You can find Nina Manolson on the web at:
Free Nourished Woman Nation group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/nourishedwomannation
Body-Peace® Poems https://ninamanolson.com/body-poems/
Free Resources https://ninamanolson.com/freebies/
[Jon Dabach] 00:00
Today on the relationship Revival Show I’m joined with Nina Mandelson. Nina Manolson is a body peace coach, she helps people end the war with food and body and finally feel truly at home in their body as it is she’s known for her deeply feminist anti diet body peace approach. She brings her 30 years of experience as a therapist, nationally board certified health and wellness coach, Body Trust guide and psychology of eating teacher to helping women create a respectful and trusting relationship with their food and body Nina’s body, piecework is all in service of helping people get off the diet rollercoaster, and into a compassionate and powerful way of eating and living which creates a positive, long lasting change in and with their bodies. Her courses coaching and poetry positively changed the conversation that women are having with their body.
[Jon Dabach] 00:54
And she also writes Bodhi poems as a way to encourage a shift in the way we talk to, and about our body. You can learn more about her at Nina mendelsohn.com. You’re listening to the relationship revival podcast with Jon Dabach, also known as Mr. Spirituality. That’s me. I’m your host giving you insights and guidance from over 10 years in the field of this amazing journey we call romance on this show, I go over everything you need to know about how to get into a relationship, how to get the most out of a relationship, and sometimes even how to gracefully end a relationship without pulling your hair out and going crazy.
[Jon Dabach] 01:31
And occasionally, I’m even joined by new and old friends who are also relationship experts to bring you guidance and wisdom with new perspectives. Thanks for stopping by talking with Nina Mandelson, thank you so much for being here, I’m excited to have you because for me, whenever I can get someone who has a really sharp and different perspective of the world than my own on the show, it’s exciting. It’s it’s an opportunity for me to learn.
[Jon Dabach] 01:57
And one of the things that I’ve seen in my own practice, which you’re kind of an expert on is there’s a lot of insecurity, there’s a lot of kind of shaky ground that a lot of the women who come into my practice, you know, it have in their lives. And and a lot of it has to do with body consciousness, where they are at the beginning of the relationship where they are maybe after a pregnancy, or as they age, and the body doesn’t just bounce back into shape. You know, I mean, I have a client where she’s, she’s, and then I’ll let you kind of run with this. But I just to give you an example I have, I have a couple and the woman has been running on a treadmill after some surgeries to kind of correct some issues after childbirth.
[Jon Dabach] 02:40
And she has been running for like a year now, every day, and she’s just stuck, where she’s like, my body’s not changing. And she’s working out harder than she ever has. And she’s dieting and she’s and her husband loves the way she looks but itself, it’s for herself.
[Jon Dabach] 02:56
And she’s so frustrated. And I found myself going you know, I have limited tools and how to kind of guide her because I’ve never been in a woman’s body. I don’t know what that means. I don’t know how to kind of identify with it. I was a chubby Jewish kid my whole life. And I have I have you know, my own relationship that’s very bad with food. But you know, it’s still different. It’s a totally different perspective. So welcome to the show. And I’m going to let you kind of tell people what you do and how you got here. Let’s start with Yeah,
[Nina Manolson] 03:26
Yeah, before I even get into that I just need to respond. There’s so many things to unpack in that story that you said, yeah. And so I want to come back to them. One is this idea of getting my body back, right, as though there’s this place to get back to that’s one the other is what does my partner think of my body? Right? And how does that impact my sense of sensuality?
[Nina Manolson] 03:47
Sexuality, confidence, sense of empowerment in the relationship? Right? That’s another one. And the other is this idea of changing bodies. And how do we men and women? Yeah, experience this process of bodies that change? Because we do? We absolutely do.
[Nina Manolson] 04:08
That’s a fact of life. So I want to come back to all those because they’re really, really juicy. Conversations and issues that are worth digging into. And she is not alone. I talk to women every day, who are like, I’m trying so hard, right? Another piece to unpack in there is this idea of how does stress impact our body? Yeah, right. Even the internal stress of I want to get my body back, which we may think is a positive goal, but actually is impacting us negatively.
[Jon Dabach] 04:38
I love all this. You know, it’s a funny thing. I’m so much in my head and in the emotional world that when my clients have these issues, I’m just like, well, you can exercise its good for you. And that’s kind of where the conversation starts. I mean stops it’s like, and I’m and I’m never like prescribing it for changing your body. For me. It’s like just get the endorphins going. It’s good for your head. So it’s just I’m just I have no Yeah, connection even to my own body for the most part. So this is I feel like I’m going to get a masterclass.
[Nina Manolson] 05:05
Okay, this is such a great conversation because literally like where you’re like this is no, this is where I begin. Yeah, right is women’s like, you know, we were chatting before, and you’re a relationship coach. And when I’m on a plane and someone says, Nina, what do you do?
[Nina Manolson] 05:19
And I’m like, there’s no point in me saying, I’m a body peace coach, because who knows what the heck that is, right? So I often say I’m a relationship coach, but I work with a counselor or something like couples counselor, I’m a couples counselor. But instead of working with a woman and her partner, I’m working with a woman and her body, because this is a primary relationship.
[Nina Manolson] 05:42
Our relationship with our body is a primary relationship and impacts every other relationship in our life. And in fact, it’s the longest relationship of our life, we’re born into this body, we’re going to die in this body. And so how we feel in this body impacts how we show up in a picture if we show up in a picture, but countless women I’ve talked to say, there’s like, 10 years, there’s no pictures of me because I felt like my body was too big to be in a picture.
[Jon Dabach] 06:09
Yeah, it’s so you know, I started you probably don’t know this about me. But I started on my path years ago, kind of on a rabbinic track, I was going to be an orthodox rabbi. That’s kind of how I got into this work. Obviously didn’t take completely, but I it’s so I love what you said about the relationship with a we have with our bodies, the longest relationship, it makes me think of, you know, there’s this custom in the Jewish tradition, where after someone dies, you don’t leave the body alone for 24 hours.
[Jon Dabach] 06:36
And the reason is, because the soul is so attached to the body, it just kind of hangs around, because that’s our sense of identity. So it’s, it’s so it’s so powerful. I mean, like you’re talking about and really improving that relationship you have to your own body. Yeah, I mean, I’m excited because I feel like I need I need this talk with anybody right now.
[Nina Manolson] 06:57
But Jon there again, there’s like a you and I obviously could talk for a long time, because it’s a subspecialty of mine as Jewish women and food. I literally teach a class called Jewish women and food. It’s complicated, because it is it’s there’s so many layers that are and it’s not just Jewish women. I see it in Indian families.
[Nina Manolson] 07:17
I see it in Chinese families, sometimes Italian families, there’s a high expectation for women and this idea of what it means to be a woman and what our bodies should look like. And what is beauty. And what is the standard that we’re you know, this high achieving, capable of all things standard.
[Jon Dabach] 07:36
Oh, my God, I have so many tangents I can go on, but I know.
[Nina Manolson] 07:42
Okay, so let me answer the first question you asked, which is how did I come to this work? So I similar to you, I was not in a great relationship with my body. And I grew up in Canada, I grew up in Montreal, and there’s a French saying Gemma Zombieland, dama Po, I feel good in my skin.
[Nina Manolson] 07:57
And I heard that growing up, and I was like, I have no idea what the heck they mean by that. Because I was constantly in the war. I was on a diet when I was nine years old. And then continued on diets for decades. So there was this constant management model that was going on in my relationship with food and body. I need to be eating this. I don’t I cannot be eating that. Oh, my gosh, I blew it.
[Nina Manolson] 08:21
Let me try again tomorrow. What’s the new diet? What’s the new book that’s out? Let me get that book. Let me weigh this and measure this and count this and track this. And, oh, it’s exhausting. And literally how I knew I was so ready for change was when I was bored with the conversation inside my own head, about what I just ate, and how my belly looked and how my underarms were flapping.
[Nina Manolson] 08:45
And my butt like I’m like, Really, there are more important things for me to be thinking about and talking about, and spending my time with, we haven’t all of us as human beings on this planet, right? This is a Jewish concept of tikkun olam. We’re here to do good work in this world. We’re not here to obsess about what you might
[Jon Dabach] 09:04
Have coined a phrase, but I think that’s a human concept.
[Nina Manolson] 09:07
It is a human concept. Not everybody, you know, shares it, right. But it is a human concept of we’re here to do good things. We’re not here to obsess about what our body looks like. That’s not a good use of our time. To do with our time, absolutely so much better.
[Nina Manolson] 09:27
So that awareness took me to this place of you know what, this has got to change. And so what started as a personal journey became a professional journey. I became a therapist, I got a Master’s in Counseling. And then I got into psychology of eating and Body Trust work and intuitive eating work. And out of that came the body of work that I’ve created, which is body peace.
[Nina Manolson] 09:51
So that’s something I’ve trademarked, and it’s a process of how do we come home to our body and have a relationship that feel was supportive, the feels caring, the feels nourishing the feels respectful, that feels trusting the feels like yes, this is a good place to live. I’m not at war with my body every day, I’m not looking in the mirror and giving myself the side I have like, no, that’s not okay.
[Nina Manolson] 10:19
I’m on my side, I’m an ally. Right? It’s a similar I imagine when you’re looking at relationships and couples, you know, is there an adversarial relationship? Or is there an ally ship here? And if there’s an adversarial relationship, and with our body, it’s painful. And it sucks the life out of us. It’s energetically exhausting. So body peace work is really that journey back to feeling like yeah, this is a good place to live. I get to live here. And I get to feel good.
[Jon Dabach] 10:53
I love I love everything I’m hearing. What does it actually look like? What is the body piece work process look like? Are they counseling sessions? Do you teach it in like a digital course? Like, how does it how do you actually transmit this, you know, to your clients or to your students?
[Nina Manolson] 11:09
Yeah, so there’s different ways I’ve been doing this work for 30 years. So there’s many different ways some people work with me individually. A lot of the work I’ve found works really well in groups. So I have small groups of women, sort of different cohorts.
[Nina Manolson] 11:24
And we work together through this process, either and body peacekeepers groups or body peace seekers groups, because it’s an incredible unlearning that we have to do to unplug from this place of counting, managing. So there’s that. And then there’s also I’ve created an app body peace app to put resources and tools into women’s hands, that has body piece meditations, many of my body piece poems, body piece masterclass, which is free. So there’s different ways to engage in the work.
[Nina Manolson] 11:59
And one way that I would say is a great way for people to start, which you can find both in the app. And on my website, which is Nina mendelssohn.com. Is the practicing body peace journal. Because in it are 20 questions that I would ask you if we were sitting in a room together 20 questions to get clear on how is this relationship with your body going? Where did you learn that? What do you say to yourself? How long has this been going on? Right? To really get clear, as is this a relationship that’s working for you with you? And do you want to have it shift?
[Jon Dabach] 12:40
Yeah, that sounds great. So your app is available on the App Store on Android on iPhone on both all of the
[Nina Manolson] 12:48
Above. If you’ve searched body dash peace, you’ll find me. And it’s there. And there’s great resources.
[Jon Dabach] 12:58
That’s Fanta and I love the meditation. I’m a big proponent of meditation and breathing exercises and journaling poems that are new to me, I haven’t seen an app with poetry, and do you write them to yourself?
[Nina Manolson] 13:08
I do. So I started writing poems A while ago, because I had been writing blogs and articles about our relationship, but it’s again, coming in from this intellectual place. And I was like, there’s a deep emotional relationship that we have with our body. And, Jon, if you’re willing, I would love to share sort of one of my more relationship oriented poems with you. Yeah, sure.
[Nina Manolson] 13:34
Okay. So this one is called and I thought you might appreciate it because it’s about couple of relationship. And this is autobiographical, I’ll just be really vulnerable about this. So it’s called don’t touch my belly. This is totally about my husband and I. We were in bed together, touching all the places for delight. But out of my mouth came, don’t touch my belly.
[Nina Manolson] 14:02
And I moved his hand away. Away from the part of me that I thought was too big, too much, not flat enough, not appealing, my mind had been seduced into sensation, was suddenly trapped in self-criticism. self-consciousness took me out of my body, I lost my own experience of aliveness I lost connection to my mate, to the moment to myself. Society’s absurd ideals of what is sexy, got into bed with me. I want to say, I now say, get the hell out of my bed out of my body. This Pleasure is mine. This belly is mine. And then I put his hand on my belly, because that’s sexy too.
[Jon Dabach] 14:57
Bravo. That’s nice. I like that. That’s so fun. And I could see how being vulnerable and sharing that and putting it into articulate words and an app because it could be so empowering for, for other people to read. That’s great.
[Nina Manolson] 15:13
What happens? What I found is the women who explore my poetry, there’s a lot of things that I’m saying, and putting words and putting into feelings that women have held in shame. Oh, I don’t tell anybody about that. That’s a secret, right? And shame keeps us stuck, right stuck in the darkness.
[Nina Manolson] 15:38
So what it does is, you know, and this is Brene Brown’s idea around shame, right? If we can get it out into the light, the shame dissipates, it’s why I work with groups of women. It’s why I write the poetry is let’s unpack this shame. Where did we learn it? Where did we get it? Whose idea of sexy do we have in our head? Is it like watching JLo? Is that our idea of sexy? And is that really true? Or is that just, you know, Hollywood? Indoctrinating us? Like, let’s get real.
[Jon Dabach] 16:11
That’s so interesting. I mean, I have my own issues. So you were you are transparent and kind of vulnerable a little bit. Thank you for sharing that. I’ll kind of dive in a little on my own and see what kind of advice but now that you’re kind of saying it because I went on a diet and I went on, like a year journey with exercise and diet, and I lost 70 pounds, gained it all back.
[Jon Dabach] 16:30
But I remember, like, there was a point where, and I have gout, I got it from my father. They thought it was food related. That was part of the impetus. But I was you know, I was always like the chubby kid. So for me, it was always a struggle to kind of feel comfortable in my skin. Like you said, there was one point where I was on this kick, where I was eating a lot of almonds and spinach, omelets and things and I got kidney stones as a result. And I’m sitting there in the hospital.
[Jon Dabach] 17:01
And I’m like, you know, what, what the hell am I like, what? This is this? And I was and my wife was like, how bad could it be? Because she’s never had it. So I had to literally find articles saying that kidney stones are more pregnant than labor pains, according to pregnant women, you know, that who’ve given birth, and I was like, look look. Like, okay, okay. But I was like, what the hell am I?
[Jon Dabach] 17:25
Like, I’m not, you know, like, yeah, I look better and pictures, but I don’t even take that many. I was like, um, so it was, it was an interesting kind of, and I still stayed on the diet for a while. And, you know, it was it was, but I remember telling my brother who’s like anti diet, I was like, you know, I’m kind of miserable. Like, I just don’t have, I have a totally different relationship with food. And then I became the guy who always talks about my new exercise routine. And I hate those guys. You know, what I was like, what the hell’s going on?
[Nina Manolson] 17:55
But Jon, there’s so many things that are important on what you said, the first that I really want to say, because people go like I was on this diet, I lost all this weight. And then I came back, here are the statistics. 95% 95% of people who go on diets gain their weight back, if not more in two to five years, right? So think about this in a car analogy. There’s a car on the lot in there, like this is a great car.
[Nina Manolson] 18:19
But in two years, it’s going to stop working, and it’s going to start driving back. Would you like it? Right? You’d be like, No, this is the most ridiculous product. And yet there’s a 72 $72 billion industry selling us that our body is not okay. Now, part of it is, you know, what, you have a health issue, you should lose weight. Now, this is where it gets, we have to sort of like, pull that apart.
[Nina Manolson] 18:45
Because the reality is, is there is no evidence based studies that say that diets actually work, what often work that when people go on a diet, they start moving more, they start drinking more water, they start thinking about what would support me and some of those things are going to help our sense of wellbeing, but being restrictive, saying no to ourselves, being on this control kick makes us that guy who’s talking about the diet, who’s everybody’s like, seriously, really, you’re gonna don’t tell us, you know, Oh, you shouldn’t eat this and like, it’s really the buzzkill person. And it’s also going to kick up our desire for autonomy.
[Nina Manolson] 19:32
We all have a very internal strong part of us. That’s like, don’t tell me what to do. It’s our inner rebel. And we want to honor him or her. So when we put ourselves into this control mode, the inner rebel is going to be like, I do not want to do that. And then we’re going to end up in the diet cycle. I don’t want to do this. I’m failing. Oh my gosh, I cannot believe I failed again. Look at me, I’m back where I started. I feel so bad? I’m just so ashamed. You know, I should do something really I should do.
[Nina Manolson] 20:05
Maybe, oh, look, there’s a new book, maybe keto, maybe intermittent fasting, maybe paleo, maybe I’ll go old school and go, I don’t know, grapefruit diet to get like, ridiculous. Ridiculous, right? But it’s easy to say this doesn’t work. So what does work? What Works is actually focusing on the relationship you have with your food and body. And what that means is starting to look at where am i right now? Am I in management? Right? Am I just always in hate? And then how do we shift out of that?
[Nina Manolson] 20:41
And that’s one of the things in my body peace masterclass, that’s on my website and my app, that class really walks you through, how do you shift that kind of relationship? How do you get out of the trap? Of, I’m going to just do it right? Tomorrow, I’m going to do it right?
[Nina Manolson] 21:03
Because then we’re never feeling good about ourselves. And if we’re never feeling good about ourselves, it’s hard to feel good in relationship, whether it’s with a partner, whether it’s his kid, whether it’s with our friends, or our co workers, because we’re always a little bit down on ourselves internally.
[Jon Dabach] 21:18
Yeah. So there’s a big mind shift that needs to happen. I mean, it’s, for me, it’s like, finding that place. And there’s someone who’s listening to this, who’s just blessed with being, you know, naturally, having an easy time with their body might be so confusing, like, my kids are all very skinny, for whatever reason, I guess, they take after their mom, like they just if anything, they have a hard time gaining weight.
[Jon Dabach] 21:42
And but they all have very body positive images of themselves, which is we’re very my wife’s also, she’s a therapist. So we’ve been very careful about promoting, you know, being comfortable in your skin. But it’s, you know, when you’re on the other side, when you’re someone like me, who’s always struggled with it, finding that balance of like, okay, well, I’m just going to treat myself and enjoy food and exercise in a way that makes me happy.
[Jon Dabach] 22:07
And then you go to the doctor’s office, and you’re like, looking at a stat that says you’re morbidly obese and it’s like, I don’t feel morbidly obese or your arm, you know, the doctor says, Well, you could lose a few here, and I’m just like, okay, but then it just retriggers everything, like,
[Nina Manolson] 22:22
Okay, so there’s a couple of things in what you’re saying. One is when you said it’s a mindset shift, yes. And it’s also a how do I be in my body and actually hear my body and listen to my body? Right? How do I embody? That’s a big part of this work? Because most of us live from our head up. And it’s what am I thinking? And a little bit, what am I feeling? Some people, some people better than others, but very few are?
[Nina Manolson] 22:50
And what does my body say? What are my sensations speaking? What am I hungry? Am I full? When am I hungry? What do I need to eat? Right? So there’s that whole piece, then you brought up the whole Dr Piece, which I have a big rant about that. Because if doctors main initiative is do no harm, and you bring somebody into your office, and the first thing you do is ask them to get on the scale, which then triggers them to feel bad about themselves, start controlling their food, and then get into the diet cycle, you are doing harm.
[Nina Manolson] 23:18
So just one just quick tip, do not get weighed. You can say don’t, don’t put me on the scale, you are harming me. That’s so interesting. You are harming my wellbeing my mental health, my peace of mind, and my relationship with my body when you weigh me. I did that for my daughter. I do that for myself. They’re like, yes, but we need to know, I’m like, I’ll tell you, I’ve been sort of around the same.
[Nina Manolson] 23:48
You know, I gained some in the winter, I lose some in the summer. I’m around the same if I gain a lot or if I lose suddenly I will let you know. Yeah, but really asked me get back.
[Jon Dabach] 24:01
It’s such a it’s such a weird concept. Because I’m not i i have an assertive personality. But when it comes to the doctor’s office, suddenly I become the most passive man you’ve ever met. And so the idea of saying, No, I don’t want to be weighed. I’m like, its mind blowing. It’s like you could say no to adopt.
[Nina Manolson] 24:20
Absolutely. And there was a time I was had surgery that I was needed to do. And so we were just having the conversation like, Is this really necessary to have to do this procedure? And she was like, Can you hop on the scale? And I was like, No, and she was like, and I was like, we’re actually just talking. And she was like, well, we’ll need your weight for the surgery for the anesthesia to calculate.
[Nina Manolson] 24:41
I was like, great, well, let’s have that conversation. Then. We’re just talking if I actually have to be in surgery at all, just like point Okay, nevermind. Then I talked to an anesthesia nurse who was like, that’s not even true, Nina. I don’t need people’s weight to know how much anesthesia they need. I’m looking at their metrics. I’m watching a million other things not there. Wait.
[Jon Dabach] 25:04
Yeah. Wow. So the one time I did feel completely justified, I will tell you the one time I felt completely justified stepping on a scale was the one time I went bungee jump. And I said, Okay, you need to know which harvest I need. I get that.
[Nina Manolson] 25:20
That’s their safety. Yeah, how much of a spring? Do I need to get this person back up to where I’m going? I’m going.
[Jon Dabach] 25:28
Although when you’re when you’re going up and down, it does feel like dieting. It’s like, oh, no. Oh, my back in the yo yo state. It’s funny. This was so much fun. Thank you so much for being here. People can find you through your app, the body peace app, people, you I’m sure you also have a very extensive website. Why don’t you share that URL and any other way that you think people can get the most out of the brilliant message you’re spreading?
[Nina Manolson] 25:53
So you can find me at body peace with nina.com? All one word body pieces Nina and body piece up body dash piece. It’s on the App Store? It’s on the Android store. Yeah, and I’m on all social media. And really, my take home message for people is like, don’t be in the war anymore. You don’t have to be. This was a was a war that was imposed on you. You can actually claim peace for yourself.
[Jon Dabach] 26:21
Yeah, yeah. I’m thinking back to all the matzah ball soups and how I can win that war. Nina Mandelson, thank you so much for being Jon
[Nina Manolson] 26:30
[Jon Dabach] 26:31
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