What Thin Privilege REALLY Means

The term “thin privilege” has been a hot topic lately, with some very vocal people claiming that it doesn’t exist.

These thin-privilege deniers argue that because some thin people get body-shamed for being *too* thin, and because people in smaller bodies also can (and often do) have body-image issues and insecurities, that being thin isn’t actually a form of unearned cultural privilege.

But here’s the truth: Having thin privilege doesn’t mean that you’ve never had any body-image issues, or that you’ve never struggled with disordered eating, or that you’ve never been bullied or shamed by individual assholes for your size. You can have thin privilege and also hate your body.

Hell, having thin privilege doesn’t even mean that you feel thin—and in fact I’d wager that the vast majority of people in diet culture NEVER feel thin, even those with thin privilege. As the anonymous writer Your Fat Friend brilliantly put it in a recent essay (CW: size and weight numbers, examples of weight stigma) “thinness is always distant, unattainable, a punishing standard that few feel they can meet.”

You can have thin privilege and also hate your body.
— Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, CDN

I know it took me a while to get my head around the term “thin privilege” myself, because I always used to think “thin” was a word reserved for waiflike models, never for someone like me—even though I’ve always lived in a relatively small body.

But like any other kind of privilege, thin privilege actually just means that by virtue of some characteristic of your body—in this case, being below a certain size—you have greater access to resources and face less discrimination in society than people without that characteristic.

People in larger bodies (i.e. people who wear plus sizes) face consistent, systemic oppression—not just body-shaming by a few individual assholes, but an asshole culture that makes it difficult or impossible to find clothes and spaces that fit, healthcare that’s effective and non-discriminatory, equal access to employment, and all of the other basic human rights that we all deserve.

The term “thin privilege” is meant to highlight this systemic disparity, and to call out the fact that dignity and respect and equitable treatment shouldn’t be privileges reserved for smaller-bodied folks at ALL—they should be universal rights afforded to everyone, no matter their size.

Like This Post? Subscribe for More!

Enter your email address to get exclusive blog posts and helpful anti-diet tips, starting with a 4-day mini-course on making peace with food!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

The Truth About Weight Stigma

The medical establishment is starting to pay attention to the harmful effects of weight stigma, which is great—except that this type of stigma often gets framed as a “barrier to weight management.” 🤦🏻‍♀️

But the truth is that “weight management” IS weight stigma.

It frames larger bodies as a problem and tells people that they need to shrink themselves in order to be okay, which is the very definition of weight stigma (aka anti-fat stigma, weight bias, or weight-based discrimination).

Weight stigma is part of the fabric of diet culture, the toxic system of beliefs about bodies and food that's endemic to Western culture.

And in fact we have scientific evidence (CW for some weight-stigmatizing language) that diet culture's framing of larger bodies as a health hazard to be "fixed" via weight loss actually CAUSES weight stigma.

So if someone says they're against weight stigma but they’re still recommending weight loss...then they’re not really against weight stigma.

Or as my guest on this week’s episode of Food Psych, Jeffrey Hunger, puts it, “you can’t be anti-stigma in one breath and advocate for weight loss in another.”

Dr. Hunger (which is an amazing name for a weight-stigma researcher!) joins me to discuss how diet culture and weight stigma show up even in weight-stigma research, how his own thinking on weight stigma has evolved over the years, his experience of diet culture within the gay-male community, what intentional weight loss and the harmful practice of “gay conversion therapy” have in common, and so much more.

Check it out right here, and be sure to subscribe to the podcast so that you never miss an episode!

Here’s to ending the stigma against ALL bodies, 
Christy

P.S. If you’re ready to break free from diet culture and its weight-stigmatizing ways, come check out my intuitive eating online course. It’ll help you learn to accept and respect ALL bodies (including your own), so that you can stop obsessing over your size and start living the life you truly want and deserve.

Like This Post? Subscribe for More!

Enter your email address to get exclusive blog posts and helpful anti-diet tips, starting with a 4-day mini-course on making peace with food!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

False Pictures of Health

Here’s something the “wellness” world never tells you: Many people who look like the supposed “picture of health” are actually struggling with seriously disordered eating and exercise behaviors.

The “wellness gurus” you see on social media sharing photos of their green juices and workout routines and visible abs are often incredibly sick and suffering under their restrictive regimes—even if they don’t talk about that part publicly.

And then diet culture, in its new modern manifestation as The Wellness Diet, makes these struggling people out to be icons of what we “should” all aspire to look like and be like, locking them and us into a losing battle against our bodies.

It’s time we all stopped believing in this bogus version of “wellness.” 

It’s time we started questioning and pushing back against everything diet culture has taught us about food and movement, including the idea that well-being has a certain “look.”

Because when people are running themselves into the ground in order to achieve some mythical ideal of health, that’s anything but “healthy.”

My guest on this week’s episode of Food Psych, Tiffany Roe, used to be one of those people.

She shares how, in the throes of an eating disorder that was consuming her life, she got treated like a health and wellness expert and had friends emulating her every (disordered) move.

She also shares how she ultimately recovered, and we discuss the connections between religion, shame, diet culture, and eating-disorder recovery; why we need to fight fatphobia in the eating-disorder-treatment field; the importance of learning to sit with feelings of distress and discomfort; and so much more.

Plus, I answer a listener question about how navigating emotional eating fits into the intuitive eating process.

Check it out right here, and be sure to subscribe so that you never miss an episode!

Here’s to smashing diet culture’s supposed picture of health
Christy

P.S. If you’re ready to break free from disordered ideas about “wellness,” come join my intuitive eating online course. It’ll help you tune out all the toxic noise from diet culture, so that you can tune back into your body’s needs—and your soul’s true desires.

Like This Post? Subscribe for More!

Enter your email address to get exclusive blog posts and helpful anti-diet tips, starting with a 4-day mini-course on making peace with food!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Why Smashing Diet Culture Can Change the World

When we’re caught in diet culture’s clutches, all of our free time and mental space is devoted to obsessing over food, exercise, and body size.

We’re not available for the things that really matter in life, which is why I call diet culture The Life Thief.

When we’re spinning our wheels about how many grams of carbs are in a particular dish or how many minutes we’ve spent doing a certain activity, we’re not showing up to fight for the things we believe in. We’re not putting our incredible minds toward making the world a better place.

Diet culture has distracted us to the point where controlling our food intake and body size often start to feel like our life’s work.

But when we can heal our relationships with food and reconnect with the internal cues about food and movement that we were all born with, we free our minds to focus on bigger and better things.

We become available for SO much more.

We free ourselves so that we can go on to change the world.

That’s why body liberation is about so much more than just being okay with your body.

As Laura Thomas, my guest on this week’s episode of Food Psych, puts it: “I see intuitive eating as a means to liberate us from diet culture, so that we can begin to do the real work of social justice.”

Intuitive eating is really just a means to an end—and that end is making our society a safer, more equitable place where everyone truly has equal opportunity to pursue a life that brings them joy.

Laura joined me to talk about her new book, Just Eat It; the problems with The Wellness Diet; why subtle levels of weight stigma are so hard to pinpoint and eradicate; why “emotional eating” and turning to food for comfort are falsely demonized in diet culture; why people in the nutrition field often struggle in their own relationships with food; and so much more.

Check out this amazing conversation right here!

And just a quick heads-up that my emails to you will likely be a little shorter for the next several weeks, because I'm now working on the revisions for my book(!!).

I’m psyched to report that my editor gave me the most incredible feedback on my first draft, and now I seriously cannot WAIT to share the book with you toward the end of this year. The final title is Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being, and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating, and I’ll keep you posted here with lots more details as they become available 🙌💕

Here’s to getting back to our REAL life’s work
Christy

P.S. If you’re ready to reclaim your time and mental energy for the things that reallymatter, come join my intuitive eating online course. It’ll help you stop obsessing over food and your body, so that you can free up space for changing the world.

Like This Post? Subscribe for More!

Enter your email address to get exclusive blog posts and helpful anti-diet tips, starting with a 4-day mini-course on making peace with food!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

What You Need to Know About Diet Culture in 2019

It’s the new year, which means the diet/“wellness” industry is doing its usual full-court press.

It does this because it has to, because the marketing that gyms and diet programs and “wellness protocols” do in January pays their bills (or at least a huge chunk of them) for the rest of the year.

That marketing can be hard to resist, even if you’re really committed to recovery from diet culture. I get how hard it is not to get tempted, and I used to feel that way every January, too. But here’s what I want you to know:

If the diet/“wellness” industry wants to make money—and of course it does, to the tune of more than $648 billion—it not only has to snare as many buyers as possible this month, but it also has to sell a product that doesn’t work, that won't produce long-term results.

Otherwise, everyone would lose weight, decide they were done with all the diets and “eating plans” and “protocols” because they had “succeeded,” and move on, never to give the industry another dime for the rest of their lives.

So the only way to ensure that the money keeps rolling in is to sell faulty products, and then insist that the consumers are the ones who failed, rather than the product itself.

That’s how the diet/“wellness” industry functions.

The secret to its enormous revenue is that diets and “lifestyle changes” and other forms of The Wellness Diet were never meant to actually accomplish the thing they promise to do.

Remember that the next time you see an ad or social-media post promising weight loss.

Remember that this huge, wildly successful money machine WOULD NOT EXIST without consumers being sold false promises over and over again, only to be told it’s their own fault that the product didn’t work as advertised.

That’s one of diet culture’s signature moves—to blame us for its failures. And it’s hard to escape that message, because it’s everywhere.

Especially if you live in a body that’s marginalized, where your access to spaces, services, and opportunities is limited, it’s all too easy to believe that the lack of access is your fault—that you should change yourself in order to fit the “norm.”

When it comes to body size, that’s exactly what diet culture tries to instill in all of us from day one, preaching that if you’re bigger than the societal “ideal,” then it’s your responsibility to shrink yourself to fit.

But that’s nothing more than a lie designed to keep us buying diet culture’s shoddy products, and keep us oppressed.

Your body is NOT the problem at all, and it doesn’t need “fixing”—it’s diet culture’s belief system that needs an overhaul, because it’s outdated, unjust, and just plain wrong.

It isn’t your job to “fit” the world, but for spaces, services, and opportunities to be designed to accommodate the vast diversity of bodies that has always existed and will always exist, as long as there are human beings on this planet.

As therapist Sonalee Rashatwar, my guest on this week’s episode of Food Psych, puts it: “It’s not your body that’s wrong, it’s the world that’s wrong.”

Sonalee joined me to talk about the problems with being policed and blamed for your body size, the non-consensual nature of dieting for many kids, how weight gets treated as a marker of class status and cultural assimilation, how gender identity changes people’s relationships with food, and lots more.

Plus, I answer a listener question about whether there are any reasons to focus on fullness other than fatphobia.

Check it out right here, and be sure to subscribe to the podcast so that you never miss an episode.

Here’s to holding your ground against diet culture, this month and all year long,

Christy

P.S. If you’re ready to get some support in breaking free from diet culture this year, come join my intuitive eating online course. You'll become part of an incredible community dedicated to helping you make peace with food and your body—so that you can reclaim your right to focus on the things that truly matter to you in life.

Like This Post? Subscribe for More!

Enter your email address to get exclusive blog posts and helpful anti-diet tips, starting with a 4-day mini-course on making peace with food!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit