Happy New Year

Nature and Nurture

Happy New Year!  Throughout my life I’ve had the supreme comfort of connection with my female friends.  This week I travelled by train to country Victoria to join a group of women and celebrate my friend J’s birthday and ring in the New Year.   J’s encouragement helped me through a moment of the book creation process when my fears of being seen and heard had overwhelmed me (there were a few of those moments!).  It was because of her that I recommitted to finishing Find Your Happetite.  Thanks, J!

Our group of six stayed at the wonderful Euroa Butter Factory. www.euroabutterfactory.com.au Built in 1901 and beautifully and lovingly renovated by the owners, the Butter Factory is surrounded by an enchanting garden and managed by the customer-focused Wendy.  I felt truly pampered and nurtured during my stay – by the presence of my girlfriends and the beauty surrounding me.

Euroa is a lovely town of about 2400 with wide streets and awnings shading the shop fronts.   The surrounding countryside fulfils the promise of My Country, the iconic Australian poem by Dorothea Mackellar.  It is a sunburnt land full of rolling hills, tangled gum trees, granite outcroppings and hidden gems like the Gooram Falls.  There is a special energy here.  Apart from all that, J’s family live here.

We celebrated, connected and laughed until our sides hurt.  We shared food, wine, and stories.  One afternoon we lounged around as various local friends of J’s stopped by to deliver gifts and good wishes.   One part of the conversation was J telling us about her efforts to lose the weight she’s gained during a year full of change and stress.  She made a joke about not talking about dieting with me, the happetite queen, in the room!  One of the risks of moving towards your happetite is that you can start to give yourself a hard time about NOT finding your happetite.  You can start to feel guilty if you do DIET!  If that is happening to you, see if you can just notice it without judging it.  Everything is food for thought 🙂  on this journey. Fortunately J has a very good sense of humour and a great ability to accept herself.  To be honest, much of what she was saying sounded like she was making conscious choices – using self-care rather than self-judgement.

My wish for myself (I long ago stopped making New Year’s resolutions.) this year is to have as much fun during 2012 as I did over the past week with my girlfriends and J’s extended family. I’d also like to more often be sitting in the conscious eating spectrum of the continuum.  Eating to my appetite is easy – now I’d like to always be more mindful of where the food is grown and choose foods that promote good health for myself and the planet. Lately one of the things I’ve been experimenting with is having dandelion tea instead of coffee for my morning drink.

What’s your wish for yourself this year?

Lots of love,


Accepting Our Bodies – Loving Our Bodies

My friend, Tara MacGregor, a dietitian and counsellor, sent me a link this morning. It is written by Doris Smeltzer the author of  ‘Andrea’s Voice…Silenced by Bulimia’, about Doris’ personal journey of self-discovery after her daughter died in her sleep at age 19.


In it she speaks about her journey from yo-yo dieter to being at peace with her weight and challenging our culture by passionately promoting health at every size.  (www.haescommunity.org) When you have time I’d encourage you to read the full article, it the meantime here is a snippet:

“While we love what our genetics have given us, we relearn how to nourish it well and how to move it often…which may result in weight change, either a loss or gain or no change at all—a consequence that is irrelevant since the goal is not focused on weight. Weight is neutral. The goal is a life of internal peace and as sustainable a well-being as possible, given whatever limits may be inherent in our lives.”

In Principle Six of Find Your Happetite you are encouraged to begin reconnecting with your (perfect) and natural weight.  Experiment #35 asks you to let go of the scales as a way to begin detaching from the numbers and start connecting with your happetite. Here is an excerpt from the book:

Achieving detachment about your weight will help you reconnect with your appetite.  If you are used to weighing yourself regularly, what would it be like for you not to know your weight? Set up an experiment where you gradually decrease the number of times you weigh yourself.  You might also consider using the “Yay! Scale” – a scale that substitutes words like beautiful, perfect, gorgeous, adorable and sexy instead of numbers.  Everyone who stands on it smiles.  How cool is that? It is available from Voluptuart – a company that sells art and gifts that inspires you to celebrate your body.  (www.voluptuart.com)

If on the other hand, you avoid weighing yourself out of fear, how might you allow yourself to be weighed and not let it determine the kind of day you have?  If this experiment is too difficult to do on your own, seek the help of a skilled dietitian or therapist.”

How did you go with that experiment?  Did you have any resistance to it?  Is stepping on the scale a compulsive activity for you – or at the other end of the spectrum do you avoid the scale out of fear?

Acceptance of your natural weight is an important step to finding your happetite.

Happy eating!

Lots of love,


How Do You Trust Your Appetite?

Eat What You Want When You Want 

I wanted to share a portion of an email I received yesterday from a (former) client who has just read Find Your Happetite. She articulates beautifully the challenges in finding your appetite.  She suffered with an eating disorder for a number of years and has been fully recovered and eating to her appetite for more than a year.  She says:

“I think a strong message throughout the book is that there are no rules; there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Recovery means there are no rules. I really like how you define ‘normal’ eating in the book. Even when I was 100% committed to recovering, I was consumed with thoughts of doing it ‘right’, as if there was some perfect balance I had to achieve each day (I think this is why people become obsessed with meal plans). Freedom came with the realisation that thinking there was a ‘right’ way to eat was not something that was decided by my thoughts, but by my appetite. I remember so many times you said that I would be able to eat to my appetite and maintain my weight, but even though I trusted you, I could not believe it. I now know that is because I had no idea what an appetite was. For so long I had based decisions around food on external criteria: my weight, the time, a meal plan. Now, I eat what I want, when I want, based on how I feel, rather than what I think I should feel”.

In lesson 45 you are encouraged to explore how you might begin trusting your appetite again.  The experiment suggests monitoring your hunger and satiety levels (either by using a Likert scale from 1-10 or using descriptive words) to begin exploring how your body responds to your eating.

How did you go with this experiment?  What did you discover? Do you have any questions or comments?

Let me know how you are going.

Happy eating and lots of love,


‘Find Your Happetite’ Launched in Sydney 10 February 2012

The Book Meets the World

The official launch happened last evening at the wonderful KMYoga studio  www.kmyoga.com in Bondi Junction, Sydney.

More than 100 friends, colleagues and guests helped me celebrate the birth of Find Your Happetite.  I had so much love and support.  It felt like a gathering of angels.

My dear friend Maryella spoke about her observation of the journey of the book from inception to manifestation.  Click to read Maryella’s Talk.

Associate Professor Michael Kohn, my work colleague in private practice at Total Health Care, said a few lovely words about our working together over the past nine years, and the challenges and rewards of working with people who have eating issues.

My five minutes in front of the audience turned into 15 as I choked back tears of happiness and relief. Sue’s Talk is an edited version.

And last but not least here’s where you can find some of the wonderful people who helped me get the book this far:

Writing and publishing:

www.SoYouWantToWrite.com  Ann McIndoo and her team were the driving force behind me getting this book out of my head and onto the page.

www.writerstudio.com.au  Roland Fishman and Kathleen Allen provide the perfect space and support for anyone who wants to write. Based in Sydney, they also offer online courses.

www.motivationalpress.com  The publishing company I used.  If a traditional publisher is reluctant to take on your project (the current publishing climate is making that increasingly likely for a first book) check with Justin at Motivational Press.

The businesses behind the ‘midwives’ to the book:

 Lynette Arkadie:  www.thesoulfactory.com.au

Joy Moulieri:  www.evokelife.com.au

Maryella Hatfield: www.thefuturemakers.com.au

Anne Cummins: www.artconservation.com.au

Beverley Crowell: www.beverleycrowell.com

Rachelle Terry: auratherapist@gmail.com

Design and concept for the book launch:

Cecilia Persson:  contact  cecilia@spicedesign.com.au

Mel Rankine:  www.purekundalini.com

Yoga studio and venue for the launch:

www.kmyoga.com  KMYoga is the inspired and tranquil space  in Bondi Junction created by my friend Kathryn McCusker


www.corbysue.com   The helpful and talented caterer for the launch is also  a local radio show host.

www.topjuice.com.au  Provided fresh fruit and yummy chocolate-covered strawberries.

www.vitasvedas.com    Wholesome raw food sweets from Vita’s Mantra Kitchen

 The gift bags:

www.sacredself.com.au  Michelle McGrath at Sacred Self  provided the wonderful Self Love boxed card set

www.wakeupsydney.com.au  Jono Fisher of WakeUp Sydney! has an inspiring story.  WakeUp Sydney provided the kindness cards for the guest gift bags.

www.kmyoga.com  – provided a special offer on yoga classes.

www.totalhelathcare.net.au  – provided pens that are a joy to write with.

www.findyourhappetite.com –  provided bookmarks designed by Spice Design

Health care practitioners:

www.totalhealthcare.net.au  – A business owned and operated by Associate Professor Michael Kohn and Dr Chris Rickard Bell, Total Health Care is a group of private practitioners committed to helping people with a range of illnesses and eating and dieting disorders.

www.cedd.org.au – This is the place (Sydney/NSW -based) to find other people who can help if you have eating  or dieting disorders, e.g. counsellors; dietitians; movement. body & art therapists; nurses; psychiatrists; paediatricians; psychologists; psychotherapists; multidisciplinary clinics and psychology clinics.


www.thebutterflyfoundation.org.au – $1 from the sale of each Find Your Happetite book sold in Australia is donated to The Butterfly Foundation.

Finding Freedom

One of The Most Important Things You Can Do to Find Your Happetite

Find Your Happetite includes 50 ‘Happetite Training’ exercises.  One of the most crucial to finding freedom around food, eating, weight and shape concerns is Exercise Fifteen: Creating an Hierarchy of Food Fears and Food Avoidances (and then challenging those food fears and avoidances).  Creating a ‘neutral’ response to all foods is what allows true choice.  But this can be a daunting task and can take time to implement.  Rigid nutritional beliefs and food rules prevent us from managing and responding appropriately to cravings.  Eating behaviour and appetite regulation must be addressed before you can be in a place to make  sound nutrition choices.  My clients often say they feel addicted to food – when in fact the addiction is to restrictive dieting or to a focus on a specific ‘fantasy’ weight.

I whole-heartedly agree with Evelyn Tribole’s premise that food addiction is really a result of food restriction.  Read her article on food addiction here.  One point I would add is that even thinking you should be restricting food (but not actively restricting) can set you up for the same feelings. Let me know what you think.

Lots of love and happy eating,


Break The Fast


:Bok Choy (1 small bunch) , Rockmelon (1/8 large) and Finger Banana (3 or 1 regular banana)

Breakfast on the Go

I was having a chat with my friend Maryella the other morning.  She has been in Melbourne  for the last week for the Transitions Film Festival where her film The Futuremakers was showing.  

She started raving on about the Green Smoothies the friend she was staying with was making her for breakfast each morning.  Her favourite was Bok Choy, apple and banana.  She inspired me to try one:  Bok choy, rockmelon (muskmelon) and finger banana. I  just chucked all the ingredients into a good quality blender (or you could use a Vitamix) along with a little water and a couple cubes of  ice and Wa La!   A fruit and veg drink with all the vitamins, minerals, fibre and enzymes intact.  The combo I experimented with was drinkable but I prefer yoghurt based smoothies with some spinach thrown in.  Have you ever tried Green Smoothies?  If so, What is your favourite combo?  Do you include protein and/or fats (such as Avocado) in them?

Happy eating!

lots of love,


Inspiration For Your Day

Who Inspires You?  What Inspires You?

Dr Rick Kausman and Tara MacGregor are two people who inspire me.  Tara, a dietitian and counsellor based in Perth,  is a constant source of fun and inspiration to me.  Our Skype and phone conversations always have me laughing. When I first arrived in Australia, Tara introduced me to the work of Judith McFadden.  Judith’s book Diet No More and the concepts of NECTAR (Natural Eating Control Theory and Results) began informing how I worked with clients.  Then Dr Kausman, based in Melbourne, published his amazing book ‘If Not Dieting, Then What?’  

The following video clip was delivered to my mailbox by Tara and written by Dr Rick.  The words, music and video are stunning. View Dr Rick’s inspirational video here 

Let me know what you think.

Lots of love and happy eating!



Eating Disorders Awareness Week (USA)

Break The Silence.  Speak Your Truth.  Find Your Happetite
It is eating disorders awareness week in the United States (Feb 27-March 3 2012).  I loved this video posted by Active Minds a US college student organisation promoting mental health awareness on campus. The number posted at the end of the video is a US number.  In Australia you can ring the Butterfly Foundation Support Line: 1 800 ED HOPE   (1 800 33 4673 )
Help someone out – pass it on.
Happy eating and lots of love,

My First Radio Interview….

Find Your Happetite Meets the Digital Airways

I had my first radio interview today with Corby-Sue Newmann www.corbysue.com on her show Corby’s Table Bondi FM 88 digital.  Corby-Sue is the fantastic caterer who helped me with the launch, and today made me feel at ease  during my first radio interview.  Our discussion centred on how the book can help anyone who is currently thinking about food, weight and shape issues more than they want.  Next up: This Friday at 10:00 am I will be the guest of Caroline Salisbury on ABC Canberra 666.  Listen to the  interview with Caroline here.