Why You Actually *Aren't* What You Eat

I wanted to stand up and applaud when my guest on this week’s episode of Food Psych, Sarah Thompson, said this: 

“Our relationship with food is more important than the food that we put in our body.” 

It’s so true: What we eat really doesn't matter as much as diet culture leads us to believe. 

I know, especially coming from a dietitian, that might sound radical. 

Really, though, our health is largely determined by genetics, socioeconomic status, experiences of oppression and discrimination, and a whole host of other things that are largely or entirely beyond our control. 

Those social determinants of health have a lot more to do with our outcomes than whether or not we eat the amount of kale and chia seeds currently prescribed by The Wellness Diet.

Sure, nutrition is important in the sense that we need to have ENOUGH food, and a wide enough variety of foods, to keep our bodies biologically satisfied and nourished. 

Of course those things can play a role in our overall well-being.

But a balanced relationship with food—and a balanced LIFE—is about so much more than just nutrition. 

Our relationship with food is more important than the food that we put in our body.
— Sarah Thompson

It's about connection, relationships, satisfaction, pleasure, and purpose.

Our mental health has a huge effect on our overall health and well-being, and we tend to forget that amid all the “you are what you eat” rhetoric swirling around in diet culture.

You actually *aren’t* what you eat. You are so much more. 

By reducing us down to what we eat, diet culture negates our ideas and passions and goals. 

It negates our relationships and connections and pleasure

It negates that little voice within, observing the world around us as well as our own feelings and desires, and doing the best it can to care for us.

It negates our intuition.   

Obsessing over food and exercise and struggling with disordered eating or chronic dieting is *not* health-promoting. And it has a much larger and longer-lasting negative impact on our health than any of the foods our culture has demonized.

So it's time to stop looking at food as the be-all-end-all of health. 

You actually *aren’t* what you eat. You are so much more.
— Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, CDN

That's what Sarah and I talked about on this week’s episode.

She shares how pursuing a training program in naturopathic and Chinese medicine led her down a dangerous path of restrictive and disordered eating—anything but the holistic wellness these programs promised.  

We also discussed how she was able to start trusting her body again, and start focusing on *truly* holistic well-being—including the mental, emotional, and social components. 

Plus, she shares why naturopathic and Chinese medicine don’t need to be as far removed from Health at Every Size and intuitive eating as they are right now in western culture, and how people practicing in the alternative-health field can become important allies to the anti-diet movement. 

(By the way, this interview is the one I recorded in a closet on my trip to San Francisco—tune in to see how my MacGyvered solution to a noisy hotel room turned out!)

Here’s to everything that you are,

Christy

P.S. If you’re ready to heal your relationship with food and break free from The Wellness Diet, come join my intuitive eating online course and community. It’ll help you get back in touch with your body’s innate wisdom about food, so that you can get back to all the infinitely more important aspects of your life—because you really are so much more than what you eat. 

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