How can you raise children to have self-awareness about their bodies and food? Why is it important to know what genuinely feels good and is sustainable for your body? Can you prioritize nourishment over rigidity? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks with Megan Eddinger about All Things Mom. We discuss to body positivity, nourishment and nutrition, and building a healthy-food relationship with your kids.


Megan is a mom of 3 who had her first baby just after she turned 18. She shares her story about all things mom-life, including body image, mental health, and more in hopes that no mom ever feels alone in her struggles. She knows there's no one-size-fits-all solution to anything in life so she shares the experience of other parents and experts so people can take what serves them and leave the rest. Listen to the No BS Mama Podcast. Connect with Megan on Instagram. FREEBIE: Join the No BS Mama Community.


  • Your body is supposed to change
  • Parenting
  • Consider nourishment

Your body is supposed to change

Whether you have children or not, whether you are an athlete or not, whether you are a person who works at a desk or a person who runs every day, your body is supposed to change. Your body will look different from 18 to 80 because we are living people, life impacts us, and our bodies change as we age. Do not get stuck in the idea that you have to go backward and constantly look younger when in fact you are living at the perfect pace already.
You’re not supposed to keep the same body you had when you were 17, 18, or 23 years old. You’re supposed to change … we are not honest with ourselves about that as a general rule in society. (Megan Eddinger)
Birthing a child does impact your body. You do not have to “bounce back” to anything because the change that your body has gone through is normal. How your body looks after giving birth is not any less worthy than how it looked before you became pregnant.


Children follow by example, and their brains – at a young age especially – are coded to “do as you do, not as you say”. Therefore, your eating habits, the way you speak to yourself, and how you talk about food, eating, and exercise are all traits that may impact how your children will come to view themselves and these aspects of life.

Consider nourishment

We have to learn to pay attention to both our emotional response and our physical response to these things. It’s a journey … but it is important to note that … there’s no “healthy” versus “unhealthy” or “good” versus “bad” it’s all about what feels good for you right now, both physically and mentally, and that could be different today than it was yesterday. (Megan Eddinger)
If you change your mindset from “good versus bad” foods to “what does my body want and need today” you can eradicate putting moral values onto food, and focus instead on listening to what your body wants. Your needs change day-to-day, and it is up to you to get to know your body so that you can understand its cues and desires. Focus on nourishment, physically, mentally, and emotionally, instead of rigid and measured eating that disregards the daily shifts that your body goes through.



I am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!


Did you enjoy this podcast? Feel free to comment below and share this podcast on social media! You can also leave a review of Behind The Bite on Apple Podcasts (previously) iTunes and subscribe!

Podcast Transcription

[CHRISTINA CASTAGNINI] Behind The Bite podcast is part of a network of podcasts that are good for the world. Check out podcasts like the Full of Shift podcast, After the First Marriage podcast and Eating Recovery Academy over at Welcome to Behind The Bite podcast. This podcast is about the real life struggles women face with food, body image and weight. We're here to help you inspire and create better healthier lives. Welcome. . Well, hello everyone. I have touched on today's topic before, but I really haven't made it in the main focus until today. I know there are so many of you out there who are going to relate to all of what we're going to touch on, that being all things mom. Now, as a single working mom, myself with two teenagers, I'm thrilled to have a guest on here with us today who can really discuss some of the realities and things not so often talked about when it comes to being a mom in our society. Megan Eddinger knows a whole lot about what being a mom is all about herself. She's a mom of three who had her first baby just after she turned 18. She shares her story of all things, mom, including body image, mental health, and more and hopes that no mom ever feels alone in her struggles. She knows there's no one size fits all solution to anything in life. So she shares the experiences of other parents and experts so people can get what serves them and leave the rest. Megan, welcome to the show. [MEGAN EDDINGER] Hi, thank you so much. [CHRISTINA] So as we were talking earlier, I'm so excited because I haven't had a podcast that just focused on moms and what happens after you have a baby. I know that for you, that was really a turning point for you. So I'm wondering, could you tell us a little bit about what life was like before you had a baby, like in terms of your body image and your relationship with food? [MEGAN] Sure. So growing up, I kind of just lived, you know I was an athlete. I played soccer and several other sports. I was pretty active, a pretty active kid in general. I was the oldest of five, so my mom always cooked at home, we weren't eating out a lot, but there was never really a focus on dieting in our house. So I just kind of never really thought about it. Also I was lucky enough to fit the whatever beauty standard was like appropriate at the time. So people would ask me how do you stay so thin, whatever? I was just like, oh, I don't know. It jus tis. So that was, I had other stresses, but I never really worried about my weight. I had other body image issues, but that wasn't one. Then I had my first baby shortly after I turned 18 and the whole time I was pregnant, and first of all, I blew up when I was pregnant. I gained a lot of weight during that pregnancy and everybody just kept telling me, don't worry. It'll fall right off. You're so young, and that was just not the case at all. It didn't just fall off. None of it did. My body looked very different than it did before I got pregnant. And I did take a prenatal class and the nurses did warn us, like, don't come in here thinking that you're going to wear your pre-pregnancy jeans out of the hospital. So I was grateful for that advice and nine months on nine months off, all of that was kind of talked about, but I don't think I really understood it until I lived the experience and just really didn't feel great about myself for a really long time. [CHRISTINA] And even as I say this, I almost hesitate to bring up this topic because I don't want the focus to be on, oh my gosh, we got to talk about like pregnancy weight and losing baby weight. Because I think that in and of itself is so toxic to women and takes away such joy from pregnancy. But I want to bring it up because I get so many questions from women about that topic. I see it all the time on the covers of magazines and there's so much pressure put on women to regain their bodies and they see all the celebrities and look how great this person looks. There's all of this out there. I think that's what I want to more talk about is even the fact that that topic was brought up in your prenatal classes. It's like, why, why is that such a topic and why is that even on our minds, when we are creating a human being and we are going through such an amazing experience in our lives? Then that's, what's brought up as a topic and that's, what's on the forefront of our mind and the pressure we put on ourselves and, wow. So here again, it's like something else we have to worry about or think about. So, I don't know for you, it's like there's a first time in your life you even thought about it and how sad. [MEGAN] Yes. And I think she had had experiences with mothers who just assumed that when I have this baby, I'm going to shrink like overnight. So they would leave the hospital with the clothes that they came in with because they only packed these tiny little jeans that were pre-pregnancy clothing. So she was more like, I don't want you to have that experience, please bring your maternity clothes to wear home so that you can be comfortable and so that you can get yourselves into these clothes. She was much more like loving and caring about her approach but in role, I think from society, back then for my first pregnancy, there wasn't really social media, but there were for the next two that I had. So when you're looking at celebrities, especially, influencers, you name it, anyone else, anyone, when you compare anything in life, that's a dangerous road to go down. But I think that we need to remember that we do not have the same resources as these people. We do not have the same 24 hours in a day. We don't. Our day as a, like a normal person is very different from the person who has someone who can cook for them, someone who can clean for them, someone who might be helping them overnight with this baby that will not sleep. And your body just goes through so much beyond like creating this new life. It's now adjusting to, okay, now we're running on two hours of sleep versus the maybe six or seven that we used to get. We're not eating and then we're eating too much because we forget that we have to take care of ourselves because we're putting a lot of our energy into taking care of this new life. There it's just, there is so, so much to consider and I think that people forget that and they get so caught up in what used to be and what other people have that they forget that everyone's journey is different and everybody's body responds different. By the way, your body's supposed to change. You're not supposed to keep your same body that you had when you were 17, 18, 22 years old. You're supposed to change, especially if you're birthing children. Like that's what it is and I think that we are not honest with ourselves about that as a general rule in society, [CHRISTINA] I'm so glad you said that because I don't think we talk about that enough. There is this pressure to like, oh, there's something wrong with you if you don't get back to wherever you were, or if you don't look a certain way after you give birth to a child. So just to normalize that and put that out there, like, why aren't we talking more about what's normal and what everybody looks like? It's almost like there's this demonization of stretch marks and there's something wrong with you if you just can't, like you said, "get it together" and look like these other people,, oh, what's wrong with you? If after six weeks you don't look like this celebrity you're that. And like, wait a minute, maybe there's something wrong with that. Why aren't we questioning more of that, like embracing the change and embracing motherhood and embracing body changes, especially as we get older. [MEGAN] Yes, exactly. [CHRISTINA] So your experience though, like you had, or really, it sounds more like you felt more out of control with your body for the first time, like you couldn't shift or change things. So I'm wondering was that the first time you became more aware of, because it sounds like you didn't as younger became aware of what you were eating or your body in a different way. So I'm wondering what that was like for you. [MEGAN] So I would say for the first year postpartum well, let me back up for the first several months postpartum, I definitely struggled with postpartum depression, which is another thing that we don't really talk about. And for me, I was lucky enough to have a mild enough version of it that when I realized that that's what was happening, I was able to force myself to make changes to help with that. I didn't use the resources that I had available to me through my doctors, because there was shame associated with it. You know what I mean? So like that could be a whole separate episode, but it did contribute to my weight gain and my habits. I wasn't exercising, I wasn't eating any vegetables, just generally not taking good care of myself partly because I was like a young, new mom and I was trying to figure that out and navigate that situation and partly because I just didn't care to. And I think that for a certain amount of time, that needs to be okay. Because I knew for me, I get in this spiral and can I, am I allowed to curse on here? [CHRISTINA] Sure. [MEGAN] Okay. I get into this spiral where I hold myself to a certain standard and because of my mental health, I'm not able to meet it and then I feel like shit about it. So then I feel even worse. So that's a very dangerous cycle to get stuck in because you just keep feeling worse and worse and worse and that standard that you're holding yourself to gets further and further away to deeper into this spiral that you get. So it sounds like you were experiencing some postpartum depression. So at some point, did you seek some help for that and get some treatment? [MEGAN] Yes. So for me again, I was lucky enough to experience like a more mild version. There are different levels to these things. So once I realized what was happening, I was able to be more conscious of some of my habits, forcing myself to spend time outside and forcing myself to do things that bring me joy outside of this tiny little baby that is so cute. Finding things outside of that, just for me, really helped with that but as far as the body and was just concerned, I would cry myself to sleep at night because I was like, I don't know what to do here. I never struggled with this before. I don't have time to work out. Like all of these things were new experiences for me and I hated my body. I hated the way that I looked. I hated that I didn't have any clothes that fit. This went on for, that went on for probably a little bit over a year and then I was getting married and so that became like a whole, you know getting fit for the wedding type of thing. I started with south beach diet and then I would do like lean cuisines and I did Pilates sometimes and I got a little bit more comfortable with the way I was looking, but I still wasn't truly taking care of myself. I've definitely felt into the diet culture. Then after my wedding is when I really got deeper into the diet culture thing under the guise of health. I was exercising too much, eating too little. My body was shrinking, which I thought was great. Because my BMI was healthier I thought that I was being healthy but it turns out I learned later that I wasn't. I was obsessing over the calories in, calories out, not eating things because I was afraid that they would make me bigger again, all of the, those types of things. [CHRISTINA] I think that's where a lot of people probably listening can relate is starting out with this intention of, oh, I just want to start a diet with these intentions of trying to control your body and feel more in control, but then not realizing it's a slippery slope of, like you said, diet culture has this, just exercise and eat less, take on this diet. And you probably looked online and saw many to choose from, like you said, south beach or whatever. Not to trick anybody, but these are the ones that are common that people see, I'm sure. You've looked online, you've heard them all, or maybe you've tried them. You just go from one to one to one to one because they never work but before you realize it you're down the slippery slope. At what point did you realize like, oh my goodness, this isn't just me taking on a diet and trying something. I'm really, really enmeshed in this and really in a not healthy place. I think people do do that, like say I just want to be "healthy" because that's how it is couched. All of them are couch size that just be healthier, just do this and you will have physical health and wellbeing and feel better and look better. That's, I mean, everywhere, online. Even doctors say it. So you think you're doing this great thing and maybe initially feel better, but at what point did you go, wait a minute, I'm way in. Deep in this isn't good for me. [MEGAN] For me it wasn't until I, so I stayed in that space for several years. Again, I thought that I was on top of the world type of thing. It wasn't until much later where I kind of came out of it, I gained a bunch of weight, I struggled with my mental health again. I wasn't, again, I wasn't taking care of myself mentally, physically, any of those things and I fell into that spiral that I talked about a little bit earlier. When I reached out for help with my mental health and started really addressing those things with a therapist and with the help of medicine then I was able to kind of see clearly and look back and say, whoa, I don't really want to go back down that road. I've got children that are older now. Kids absorb everything at all ages. But especially now mine are in high school and middle school and I cannot be that mom that is obsessing about my weight, who is saying negative things about myself, who is not eating the same things at the dinner table, who refuses to eat dessert. Like I don't want my kids to see that. I don't want my daughter to ever cry herself to sleep at night because she doesn't think she's good enough because she thinks that she's fat and I'm going to cry even thinking about it. But I can't be setting that example for her. I just can't. [CHRISTINA] You know, what a realization for you to get, so when I see, you all can't see her because it's a podcast, but you definitely have tears in your eyes just thinking about that. But to get to that realization of thinking about your daughter experiencing all that you were, how painful. I'm just imagining you being at the dinner table having different food or having maybe a birthday for your kid and not having cake or not eating with them. How many moments did you have like that? [MEGAN] There were a lot. And when the kids were little, our schedules were much different. So it was a little bit easier for me to feed the kids Mac and cheese then my husband and I to eat something different that was not uncommon. But now we try to eat dinner together and I want us all to eat the same foods or if we're having something and I choose to add in extra vegetables because I know that I will feel better, then that's something that is offered to everyone as an option, that's different in my opinion than me just saying I can't eat that because it will make me fat. So that's how we approach it. As a family, we are pretty active and we try to be really careful about the language that we use. We work out to be strong mentally and physically, not to control the shape and size of body parts and those types of things. Again, that's something that's really important to me. [CHRISTINA] I think that's so key. I want to kind of go back to the whole, like, I can hear people maybe listening, getting triggered by you saying like, oh, having vegetables on the table. I think it's important to look at like all foods and like you said having it on the table because maybe your body feels better if you eat a certain food, not because of the diet culture saying you can only eat these foods or the eating disorder telling you if I eat these foods, the eating disorder, part of the symptoms of the illness saying that's the symptom, the fear of gaining weight, the fear of "getting fat." That's the internalized diet culture, not on this podcast promoting diet culture saying we are at all saying, there's something wrong with body size and fat just being a descriptor. Because I think sometimes people can hear that and go, oh, wait a minute. What's wrong with a certain body size? Nothing. But the illness itself, the symptom is that fear of gaining weight, the fear of eating certain food or not eating a certain food and what it will do to your body or size and just demonizing a food and saying, nope, can't have that. I can only have this. [MEGAN] Yes. Well, and it's interesting to me because my daughter is a soccer player. She plays travel soccer and so we travel with the team a lot, which means we spend a lot of time with these families and it's not uncommon for us to be having lunch together between games. My daughter often will request, she'll say, "Mommy, can we go buy something healthy so that I feel good for my games?" Because she knows that if she has a salad and a sandwich and some fruit between games rather than, I don't know, a Hoggy and a bunch of sugar and candy and that type of stuff, she notices that she feels more sluggish on the field. The other parents will ask me, "How do you get her to eat that? My daughter would never eat that." I'm like, "I don't. She knows. She asks for it." She knows that what she eats and it's not that she never eats those things. I mean, come on. But she knows that her food and what she eats definitely affects her performance. So she would just rather not eat those things or certain things between games, especially in large quantities. Again, it's not that she never has those things. It's not that they're not offered to her. It's a conscious choice that she makes based on the conversations and the way that we pay attention to what we're doing at home. [CHRISTINA] Again like maybe people get triggered, the word, healthy food, unhealthy food. Again, I think it's a personal thing. Like some people might perform better in sports or in an activity if they eat certain foods. Every single person's body is different. And it is after, when I work with people, I'll say, look, you want to feel better physically, emotionally after you're done eating than before. So if eating a certain food before a game helps you perform better, whatever that food is, go for it. No judgment. But it does get dicey when people use those words healthy and unhealthy, because those are such diet culture latest terms, like good food, bad food, healthy, unhealthy. They're so difficult to kind of tease out people and go wait, what's healthy and unhealthy? Like what if we get rid of labels and just say foods off food? That would be so much better, I think because they're triggering, because people, there are healthier foods, aren't there? I'm like, well, I don't know about that because if you deprive yourself of what you really want and need, what's going to happen [MEGAN] A hundred percent. So I interviewed someone for my podcast recently and we were having a conversation about this and something that she shares with her clients is are you nourishing your body right now? So with every decision that you make, whether that's to go for the run or not to eat the cake or not to eat the salad or not, sometimes the salad is not the nourishing choice because it's not really what you want. It's not really what your body needs. And we have to learn to pay attention to both our emotional response and our physical response to these things. And it's a journey. It takes forever, I guess. I don't know if anybody ever perfects it but I think it's important to note that just like you said, like there is no healthy versus unhealthy or good versus bad. It's all about what feels good for you right now, both physically and mentally. That could be different today than it was yesterday than it was two months ago. It's different every day, especially for women, you know menstruaters, we are all over the place with our hormones and what we need during different times of the month and that kind of stuff. So hundred percent. [CHRISTINA] Another reason why those programs, those diets don't work because they have you eating very rigid, very prescribed. They're very measured ways every single day. It's nothing you're picking. It's nothing you're choosing. Some expert is telling you what to eat and how much to eat and when to eat. I mean, my goodness, how do you sustain that? That's awful. [MEGAN] Yes, especially a mother who is providing for her family as well. So if you are eating like within a certain window, for example and your family's schedule doesn't work with that window now that's a problem. So that's not sustainable automatically. If you are on this plan, not allowed to have carbs with your dinner, that's probably going to be a problem for a mom who's having probably macaroni cheese and spaghetti and potatoes and all of that stuff with their dinner, with their kids, because that's what kids like. So it all goes back to what feels good, both mentally and emotionally and physically and what is sustainable, like what makes sense for you and for your family? Because if it doesn't make sense for your routine, for your entire family, you are not going to be able to sustain that. You might be able to for two weeks, six weeks, eight weeks, but a year from now, you're probably going to be right back where you are because it wasn't sustainable long-term and you're going to be beating yourself up because you're going to think that there's something wrong with you because you couldn't do it, because some trainer somewhere said something like we all have the same 24 hours in the day. You're not disciplined. All of these lies, they're just they're lies, honestly, because like I said, in the beginning, we don't all have the same resources. We don't all have the same 24 hours in a day. It has nothing to do with discipline. There's so much more that goes into all of this stuff for everyone, for all people, but I think especially for moms. [CHRISTINA] I love that you're sharing all that because I think moms are so hard on themselves trying to be everything, do everything. Especially, you know there's a lot of women out there that, you know when you have an eating disorder, you have this tendency to be a little perfectionistic and a lot of people-pleasing and that can play right into this, like trying to do the diet perfectly and look perfect and be the perfect mom and have the perfect house. I don't know if you kind of ran into that yourself, but how did you manage all that? [MEGAN] You can't. That is a one way ticket to burnout. You cannot perfect every area of your life at all times. Again, it goes back to being sustainable. That's just not sustainable. So what I have learned is that life is seasonal and in some seasons you're going to kill it as a mom and as whatever you do for work, and those are going to be the two things that are going really well. Then next season, it's going to be your health and your job, and you're going to be slacking in the mom department. So like, there are times when certain things are going to fall off your radar or off your priority list, or won't be perfect because you're prioritizing other things and that's fine. That's fine. I think once we understand that and learn that it's okay to mess things up, it's okay to not be perfect, it's okay, and God, we get to social media and it's like, perfect Peggy up the street has her perfect house, the perfect husband, the kids are always wearing matching clothes. They only eat organic food. She's president of the PTA, she just has all of her together, you think. But behind that, she's struggling with something. I promise you, no one's life is perfect. No one's life is perfect. No one's life is that picture perfect in all areas. The minute you recognize that and start to go a little bit easier on yourself and lower your expectations the happier you're going to be. That's a promise. [CHRISTINA] Yes, the Facebook effect. Everybody's got it so perfect. But I think that's so true. I'm a mom and I work and it's tough. I think there's that perception that you have to do it all and you have to be perfect and you have to look perfect. There's that mommy guilt too, like you're not spending enough time with your kids, you're kind of like half foot in work and half foot in being a mom and half foot your house has to be perfect and this, I mean everything. It's for any mom listening out there, it's like, you're right. You can't do it all. So just kind of having some compassion for yourself. I don't know the demographics of your audience, but for those women who have the resources and are able, start outsourcing some stuff. Pay someone to come in and clean your house. Do it. If can afford to do that, don't feel guilty, do not feel shame, pay someone to come in and do that. Take something off your plate. Same thing with the groceries. Pay someone else to do that. If you can afford to use those resources to make your life easier. I think we're so conditioned to feel like we have to do it all, that we're afraid to delegate even to like our spouses. Again, that's just something that we need to get over. Even if it's not done the right way, even if it's not done the way that you would've done it's done and didn't have to do it. That's really all that matters because that's going to allow you to focus on whatever else is important today. [CHRISTINA] Eight. And that goes for saying too, with like what a lot of women fall prey too, which you did too, is like trying to look perfect and trying to eat perfect. That goes right along with the eating disorder and I can see when a lot of women feel out of control, feel like they're not doing it all perfect. You can fall right back into, hey, you know what feels really good right now? Maybe I'll just go right back into trying to control my food and trying to exercise more and then I'll feel more in control of that. So that can be a real easy thing to fall back into, and before you know you're done that slippery slope again of oh, when did I cross the line into now I'm right back into the eating disorder? [MEGAN] I think that becoming more self-aware is critical to something like this. I know for me, with my mental health, getting to know myself and really understanding what are my triggers, what are my signs that I'm going down this road that is not pretty because before I was familiar with these signs, I would be too far gone before I even realized it. It would take me months to come out of it. But now that I am much more familiar with myself and my triggers and my warning signs, it's not that I don't struggle. It's that I can catch myself way quicker and I can course correct before I'm too far gone. That's not to say that I'll never be too far gone again. But it's just, I think it's really, really important to be really self-aware and be really honest with yourself about what's going on. [CHRISTINA] Well, very well said, and you've obviously come a long way and done a lot of work. I think that's right on, is understanding your own triggers because everyone has their own unique ones. That's really the key. So now you mentioned you have your own podcast and I'm sure lots of people listening are going to be like, I want to hear more from her. So if anyone does want to find out more about you or follow you or hear about your podcast, how can they find you? [MEGAN] Yes, thank you. So Instagram is my favorite place to be. You can find me at Megan.Eddinger. My podcast is the No BS Mama podcast. And you can listen wherever you listen to this podcast. [CHRISTINA] Fantastic. Megan, this has been so fun. I love talking to other moms and other podcasters. So thank you so much for sharing all your story and insights. It's been really amazing. Thank you. [MEGAN] Of course. I hope it helps someone. [CHRISTINA] This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or any other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.