Food Psych #104: How to Make Peace with Food & Feelings with Anita Johnston

Anita Johnston

Psychotherapist and author Anita Johnston shares how learning to feel and honor your feelings can help you heal from food issues, why she had a very unusual relationship with food growing up, how beauty ideals for women have remained oppressive over time even if they change slightly, why being intuitive and able to read people is both a liability and a gift, why it's important to have both boundaries and flexibility, the role of storytelling and metaphor in eating recovery, and lots more!

Anita Johnston, Ph.D, CEDS, is a clinical psychologist and certified eating disorder specialist. She is the author of Eating in the Light of the Moon, which has been published in six languages, and the co-creator of the Light of the Moon Café, an interactive e-course and online “workbook” for Eating in the Light of the Moon. Dr. Johnston has been working in the field of women’s issues and eating difficulties for over three decades. She founded the Anorexia & Bulimia Center of Hawaii in 1982 and the first Eating Disorders IOP in the country, ‘Ai Pono, in Honolulu in 2001. She is currently Clinical Director of ‘Ai Pono Maui, an Eating Disorders Residential Treatment Program on the island of Maui. She provides online individual consultations, and conducts workshops and professional trainings around the world, using metaphor and storytelling along with her training as a clinical psychologist, to address the complex issues that underlie struggles with eating, weight, and body image. Get her free Soul Hunger video series to learn more about her approach.

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We Discuss:

  • Anita’s relationship with food growing up, including her experience growing up in Guam and not knowing what dieting was until she got older

  • Diet culture, the thin ideal, and the “Twiggy” obsession in the early 70s

  • Anita’s experience in the Miss Universe pageant

  • Cultural differences in the beauty ideal

  • The limitations of the current body-positive movement re: age and body type

  • Matrilineal culture, matriarchy, and patriarchy

  • Anita’s educational journey

  • Applying meaning to our experiences

  • Feminism and women’s cultural issues

  • The Emperor’s New Clothes

  • Perceiving the nuance and the falsehoods in our culture

  • Why eating disorders have adaptive functions

  • Food as metaphor

  • The value of community support on this intuitive eating, non-diet journey

  • Setting boundaries and creating limits

  • Creating inner parents for comfort and protection

  • Compassionate curiosity

  • The metaphor of the feminine and masculine archetypes

  • Finding balance between the parts of our personalities

 

Resources Mentioned

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