Food Psych #53: Food & Anxiety with Kat Kinsman

Kat Kinsman food anxiety

Writer Kat Kinsman (Tasting Table, CNN, Hi Anxiety) discusses mental illness in the food industry, how anxiety and depression have influenced her eating, how she's learned to cope with the physical demands of writing about food for a living, and lots more.

"If you've been restricted of food, it makes you obsess over food." [Click to tweet]

Kat is the Editor at Large and former Editor in Chief of Tasting Table. She recently founded Chefs with Issues, a website devoted to sharing stories and providing resources to people in the food industry who struggle with issues including depression, addictions, PTSD, eating disorders, and more.

Previously Kat was the Managing Editor of CNN’s Eatocracy, edited CNN’s Matrimony section and First Person essay series, and was a writer and editor for CNN Living. She covers food, booze, lady-being, person-being, mental health, disabilities, sex, pop culture (especially YA novels), weddings, and dogs. Mostly food, though. She was nominated for a James Beard Broadcast Award in the TV Segment category in 2013, but she didn’t win. She also didn’t win the EPPY Best Food Website with 1 million unique monthly visitors and over in 2012 and 2013 (though Eatocracy was nominated), but she sure as heck did win in 2011.

Her memoir, Hi, Anxiety: Life with a Bad Case of Nerves, is being published in May of 2016 by Dey Street Books, and is available for pre-order now. Find her online at or

We discuss...

"I'm lucky to GET food." [Click to Tweet]

  • Kat’s newest project, Chefs with Issues, a space for members of the food industry to discuss mental health issues and life stressors

  • The prevalence of eating disorders in the food community

  • Kat’s relationship to food in childhood, including her early start with cooking as a way to connect with others and overcome social anxiety

  • The lasting impacts of hunger and not having the resources to ensure you can eat every day

  • How anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues make feeding yourself challenging, even when the healing impacts of food are exactly what you need to pick yourself back up

  • How to handle mental health issues and still participate and function fully in the world

  • The physical manifestations of anxiety

  • Managing mental health issues in various ways, from self-medicating to prescribed pills and therapy, and how some of these methods are more maladaptive than others

  • How to take the personal pressure off for work projects and responsibilities through self-compassion

  • The struggles of dating while dealing with mental health issues and the delicate balance of supporting partners in times of struggle

  • How mental health issues can create patterns which promote disordered eating behaviors

  • Kat’s personal anxiety triggers, and her advice on how to cope with feelings of inadequacy and engage in self-care

  • The privileges that race, economics, culture, etc. afford for some people with mental health issues, and how people deal with these struggles differently based on their backgrounds

  • The positive impact that well-known people can make by coming out about their mental health struggles

    Resources Mentioned

"There's love and care and nurturing in food, and you have to let yourself eat it." [Click to Tweet]

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Food Psych #50: Breaking Free from Clean Eating & Fitness Obsession with Alicia Melgoza

Alicia Melgoza Health Fitness Recovery

Recovery coach Alicia Melgoza explains how she developed an unhealthy relationship to exercise and eating at a difficult time in her childhood, and shares the self-compassion practices that helped her recover.

Alicia Melgoza, MSW, MA, founder and creator of Taking Healthy Back™, is a Health Nut + Fitness Junkie Recovery Coach. Through her private coaching practice, she helps both men and women break free from "clean" eating and exercise obsession (i.e. what she calls hell-thy) and put the ‘life’ back into their healthy lifestyles. Her teachings are grounded in research-based principles from multidisciplinary fields, including Health At Every Size, intuitive eating, mindfulness, and positive psychology.

Alicia is shaking things up with her mission to redefine healthy beyond flat abs, squats and veggies. She knows from personal experience that you can have the so-called 'perfect' body, exercise religiously and eat clean to a T and be very unhealthy. That's why she takes a radically unconventional approach to healthy living that isn't about having a tight ass but about living a tight-ass life! Her passion for this mission and work is driven by her conviction that we've all got much more important shit to do with our lives than obsess over calories and cellulite. Poverty, inequality and injustice are all pressing issues that'll never get solved if we're fixated on food and our physical appearance.

Alicia holds Masters degrees in Clinical Social Work and International Human Rights from the University of Denver. Her work has been featured on popular healthy living websites such as Mind Body Green and Get Healthy U. You can find Alicia on her website at where you can take a quiz to gauge if you're taking healthy to an unhealthy extreme. When you take the quiz, you'll be signed up to receive Alicia's free value-packed, actionable coaching emails to help you kick hell-thy in the ass and live a healthier, happier, more purpose-driven life!

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