Sarah Cloutier
I have had a turbulent and self-abusive relationship with food.

“I won’t give up coffee/wine/beer/cheese/milk/bread/chocolate – I just can’t” – if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard this I would be a rich woman!

The food we are eating is making us sick and we are ‘comfort eating’’ to not feel our hurts – because those hurts are usually self-inflicted, we really don’t want to feel them because it would mean that we have to deal with our self-disregard. Ouch.

So my pattern was not to feel my hurts – eat comfort food (in my case bread, cheese, ice-cream, alcohol) – put on weight – exercise like a maniac (soft sand running and road running; 2-3 miles every day and longer on the weekend) – think the exercise was counter-balancing the food choices, which would justify the comfort diet – and start the whole thing again. I had also introduced the numbing effect from exercise – so the hurts were now muscular so I was less able to feel my deeper hurts. And of course, let’s not forget, is all about ‘Looking Good” so a ‘fit’, lean body is acceptable, no matter the self-abuse!! I was literally running from myself.

And so the cycle of disregard continued – as was my pattern from age 25 to 38 – and even substituting bread with gluten free and cheese with dairy free had the same weight-gain effect because I was not addressing the hurts, just changing the type of comfort food – so my body was still seeing those forms of food as an opportunity to hide again. And the weight was a form of hiding myself with a layer of protection (fat) from the world.

What’s been most profound for me is that I don’t need to eat three meals a day. This is a myth. Sometimes, I don’t need to stop at 1pm and eat a meal. I notice that my team at work at about 3pm are reaching for sugar because they have filled up on carbs (sandwiches, pasta, noodles, sushi, pizza etc etc) at lunchtime and the afternoon is dozy and less-responsive for most of them.

Usually two of my meals are what I would call ‘main’ but the portion sizes are much smaller than those from my previous cycle where comfort and filling up the emptiness was the main focus.

The other realisation is that running is no longer necessary. With my new food choices and portion sizes depending on how I feel, now a spritely morning walk, sit-ups and stretches with light weights are all that’s needed to stay toned and invigorated.

What would happen if we felt our bodies before we ate? Just sat and asked our body what it needed?

The change has been, and continues to be, learning – learning to trust my body and listen to what it needs and not override that truth with what I THINK I want to eat. My fridge is pretty lean – now my Achilles Heel is that I can numb myself by overeating in the excitement of how yummy it tastes because I’m such a creative genius in the kitchen!!

Oh how I LOVE food and it’s expression for us as a reflection of our self-love. It’s so beautiful that we can use food to express our love for ourselves with every measurement, every anti-clockwise stir of the soup, every sprinkle of spice, every glug of olive oil and every self-loving mouthful – when we stop and feel how Amazing we are!

Entries by Sarah Cloutier

Body Image - What Have Women Said 'Yes' To?

(2) Comments | Posted 7 September 2015 | (22:24)

Body image is huge for women; this in itself is not big news as we are now fully conversant with eating disorders, dieting, obesity, exercise and the media's obsession with what women look like. The media are calculated in their targeting of women and fuel comparison and jealousy - already...

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The Gluten Free 'Fad' Exposed

(1) Comments | Posted 10 June 2014 | (23:02)

Recently there has been a lot of backlash against the Gluten Free 'Fad'. Some journalists and researchers say that the gluten protein is needed in our diet for nutrition and that removing it is harmful to our health.

One of many doctors who disagree is Dr Rodney...

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Six Top Tips - Make Exercise Count in Middle Age

(1) Comments | Posted 15 April 2014 | (00:00)

For the first time in my life, I'm really enjoying the gym! Who knew?!

I turned 46 years old last week and can honestly say that I have never felt better! I am spending an hour in the gym four or five days a week and love the feeling of...

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Twelve Steps to Survive Party Season

(0) Comments | Posted 9 December 2013 | (23:00)

When we are bombarded with invitations and people saying; "We really must catch up before Christmas" we can choose to take some simple and grown-up steps to get through the silly season with your dignity and credit card intact:

1. Say no to at least two parties in December. Not...

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When Did We Choose Sugar Over Joy?

(10) Comments | Posted 18 November 2013 | (18:16)

Remember doing cartwheels when you were little?

I remember being about five years old and my best friend and I would do cartwheels in our back garden in the sunshine. We would do as many as we could without falling over in a dizzy heap. After about ten or...

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Is Detox the New Black?

(4) Comments | Posted 10 August 2013 | (09:03)

I've been noticing in the media lately that 'Detoxing' has become very cool again, all the celebrity diets are telling me so - was it ever out of fashion? I looked up the meaning of detox to find out what all the hoo ha is about.


1. the metabolic...

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From a Size 20 to a Size 10 - Weight Loss That Works

(5) Comments | Posted 28 July 2013 | (12:40)

If you have read my bio, you will know that ten years ago I was a size 20 (UK), about 90kg, per-diabetic, with IBS, severe candida with intense and uncomfortable internal and external allergic reactions to sugar, gluten and dairy.

I've been pondering this over the last few weeks...

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Recovering From a Sugar Hangover With Flair!

(2) Comments | Posted 30 May 2013 | (19:13)

What is it about going on holiday that we decide to let our hair down and eat foods we don't usually eat?

I have just returned to London from a holiday in Florence, Monaco and St Tropez. A wonderful road trip with amazing friends exploring the streets and food...

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Coconut Salad and a Summer Barbecue

(0) Comments | Posted 28 April 2013 | (20:47)


My previous food experiences were usually to override my body's resistance by shoving more of what was harming me into my mouth so I couldn't feel. Ouch. You may have different experiences and I would love to hear them. We are all so different...

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What Happens When Our Brain Overrides Our Stomach

(0) Comments | Posted 23 April 2013 | (12:49)

While at work last week I was chatting about food - always on the agenda - and he was describing how ill and bloated he feels after eating pasta. He went on to say that even though he feels sick every single time, he still eats it regularly because "It's...

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The Dating Game and Food Manoeuvering

(0) Comments | Posted 3 April 2013 | (16:42)

When we start a relationship, food can be really important to find common ground. If there is a mutual love of Brussels sprouts, for example (obviously a big favourite of mine!) then it's like sunshine on a rainy day. Whew!! We have something in common that we both like!


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Food, Diet and Self-Nurturing - Returning to True Health

(4) Comments | Posted 1 March 2013 | (10:43)

My story was repetitive - "I won't give up my latte, wine, Champagne, brie, gelato, rye bread, chocolate, pizza or pasta - I just can't, what would I eat?!"

By hanging onto these vices, I made myself very sick. When I was 35, I was diagnosed with severe candida,...

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From Spit Roast Pig to Jerusalem to Curry in London - A Culinary Journey

(0) Comments | Posted 13 February 2013 | (05:27)

One of my work colleagues, Tom, and I were having a conversation about spit roast pig and Jerusalem. A terrifically inappropriate conversation I know!

It started with him talking about his fathers 60th birthday party and the spit roast pig, mountains of salads, accompaniments, roasted vegetables and the like, the...

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How Brussels Sprouts Made Me a Better Person

(19) Comments | Posted 1 February 2013 | (23:00)

Okay, I can hear the laughter from here... it's true... I didn't know what I was missing.

Ten years ago, I moved from Australia to London. I grew up in a very warm, humid part of the country where the humble sprout was not common on dinner tables. Being an...

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Simple Tips for High Energy and Clarity When You're Super Busy With Super Power Food!

(143) Comments | Posted 17 January 2013 | (14:40)

Busy times for me at the moment! I'm working in an animation studio as a producer leading a team of 20 artists to complete two very complicated television commercials. We are working at least 12-hour days, six or seven days a week.

As usual, we are on tight deadlines...

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New Years Resolution - A Lot More of the Same Please!

(9) Comments | Posted 27 December 2012 | (23:39)

It was Christmas Eve and I was in the supermarket. Suffice to say, it was heaving. The queue was particularly long, though moving quickly. The store manager was walking along with a tin of chocolates to keep everyone smiling. The mood in the queue was cheery and expectant and some...

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Popeye's Power Breakfast - and How to Cook the Perfect Filet of Fish

(0) Comments | Posted 19 December 2012 | (14:37)

Breakfast is totally manipulated by cereal manufacturers. I'm convinced. I am a breakfast explorer, going to places rarely seen by Kelloggs.

Soup, curry, casserole, greens, beans and definitely eggs. Obviously more savoury than sweet. Now sometimes I do feel like some fruit, and I truly listen to my body...

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Confessions of a Kitchen Disaster

(0) Comments | Posted 11 December 2012 | (15:21)

I had a kitchen disaster on Saturday night. Well, it was probably more a mini moment, or a little blip - but it felt like a disaster!

I've just moved into a new flat. Boxes are all unpacked, my plates, pans, knives and utensils as all in situ and...

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Hello? Hello?! Are You Listening to Your Body?

(29) Comments | Posted 3 December 2012 | (16:09)

One of my close friends is a nutritionist and to quote her - "FACT about 75% of the world's population does NOT have the enzyme to break down the sugar in milk (AJCN). Worth pondering? So why are we TOLD to have 3 serves a day?? Who are we going...

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The C Word: Christmas and the Spiral of OverIndulgence

(7) Comments | Posted 26 November 2012 | (23:00)

So here we are again - same, same different year. The silly season where it is totally accepted that we gorge ourselves on all manner of food - whatever we want, and of course, get drunk at Christmas parties and eat bad canapés and dodgy party pies! Woop woop -...

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