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

Some of the links below are affiliate links. Affiliates or not, we only recommend products and services that align with our values.


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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Food Psych #112: Body Liberation and Difficult Conversations with Jes Baker

Jes Baker

Jes Baker, body-liberation activist and author of the book Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls, discusses her continuing process of recovery from trauma related to food, eating, and fatphobia; why talking about trauma is so important; why she uses the term "body liberation" instead of "body positivity" or "fat acceptance"; why we need to have more nuanced conversations about people's body-liberation journeys instead of reflexively shunning celebrities who've had weight-loss surgery; how the experience of being "small-fat" differs from the experience of being in a larger fat body; why the mainstreaming of body positivity has been so problematic; and lots more. PLUS, Christy answers a listener question about starting movement again after a history of compulsive exercise.

Jes Baker is a Tucson blogger and author who is on a mission to turn our society's concept of beauty on its oppressive head as she knows for a FACT that every person in this world is worthy of respect and feeling valued regardless of their size, shape, shade, sex, ability, gender, age or health records. She preaches the importance of body autonomy, ALL CAPS, self-love, mental health, strong coffee, and even stronger language. Find her online at

Submit your questions for a chance to have them answered on the podcast!


We Discuss:

  • Jes’s relationship with food growing up, including her experience with food scarcity and never learning how to eat “normally”

  • The trauma of living in diet culture

  • Why body trust is so challenging after prolonged deprivation

  • Removing fatphobia and weight stigma from medical practice

  • Intuitive eating, body love, and Health at Every Size as concepts vs. practice

  • The deprivation mindset

  • Compassion

  • Trauma recovery and theory

  • Roxane Gay’s new book, Hunger

  • Weight loss surgery

  • Holding the diet industry accountable

  • Body autonomy

  • Patriarchy, the beauty ideal, and choice feminism

  • Radicalism vs. mainstream movements

  • Lisa Frank BoPo

  • Body positivity vs. body liberation

  • Dealing with weight gain

  • Reactionary conversations

  • Therapy vs. community healing

  • The pros and cons of internet communities

  • The consequences of mainstreaming body love

  • Body currency

  • Body acceptance and body neutrality

  • Ableism

  • Jes’s experience writing her second book


Resources Mentioned

Some of the links below are affiliate links. Affiliates or not, we only recommend products and services that align with our values.


Listener Question of the Week

How do we engage in intuitive movement and fitness without triggering old diet-mentality thoughts? Is it possible to the gym or do gym-type activities without being inundated with diet culture? What are some non-gym forms of movement?

(Resources Mentioned: Curvy Yoga with Anna Guest-Jelley and Cody classes with Jessamyn Stanley and Dana Falsetti)

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Food Psych #109: Body Acceptance and Disability with Anna Sweeney

Anna Sweeney

Fellow Health at Every Size RD Anna Sweeney shares how having a disability has affected her relationship with food and her body, how she's come to terms with the identity of being a disabled person, why anti-diet work is about social justice and equality for *all* bodies (not just those that are considered socially acceptable), why having a loved one with an eating disorder can bring up conflicting emotions, how diet culture permeates mainstream healthcare including eating disorder treatment, and lots more. PLUS, Christy answers a listener question about the early stages of intuitive eating!

Anna Sweeney, MS, RD, LDN, CEDRD is a Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian, who provides nutrition care using a non-diet, Intuitive Eating, and Health at Every Size paradigm. Anna is an expert in providing care for individuals struggling with eating disorders, disordered eating, and body image concerns. Over the last decade, she has served in a supervisory role at multiple eating disorder treatment centers, and currently holds the position of National Director of Nutrition Services for Monte Nido.

Anna is also the owner of Whole Life Nutrition Counseling in Concord, MA, where she works exclusively with clients with eating disorders, disordered eating, or an interest in intuitive eating. Anna is passionate about nutrition, balance and wellness and works to empower her clients to trust their own body wisdom. Find her online at


We discuss:

  • How you can submit your questions for inclusion in the podcast, and today’s question from a listener named Gracie

  • Anna’s intuitive relationship with food growing up

  • The difficult transition of moving from the Midwest to the East Coast

  • Why the transition into puberty causes so much angst about weight and food

  • Anna's journey of getting diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), and how it changed her relationships and feelings about herself and her body

  • Anna’s introduction to nutrition and her interest in eating disorders

  • The limitations of traditional dietetics training on eating disorders and body image issues

  • Why most dietitians start out as part of diet culture

  • Opportunities to do a different type of nutritional counseling

  • Why unlearning is more important than learning when it comes to relating to food

  • Anna's experiment of following a particular diet to treat her MS, and how it affected her relationship with food

  • Why the field of eating disorders needs to do a better job of acknowledging disability and including all bodies 

  • Anna's decision to embrace her identity as a disabled person and speak publicly about disability rights

  • How you can find Anna’s survey for body image and eating disorder treatment professionals


Resources Mentioned

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