My Journey to Freedom | EP.01

Join Chanci for a heart-to-heart conversation about her journey to freedom through embodied eating. In this episode, Chanci shares her earliest memories of the diet cultures’ conditioning and works her way through the years until she gave up a high paying career selling weight loss shakes to devote her life to setting herself, and other women, free from the chains of the diet cultures’ lies. Chanci’s goal with this episode is to spark your own awareness of the impact of diet culture in your life so you can begin your own healing journey towards food and body love and freedom.


About the Host:

Chanci Dawn is a non-diet certified nutritionist, mindset and embodiment coach whose soul’s purpose is to help women create the most wildly free and loving relationship with food and their bodies. After over 30 years of dieting and recovering from her own eating disorder Chanci is determined to help women find the same freedom she has through embodied eating and pleasurable living. Chanci believes that when you fall madly in love with yourself you’ll have the power to change your world and from there you can change the world around you making embodied eating a deep and powerful form of activism! When she’s not coaching Chanci loves spending her time walking on the beaches and in the forests of her West Coast Canadian town, hanging out with her teens – or hiding from them while eating ice cream on her bathroom floor.


Find Chanci on the following platforms:






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Chanci Dawn:

This show is about freedom. Freedom from your constant struggle with food and letting the size of your thighs determine your worth. Join me weekly for no hope back unfiltered girlfriend kind of conversations that will inspire, teach and empower you. As we tune into our own body's wisdom and tune out of the diet industry live, we can live our most radiant, pleasurable and fulfilled lives. My name is Chanci Dawn. I'm a non diet nutritionist embodiment and mindset coach. But most importantly, I'm a woman on a mission to grow a deeply connected and conscious relationship with food and my body. And I'm here inviting you to do the same. Let's go.

Chanci Dawn:

Hello, and welcome to the very first episode of It Tastes Like Freedom super pumped, you're here. And I think I may have called the trailer the very first episode, but it's not. This one is. And I'm really looking forward to it. Because today, I'm going to share my story with you. Now, my goal, my desire in this is that this really feels like you and I are sitting across the table having tea or coffee together. Or perhaps we're going for a walk, you know, something intimate like that, where we can really get vulnerable, authentically share from our hearts, the experiences that have really led us to this place of me doing this podcast for you. And me, really having my entire career focused around helping other women find the freedom and the love of food again, and the freedom and the love of their body again. And what really brought you to the point of being ready for change of being ready to listen and tune into this show. And you know, perhaps join one of my programs, just why we are here. And this matters. Because when we get vulnerable with each other, when you know we can really connect from that deep truth, from that deep place from those hurts those wounds those memories of like I said, the lies and the conditioning that we all have, when we can do that, what really happens is number one, we can all realize how normal we are. And number two, it creates so much awareness and awareness is the first step towards healing. So this is why I'm here I'm wanting to share vulnerably with you today. And yeah, you're not here with me, you're not actually sitting across from me. In reality, I'm sitting here in my closet, staring at a screen of myself. But that's okay, we can still feel connected, we can still be here with each other. And what I really, really strongly encourage you to do is drop into your body, really drop into those emotions, those memories that you have, have your own experiences your own story, see if you can relate, see what comes up for you. And share these with other people, other women who you feel safe with, okay, this is where we want to start in a place of safety, share it, share it with people who you know, that you can be real with and allow that space for them to do so as well. And like I said, when you do so everyone will feel normal. And we can all move forward and start healing together. And please share this episode with others with other women who you're like, oh my goodness, this is what she needs to Okay. Okay. Okay. So my very first memory actually isn't a memory. What it is, it's a story that I've been told, as I was growing up by my mom, and we would laugh about it. So this was something that, you know, we thought was really funny and cute. But as I look back on it, I'm like, oh my goodness, this isn't funny. And it is definitely not cute. What it is, is a really good example, how deeply the diet culture can penetrate even the very young I was a baby when this happened. So when I was two, apparently I was having a shower with my mom. And I looked up at her and I'm like, Mommy, you're and I stopped and I didn't finish the sentence. But then I got really serious. And I'm like, Mommy, did you know that fats a bad word?

Chanci Dawn:

Now, when I think about this, this little baby me thinking that fat is a bad word, and that being fat is bad. It breaks my heart, it just really set the stage for so many of the other stories I'm going to share with you. And I'm not alone in this. This just really shows how the diet cultures lies get in there, they are so deep and so strong that even babies pick it up. So please, in this, I really want you to find compassion for yourself. As you listen to this, think about how you have been affected by these lies as well. And with compassion, I love to say to my clients, let's just like coat ourselves in warm honey like compassion, right? That like tenderness. Let's just love on ourselves in this as we get curious about the patterns and why our brains are thinking what they're thinking and believing what they're believing, again, awareness is everything. So fast forward to grade four. And this is one of like, the memories, that still goes Oh, a little bit, right. It's not a supercharged I've definitely worked through it. But it's one that I again, it's like, oh, because I just want to take my little nine year old self and give her such a big hug and comfort her in this. So what I remember is I was running really, really fast playing tag on the schoolyard with a bunch of my friends and the boy, I had a crush on him. His name was Scott, I can still remember him. He was chasing me. And this was thrilling. So I remember running and screeching and being so like, so excited. Just like you know, little girls are on the playground. And I looked back and I was running away from no one. He wasn't there. Oh my goodness, I remember just feeling so embarrassed and shame, that emotion of shame, just like he did. My body. It ran through me so deeply. And I searched for him. And I found him chasing after another one of my friends who was teeny tiny. She just had a small frame. And at that time at nine years old, I remember thinking, Well, no wonder Scott's not chasing me. I'm huge. I'm so fat. Why would he want to win, he could be chasing her. And from there, I went and sat down on the park bench. And I remember looking down at my thighs and thinking my thighs are so huge. They touch no one else's thighs are touching. None of my friends thighs are touching. Why do mine. And it just crushed me.

Chanci Dawn:

And it was at this stage when I really decided that I wanted to shrink myself. So I remember trying to restrict I didn't really understand dieting at this point. Like I didn't know calorie counting or, you know, any of the fads that were going on, I just wanted to eat less, because I thought that I would become smaller and then more beautiful. So I tried really hard. But at this sweet little age, my beautiful body signals, her hunger cues were strong. And this is such a good thing. But at the time, I didn't think so at the time, I thought something was wrong with me like, why am I getting so hungry? And why can't I not eat and all of these different things. So not only did I feel fat, but I also felt like a huge failure. I couldn't even do what I wanted to do and shrink myself. And this feeling carried forward. My entire childhood. And then I remember at 15 years old, we were having a Thanksgiving dinner at my grandma's and this is one of my most special things. I loved family dinners at Grandma's house felt so good. All my cousins were there. My aunts and uncles were always in the kitchen chatting. And it just felt really safe. I remember that emotion. But this time, after dinner was had all the guys went down into my grandparents living room and chatted and had dessert as they always do while the women cleaned. Oh, my goodness, crazy that that's the way it was but it was And inevitably, our conversation turned into dieting and how everyone was trying to resist having dessert. So all the guys were down there eating their dessert chatting and the women are upstairs cleaning talking about how they weren't going to have dessert and their latest diets that they were on. And I don't know who it was. But someone came up with a really lame idea to go into the bathroom and to weigh ourselves one by one to compare our weight that morning, because yes, everyone had weighed themselves that morning to the weight that they gained after eating dinner. And I remember being there, I didn't actually weigh myself, but I remember watching my mom, my aunt's my grandma, and really realizing that something was wrong. I remember thinking this isn't right. But there was so much confusion, I had such shame at that time for even wanting dessert, because it's actually all I could think about these beautiful desserts and confusion as to why they were doing this. And also confusion as to why the men weren't. Right. And this is when I first started really seeing the the evil side of the diet culture. I didn't realize that that's what it was. But I was starting to wake up. And it was around this time, shortly after that I shared with my grandma that my goal after after high school was to go to university to be a psychotherapist, for women who were suffering with eating disorders. So there was a very strong desire in me to be part of the difference, right to make it to be a change maker. And there's also a part of me that really just wanted to do this to be able to heal myself, because there was, you know, such dissonance.

Chanci Dawn:

On one hand, I'm like, there's a problem here on on the other hand, all I wanted to do was shrink and diet. So for the next couple of years, leading up to university. Again, this was always the desire, I wanted to be part of the change. But you know, what, my desire to be thin one at this time. And when I hit University, I all of a sudden found myself walking everywhere, I didn't have a car, and I hardly had any cash, there wasn't a lot of money for food. And just the change of pace, the you know, moving out of my parents house, my weight just dropped, I went to such a low, low body weight that I you know, looking back now I'm like, Oh, my goodness, that was really quite scary. My period stopped, my hair started falling out, I had absolutely no energy. I remember feeling really, really foggy. In class, I couldn't focus on my studies. And I was always super shaky. And but I was really, really, really, really thin. And finally, I was getting the attention from the boys. And people were making comments about my body. And someone were like, Oh, I'm so jealous, right. And I really loved that attention. And at the same time, I hated it. Because underneath it all was such a deep fear that I was going to gain the weight back. And this led me full force deep into what I would say was an eating disorder.

Chanci Dawn:

I both hated and loved this attention I was receiving. I loved it. Because yes, it was attention. And finally I felt valuable, right. I felt like I wanted to back on that playground in grade four. But I also hated it because I was terrified to gain the weight back. And I knew that as soon as I started eating that I would. And inevitably, that is what happened. So I met a guy, he was in the military and loved his beer and chicken wings and pizza. And at first I used willpower to really restrict and deny myself any of those things. But it didn't last long. And I was like after the first bite of pizza, everything came crashing down around me because my body was absolutely so malnourished and desperate for food. And I felt like again such a failure because I'm like What is wrong with me? I have no willpower. I have no self control. Look at me eating this stuff. I am so gross. I remember thinking these thoughts. And what was really happening is that I was actually just eating like a normal human being. I was I was eating like I needed. And because my body was in such a depleted state, I did gain the weight back, plus more and it came on fast. And I felt massive shame and so much confusion and It became all I could focus on. And then to top it off the guy I was seeing at this time, he really, really actually, he preferred me in the thin state because again, diet culture and fat phobia, and he called me names. When we went fight, he'd call me things like fat bitch fat, C, u and T, I don't like using that word, but it cut deep, because I believed it. And looking back at this, now, again, my gosh, I just want to go back to that. Or like, you know, early 20 year old self and give her such a big hug, and just rock her and tell her you are you are so worthy, you are so valuable, dump the guy and eat the food. So I'm really, again, really hoping that if you have similar experiences that you can relate to,

Chanci Dawn:

that this is touching home to you. And that also you we can't go back to that place. But that little less is still inside of us. And this is where we can hunico compassion and we can give ourselves these hugs and nurturing that we so deserved then, and that we deserve now. So this is part of healing the awareness and the gentleness and that nurturing the nurturing to wholeness. Okay, so, after this after that whole experience, I deep dove into tons of yo yo dieting, my body was resisting any sort of weight loss, and I would resist and binge and resist and binge resist and binge. And it just became it was like my job dieting was my job. And the the last or the big diet that I really remember hoping would be it was the clean diet. I bought all the books, I bought the magazine subscription I was in. And I remember the author in one of the books said, instructed to look in front of a mirror naked, and to assess your body and pick out the things you wanted to change. And if I'm remembering correctly in there, she said, you you won't be able to change what you need to unless you have awareness, something like that. Okay, so anyways, I remember standing in front of that mirror, completely naked, and finding things about myself that I didn't even know I didn't like. So there was a whole lot of things I was already already aware of. But this deep dove me into massive, massive hatred for my body. And it also led me into a very, very powerful struggle with binging and then spitting out my food. And I never did binge and purge, mostly because I was really afraid of harming my esophagus. I'd heard the stories, I knew that that was a big reality. And so I thought I was being really smart in you know, eating clean all the time. And then going to the grocery store. I would buy the slowpokes chocolate with peanut butter and caramel, a big huge bag of them. And I would plan this, I would buy this and then I would go to the certain park and I would sit in my car and like a storm binge eat, and then spit all of it into this bag that I would get from the grocery store and then chuck it in the garbage can before I left. And I remember getting a rush even thinking about doing this. And I thought I was being really really smart. I'm like this is a way that I can quote unquote, eat clean, lose weight and still taste the food still chew it still have that experience. And it wasn't until one day I was watching Oprah. And she was interviewing girls with eating disorders. And I was watching this and this one girl came on and she started talking about this like what I was doing. And I stood there in shock. I did not realize that this was actually part of disordered eating and you know, the eating disorder world. And I was just I stood there and I started to cry. And I remember thinking, oh my goodness, I can't believe it's gone this far. I felt so out of control, but I did not know how to change. I did not know how to help myself. So I decided to study holistic nutrition. And I at the time was a teacher and I quit teaching, I was at home with my little one.

Chanci Dawn:

So I had a lot of time. And I'm like, I'm going to deep dive into holistic nutrition become a registered holistic nutritionist so I can finally figure this out. And what I wanted to figure out is how I could really eat well, and be skinny, right? That health wasn't my goal. None of that i Well, it was, but I really at the time, correlated health to fitness. So I wanted to figure my own shit out. So I went back to school to study holistic nutrition. And instead of it doing what I wanted to do, it actually created more issues. So now all of a sudden, I knew all this stuff about nutrition. And I became hyper obsessed with eating, just a raw food or whole food diet and deep plunged myself into what they call orthorexia. And I didn't know again, that this was a thing at the time, but I definitely was thick into it, I was terrified to eat anything that wasn't deemed perfect food, right healthy foods superfood. And it began it, it actually did become my job and helping other people, you know, clean up their diet, but it was my obsession. And at this time, I had three little babies, I was in a very, very rough, failing marriage. And my little girl, Celeste had a brain tumor, I felt completely out of control. I was so depressed, and I was so lonely, I was looking for anything to feel better. And I thought, because this is what we're taught that becoming really, really thin would be the key. So when sweet friend of mine invited me to an evening, a gathering where we were all going to learn about nutritional foods. And all of this, I was like, Yes, I went.

Chanci Dawn:

And this was my first introduction to the network marketing company that I became very passionately a part of. So this first meeting was really interesting to me. I remember looking around and going, everyone is so friendly, everyone is so welcoming, and so nice. And it was really the community that I was very much drawn to. And then we watched this video, and we watched this video all about toxins in our blood and toxins in our body and what it was doing to us and what it was doing to the children that we were giving birth to even. And they they had the solution, they claimed to have the solution, and I bought in. So I did a 30 day program. And I lost a tremendous amount of weight. It really, really worked for me for a short period of time, it was a very low carb, low calorie diet that included around four days of fasting a month. So no wonder I lost weight. But also a big reason was the community aspect. It was the friends I was, you know, making through this. And it became my entire world. So I lost this weight. And then I started promoting the products. And I quickly grew in the company and I was making really, really solid money. Now I loved this because it like I said, it gave me community, I felt like I felt worthy because I was really, really thin. And it I got a lot of recognition. I was on stage a lot talking, sharing. And it really became my identity. I was very wrapped up in this. So But underneath all of it again, even though I loved it, I was terrified that I was going to gain the weight back terrified that everything was going to crash down around me. I you know, we were told that we had to be a product of the product in order to be successful in the business. And so everything that I struggled with was just intensified. And not only was I dealing with this, but I was now quote unquote, coaching other people through the same program. And this is when I got a wake up call. I saw the same things that I was dealing with happening and other people. I would be sitting on a phone call with them as they were crying about the things they were struggling with about the thoughts they were having about all of these different things. And my heart broke, it just shattered. And I remember after one particular phone call getting off and going I can't do this anymore. It's one thing to be wrapped up in it in for myself and be secretly struggling. But it was a whole other level to be impacting and influencing the same struggle in others. And that's what I really felt I was doing, you know, by actively promoting this business.

Chanci Dawn:

So I finally decided that this was enough, I was going to stop promoting the diet aspect of the business, and I was going to start working on me. And this was really terrifying, because like I said, my whole identity, my whole income, everything was wrapped up in this diet culture. And when I left, I lost this community, I really had to step into a new identity, and create security in my for myself and my family in other ways. And it was so scary, but I had to do it. I remember laying in bed feeling tons of anxiety and crying truly, guys, this was harder than my divorce. So even though leaving my business leaving this culture was treacherous to me, and I lost so much, what I found on the other side, has blown my mind. I decided that not only was I not going to be building this business, but I was also never going to dye it again. It was a very hard decision, but it's one that I made and that I promised myself that I would stick true to. And this journey this that one decision has led me down such a beautiful path. It I've read all the books, I've listened to podcasts and, like, shared with other people and just learn from other people. It's like I've soaked in absolutely everything I could to be able to, number one, create awareness and heal and navigate new. And this journey, even though it's been really beautiful, it has been hard and it's definitely full of ups and downs. There's still times when my brain is like, oh, Chauncey, that friend of yours just went on this diet, and she's lost that amount of weight. Perhaps you should check it out. But it's what I do with these thoughts that matter, right? And because we live in a deeply ingrained diet culture, and this is just where our brains are, like, like little babies, like even when I was two, right? This is so strong in us that I don't think we can ever expect not to have thoughts about it. And that's okay. But that is absolutely okay, that is not needed in order to be able to feel free. What we need to do instead is know how to deal with these thoughts. It's like, what now? Am I going to act on? What am I going to choose to believe? And this is so powerful, but it's not easy. And this is why I'm so now passionate about taking what I've learned and sharing it with others, building a community. And this is why so many of the programs out there are at first successful because of the community because of the support that that is received. But then they're all still diets.

Chanci Dawn:

So inevitably, what happens is that the weight is gained back and then some and we'll talk about why this happens in future episodes. But just know a diet is a diet is a diet. And that first part of this healing journey is to decide for yourself that you're never going to diet again. And then get the support you need to be able to keep this promise to yourself. So this podcast is going to be full of support for that. And, again, if you're wanting to coach with me and go deeper with it, let's chat about that you can just drop message me and we can set up a time to chat. Okay, so my goal for you is to really feel like your body is a trusted friend, who you get to skip down the path of life with this is such a fun little thought to me. I really see it as taking back, taking back all of those lies taking back the hurts going back to that little girl who love to play outside who love to feel free and skip and shriek with joy and to be able to do so in a body that you feel at home in free from all of that crap that you have been taught along the way and I am here to be that support that I wish I had along this own journey. I didn't. And that's okay because it's allowed me to create so many beautiful tools and juicy things to be able to now support you. And that is what I'm here for.

Chanci Dawn:

Oh, so there's my story. My goodness, it was hard to know which parts of it to share. But I really just pray that by listening to this, that you have been, that you have been inspired to create new patterns in your life, to be able to, to, you know, start your own journey towards freedom with embodied eating. And please reach out to me and again, please share this episode with other women who you know, are looking for this freedom who are ready for it too. Okay, my friend. Thank you so much for tuning in. I really look forward to connecting with you further, and I will see you next episode. Take care.

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