diet recovery

Food Psych #116: Self-Care and Diet Recovery with Jenna Hollenstein

Jenna Hollenstein

Fellow intuitive eating coach and non-diet dietitian Jenna Hollenstein discusses food as self-care, why people fall into disordered eating and alcoholism as coping mechanisms, the connection between dieting and religion, how to tolerate discomfort, the role of diet culture in keeping social progress for happening, how to set boundaries and limits, how to practice self-compassion, and a whole lot more. PLUS, Christy answers a listener question about how to teach and practice fitness from a Health at Every Size perspective!

Jenna Hollenstein, MS, RDN, CDN, is a non-diet dietitian who helps people struggling with chronic dieting, disordered eating, and eating disorders. She uses a combination of Intuitive Eating, mindfulness techniques, and meditation to help her clients move toward greater peace, health, and wellness.

Jenna is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and a Certified Dietitian Nutritionist in New York State. She has a Bachelors degree in Nutrition from Penn State and a Masters degree in Nutrition from Tufts University. She's a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, an Open Heart Project meditation guide, and a meditation guide in the Shambhala tradition.

She co-teaches the Open Heart Project Meditation Instructor Training, an intensive 9-week online course to teach dietitians, therapists, coaches, and yoga teachers how to establish their own meditation practice and then to share the technique responsibly and skillfully with their clients, patients, and students.

Jenna is the author of Understanding Dietary Supplements, a handy guide to the evaluation and use of vitamins, minerals, herbs, and botanicals for both consumers and clinicians, and more recently the memoir Drinking to Distraction. She is currently writing a book about how Buddhist teachings and meditation can change the way we relate to food, eating, and our bodies. Find her online at


We Discuss:

  • Jenna’s relationship with food growing up, including the pathologization of pleasure

  • Food as self-care

  • Seeking the middle ground rather than functioning in the extremes

  • Alcoholism as a self-medicating tool

  • The meandering path to finding peace, healing, and safety in a chaotic world

  • Disordered eating and eating disorders as coping mechanisms

  • The connection between dieting and religion

  • Tolerating discomfort

  • Diet culture’s role in keeping social progress down

  • Jenna’s studies in Buddhism, meditation, and learning how to relate differently to suffering

  • Integrating non-reactivity learned through meditation with disordered eating urges

  • Trusting the structure within us rather than needing outward structure to make sense of our lives

  • Finding the value in not fitting in

  • Vulnerability

  • Self-disclosure of eating disorder recovery and the drive to help others with our experiences

  • Setting boundaries and limits

  • Creating an enlightened society

  • The difficulties of fostering self-compassion

  • Discipline in the Buddhist perspective

  • The “honeymoon phase” in intuitive eating

  • Unconditional permission with our thoughts

  • "The Second Arrow"


Resources Mentioned

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Listener Question of the Week

How can fitness professionals best support their clients who are practicing Health at Every Size? What other things do we need to look out for in the fitness world, other than avoiding talking about calories or thinness and focusing on non-weight benefits of movement?

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