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Food Psych #108: The Roots of the Body-Positive Movement with Connie Sobczak

Connie Sobczak

Body-image activist Connie Sobczak joins us to discuss recovering from diet culture and body dissatisfaction, her role in creating the concept of body positivity and how HAES and fat acceptance were integrated from the start, the pluses and minuses of the current body-positive movement, why calling it "body neutrality" might work better for some people, why BMI is BS, the beauty ideal and aging, and lots more!

Connie Sobczak is a mentor, writer, educator, and award-winning video producer. Her experience with an eating disorder in her teen years and the death of her sister Stephanie inspired her life’s work to create a world where all people are free to love their bodies. In 1996, Connie brought her vision to life when she created The Body Positive with Elizabeth Scott, LCSW.

Connie is the author of Embody: Learning to Love Your Unique Body (and quiet that critical voice!), a book in which she brings the Be Body Positive Model to life, and skillfully and lovingly reconnects readers to their authenticity and beauty. She is a leader of the movement to prevent eating problems and improve the self-image of youth and adults through her writing, workshops, videos, professional trainings, leadership programs, and speaking engagements.

A California native, Connie currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her partner, Jim. Their daughter, Carmen, is her inspiration and her joy. Find Connie online at TheBodyPositive.org

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We Discuss:

  • Connie’s relationship with food growing up, including the experience of being a picky eater at a young age

  • Diet culture and body dissatisfaction

  • Puberty and weight gain

  • The normalization of disordered eating behavior

  • Connie’s experience with bulimia

  • Intuitive eating

  • Determining cravings

  • Fear of pleasure

  • Doing body-positive work for the next generation

  • The power of anger in recovery

  • Touch and massage as a form of healing and emotional release

  • Her role in creating the concept of body positivity

  • Body positivity vs. body neutrality

  • Fat acceptance and Health at Every Size

  • Sitting with suffering

  • The beauty ideal and aging

  • Beauty vs prettiness

  • Appreciating mistakes

  • Meditation

  • Intuitive living

  • Embodiment

  • Finding balance through nutrition

  • The importance of cultural competency in health interventions

  • Debunking BMI

  • Bodily autonomy

  • Fatphobia from healthcare providers

 

Resources Mentioned

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Food Psych #90: Raising Kids with Body Trust and Intuitive Eating with Hilary Kinavey of Be Nourished

Hilary Kinavey

Psychotherapist and HAES activist Hilary Kinavey shares her history of chronic dieting, the role of feminism in her recovery, how she helps her kids develop a healthy relationship with food, how romantic relationships affected her body image, why there need to be more body-positive role models for navigating aging and body changes throughout life, and lots more!  

Hilary Kinavey, MS, LPC, is a licensed professional counselor and cofounder of Be Nourished, LLC. Her work encourages movement toward a radically compassionate model of healing to address internalized body shame and associated patterns of chronic dieting and disordered eating. She is the co-creator of Body Trust™ Wellness, a Certified Daring Way™ facilitator-candidate, and a transformational workshop leader. Hilary is a popular speaker on topics such as Health at Every Size®, intuitive eating, and body respect in health care communities, and a regular contributor to the Huffington Post. Find her online at BeNourished.org.

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We Discuss:

  • Hilary’s relationship to food growing up, including navigating conflicting messages around food and her body

  • The relationship between feminism, dieting, and diet culture, and the way in which diets are marketed as a means of power and control to powerful women

  • Hilary’s diagnosis of PCOS, and how it impacted her relationship with food and her body

  • The natural health and naturopathic perspective, and the ways many of the natural health recommendations are just more diets in disguise

  • How when we heal our relationship with food we can approach health from a place of self-care rather than self-control

  • The current medical model that equates weight and health, and the need for Health at Every Size education within the medical community

  • How irresponsible and unethical it is to suggest weight loss for health when the research shows that it is nearly impossible to maintain, and how fuzzy the research on “obesity” even is

  • The ways in which letting go of dieting and moving to intuitive eating can trigger a mourning process

  • How our culture yearns for authenticity and human connection, how dieting prevents this connection, and how the HAES and body-positive community allows room for authenticity and letting go of shame

  • How powerful it can be when we let go of dieting, find our voices, and find our power

  • Hilary’s introduction to intuitive eating, including her experience with a therapist who helped her reconnect with food and her body

  • Hilary’s shifting relationship with her family due to her own identity within the anti-diet movement versus their identity within diet culture

  • The difficulty of engaging with people who are still indoctrinated in diet culture when you yourself have emerged from the dynamic

  • A parent’s role in the development of a child’s body image, including the importance of not commenting on bodies in any capacity around children in order to foster positive or neutral body image

  • Raising children in a body-neutral environment, and how to navigate teaching children HAES while also dealing with differing perspectives in other institutions such as school

  • Interfering as a parent in schools that teach potentially triggering behavior in the name of health

  • The eating competence model and Ellyn Satter’s work

  • Relationships and body image, including the realization that the connection with our partner has little to do with the way our bodies look

  • Hilary’s relationship with her body during and after pregnancy, including her difficulty reclaiming her sexuality

  • The need for female role models who exemplify unabashed ownership of their own body, especially in terms of unapologetic sexuality within female aging

  • Hilary’s experience as a mother and businessowner, and how her relationship with her body and herself has been challenged

  • How “letting go” is a lifelong process, from eating disorders to business dynamics

  • The importance of moving out of our heads and into our bodies

  • The concept of body trust, and the need for clinicians to be trained in body trust for eating disorder recovery and letting go of chronic dieting

 

Resources Mentioned

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