual is restricting, if they’re malnourished, it does not matter how they look,” said Robyn. “Then any kind of natural desire to seek pleasure has been abolished, so if a person is excluding a particular food group—there are so many trends going on right now—that desire could lessen. They might feel like, ‘Oh, I have a lot going on in my life, so therefore I’m not interested’ or ‘I’m really tired.’ But eventually it becomes their norm.”
2 Carbohydrates play an important role in sexuality and pleasure.
Each cell in your brain, the most important sex organ, requires twice as much glucose as the rest of your body’s cells—and it needs a steady supply from carbohydrates. If you heavily restrict carbs, you can end up with a slew of non-sexy symptoms, such as bad breath, constipation and exhaustion.
“Carbohydrates are the only fuel source that give us energy,” Robyn shared. “That’s what fuels our brain, our organs, our muscles. So if you think about a marathon runner, they’re not grabbing a chicken thigh at each mile or an avocado…. They’re grabbing a bagel, banana, orange and such.”
3 “Clean eating” can be an eating disorder in disguise.
Disordered eating takes a lot of time and energy. And you don’t have to have anorexia, bulimia or binge-eating disorder to struggle to a significant or treatment-worthy degree or grapple in the sex and relationship department.
Clean eating can go to extremes, in which you become so fixated on how “clean” your food is (or isn’t), that sex and pleasure fall to the wayside. Even the term “clean eating” vilifies other foods, which poses myriad problems.
Clean eating is also known as orthorexia nervosa, said Robyn, and involves an obsession to eat healthy. People with the fixation eat only food in its natural, organic state, sometimes with additional qualifiers mixed in.
“Unfortunately people take health to a whole new level where they are ambivalent to eat out because they don’t know how something’s prepared or where it came from or what’s in it,” Robyn added. “And they are so consumed within it.”
4 Your body is a powerful barometer.
When you’re in the thick of disordered eating, working with a registered dietitian who specializes in eating disorders can go far. Meanwhile, or if you simply want to improve your thoughts and behaviors around food, Robyn suggested this:
“Allow your body to be your barometer… Our body is a brilliant machine and, unfortunately for many people, it’s confused, based on all the bombarded messages that we hear… Really being able to pay attention to ‘what do I like?’ and ‘how does it make my body feel?’ These are questions to ask ourselves each time that we’re consuming foods.”
Learn much more by streaming the Girl Boner Radio episode above or on your favorite podcast app!
To stay in touch with Robyn L. Goldberg, RD, and learn about her forthcoming book, sign up for her mailing list here.