Food Psych #119: How to Fight Back Against Weight Stigma with Ragen Chastain

Ragen Chastain

Ragen Chastain, the fabulous fat-acceptance activist, writer, and speaker, returns to dig into the dangers of weight-loss surgery, navigating the healthcare system as a fat person, the problem with the current weight science and fatphobia within the medical community, why weight loss interventions can’t coexist with eating disorder recovery programs, and so much more. PLUS, Christy answers a listener question about how to deal with a friend who might have an issue with overexercise and body control.

Ragen Chastain is an internationally recognized thought leader in the fields of self-esteem, body image, Health at Every Size, and corporate wellness. She is a sought after speaker on the college, corporate, and conference circuits who has set the stage on fire everywhere from Google Headquarters to Cal Tech to the New England/New York College Health Association. She is the author of the blog, the book Fat: The Owner's Manual, editor of the Praeger Anthology "The Politics of Size," serves on the Editorial Board for Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society, and frequently gives expert commentary on radio, television and in print. Ragen is a featured interviewee in the documentaries America the Beautiful 2 - The Thin Commandments, and A Stage for Size. She is an ACE Certified Health Coach, champion dancer and marathoner. She lives in Los Angeles with her partner and their adorable dogs and is training for her first IRONMAN triathlon.

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We Discuss:

  • The false narrative that weight loss cures issues with mobility, strength, and stamina

  • The truth about pursuing intentional weight loss, for health reasons or otherwise, and how it almost always results in weight regain

  • Fatphobia in the medical community and medical research

  • The “obesity epidemic,” and the impact of weight stigma, discrimination, and dieting/weight cycling on creating the environment for larger bodies

  • The dangers of weight-loss surgery

  • Health insurance complications for those in fat bodies

  • Issues with the peer reviewed weight research out there

  • The difference between medical care for fat bodies vs thin bodies

  • Changing the biases and preconceptions of medical professionals about fat people

  • Barriers to health that aren’t often discussed, such as racism and oppression

  • The definition of health, and how ableist the concept of health is

  • The healthcare costs of the National Football League and other professional sports players

  • Ragen’s experiencing training for her IRONMAN triathlon and her experience as a fat athlete

  • The “good fatty, bad fatty” dichotomy

  • Healthism

  • Considering mental health, stigma, neurodiversity, and varied communication styles in navigating the healthcare system

  • The impact of systemic oppression on seeking and receiving healthcare

  • How mainstream body positivity is a watered-down version of the fat acceptance movement

  • The problem with promoting weight loss within eating disorder recovery

  • Ragen’s work on the Fat Activism Conference


Resources Mentioned

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Listener Question of the Week

How do we cope when the people that surround us are grappling with internalized fatphobia, and are allowing their internal biases to negatively impact a valuable relationship? How does gender identity fit into body preoccupation? What do we do when the people we love are engaging in problematic behaviors, like over exercising? How do we use our own experience to help others to recognize their dangerous behaviors, while also making sure that we stay safe?

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