Setting Boundaries & Food as an Emotional Crutch

#398: Setting Boundaries & Food as an Emotional Crutch

Diane Sanfilippo Featured, Paleo and Primal, Podcast Episodes Leave a Comment

Setting Boundaries & Food as an Emotional Crutch Topics

  1. News and updates from Diane [2:00]
    1. Meals and spices
    2. Beautycounter
    3. Cassy Joy's new book
  2. What we ate for dinner last night [11:00]
  3. People pleasing and setting boundaries [14:07]
  4. Everyday life and setting boundaries [23:39]
  5. The flipside to boundary setting [34:50]
  6. Food as an emotional crutch [43:11]
  7. Favorite health podcasts to follow [56:16]

The episodes are also available in iTunes, Spotify & Stitcher.


People Pleasing is Dishonest 

No One Ever Calls Themselves a “Recovering Boundary Setter.”

 Show sponsors:
NTA | Podcast Sponsor | Balanced Bites Podcast | Diane Sanfilippo





Setting Boundaries & Food as an Emotional Crutch Setting Boundaries & Food as an Emotional Crutch Setting Boundaries & Food as an Emotional Crutch Setting Boundaries & Food as an Emotional Crutch

You’re listening to the Balanced Bites podcast episode 398.

Diane Sanfilippo: Welcome to the Balanced Bites podcast. I’m Diane; a certified nutrition consultant, and the New York Times bestselling author of Practical Paleo and the 21-Day Sugar Detox. My newest book, Keto Quick Start, released on January 1, 2019. I live in San Francisco with my husband and fur kids.

Liz Wolfe: I’m Liz; a nutritional therapy practitioner, and author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller Eat the Yolks; The Purely Primal Skincare Guide; and the online program Baby Making and Beyond. I live on a lake in the mystical land of the Midwest, outside of Kansas City.

We’re the co-creators of the Balanced Bites Master Class, and we’ve been bringing you this award-winning podcast for nearly 8 years. This show will be coming to a close with episode 400 in mid-May; however, we will have all of the episodes saved for you to listen, or relisten, any time you want. Stay tuned for more info on Diane’s new show with Cassy Joy Garcia; Driven.

Remember our disclaimer: The materials and content within this podcast are intended as general information only, and are not to be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Before we get started, let’s hear from one of our sponsors.

Liz Wolfe: Today’s podcast is sponsored by Vital Choice wild seafood and organics. America’s leading purveyor of premium, sustainable seafood and grass-fed meats, and a certified B corporation. Their popular Vital Box program delivers top customer favorites directly to your door. Any mix of wild salmon, fish, and shellfish that you prefer. Vital Choice offers a wide range of wild seafood; from top shelf Alaskan salmon and halibut, to Portuguese sardines and mackerel. Plus, mouthwatering grass-fed meats and poultry. Be sure to save 15% on one regular order with the promo code BBPODCAST or get $15 off your first Vital Box with the promocode BBVITALBOX from now through the end of the year.

1. News and updates from Diane & Liz [2:00]

Liz Wolfe: Hey, Diane!

Diane Sanfilippo: Hey!

Liz Wolfe: What’s happening over there?

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} I always giggle because you're in your really awesome recording booth, and I'm not even being sarcastic. Because Liz is set up to record in her closet, and the sound is so good. And I feel like that’s…

Liz Wolfe: Finally after like 6 years. 6 or 7 years, we got good sound.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. Yeah, well. I mean; and my entire house could fit inside that closet, by the way. Just in case anyone was wondering.

Liz Wolfe: Oh my god. You overstate; I’m taking a selfie in my closet so people can see; hold on.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing}

Liz Wolfe: I want to get the microphone in there.

Diane Sanfilippo: So what’s going on over here; I don’t know. Just refocusing work and life. I’m not writing a book this year, in case anyone; that’s my accountability statement this year. I will not write a book this year.

Liz Wolfe: I’ll believe that when I see it.

Diane Sanfilippo: Well you will see it.

Liz Wolfe: I’ll believe that on December 31, 2019.

Diane Sanfilippo: You’ll believe it when the year comes to a close and no books have been written.

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s true. So really focusing on meals and spices. Because they’re kind of this full circle situation. The meals; folks know that Balanced Bites, the whole name of the company was originally created as a meal business. And then that transitioned into my nutrition business. And then this podcast. But that name really came from me balancing meals to different people’s needs and macronutrients and all that. So, it’s just so crazy to me the journey that’s happened with this brand.

So just focusing on meals and spices. And of course, my Beautycounter business and team, which has been really fun. Yeah. So big stuff coming with meals. For those of you who have ordered meals in the coming weeks, there will definitely be a way to order choose your own adventure type of box that you're putting together; where you can pick which items you want, or how many, etc. So stay tuned on that. And spices; more fun things are coming down the pipeline for spices as well. But yeah, those are kind of the big things.

And then, for those of you who follow along on Instagram, you’ll notice that most of what I'm doing on the Diane Sanfilippo page is kind of a little more personal/me/personal development and entrepreneurship. There’s a bit more of the Beautycounter stuff there, as well. Because I’m really trying to focus the Balanced Bites account to be more food focused. I said focused twice. {laughs} But it doesn’t mean I’ll never post food, because food is totally part of my life. But if I’m doing a cooking series, or posting a lot of product recommendations, most of that is going to be over on the Balanced Bites account. Just @BalancedBites, not the podcast account. So if you're not yet following there, go ahead and follow along.

And then a quick note for those of you who are following the Balanced Bites podcast account, hang with us there because that account is going to both transition to the new show. So if you're following there, you’ll automatically be following when we transition to the new show; Driven, with myself and Cassy Joy. And what we are also going to do are some flashback Fridays, where we flashback to some old episodes of the Balanced Bites podcast. Of Cassy’s Fed and Fit podcast. So for those of you who have loved learning along with Liz and myself, and with Cassy on her show, this is a way to make sure that you're still seeing some of the archived episodes. And hearing some of those topics as well. So we’ll talk more about how to keep learning about health related stuff a bit later.

But what’s going on over there, besides the fact that it looks like it’s summer because you're in a tank top, and I’m of course bundled up because it’s always chilly in San Francisco. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Yeah, it’s getting beautifuler and beautifuler out here for sure. And it’s nice because I think; you know, you don’t know what you have until you don’t have it. That seems to have been the theme over the winter, where we live at this amazing community with this lake, and everyone is super outdoorsy and sporty. And then we have all of these amazing things to do when the weather is nice. Tennis, golf, this little lake that we live at, the beach. Just walking around, being outside. Just tootling around in your golf cart on the main roads. It’s really, really fun. It’s a total hidden gem. But then when the winter comes around, I feel like it’s that much more depressing, and you're just like; I hate everything. Because you don’t have that anymore. You don’t get to do it anymore. And now that it’s getting to be nicer again, I feel like everybody is rediscovering their happiness. {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: People are out. They’re walking. They’re waving to each other. Nature play, school time. It’s just a lot more fun and a lot happier when the sun is shining and it gets warm. We had a gnarly winter; it was just yucky in Kansas City. There were some days where, from one day to the next, it would drop like 45 degrees.

Diane Sanfilippo: Oof!

Liz Wolfe: And of course, that always makes me get sick, and my daughter was sick a couple of times over the winter. Which is just really obnoxious and annoying. So it’s happier here.

And, in other happy news, I received my advance copy of Cassy Joy Garcia’s new book.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yes! It’s here on my desk!

Liz Wolfe: Cook Once, Eat All Week.

Diane Sanfilippo: That is such a fun day, right?

Liz Wolfe: I’m so excited about it. So that’s pretty much it. Obviously you know that I’m not the best cook, but I do love the concept, especially for just busy people.

Diane Sanfilippo: I feel like this is up your alley.

Liz Wolfe: It is, yeah. It is. And you know; yeah. It is totally up my alley. And Colleen is moving on with her life at the end of May, which is so many transitions for me.

Diane Sanfilippo: Oh my goodness.

Liz Wolfe: The podcast coming to an end, Colleen is starting her life. She was with us; we were lucky to have her for as long as we’ve had her. Her husband just got back from the Peace Corps, so it is time for them to move on and start their lives. They’re very outdoorsy, their farm to table-y type of people. And I just don’t think Kansas City has everything they want in a place to live. So I totally understand, and just send them off with so much love and happiness that they were in our lives for a period of time. But I’m going to have to start cooking and handling some of my own business again. {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: Well, I’ll send you some meals and that will help.

Liz Wolfe: Thank you.

Diane Sanfilippo: But I really think this is totally; I mean, I just see this as being your jam where you're like; I can make these three batch cooked; like a protein, veg, and a starch. And then, I’ll put it together with different sauces or different herbs or whatever, where it’s like super straight forward. I don’t know. I think it’s awesome.

I was just actually Voxing; messaging with Cassy. Because as I look at it, and as I watched her on Instagram. This episode is going to be airing for the first time on May 2nd, so the book is out. So get it! Cook Once, Eat All Week. But I’m just really proud of her, and also impressed at this concept. Because I’ve never seen it before. And I have tons of friends who do meal prep; my friend, Jenny Casteneda, does meal prep over at Cook and Savor on Instagram. And I think that approach is fantastic, too. Lots of people follow that approach. Just a little bit more of a traditional meal prep. But, this is just so creative, and so practical. And I think a lot of busy moms are loving it. So anyway. I just took over your what’s going on. {laughing} So come back.

Liz Wolfe: That’s fine. She’s our friend, we love her, and we want to support her. And everybody should be excited about this book. It really is; I mean, it really is a new concept. It is not something that I’ve seen before. I’ve tried to; you know, you always tell people; use leftovers, and reuse this. And it just doesn’t; the execution of it for me is just never, never smooth. So this is one that I’m really going to dig into it.

And by the way, my husband, who is way more keto oriented than I am. He does the keto and the fasted and all of that stuff. He is loving your cookbook; he’s loving Keto Quick Start. That’s been really great for him. So I know he; I’m going to have to hide those meals from him, if you send me some meals, I’m going to have to hide them. Because I know he’s really into that. So I’m just really lucky to have such talented friends. That’s all.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} Your enunciation on the word keto is my favorite.

Liz Wolfe: I know!

Diane Sanfilippo: Because it reminds me; there’s a meme out there, where it’s like; I’m trying the keto diet. And it’s like somebody ties a key to their toe; their big toe. {laughs} They’re like; am I doing it right?

Liz Wolfe: Whatever, Diane. Say mayonnaise.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mayonnaise.

Liz Wolfe: You did that on purpose.

Diane Sanfilippo: I can say it however you want me to say it.

Liz Wolfe: Mayonnaise. You usually say mayo-nnaise.

Diane Sanfilippo: Because it’s mayo.

Liz Wolfe: We’re going to go to Florida.

Diane Sanfilippo: Florida?

Liz Wolfe: Florida.

2. What we ate for dinner last night [11:00]

Liz Wolfe: Alright. Let’s talk about something else food related. Let’s talk about what did you eat for dinner last night, Diane?

Diane Sanfilippo: I mean, I feel like I’m being so cliché. This sounds like an ad, but this is the truth. Scott’s out of town right now. Not right now as you guys are listening. But he’s out of town; he’s in Portland for an ART recertification.

Liz Wolfe: Oh, I need some ART right now. That’s good stuff.

Diane Sanfilippo: It is good stuff. So I’m totally cliché single person at home while he’s away, and I had Balanced Bites meals. I had my bolognese spaghetti squash bolognese. Heated it up. Put a little extra; because I’m extra like this. Put a little extra grated cheese on top. A little pesto. And, I mean, I think that’s my favorite meal in the box. My number one favorite. So I never let Scott eat that one; I always eat that one pretty much first. So that was what I had. What did you have for dinner last night?

Liz Wolfe: Well this is going to sound like an ad. I had Vital Choice; I probably say this wrong. Keta salmon. It’s like not super salmon-y salmon. It’s so good. My daughter asks for it every day.

Diane Sanfilippo: Aww. That’s really cute.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. It’s yummy. And then some vegetables that Colleen made. {laughs} Can I tell you, too? This is so funny. My daughter is very intelligent; well spoken. I was, as well, as a kid. And the one thing that she says so funny is vegetables. She calls them “vegables.” {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: It reminds me of the episode of I Love Lucy where she’s talking about vitameatavegamin. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Vitameatavegamin. And she’s taking it, and getting wasted basically, right?

Liz Wolfe: Hammered.

Diane Sanfilippo: Isn’t that what; yeah.

Liz Wolfe: Oh it’s so good.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s amazing.

Liz Wolfe: I actually quoted that episode in my book.

Diane Sanfilippo: Vitameatavegamin?

Liz Wolfe: I quoted an episode of Vitameatavegamin, I think it was, “If you poop out at parties.” Or something like that {laughing}.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: It had something to do with carbs, or energy, or something. Calories. I can’t remember. Anyway.

Diane Sanfilippo: Amazing.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: The Balanced Bites podcast is sponsored in part by the Nutritional Therapy Association. The NTA trains and certifies nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants (including me; I’m an NTP), emphasizing bio-individuality and the range of dietary strategies that support wellness. The NTA emphasizes local, whole, properly prepared nutrient dense foods as the key to restoring balance and enhancing the body’s ability to heal.

The NTA’s nutritional therapy practitioner program and fully online nutritional therapy consultant program empower graduates with the education and skills needed to launch a successful, fulfilling career in holistic nutrition. If you're interested in learning about holistic nutrition but don’t necessarily want to become a practitioner, check out their new Foundational Wellness course. To learn more about the NTA’s nutritional therapy programs, go to Registration is now open for their May class through April 26th. You can learn more and save your seat by going to

3. People pleasing and setting boundaries [14:07]

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok. So today we’re going to talk about people pleasing and boundaries. And I was posting a bit about this on my Instagram just a few weeks ago. And I think it’s worth a conversation here, as well. We’ve definitely heard from listeners that you guys love health oriented topics, but you also really love these kinds of personal development, boundary; you just have really been enjoying this kind of set of life-lessons along with the health and nutrition content. So we want to continue the conversation.

And we’ll put a link to a couple of posts I did on Instagram in the show notes. You can find them, back again a few weeks ago with some red background, white text sort of deal. But I just want to kind of go into this discussion. And I think this is a good one for both of us, because we obviously have really different personalities, Liz, and the way that we handle expectations, and saying yes to things or not and all of that.

But really talking about the consequences of people pleasing and not setting boundaries. And this concept also that it’s not about not serving others. Or being helpful, or supportive. It’s really about the intent behind when people say yes to things that sometimes when people say yes, it’s really not with this super generous giving of self background to it. Or underlying intent. It’s really more out of fear. Because it’s this fear that if I don’t say yes, it will mean that you might not like me. Or you think I’m not generous. Or you won’t love and accept me. Or whatever it is that’s like this fear based response, instead of a love based response. And those are kind of the two places we can be responding from at any given time.

So, I don’t know. I’m just curious what your take is on this. Where you’ve been with it. Where you are now, where you see yourself going. I can talk about this too a little bit because I know people think I’m all hard edges all the time, and it’s just not really the case. But what’s your thought on that?

Liz Wolfe: No, you’ve got a squishy side.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: You’ve got some squish. This is a really good topic, and I think a lot of times we maybe recognize our inability to set boundaries, maybe in retrospect. And that’s definitely been the case for me, as an adult, looking back at; I don’t know. Maybe all the way back into childhood. But certainly later high school and college specifically. And if you’ve got kids in the car, maybe skip forward 30 seconds. Because specifically as far as sexual boundaries, as a younger person, where there were real issues that I had saying no to people and going beyond my level of comfort as a young person and into college. Because it is that extreme for some people. You are afraid somebody is not going to like you. It doesn’t matter if those people are worth being liked by or not. You are so worried about whether or not someone is going to like you that you will do things that you're not comfortable with.

And I can look back, and I can see those really stark examples of an inability to set boundaries. But it’s not that stark for everyone. I feel like, for some people, they give and give and give and they don’t quite realize; yet it’s causing them a ton of stress and a ton of anguish in their lives, and they just don’t even realize it’s happening. Because maybe it’s a family member, or a spouse, that has maybe just gotten used to this lack of boundaries.

And you’ve said in the past, Diane, that boundaries are empowering the people on the other side of the conversation, as well. It’s not just you empowering yourself to set a limit and articulate what you're comfortable with and what you're not. It’s also empowering the other people to realize; maybe they need to pull back a little bit and to see whether or not their infringing on other people’s limits.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm. And to know what to expect of you, you know, and what not to. Like, it ends up being a little like borderline co-dependent in a way, if that person can always ask you to do certain things. I mean, I’m certainly guilty of being on the other side of it, where I have asked more of people. I don’t feel like the intent was ever to take advantage of a loose boundary, but it’s like; we’re all constantly testing each other’s boundaries. And I think we believe the other person when they say yes.

So that’s why one of the posts I made was; people pleasing is dishonest. If you're saying yes, out of a desire to please someone else, and because you're afraid that they won’t love and accept you if you say no, it’s really dishonest. Because you don’t actually mean yes. You actually meant no, this is not something I really want to participate in. This feels like it’s pushing me beyond what I’m comfortable with. And at the same time, how can I be expected to know the difference? I think it’s unfair for people to try and read between the lines of someone saying yes when they don’t really mean it.

So one thing I wanted to point out, too. I think as you guys know, we love Gretchen Rubin’s framework, and the concept that tons of people; most people are Obligers. So that means that most people answer to outer expectations. So I think that’s one of the cues as to why this topic of boundaries is so top of mind for so many people. Because if the largest percentage of people respond best to outside expectations, then we can also see how easy it would be for the largest percentage of people to struggle with knowing their own boundaries. Because they’re constantly adapting to; what do others expect of me?

And, to your point, about adolescence. That’s entirely what adolescence is about, right? Figuring out who you are, what you stand for, and where your boundaries are. And I think it’s natural for us to go through those moments of allowing them to be crossed, and then sitting and understanding how we feel as a result of it is a sign that that was the boundary. Do you know what I mean?

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: So some things I wrote down as you were sharing your experience; I think anger and resentment are two really big signs of boundaries being crossed. That doesn’t mean it’s on the other person, because if you didn’t clearly communicate the boundary, that responsibility lies with you. But I think feelings of being used, obviously feelings of being abused, or feelings of…

Liz Wolfe: Lack of identity.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah; and I was using this ability to say yes as a means to try and get closer to someone and ultimately I think we find that being in service to others in many ways is wonderful. And it’s a great way to get close to other people. We all want to help other people with different things. But there is that line between; I did this solely with the intent of hoping to gain the love and acceptance of that other person without recognizing how this will leave me feeling if I don’t get that love and acceptance and response.

Whoo. But you know, for me, the anger and resentment in adult life I think are two really big signs. When you feel anger and resentment, I think everybody needs to identify that you have probably had a boundary crossed. And if you haven’t been clear on setting it, that’s your work to do. Right?

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm. And you might not even be, like you were saying, mad at the other person or the other entity. You might truly be mad at yourself.

Diane Sanfilippo: I mean, that’s what happens most of the time. This is the microcosm of Instagram, right? When I constantly will restate in my Instagram stories where my boundaries are. I have to do that because there’s new people all the time. People who have been around get really uncomfortable, and they’re like; you shouldn’t have to say this. I’m like; yeah, I should. Because these people are new. And I have boundaries that they need to know about. So that’s me protecting myself in advance to say; here are the boundaries.

I just think it’s this really clear verbalization of something we can do in real life a lot more easily. But people just enter into our physical space; our emotional space through social media. They’re almost coming through like with a weed-whacker, and dropping their opinions and their comments and their questions without any consideration for who is that human being on the other side. So I do recognize, if I feel anger or resentment for the types of engagement that I’m getting, that it’s my responsibility to stand up and say; here are my boundaries. Here are the rules of engagement. Allow myself to reintroduce myself. {laughs} You know; to say it again.

I think that that is a reflection of what we ultimately do need to do in real life, too. If someone is pushing those boundaries over and over again.

4. Everyday life and setting boundaries [23:39]

Diane Sanfilippo: So maybe we should talk about what that actually looks like in everyday life, besides the social media or besides; I wouldn’t say it’s an extreme example, but a very specific example of what you were talking about; like in college and whatnot. What might that look like now for you setting some boundaries that maybe you didn’t before. Where you were like; I would say yes to this and do this, but then after I would feel super angry or I’d feel really resentful about it.

Liz Wolfe: I actually don’t have this down at all, frankly. Because an example is I am now on two committees; I was looking forward to having a little bit of extra time every couple of weeks now that we’re retiring the Balanced Bites podcast. And of course, immediately I was asked to do a couple of things. One thing I volunteered for, the other thing I was asked to do.

And my thing is; I don’t think, Diane, you probably have experience with this, but you can correct me if I’m wrong. But in my head, I have been an Obliger, and an Enneagram 6, my whole life for so long that I honestly don’t always recognize what I truly want or if I’m just doing something because I know someone else wants that of me. And it’s a good way to connect with them, or oblige them.

I really, really thought about these committees that I’m on, and in the end I am happy that I’m doing them, because I’m getting involved in my community and I want to represent that to my daughter. Community engagement and involvement, and I think that’s important. And I also think I can play a unique role given my background on these particular committees. So I’m good with that. But at the same time, I have to constantly come back and touch base with myself. Because I am learning; and this is part of what I’m learning in therapy with my counselor, is what I actually really do want. Because sometimes I truly do not know what I want outside the lens of what someone else wants of me. So that’s really hard.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think that’s probably more common than not.

Liz Wolfe: I would think. And you know what made me think; when you were speaking earlier, one of the things that I learned about the Enneagram through you, and one of the things they talk about with the enneagram is you can be a healthy version of your personality type, or you can be an unhealthy version of it. And I think, in my head, that’s true of any kind of personality typing.

So an example of a healthy Obliger behavior would be like what I did; which was to hire a personal trainer to help make sure that I’m accountable for actually taking care of myself. I kind of recognize that that was my tendency, and I harnessed it for my own benefit. An example of an unhealthy Obliger would be someone saying yes when they mean no, or being unable to use that tendency or manipulate it to their own benefit. Does that make sense?

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, totally. Or putting blame on someone else when they say; well, I asked you to hold me accountable for this. And it’s like; that’s not really the point. You know what I mean? Blaming someone else for something that might not happen because you are putting that responsibility on them to hold you accountable. And you're like; yeah.

Liz Wolfe: And a lot of the reason this stuff is important to me now at all is because I have a daughter, and I want her to be able to recognize and set her own boundaries. I think she’s pretty good at it right now, as a 4-year-old, because I did get a message from her preschool teacher the other day saying she punched a kid in the stomach. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing}

Liz Wolfe: Because she thought that he was messing with her. This kid is the sweetest kid in the world, but she felt like he was tricking her or something. I couldn’t quite get the full story. But both kids; I talked to the other mom. Both kids seemed to be saying some version of the same thing. So, in that scenario, obviously I don’t want her punching people. But I do want her standing up for herself.

So, in my approach to that I am choosing my words carefully. I’m not telling her to be kind when people are upsetting her. Because I don’t want to send her the message that she needs to always be nice to people. Because I think that can really slowly; it’s a slippery slope where all of a sudden you think being kind means allowing that behavior to persist, even when you're uncomfortable with it. What I’m trying to teach her is; you use words, and you feel confident walking away. Boundaries. Boundaries, man.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. I wonder, too. I think there’s this delicate balance; and you know, not a children’s behavior expert so this is just my curiosity. Obviously, kids; I feel like when they’re young and they’re toddler age, like your kid, they’re obviously always testing boundaries. But don’t they seem to learn no before they learn yes? Because we’re constantly telling them no about so many things. I feel like everybody’s kid that I’ve seen is very much like; no. No, no. No. They learn how to do the no side of things much sooner than yes. And they’re always really; they’re super cautious about what will be safe.

Liz Wolfe: Kids or parents? {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: Obviously, kids are running through the world with scissors and whatever.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah, that’s basically my house. Running a scooter into the garage door.

Diane Sanfilippo: But there are a lot of things that if you try to impose on them, they’re saying no to. Over and over.

Liz Wolfe: Right. And as big giant people with a lot of physical strength, I think that as parents, we have to be really careful if we have to, for whatever reason, whether it’s safety or just because it’s going to be my way or the highway, how we override those boundaries. Because we do want to teach our kids that boundaries matter. And that they are listened to. So that’s definitely a tough question.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, I’m curious about it. So, the flipside of this is; and I’ll mention what this looks like in everyday life. Well, I won’t get to the flipside yet. {laughs} In our house; hi honey. He’s listening to edit this show.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: In our house, I don’t really wash the dishes. Pretty much ever. I will do it when Scott’s not here. But I’ve talked about this before. My tolerance level for how many dishes are dirty before I feel like looking at them and doing something about it way higher than my husband’s. And he just wants it to be done. And this sounds not that deep, but this is a real example of boundary setting. Not necessarily when it comes to everyone’s emotional health. But it could be.

We have had this conversation over and over again, where I’m like; hey. And it doesn’t really happen anymore because now he knows that he has free reign to say something if he doesn’t want to do it anymore or it’s making him angry. But, as a different personality type than I am; as an Upholder. Which I think he leans towards Obliger. It’s not in his nature to say; I don’t want to do this. You know what I mean? It’s in his nature to be like; this is what’s expected of me. This is my role. So I do this.

And as somebody who is not like that; I’m like, listen. If you don’t want to do the dishes every single day; if this is getting to you, or you feel like it’s weighing on you, or it’s irritating, or whatever. I’m basically constantly checking in on his potential for resentment about the dishes. Which, maybe he’s like; yeah, honey. Stop asking. I got it, I’ll tell you if it’s annoying me by now.

But to me, this is actually maybe a helpful thing to do with people around you who are Obligers or maybe Upholders where you sense that something could be a lot. You sense that this is maybe something that could be weighing on them, or it’s a lot of responsibility, or they’re just feeling like it’s too much they don’t feel like dealing with it all the time or they want some help with it, that I’m just checking in. Hey; if that gets to be too much, let me know.

And I will say, admittedly, it’s not, “Let me know and I’ll do them.” {laughs} It’s, let me know and I will hire someone to help us because my boundary is I just don’t have it in me to wash a full sink of dishes every day. That sounds so obnoxious; I realize it. But I do a ton of work all day every day in just other ways. And that’s just something I don’t feel like doing all the time. Or at least not every single day.

So this is like a; it sounds like a silly little, daily chore example. But it’s the real life of the kinds of things that people sweep under the rug in relationships that they just don’t deal with and don’t meet head on. And then it becomes bigger. It becomes a piece of resentment about this little thing. And then it becomes where that person is constantly saying yes and doing things to not ruffle feathers. Or not; what’s another? Rock the boat. They don’t want to disappoint the other person or whatever it is, especially those Obligers and Upholders. So they just keep carrying on until the day when it just comes crashing down. And what you're trying to avoid is the crash down. Right? You want that communication to be there all along.

So I think to your point about people not knowing their boundaries, I think your assessment on understanding why you said yes to those things, even if, on the day to day or however so often you need to meet with those committees. I don’t think having a twinge of, “I don’t feel like going to this meeting.” I don’t think that that’s a sign your boundary has been crossed. Do you know what I mean? I think we all feel that, when we are obligated to be somewhere and the day is busy and we’re just like; ugh, I don’t feel like doing this. It’s not about the, I don’t feel like. It’s; do I feel anger and resentment and bitterness about this commitment, on a deeper level? Not like; ugh. I didn’t want to have to go today. Do you know what I’m saying? I just think that’s a different depth of response.

Liz Wolfe: It’s interesting, because I think some people will; it’s again that balance. There are two extremes where people will be more inclined to let things go that slightly bother than, because they’re trying to learn to let things go and not be so attached to every little thing that happens, and to not get so spun up or wound up about certain things. But at the same time, it’s that process of recognizing when you're letting something go, or when you're adding it to the pile of things that’s going to build up and explode later. Like, are you really letting it go? Because if you are, you’ve got to keep it out of that pile.

5. The flipside to boundary setting [34:50]

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. Only you know that. So, one other thing that occurs to me. This is the flipside, and this is the side that my personality will tend towards. Saying no to a lot more things out of a need or desire for more control. And I think that’s really where my personality type, as the Rebel, or as the type 8 or whatever, whichever way we want to angle that. To not feel like others are controlling me becomes a reason why I say no to so many things. And in hindsight; you and I had this discussion, Liz. You definitely showed me that I set a boundary that I actually probably did not need to set.

So a couple of years ago, one of my friends. This sticks with me, because I regret it. I regret doing this. But a friend invited me to her 1-year-old’s birthday party. And you know, luckily this friend, she really isn’t the kind of person to be like; she’s just not going to hold anger and resentment, I don’t think, about the fact that I didn’t come to her 1-year-old’s birthday party. But at the time, I didn’t want to go. I’m not a kid person. I pictured the scene. It’s going to be a bunch of people with their kids around the same age. And it’s not my scene. And I said no, and she kind of pressed a little bit. And I didn’t need to go here with a reason why; like, I could have just made up a white lie and been like; I’m a little sick and I don’t want to bring myself around.

But, you know, I’m not really the best at lying. I’m really truthful, as much as possible. And ultimately I did kind of share almost the boundary. It was almost like; listen. I love you, but I’m not really comfortable in the situation with everyone on their kids. It’s just not the scene for me. And I can remember talking to you about it because it might not seem like a big deal to people. People would be like; so what, you don’t go to someone’s 1-year-old birthday party. But then you told me; that party is for the parents. And it’s really meaningful that you kind of got through a year, and the kid’s alive.

In hindsight, I really regretted being so firm on this; I don’t want to spend time in those settings. And it really wasn’t that big of a deal. I really could have taken a little time and just gone for 30 minutes, because 30 minutes would have been enough. That for me is the flipside of having such firm boundaries, that then I don’t honor what would be really meaningful to other people in those ways.

Now, I just want to say, before we move on from this, I have really firm boundaries around funerals. My mom was creating a funeral for my grandmother. It was happening right around when Scott and I were back in New Jersey to get married. And I was like; I’m not coming. I don’t know what you're planning, but I’m not coming. It’s not my thing. For me, funerals have been the thing that cause, what I think, some of the most trauma. There were a couple of things that happened when I was younger. But attending a lot of funerals as a young child was extremely traumatic for me, and now as an adult, I’m like, I’m not going. I love you.

But if somebody’s close parent, family member passes, I’m probably not coming to a funeral. And I feel confident saying that to my friends, even though it’s such a meaningful important time to be next to someone’s side. It is such a place where I have this boundary where it’s so damaging and painful for me to put myself in that situation over and over again. It’s literally my deepest wound and the most painful thing to me that I feel comfortable saying to you or to any of my friends; listen. I love you and I will be there for you in a million different ways.

I’m the opposite of a fair weather friend. You need to have surgery and your husband is out of town? I’ll come stay at your house for a week. That’s the kind of stuff that I’m like; I’m here. I’m showing up. But when I feel like the deepest wounds that I have will be opened and salt will be poured into them, it’s a boundary. And I’m ok with that. I’m ok with somebody feeling disappointed in me over that. And my mother wasn’t. She understands me. I was like; I showed grandma my love and respect when she was alive. And that’s it. My mother didn’t feel any less supported in that moment because she knows. She understands.

And I think the depth of your relationship tends to support how firm you can be with certain boundaries that make other people uncomfortable. That’s a little bit heavy.

Liz Wolfe: If you can set that boundary, then I can tell so-and-so that I’m not coming over for dinner tonight. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: I mean, that is me even saying to you as one of my closest friends. Or to someone like Cassy to be like; listen. Something like this happens to you in your life, that’s not the thing that I can really be there for. But here’s the stuff I can be there for.

Liz Wolfe: And that’s; funerals, that’s a tough, tough topic. Because I’m sure there are people listening that are saying; that’s when you have to get over it and go. It’s actually not. If you just don’t want to go, and you weren’t that close to that person, and blah-blah-blah; yeah, suck it up and go. But if it is a source of trauma for you, it is absolutely within your rights to set boundaries in that way.

Diane Sanfilippo: And that’s kind of what I was identifying with; and these are so different, right, because one is so celebratory. But the 1-year-old birthday party. Or even, for example, I had a friend who had surgery about a year ago. It was a major surgery, and her partner was not going to be home to help take care of her. And they have three kids. And I was like; I can come back to New Jersey and be there for three days and sit with you in your house. Hard times are not the problem; it’s certain specific wound triggers, you know?

I think we need to work on those and figure out; is this really pushing a boundary, or is this me just be stubborn? Or just me not wanting to do the thing. You know what I mean? I think that all of that is valid. And I think for anyone who feels like; oh, the 8s are lucky, or the Rebels are lucky because they know their boundaries and they’re firm on it. Well, you know, our trouble is not causing pain to someone else because we were so firm on it that we didn’t recognize softening a bit to be more supportive of someone else when that’s really meaningful, and it’s what we want. It’s how we want to deepen our relationship. We do want to be supportive of other people. So, anyway. It’s a good discussion.

Liz Wolfe: Very good. Nobody has it all figured out.

Diane Sanfilippo: No.

Liz Wolfe: I like, though. I think one thing that’s really good about the way you are exercising this muscle in your everyday life, and I think that’s really good. I think that’s probably part of your tendency and your personality; to get that real-world feedback. Whereas I would probably be a little bit too fearful to do that. It would take me a lot longer and that process would probably be a little bit more, I don’t know, delayed for me.

But none of us can figure all of this stuff out without practicing. And it’s not always going to be perfect. You might set the wrong boundary for your friend’s 1-year-old’s birthday party. But this is how we figure it out.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. Here, here.

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6. Food as emotional crutch [43:11]

Liz Wolfe: Alright, I think we have time for one more. What do you think?

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, let’s do it.

Liz Wolfe: Ok. This is from Chelsea. “I heard Liz on the Modern Mamas podcast a while back talking about how we as a culture find it so difficult to feel anything unpleasant. I keep hearing this idea on various podcasts and blogs, and have noticed it in myself after eating keto for a few weeks and finding myself wanting an evening treat, even though I know I’m not hungry. We all turn to vices for distraction from negative feelings, whether it’s food, alcohol, drugs, etc. I’d love to hear more about a healthy way to manage negative feelings, especially in the context of raising kids. I want to equip my boys with tools for dealing with negative emotions, but also don’t want to continue the cycle of constant distraction. I think this would be a really interesting topic for a podcast episode. Thanks for all you ladies do, you're amazing and I’m so thankful for your work.”

So. I’m just going to launch right in on this one, because I found this question really, really interesting. And thank you, to Chelsea, for submitting it. I want to say, before I answer the real question; something that stood out to me was this statement. “We all turn to vices for distraction from negative feelings; whether its food, alcohol, drugs, etc.” And I want to acknowledge that; because I think for many people, that is true. And that’s certainly one end of this spectrum. So many different places in my life I’m realizing that there’s this spectrum, and we want to try and aim for the middle. Sometimes we’re a little far left, sometimes a little far right.

But what I want to really emphasize here is; even this little; “I noticed I was eating keto and I find myself wanting a treat, even though I know I’m not hungry.” Even that might have a little bit of judgement embedded in it. And in my opinion, now when I want something sweet, or a treat, or whatever it is; I’m like, yeah, of course I want that. It’s freaking delicious! I mean, this stuff is good. Brownies; good. Meat, good. {laughs} What is that from? Friends?

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, where Rachel made the trifle.

Liz Wolfe: With the trifle.

Diane Sanfilippo: And the pages stuck together in the magazine. Meat, good. Jam, good.

Liz Wolfe: {laughing} I really feel that for a lot of people, if you're having sugar cravings or whatever it is. Not just immediately saying; I don’t need this. I shouldn’t have this craving. Whatever it is. This is a vice I’m turning to for distraction; that might not be the case. It might just be that your body knows this stuff tastes really good and you haven’t had very many carbs in a while and you're just having a natural proclivity for sweet things. Maybe you choose not to; maybe you choose to go for it.

I think a long time ago, I mentioned a gal on my Instagram; I think she’s still Vanessa Bradford. I’m going to check. But she’s very much like an intuitive eating, taking the judgement away from eating. Yeah, it’s still Vanessa.Bradford. She talks about intuitive nutrition, and she will very frequently be like; hey, guess what. Had the brownie. And it’s just not that big of a deal. And I think part of what we do is we swing the pendulum too far in the other direction, where we, instead of having these so-called vices. Or having a treat when you want one, we come all the way to this other side, and we’re saying; we don’t need that, we don’t want that. It’s bad if I have it, or attaching judgement to it. Or, oh gosh, why am I emotionally eating? Or whatever it is.

Somehow, we just need to learn to kind of; and this goes into the larger question. More healthy ways to manage negative feelings. And I’m not a counselor or a therapist. I highly recommend everybody goes to see a counselor or a therapist, because these are excellent people to talk to about these questions. But the idea is just sitting with whatever it is. If you're just sitting there in the evening, and you're like; man, I really want a brownie. Ok, sit with that. Think about what you’ve been eating; how you’ve been nourishing yourself. Your feelings about food. And then maybe have the evening treat; or maybe don’t. Decide whether or not that serves you, and whether or not you can have a healthy relationship with food either way.

And I really think, and I know this is no popular in a lot of the communities that we cross over with. But I really think that a healthy, balanced relationship with food includes treats and indulgences. And I don’t even like to call them that. But it includes having some of these delicious man-made, modern culture, delicious things that have been invented for our enjoyment, and appreciating them for what they are and then moving on. I really think that is kind of a hallmark of someone who has a really healthy, balanced relationship with food over the long term.

I mean, even you, Diane, right?

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm.

Liz Wolfe: You're not keto every day of the week.

Diane Sanfilippo: No. I wouldn’t; and even this season of my life now, I wouldn’t say that I even mostly am. I will probably talk about it; I mean, even having written Practical Paleo and then kind of moving through whatever feels right for me at a different point in time. I think self-identifying with a way of eating as part of your identity is; ugh. I just think it’s dangerous.

Liz Wolfe: And not fun.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s not fun. And I don’t think that it’s important. And it’s not part of; it’s just not part of who I think I am. So, that’s part of. I don’t know. Maybe that’s the Rebel thing, or whatever it is. It’s not important to me that someone identifies me by how I eat. I could not care less if somebody is upset about it. Or, “you wrote this book and now you eat this.” Ok. Are you upset about it? Because I’m not. This just doesn’t bother me.

Liz Wolfe: Wow, are you ok? Wow.

Diane Sanfilippo: I know. It’s just like; wait, I thought you were this. Ok. You thought that because I taught about something. But that doesn’t mean that that dictates my whole life. So yeah, I’m totally with you. I think it’s worse to punish the treat than to just sit, identify, whatever that you want it. And I think sometimes the; I mean, look, what we’re getting from those treats is a hit of dopamine. And there are healthier and less healthy ways to get a dopamine hit. And there’s a scale of that. You know what I mean? Seriously.

And I’m not somebody who is going to say; I don’t like to align sugar with hardcore addictive narcotics. But, if you were to design ad scale of potential for dopamine hit; I would be willing to bet that there are some places where foods; this is not my scope. Again, I’m curious about this. What does a positive human interaction; where does that fall on the scale? I get so emotionally filled up spending time with friends that I love that I notice not always but often; I don’t crave or want sugar as much if I have fulfilling emotional relationships where there’s actually, we’re spending time together. I will eat dinner and not be interested in a treat.

So I’m curious, if we were to plot on a scale, the relative dopamine hit that we get from different foods, or from different substances along with physical, real life interactions with people who we love and care about. And I’m sure sex is on that scale, right? And so is just shopping with my friend. Stuff like that where I think that’s really valid and important to recognize.

Liz Wolfe: I think that’s very interesting. And what I think the lesson from that might be is rather than having this laser focus on whatever it is we consider negative that’s going on in our lives, or a feeling that we shouldn’t feel, or whatever it is. Not only, first of all, do we learn to sit with those feelings, and not want to run away from them so much. And not to say; I don’t need that. I don’t’ want that. I shouldn’t. I wouldn’t. Whatever.

We also look at the other places in our lives. What’s going on. If we’re having meaningful interpersonal interaction. And this goes back to what I said earlier about how now the weather has turned nice, and we had an impromptu playdate and we’re running into each other around the lake and having nice conversations. All of a sudden, I feel uplifted in a totally different way. And maybe that will change, like my inclinations with regards to food.

I think it’s really important, however, not to; I think it is a slippery slope when we group food, alcohol, and drugs together.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: Probably especially food and drugs. Food and alcohol; but it’s a little bit scary.

Diane Sanfilippo: It is, because some things you need to exist and live, right, and some you don’t. But I think that when we talk about treats and sugary things in particular; again, I still think there’s a scale for pleasure that we’re driving from these behaviors. I’m not saying we should assign guilt to it, but it is a moment of escape. That moment of pleasure is a moment of escape. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing all the time. I think that there’s just a matter of…

Liz Wolfe: I don’t think that’s true all the time, either. Maybe we could say when that is a moment of escape. I don’t think always eating sugar is immediately some kind of transporting you to a tropical beach and out of your life. I find, sometimes, when I allow myself to have; not allow myself. Those are probably the wrong words. When I choose to have a piece of really amazing goat cheese cheesecake, I’m almost more present doing that, because I’m really activating all of my senses. And I almost think for some people that’s a good exercise in appreciation. Is that maybe the version of that at it’s best?

Diane Sanfilippo: Maybe.

Liz Wolfe: Could be.

Diane Sanfilippo: Could be.

Liz Wolfe: But this is a really good question. I’m not trying to tell her that she shouldn’t have asked the question. I think it’s great to want to equip your kids with tools for dealing with negative emotions. But I don’t think that necessarily starts with the food thing.

When I talk about how we find it so difficult to feel anything unpleasant, I really hadn’t linked that with food when I was saying that. I don’t know that that’s really what I meant. It’s definitely and interesting association, and I think I’ll need to explore it more. So I can maybe have my thoughts better articulated. But really, my thing was recognize that oftentimes your fear, and anxiety, and fight or flight reflex is activated because you're trying to escape negative emotions. It’s not actually the negative emotion itself. So maybe your fear of judgement turns into something else, and you need to just kind of sit with whatever feeling that you have. And part of this process of reparenting myself came via discovering the concept of aware parenting. Which, there’s a whole parenting philosophy around it. And I use a lot of it in every day life.

And a lot of this was attached to realizing that when my daughter, as a baby, was crying that I did not have to immediately stop the crying. That did not represent solving the problem. What I needed to do was really be willing to hear that sound and not feel so fight or flight about it, and to allow her to express her feelings, and figure out; hey, is she telling me she’s wet, or sick, or uncomfortable, or she has a little hair in her sock rolled around her toe funny and I need to fix that? What is it that she’s crying about? And is she just letting me know that she needs to tell me she’s had a rough day. And I don’t need to fix it by nursing that away, or pacifying that away, or whatever that might be. And that’s controversial, too. I’m in no way saying don’t nurse your kids, or don’t give your kids a pacifier. I’m saying, that I was really at that moment in my life trying hard to stuff feelings down in a way by stopping the noise. And sometimes we need to realize that we’re running from the noise instead of really looking deeper at what the underlying feeling might be.

Diane Sanfilippo: So good. I think we do that as adults, totally. And to your point; we don’t always have the tools for how to handle those emotions. And that is kind of where therapy comes in. Even this additional deeper dive on learning about ourselves and the way that we interact with not only other people in situations, but just our own feelings. I think that that’s just really important work to do. We’re all here for it.

7. Favorite health podcasts to follow [56:16]

Liz Wolfe: Alright. How about we leave folks with a few of our favorite health podcasts to follow?

Diane Sanfilippo: We were thinking about this because, obviously, longtime listeners are feeling like; where will I go next? And of course, I would love to have you join us over on the Driven podcast. But I know that you won’t be getting as many health oriented topics over there as we’ve talked about here for the last really 8 years.

So, I picked 3 podcasts to kind of highlight today. This is obviously not the full extent, and maybe in the next two episodes; so this is 398. Maybe in 399 and 400 if we have some others we want to make sure we point you guys to, we’ll share those too. But I’m just going to give you three that you can continue to check out from here.

The first one is probably the most approachable. And just another NTP who is out there giving you the real, real on a lot of different topics. Christina Rice is the NTP behind that. The show is called Wellness Realness. And I was a guest on it not too long ago talking about keto. And I think Christina reminds me a lot of myself. She’s really curious, and very thoughtful, and I think she’s kind of like an old soul. She’s not easily shaken by; I don’t know. People saying; oh, this is good for you, this is bad for you. But she will dive in and test things and give you the real deal on things like carnivore, or potato diet, and wacky things like that. She’ll try them out. She’s a little more adventurous than I am. But definitely check that out.

And then for next level nerdy, I think Robb Wolf is kind of standing the test of time with the Paleo Solution podcast. He’s morphed the show over the years. I don’t listen to these shows regularly, I just know the content because I’ve dabbled and kind of popped in and heard some Q&As and all of that. But Robb is always super solid on what he’s talking about. He’s continuing to do research. He likes to be able to help people, answer their keto questions, their fasting questions, all kinds of stuff related to topics like that. So definitely check it out. I think it’s still really solid. And I’m surprised that he still has it with the same name, but who knows.

And then the last one is Found my Fitness with Rhonda Patrick. I think it’s really, kind of a strange show title. But again; {laughs} to each their own. But she I think is probably going to get into the next level nerdiness. So if you guys really want to go deeper, especially if you're an NTP or an NTC, or you're a nutrition professional. She might be a show that you want to check out.

What’s your recommendation?

Liz Wolfe: Well, I definitely echo the recommendation for Rhonda Patrick’s podcast for found my fitness. It kind of reminds me a little bit of like a female Chris Masterjohn, who I also enjoy learning from and listening to.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, definitely.

Liz Wolfe: So the three I wrote down here were definitely the Modern Mamas podcast. I’ve been on their podcast a few times, and I just think that they are really filling a space and doing a great job. And I always love being on their podcast, and I love a lot of the things that they’re talking about and I love a lot of the interviews that they’ve done.

The Ceremony Wellness podcast. We recently had a guest, Kelli Tennant on the show, and she’s wonderful. I know people are really connecting with her work. And finally, Aviva Romm, Natural MD Radio. Most folks know who Aviva Romm is; we interviewed her on the podcast, as well, when her book on the thyroid came out. But she is not only a former midwife and herbalist, but she is also a Yale educated OB/GYN. Which is really awesome. I love, love, love when really highly educated holistic practitioners are also really highly educated in the conventional way. So you can really strike that balance between the two, and she does a wonderful job. I love her podcast. And she’s got a great voice.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s awesome. Yeah, you know, I do want to just reiterate Chris Masterjohn. I think his podcast, he’s got some more in-depth episodes, and then he does a light version. And I think he’s a really great resource for science-y stuff. And he does a pretty darn good job of keeping it easy to understand. Especially in the light episodes. So definitely check that out, as well. I don’t actually remember what the show is called. Do you remember what his show is called?

I’m going to look it up. {laughs} Because I don’t want to mess it up.

Liz Wolfe: Why can’t I remember?

Diane Sanfilippo: I feel like it’s just; Mastering Nutrition. That’s what it is.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. {laughs} He didn’t used to use that pun. I don’t know if that’s a pun. Whatever it is.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. Is that a pun?

Liz Wolfe: I don’t think it’s a pun. I don’t know what it is.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, anyway. Definitely check out Mastering Nutrition with Chris Masterjohn.

Liz Wolfe: Alright friends, that’s it for this week. You can find me, Liz, at and Diane at Join our email lists for free goodies and updates that you don’t find anywhere else on our website or on the podcast. While you’re on the internet, leave us an iTunes review. See you next week.

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