How can you navigate eating behaviors over the holidays? Why does regulating your stress response and practicing self-compassion help you to stick to making self-supportive decisions? How does your breakfast routine impact your dinner desires? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks about Biology and Self-Compassion with Cassie Christopher.


Cassie Christopher is a body-positive Registered Dietitian who is passionate about helping women over 45 heal emotional eating by loving themselves well. Previously, Cassie spent her time translating personal genetic and blood data, along with the latest scientific evidence, to make her clients healthier. Cassie specializes in sustainable behavior change. She supports her clients in creating unapologetic self-care practices from a sense of connection to their bodies and desires. Her goal is to allow women to feel comfortable in their own skin, in control around food, and energized to live a life they love. Visit Cassie Christopher's website and read her blog. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. FREEBIE: Get Cassie's free roadmap, "You're done with dieting but still want to heal emotional eating"


  • Overcoming information overload
  • Supportive tactics
  • Morning and night
  • Self-compassion

Overcoming information overload

Some people feel overwhelmed by all the facts, suggestions, and ideas that the medical and wellness industry has for them about overcoming their eating disorders. While it is vital for treatment to be aware of the cornerstones of the recent science, people need to learn about their own bodies as well, and what works best for them. For some people, three square meals a day is best. For others, snacking on six meals throughout the day works better. Taking the time to understand your body is your joy and your responsibility.
I don’t think anyone else can tell you the best way to care for yourself. What I try to do for my clients is to tell [them] what has worked for me, what has worked for other people, and what the current research says. [I encourage] them to experiment and see how [their] body responds. (Cassie Christopher)

Supportive tactics

First, it is important to distinguish that the holiday season and the food that is served over the holidays is not a different type of food from any other point in the year.
Food is food, and there is no moral value attached to it … When I talk about tactics around holiday eating, what I’m trying to help you do is to give yourself permission to indulge in the foods that you enjoy … You can give yourself permission to enjoy but I don’t want you feeling anxious, and there are things you can do to set yourself up to make supportive choices for yourself. (Cassie Christopher)
Some of these self-care and supportive tactics are learning to regulate your stress response. By managing cortisol levels you decrease the likelihood of wanting to “use” food to give you an emotional boost during periods of stress. Eating protein regularly has been shown to help you maintain physical and emotional wellbeing.

Morning and night

Most people often experience cravings or make decisions that are not supportive of their overall wellbeing at night. It is important to realize that your morning routine and eating habits could be impacting your evening routine and desires for food. Simply by having – even a small – nutritious breakfast, you significantly cut back your chances of binging or giving in to cravings in the nighttime.
What you are eating in the morning is getting your metabolism up and running and giving you the energy you need for your day. Your body is starting to meet its energy needs. If you don’t eat much of a breakfast … after dinner they’re hungry but the hunger comes with more [cravings]. (Cassie Christopher)
You naturally reduce cortisol in the body throughout the day by eating a healthy breakfast in the morning, or soon after you wake up.



Practice kindness and self-compassion towards yourself to soothe and reduce the spikes of self-judgment. Learn how to regulate your emotions and care for yourself on a deeper level so that you can hold space for yourself without turning to the easy fixes.


Be aware and practice mindfulness towards how your body feels. Notice which emotions you are experiencing, and what you are going through in life. Be your friend and provide yourself with some support structure from within by validating what you are going through.

Awareness of a common experience:

This experience is shared by humanity. You are not alone in feeling these emotions.


BOOK | Amelia Nagoski and Emily Nagoski – Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle BOOK | Kristin Neff – Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself



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!


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