Food Psych #89: How to Heal Your Body Image Through Photography with Vivienne McMaster

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Body-positive photography coach Vivienne McMaster shares the joy she took in food as a child, how she got pulled into diet culture in adolescence, how food shame manifested at her family dinner table, how she used self-portraiture to heal her relationship with her body, why certain types of photos can be more harmful than helpful in recovery, and lots more!

Vivienne McMaster is a photographer, workshop leader and positive body image advocate from Vancouver, Canada. She who helps folks around the world see themselves with compassion through their own camera lens. Her photographs have been seen in such places as Oprah.com and The Huffington Post. The camera and self-portraiture helped her heal her own negative body image and she's now on a mission share these tools and help folks choose compassion over critique, one photo at a time. You can more about her at VivienneMcMasterPhotography.com.

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We Discuss:

  • Vivienne’s relationship with food growing up, including a large focus on family and community, as well as exposure to farming

  • How diet culture permeates our actions and speech even if we aren’t in an overtly disordered mindset

  • Vivienne’s first exposure to diet culture in her teen years and the overwhelming feelings that she had missed vital information on how to be a woman

  • Vivienne’s experience with food and family trauma

  • The ways in which dealing with misophonia removed the joy of eating for Vivienne, led to overeating and a complicated relationship with food, and impacted her overall self-esteem

  • Vivienne’s journey back to joyous eating through her work with intuitive eating

  • Vivienne’s experience with a gluten allergy as a teenager and her exploration of intuitive eating through gluten-free living without the negative and judgmental gluten-free diet culture we have today

  • The difficult balance to strike between avoiding certain foods in the name of self-care (like gluten or dairy) but not falling in the diet mentality trap of “good” and “bad” foods

  • The phenomenon of gluten-free diet culture

  • The ways in which diet trends often contradict one another or give rise to the newest craze (i.e. the low carb phase made the way for the gluten-free trend)

  • How Vivienne's low self-esteem and desire to be invisible due to her family trauma protected her from feeling like she needed to adhere to our societal standard of beauty

  • Vivienne's shift to Health at Every Size and intuitive eating, including the realization that our relationship with our bodies can be one of constant learning rather than one that is judged or moralized

  • Christy and Vivienne’s personal business strategies, including the need to walk away from comparisons for self-care

  • The importance of giving credit to the early fat acceptance activists and acknowledging one's own privilege within the movement

  • Vivienne’s exploration of body positivity through photography and self-portraiture, including the way in which she re-found her sense of identity and sense of self

  • The many different ways photography can be used for body-positive goals, from nude shoots that sexualize an individual to a more neutral photo of just the tips of someone’s toes

  • Bringing neutrality to the way we view our bodies

  • Throwing out the “manual” of body-positivity

  • The importance of honoring our own process and our own needs

  • Vivienne’s development of her body-positive photography workshops

 

Resources Mentioned

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