Food Psych #91: Becoming an Anti-Diet Dietitian with Jennifer McGurk

Jennifer McGurk, anti-diet dietitian

Body-positive dietitian Jennifer McGurk shares her history of body shame and disordered eating, her journey to recovery, how her career evolved alongside her own relationship with food, why she's fighting to make Health at Every Size training part of the academic requirements for dietitians and other healthcare professionals, how pregnancy changed her relationship with her body, and lots more!

Jennifer McGurk, RDN, CDN, CDE, CEDRD is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist whose mission is to help people heal from diets, and find peace and balance with their food choices. She is the owner of Eat With Knowledge in Nyack, NY. She leads a team of dietitians who support the philosophy, “Feel fabulous about food!”

As a Certified Eating Disorders Registered Dietitian, Jennifer combines her expertise in medical nutrition therapy, psychology, and physiology to help clients understand their eating behaviors, and gain the insight needed to make positive changes for their health. She is an expert in the field of eating disorders and also supervises other Registered Dietitians.

Jennifer has created the business Pursuing Private Practice, along with authoring a book series of the same name, to help other healthcare professionals reach their goal of owning their own business. Pursuing Private Practice: 10 Steps to Start Your Own Business was released in January 2016, and Pursuing Private Practice: 10 Steps to Grow Your Own Business was released in April 2016. She is working on an e-course that will be out April 2017. Find her online at or, and be sure to sign her HAES petition!

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We Discuss:

  • Jennifer’s relationship with food growing up, including her experience finding joy in food up until diet culture took hold in her teenage years

  • Jennifer’s struggles with body image, and her eventual first weight loss “success” that led her down the path of disordered eating

  • The protective element of thin privilege in our fat-phobic world

  • How the influence of peers can impact our own food and movement choices and potentially encourage dangerous changes

  • Jennifer’s experience with binge eating disorder, including how intense restriction contributed to the development of her eating disorder

  • How bingeing is your body’s way of protecting itself from starvation

  • Jennifer’s experience with an orthorexic mindset (“clean” eating, morality attached to food), including her desire to study nutrition in order to find the “answer” to health and the ways in which nutrition education helped her to see that all foods fit in a balanced life

  • Jennifer’s decision to seek out therapy to help support her eating disorder recovery

  • The importance of eating-disorder-trained dietitians and Health-at-Every-Size-informed dietitians

  • Navigating the world of HAES after coming from a classic dietetics, weight loss background

  • Jennifer’s petition to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in regards to the certification in Obesity and Weight Management from the Commission on Dietetic Registration

  • Jennifer’s transition to being a HAES dietitian, working with clients struggling with eating disorders, and moving into private practice

  • The fear that many dietitians have of letting go of selling weight loss

  • The importance of networking within the HAES community, as well as tailoring marketing to be 100% anti-diet and HAES, rather than straddling the line between weight management and HAES

  • The explosion of the HAES, body-positive, intuitive eating movement, and the potential danger of mainstream intuitive eating and HAES

  • How to approach weight concerns as a HAES, anti-diet dietitian

  • What is really behind the desire to lose weight

  • The myths that weight loss, motherhood, and romantic love will give us immediate life fulfillment

  • Jennifer’s experience as a mother, including body image concerns during her pregnancy and dealing with the postpartum period

  • Understanding that when we want to turn back to dieting or have negative body image thoughts, we are often using our bodies to ignore what’s really going on within

  • The value in sharing our recovery stories and supporting one another by showing we are not alone in our struggles


Resources Mentioned

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