Episode 19 - Overcoming Emotional Eating with Danielle Brooks - Brigitte Factor Episode 19 - Overcoming Emotional Eating with Danielle Brooks - Brigitte Factor

Danielle Brooks joins me on this episode to discuss her transformation program Finally Free™. She is a best selling author, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Clinical Herbalist, Transformational Teacher, Professional Speaker, Mentor, and Spiritual Guide. We explore the topic of intuitive eating and how to navigate the thoughts, emotions and beliefs that keep people stuck in unhealthy behaviors. She shares the how she came to create Finally Free™ and many transformations she has witnessed as a result of this program.

You can purchase her book Good Decisions… Most of the time here:

You can join my upcoming session Finally Free™ here:

Learn how to become a Finally Free™ Instructor here:

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Episode 19 Transscript

Brigitte Factor 0:13 Hello and welcome to the hungry for truth podcast. I'm your host, Brigitte factor, a truth seeker, researcher, scientist, nutritionist, teacher in truth teller, and awakening is coming. Get ready for it.

Welcome back to the hungry for truth podcast. I'm your host Brigitte Factor. I have a fun guest with me today. Her name is Danielle Brooks. I've had the joy of getting to know Danny through a program called finally free. And I'm excited to talk about what that is today. And first, let me introduce her. Danielle is the author of good decisions most of the time. She is a best selling author, nutritional therapy practitioner, clinical herbalist, transformational teacher, professional speaker, mentor, and spiritual guide. She founded a Wellness Center in 1994, and has worked in the health care field for over two decades. She sold her company and launched good decisions finally free in 2019. With the intention to be a sun that lights 1000 suns for global impact. She uses our relationship with food and ourselves as a platform for self discovery, self awareness and transformation. Welcome to the podcast Dani.

Danielle Brooks 1:44 Thank you, Brigitte. I'm so excited to be here with you.

Brigitte Factor 1:48 Yes, I'm excited to have you. So you had a successful Wellness Center for many years. And I'd love for you to share your journey on how that came to be and what inspired you to get into the health and wellness field.

Danielle Brooks 2:02 Well, I'm actually I, it's I started out as a grocery checker, actually. And I was on my own at a very young age right around 17 years old, my mom moved across the country. And I wanted to graduate with my high school class. So I was working as a grocery checker and kind of you know, living on my own, got my own apartment did the whole adulting thing. And I just knew that I did not want to be a grocery checker for the rest of my life. And not that there's anything wrong with grocery checkers, but I just knew that there was something more for me. And so I just randomly picked physical therapy, I Oh, that sounds like fun. I'll do that. So I went back to school and studied physical therapy. And then from there, I became a massage therapist. And from a massage therapist. I did that for about 12 years and decided that it was time to transition to something else. And so that's when I became a nutrition professional. And the Wellness Center was something that just kind of popped up as I was going through my physical therapy, schooling, the group of PT's that I was working with at the time, I got a part time job with them. And they said, Hey, Danny, you know, why don't you just open up your own business right here in the corner? And I said, I can't do that. I don't know how to run my own business. And they said, Sure you can. And so I did. And the next thing I knew, I was seeing clients, and that was kind of how the Wellness Center started. And it's really, I think, important to say to anybody listening to the podcast that if you have that voice in your head that says I can't do that. Looking back on it, it was so much easier than I thought that it would be. And so yeah, so then that's how the Wellness Center was born. And I gradually got to the point where I was seeing so many clients that I had to hire somebody or cut back and I did the same thing. I said to the guys who were my mentors, I can't hire somebody, I don't know how to hire an employee. And they said, Sure, you can. It's easy. Just talk to your accountant about it. And so I did and that's how it all got started.

Brigitte Factor 4:13 Yeah, that's really great. Well, I love your story or your journey, because you get this inspiration, you have this little bit of doubt, but then you push through it. And it really sets the example for what finally free is all about and working the process with working with clients. I also love how you just let your intuition guide you a lot. Has that always been the case for you? Or have you had to develop that?

Danielle Brooks 4:40 No, I think that's something that I've had to develop especially because you know, I grew up with five kids in my family. And so we were all fighting for our parents attention. So we were constantly people pleaser, so my mom was a negative reinforcer. So I was really raised with this idea of that's not good enough. You're not getting good enough grades, you're not smart enough, you're not this enough, you're not bad enough. And so I was always actually not following my intuition, I was spending a lot of time doing what I thought other people wanted me to do. And it was there was a moment where it was just before my mom left, when she was getting ready to I was living in Seattle, and she had met a fellow and she was getting ready to move out to New York. And she said to me, Danny, you're solely responsible, you'll never make it on your own. And I remember at that point, just going, Oh, I'll show you, I will show you. And in a lot of ways, she was right. I was being very lethargic. I was, you know, being the typical teenager not wanting to do anything, but boy, that sure lit a little fire underneath me. And that's what gave me the drive to, to to choose something more for myself. And I think that's when I began to develop my intuition when I was on my own and outside of the family.

Brigitte Factor 6:07 Yeah, yeah, I had a similar story, you know, where I had those negative stories. But it really drew me more into the performance side of, you know, wanting to perform to outperform those stories. But that's still another story. Right? It's from one story to another story.

Danielle Brooks 6:29 Yeah, we get to choose our stories, so why not pick a good one?

Brigitte Factor 6:36 Yeah, so um, I want to switch back and talk about the book that you've written. And it's a best selling book called Good Decisions Most of the Time, because life is too short not to eat chocolate. And I Amen to that. I I completely agree. And I love how this book weaves together the nutritional fundamentals, along with the psychology of food. So can you tell us more about the book? And what prompted you to write it?

Danielle Brooks 7:01 Sure, sure. So when I became a nutrition practitioner, I began to customize eating plans for my clients. And I would put together these amazing eating plans. I mean, I would spend hours just, you know, and then when I would give them to my clients, it was like this, you know, this precious gift. But then they would come back a couple weeks later, and they would say, well, we couldn't do it, we couldn't implement the eating plan. And, and I was in the same boat, I was telling people to eat their vegetables during the day. And then I was going home at night, and I was binging on bacon cheeseburgers and french fries. And that's when I knew that I needed to make a change, it was time. And so I went and I found a counselor, and I was in counseling for about five years, and I had some personal things that were going on at the time, as well. But everything that I learned about my relationship with myself, also pertained to my relationship with food. I also began to study experts in the field of intuitive eating like Geneen Roth and, and I just kind of took what worked for me, and threw away what didn't. And as I did this, my work as a massage, or as a nutrition practitioner became more effective. And what I the skills that I was learning to eat intuitively, was helping my clients as well. And as I was going through this process I really wanted I mean, I was constantly looking up, okay, you know, what foods are great for liver congestion, or you know, what foods are really great for hormonal imbalance. And I was constantly doing research on what foods did was and the effect of sugar on the body and the macronutrients. And then as I started collecting this information, I thought, you know, what, a desk reference would be really great. And so that's, and I had my partner at the time said to me, if you could do anything in the world, what would you do? And at that time, I thought, Oh, I would write a book, because I've always loved to write. And so that's how the book was born. It was kind of like, the desk reference that I wanted relative to food in nutrients, with a little bit of the psychology of food at the end. And that's how it was born at that time in my journey.

Brigitte Factor 9:15 That's great. I love the book. I think it's a great reference book. And we can post a link to the book for people that are interested in it and it's a really great guide gives you lots of nutritional information and takes you step by step through how to address some of those healing foundations of the body. So that's, that's really good. So you're talking about learning intuitive eating and how how even for you sometimes sticking to the plan was hard. And I think nutritionist struggle with that imposter syndrome of we're giving our clients this information. We're supposed to be setting the example but the reality is we're dealing with our own stuff too. So I love how how open and real we can be about that. And and then then that brought you to this place of or concept of intuitive eating. And I'm going to be real and say the first time I heard of intuitive eating, I was like, that sounds dumb. Because I didn't. I didn't know what it was, you know, to me, I really had to work hard and changing my diet and following a specific plan in order to get past some of my health issues. But what I've learned about it, it's so much more than that. So could you explain what Intuitive Eating is?

Danielle Brooks 10:34 Yeah, intuitive eating. And I'm, there's so many people that feel the exact same way. But I tell you, the next big wave isn't going to be the keto diet or the Paleo diet, it's going to be intuitive eating because it works. So Intuitive Eating is where we stop the looking outward for what's the right diet for me? Is it the Paleo diet? Is it the keto diet? Do I need to be on the the FODMAP diet right now which one is going to be we're looking outside of ourselves? Instead of doing that we look inward, and we say, Okay, what does my body do with this food, because everybody is so uniquely, biochemically bio individually different. So where one person might do well, on a keto diet, another person might not do well at all. So eating intuitively is returning to our own inner guidance, and really paying attention and listening to our body. It's eating when we're hungry. Okay, so am I hungry? Asking the physical body? Am I hungry? If the answer is yes, then by all means, eat something. And then if you eat something, you know, paying attention to how your body feels with it. So if you eat wheat, for instance, and the next thing you know, you've lost mental clarity, or you're starting to feel really inflamed, or you're starting to feel really bloated, then that's an indication that your body may not do well with wheat. Other people may do fine with weight. So it's really lovely intuitive eating, because it really stops all the outside noise and takes us home to ourselves, where instead of labeling food as good or bad or right or wrong, we can say no, this is cause and effect. This is how this food affects my body. And yeah, I can enjoy this food. It also takes away the guilt and the shame of, of okay, let's say that I know that maybe let's just use wheat as an example, that my body doesn't do well with wheat, and I eat it. And I get this reaction. And all of a sudden guilt and shame comes in, oh, I knew I shouldn't have eaten that weight. I knew I shouldn't have done that. Intuitive Eating doesn't do that. Intuitive eating takes it as a learning experience. We're gaining wisdom, and it's enjoying your food, no matter what you eat without the guilt and the shame. And it's just learning from the experience. And then just hopping back onto we'll call it the wagon of of being true to you and your own inner guidance and what your body is asking for.

Brigitte Factor 13:19 Yeah, I think that's really deep and important for a lot of people to understand. It's not about following rules, and putting your authority on someone else or something else. But really taking authority for your own health and listening to what your body really needs. But I also really think it's important to to let go of that judgment about it. Because that alone can keep us stuck and make it difficult for us to make those changes. So what do you find gets in the way for most people and trying to make diet and lifestyle changes?

Danielle Brooks 14:01 Oh, it's it's always our thoughts, our beliefs, and our emotions. Think of emotional eating right, we use food to feed, soothe or avoid our emotions. So if I come home and I've had a crappy day, the first thing that I want to do is reach for that glass of wine or you know, whatever is in the cupboard, that's going to make me feel better, right? And so it's not a matter of a matter of managing our food intake is really a matter of managing our thoughts, our beliefs and our emotions. And that's really what finally free is about that's really the meat of the program is teaching people how to handle these emotions when they arise because emotions can be really scary. You know, I remember the first time I sat with my emotions, I thought my head was gonna blow off. But, but it's really worth the process because when you come out the other side, you learn to self govern. You are you take the reins of control back into your own hands, where you get to choose not your thinking mind or your unruly emotions.

Brigitte Factor 15:09 Yeah, it's, it's interesting to think about it when you take a step back that your thoughts, beliefs and emotions are really what drive your behaviors and even at a subconscious level. So that's what one of the reasons are a big reason I love the finally free program and, and their approach and that approach to working through some of these things. And we'll come back and touch on the emotional piece. But first, I wanted to ask you about how you put together the finally free program. How did that come to me?

Danielle Brooks 15:44 Yeah, so as I was, as I was going through my own journey, I would create strategies. And so I owned the Wellness Center in Seattle for 25 years. So it grew eventually to 18 employees and over 800 referring providers. And so I got to the point where I was so busy, I was hiring other practitioners, and but I still loved practicing nutrition, and I would come up with these strategies. And then I would put them into something that I would use to help with my clients. And so I created like the five step dissipater, you know, the how to deal da da da, and how to deal with emotions. And I just began to accumulate all this material. And then when I hired another nutrition professional, she, I took her through what I was doing when I was learning, and she said, Dani, this is amazing, you should teach workshops. And I thought to myself, Oh, that would be fun, I would love to do that. So then I began to compile all the information that I had accumulated and put them into seven weekly workshops. And so I'll never forget my first group that I brought in, they were really great. From they came in from the the Wellness Center. And after the seventh visit, they were like, We don't want to end we don't want we don't want this to stop because they had bonded with each other they had shared they become vulnerable. They they really felt connected with this work. And so I said, Well, why don't we just keep going, but we'll go like once a month instead. And they said, Yeah, that would be great. And so then I was like, Holy shit, I got to create 10 more workshops. So, so then, but this was really great, because I would look at what their struggles were, and then I would create a workshop. And then I would look at what their struggles were and then I would create another workshop. So I was always kind of like one step ahead of them dealing with whatever problems they had that were coming up or that I had that was coming up. And, and that ended up just being this wonderful year long program of taking our clients through this transformational process. And then once we have that all implemented and in, you know, in, in process at the Wellness Center, the same nutritional therapist came to me and said, Dani, you should teach this to other nutrition professionals. And I thought to myself all that would be a lot of fun. And so that's when I approached the NTA and the NANP and asked them if they were interested in an application for a CEU provider. And they said, Yeah, we would love that. So we are finally free is CEU providers for both the National Association of Nutrition Professionals and the Nutritional Therapy Association.

Brigitte Factor 18:34 Yeah, and that's how I came to find the program was through both of those, I'm members of both of those. So that's how I found it. And it's, it's really, again, coincidence, not really, because but I was going through my own emotional struggles and learning how to really sit with my emotions and and tap into the wisdom that those my emotions was trying to teach me. And I came across your program, which is talks about that in a way as it relates to the our food and our health choices and those kinds of things. And so, I would really like you to expand on more about, about the emotional piece about where do our emotions come from? How does that play a role? What is it in our in our food choices in our daily life? And how can we begin to tap into what they're telling us?

Danielle Brooks 19:35 Yeah, so emotions arise from our thoughts and they're not they're not the bad guys, right? They're when we're young things happen to us. And we make decisions, key decisions in our life. Regarding certain things, you know, for instance, if my mom was a negative reinforcer, and this was information that was constantly coming at me, my mind with thinks I thought, well, that's not good enough, that's not good enough, I must not be good enough, right. And that thought is what releases chemicals that trigger an emotional response in my body, that feeling of not being good enough. And that feeling, again triggers more thoughts. So thoughts and emotions are in this feedback loop, you know, when we have a thought it releases an emotion. So if I have this thought that, oh my gosh, it's a beautiful day, I'm so excited, then those chemicals are released, which triggers a certain emotional response in my body. And so emotions are really patterns that we've accumulated throughout our lives. And we know that there are emotions that that do get embedded into our physical body. You know, sometimes people will talk about emotional releases, people who are going through massage therapy, or people who are actually in the process of facing their emotions, when you face your emotion, it arises within you. And that's how you release it and let it go. So when it comes to food, food is often used to soothe right? I come home, I've had a bad day, I want to soothe myself, or I want to avoid something, maybe life is calling me to be something greater than what I am. But I'm scared to go there. And so I can avoid that by taking a deep dive into ice cream, right? So we can feed we can soothe we can avoid your feeding is the sense of not enough-ness, you know, this is the most common Can I swear on this podcast? Say bullshit belief. Because it is it's it's not true. This, this this rampid feeling that we're not good enough. And it's not true. But it's a learned belief that's triggered this emotional, almost a pain body, you can say within us. And so basically, when it comes to food in order to move through the emotions through the negative thoughts, we just have to increase our awareness of them and just begin to break them down and face them one by one, and ask the question, Is that true, and it might have served me back when I was young to keep me safe or protected. But maybe I just don't need it anymore. So it is, you know, when it comes to emotional eating, it's a painful thing to be stuck in the cycle of emotional eating. And it's also a painful thing to move out of the cycle of emotional eating. Because in order to move out of the cycle, we have to face it, we have to say, Okay, this is the belief that I held, these are the emotions that I'm holding in my body, these are the patterns that are not true that I'm going to move beyond. And then when someone can face those and move through them, then they're free out on the other side that's finally free. And it's it's kind of like, like we were talking about earlier, starting a business. When I first thought about starting my business, I was scared to death. I was like, I can't do that. There's no way I could do that. And it's the same with emotional eating, oh, I can't face my emotions, I can't move through that. Because I don't know what I'm going to be like on the other side. You know, it's almost like transitioning from one personality to another personality. And we think that it's so scary. But when we actually do it, we look back and we go, oh my god, that was not nearly as hard as I thought that it would be. And so people now we know that overcoming emotional eating can be done. We know how to do it. We know how to deal with our thoughts, our beliefs and our emotions. The question is, is do we have the courage enough to face it, to do it and to move beyond it? To be finally free?

Brigitte Factor 24:11 Yeah, that's very powerful. And I can attest to how powerful this program is going through it, you know, having gone through the process, and it seems scary at first to face those things. But then actually having the courage to move through it and realizing how much better off and at a better place that you are on the other side of that. So what what kind of results or transformations have you seen in clients that have gone through the program?

Danielle Brooks 24:44 Hmm. Oh, it's really wonderful. The things that are the most exciting are the clients that realize the thoughts that they think are not true. Really, I'm assuming I'm good enough. Really I'm good enough. And then it's kind of like they come out of this dark closet. And then they're like, Well, what do I do now? And then it's like, well, what do you want to do now? And so the fun part is, is the exploration of, you know, what do they want to do next now that they can. And so I've seen people quit their jobs, I've seen them leave relationships, I've seen them start new relationships, I've seen them go from money issues where they're stuck in this feeling of scarcity, or this relationship with money that they inherited from their parents. And I've seen them let go have that and step into full abundance and double and triple their businesses. I've seen nutrition practitioners who had no idea how to grow their practices, open up wellness centers and become so busy that they need to hire people. I've also had nutrition practitioners realize that you know what, this really isn't what I want to do. And that's okay, I took this program, because I wanted to learn for myself. And now I'm ready to embark on this other journey over here. So I think the thing that I see the most, and it's not just the big stuff, it's also the little breakthroughs I said, I guess you could call them the little self realizations of, oh, I am whole, I am complete. And who am I really beyond this thinking mind that's been ruling me for so long. Because when we move beyond our thoughts, and we move beyond our beliefs, and our emotions, we get this little glimpse of who we really are, beneath all of that stuff. And that's really this wonderful, peaceful, being Bing, that is so whole and so complete. And I would say that's the favorite part of of teaching this work is the little breakthroughs, the little, the little things that come up that people experience that just add up over time.

Brigitte Factor 27:07 Yeah, that sounds amazing. And I'm excited to bring this program to my community. For that reason I it's, it's kind of sneaky, because it's it's an emotional eating program that's really targeting people that are struggling with that. But there's so much more to it, and you start to peel back the layers and experience so much more, get so much more benefits out of that. So I want to shift back to the program specifically. And you've got these seven weeks that you take clients on a journey, or that we take clients on a journey. Will you share a little bit more about that journey that they go through in that seven weeks?

Danielle Brooks 27:51 Sure, sure. So the first thing that we take them through is a is a no sugar challenge. And it's more of it's more of a Whole Foods way of eating, it's kind of a really cleansing, hypoallergenic way of eating, designed to get people out of the cycle of sugar addiction quickly, because when we're talking about emotional eating, when you're in the grips of sugar addiction, and your blood sugar levels are surging and crashing, it's very hard to manage your emotions. And so the very first thing that we do is we get them out of the cycle of sugar addiction quickly within two to four weeks. And then during that process, we take them through where they can handle their emotions. Because once you get those blood sugar levels balanced out, then the emotions just calm down to a nice, it's just a really lovely grounded feeling when your blood sugar levels are balanced, then we take them through a series of empowerment. So one of the workshops is really about feeling your own inner power. We've been taught how to literally shrink and be small with the world around us. It's not okay to shine your light, right? You know, who do you think you are kind of stuff. So, you know, one workshop is about, okay, how do you open up and step into your power? How do you feel your inner power? How can you work walk through the world, not as a victim, but as somebody that is grounded in their inner power? And then we take them through a series of workshops that have to do with how to have like thoughts, your thoughts 101 write, how to handle your thinking mind, how to deal with your beliefs, how to deal how to handle your emotions, we take people through the six human needs, how are we using food to meet our emotional needs? And what are some fulfilling alternatives that we could be reaching for instead? So we're not just taking things away. We're actually bringing things in we're adding to the individual's life What are some of the other workshops in that seven week workshop, and then we move them out of the sugar out of the no sugar challenge into the good decisions lifestyle. And this is where they're making good decisions most of the time, because life is too short not to be taught not to eat chocolate, we teach them how to eat intuitively, how what is, how do you know, when you're hungry, we teach them the hunger check, we have this hunger scale, so that we can relate to them on where they're at, we teach them to enjoy their food, most importantly, because so many people have this belief that food is the enemy, because it's food that's making me overweight. And we're human beings who eat and so it's really important to enjoy your food and be in tune with your body. So we teach them how to eat intuitively, and how to deal with the negative thoughts and the emotions that arise as you're going through this process. And then the seventh workshop is really the transitioning into the maintenance, you know, they've, they've gotten out of the cycle of sugar addiction, they've gone into intuitive eating. And then as they go into maintenance, we're kind of taken off the training wheels. And we're saying, Okay, now you're, you're on your own, and we're gonna throw you into maintenance for a while, we're going to see you, you know, once a month, although some practitioners will, will shorten the workshops and do every week or every two weeks, depending upon what they choose to do, because there's flexibility with the program. So it's designed to take the individual through the six phases of lasting change, where literally, they come out the other side, and they go, Wow, I did it, I actually did it, I'm at peace with food in my body.

Brigitte Factor 31:39 Yeah, it is a very powerful program. And I think it's important to, even though we talk about the program being releasing judgment around food and, and not, you know, learning to tap into your own intuition about food, it does start with a 30 day, no sugar challenge, because that piece of it is important to help break that addiction and break that cycle. And then we can transition clients into and to developing those tools to listen to what food is really doing for them. And to releasing that judgment around it as well. Yeah, and I think that's really important and powerful for people. So I'm really excited to be offering this program, and I'm going to be offering a group in January. So I'm ready to share the the light of this program and how transformational it can be. So if you're listening in are interested in the program, or would like to sign up, you can head to my website at Brigittefactor.com, forward slash finally dash free, and that link will be in the show notes as well. So Dani, for someone out there listening, that's really struggling with emotional eating and having trouble reaching the weight that they want to reach, what would you say to them, what would be?

Danielle Brooks 33:03 I would say, be gentle with you. So often, we use food to almost punish ourselves. And so the first thing that I would say is stop being mean to you. Stop it, stop it. And, and, and then from there, I would also have them face those emotions. Because you know, saying stop, it is just, you know, it's an easy thing to do. But when that self hatred or anger comes rising to the surface, it's really common for people to really push it down, or internalize it. And so I would say, sit in front of a mirror for half of a day. And just be with yourself and just get it out, cry, be angry, be pissed off. And then eventually, you'll reach a point where you'll start comforting yourself. And then you'll get to a point where you might even experience a little bit of compassion and self love. But that's kind of the phase this you know how it goes. So I would say be gentle as you go through this process, and have the courage to face those emotions that just want to be felt like, oh, and then move beyond them.

Brigitte Factor 34:18 Yeah, very powerful. Thank you. I have loved this podcast and talking with you. Again, you bring so much wisdom and energy to the work that you do and to this program that you've developed. So I'm really excited to share it and to bring that forth into my community in my world. So I really thank you for being on the show. Do you have any parting comments or thoughts that you would like to share?

Danielle Brooks 34:49 Yeah, I would say if anybody is interested in teaching this work, I also have a training that's coming up in January, January 11. So Have any nutrition practitioners out there holistic health coaches are interested in teaching this work. The website is finallyfreeworkshops.com.

Brigitte Factor 35:08 Yeah, absolutely. And I'll put that in the show notes as well. It is a really powerful program. And I've had one person reached out to me asking me about it already. So definitely want to share, spread that share that program with others to get that out there. So thank you.

Danielle Brooks 35:27 You're welcome. Oh, and also I say the beautiful thing about this work is and this is the sun that lights 1000 suns. So as you as I've touched your life, and now you are out touching other people's lives, and those people that you touch will touch lives. And that's the sun that lights 1000 suns, so thank you for being a sun.

Brigitte Factor 35:49 Well, thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much for being on the show. And thank everyone for listening and I like to end with until next time, grace and peace.

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