Food Psych #101: How to Honor Your True Hungers & Find Body Acceptance with Rachel Estapa

Rachel Estapa.jpg

Size-acceptance advocate and yoga teacher Rachel Estapa discusses how being a larger-bodied child led to early experiences of shame and dieting, why diet culture's promise to "fix" us is so alluring, the connection between physical and emotional hungers,  why rediscovering her loves and desires in life was essential to her recovery from dieting, how the practice of yoga helped show her the path to liberation, and lots more!

Rachel Estapa, founder of More to Love®, is a certified life coach, certified Kripalu Yoga teacher, writer, speaker and social entrepreneur who educates and supports plus size people on approaches to positive body image and wellness, enabling all bodies to lead more empowered lives. Find her online at

Grab Christy's new free guide, 7 simple strategies for finding peace and freedom with food. You can also text "FOODPSYCH" to the phone number 44222 to get it on the go!

Join the Food Psych Facebook group to connect with fellow listeners around the world!


We Discuss:

  • Rachel’s relationship with food growing up, including associating food with love and family

  • Body shame in relation to food choices

  • Separating the critical voice from the true inner voice of compassion

  • The line between educating others and preserving our own body-positive journey

  • Reconnecting to body trust

  • How intuitive eating leads to intuitive living

  • Creating a loving relationship with the past

  • Rachel’s first experience with a nutritionist

  • The importance of access to plus-size clothing options

  • Rachel's Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) diagnosis

  • The connection between physical hunger and emotional hunger

  • Rediscovering satisfaction with food and movement on the intuitive eating journey

  • The impact of patriarchy and misogyny on femme socialization

  • Yoga, eating disorder recovery, and embodiment

  • Reconnecting with and accepting emotions

  • Eating as an intimate act

  • Food as a part of our relationships and human connection

  • Navigating and pushing back against diet culture and the diet mentality

  • Rachel’s reasons for creating More to Love

  • Finding everlasting, honest, and individual body acceptance

  • The intersection of mystery and science

  • Tolerating constant change and growth

  • The trouble with deriving self-worth from external factors

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Food Psych #95: How to Share Your Anti-Diet Journey with Katie Dalebout

Katie Dalebout

Fellow body-positive podcaster and coach Katie Dalebout joins me to celebrate Food Psych's 4-year anniversary! We discuss how Katie's first appearance in episode 34 changed the direction of the podcast, how her recovery from orthorexia led her toward Health at Every Size and away from her original wellness-focused business, how she discovered her interests and passions beyond food and health, why it's so important to consider potential triggers when telling your recovery story, how to share responsibly on social media, and lots more!

Through her blog, podcasts, videos, and courses, Katie Dalebout curates inspired wisdom that guides people to go deep and sift through the thoughts clouding their minds. She’s a contributor to Hello Giggles, Refinery29, and MindBodyGreen, and in 2013 launched the weekly podcast Let It Out (formerly The Wellness Wonderland), which attracted wellness and lifestyle celebrities such as Gabrielle Bernstein, Tara Stiles, and Joe Cross in its first few episodes. She’s the author of the Amazon best-selling book Let It Out: A Journey Through Journaling (Hay House, 2016). She helps people develop a positive body image by embracing their creativity and personality outside of their physicality, and she’s on a mission to share journaling tools that invoke deeper authenticity and self-awareness. Find her online at

Join the new Food Psych Facebook group to connect with fellow listeners around the world!


We Discuss:

  • The four-year anniversary of Food Psych, including its evolution into a 100% body-positive philosophy, and Katie’s role in defining some of Food Psych’s themes

  • How Katie and Christy became friends through podcasting, as well as the early days of Food Psych

  • Katie’s “coming out” process with her eating disorder

  • Christy’s first exploration of Health at Every Size, including how the eating disorder recovery world and collaborating with Isabel Foxen Duke really brought her into the fold both in her practice and her podcast

  • Katie’s experience listening to Isabel Foxen Duke’s episode of Food Psych, including the vulnerability that the episode brought out in Isabel’s story

  • The importance of exploring our relationships with food growing up, and how this question helps us establish that we are not alone in these food and body struggles

  • The problem with eating disorder memoirs, including balancing storytelling with potentially triggering information

  • The normalization of diet culture

  • How our stages of recovery, understanding of disordered eating, and awareness of triggers evolves over time

  • Katie’s podcast, Let it Out, and the transformation it has undergone with Katie’s own journey through eating disorder recovery

  • Seeking out hobbies apart from food, the body, and wellness

  • How disordered eating can shape our lives and career trajectories

  • Responsibly sharing on social media, including representing a balanced life rather than just the highlights or the “healthy” parts

  • The issue with social media “branding,” including getting stuck in certain food and lifestyle labels

  • How eating styles can become a part of our identity

  • The potentially damaging influence of people we admire in the social media realm

  • The peace that comes from living your life in an intuitive way rather than a diet-mentality way

  • How the diet industry is beginning to co-opt not just wellness and nutrition, but intuitive eating and body positivity

  • Creating boundaries and taking a stand against diet culture

  • The importance of tapping into anger and humor in this social justice movement

  • How the body-positive movement and anti-diet movement fit in the larger socio-cultural context of our current political situation

  • Striking the balance between curating a compassionate social media feed and ensuring that we don’t forget that the HAES, body-positive bubble in which we reside isn't how the rest of the world functions


Resources Mentioned

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Food Psych #91: Becoming an Anti-Diet Dietitian with Jennifer McGurk

Jennifer McGurk, anti-diet dietitian

Body-positive dietitian Jennifer McGurk shares her history of body shame and disordered eating, her journey to recovery, how her career evolved alongside her own relationship with food, why she's fighting to make Health at Every Size training part of the academic requirements for dietitians and other healthcare professionals, how pregnancy changed her relationship with her body, and lots more!

Jennifer McGurk, RDN, CDN, CDE, CEDRD is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist whose mission is to help people heal from diets, and find peace and balance with their food choices. She is the owner of Eat With Knowledge in Nyack, NY. She leads a team of dietitians who support the philosophy, “Feel fabulous about food!”

As a Certified Eating Disorders Registered Dietitian, Jennifer combines her expertise in medical nutrition therapy, psychology, and physiology to help clients understand their eating behaviors, and gain the insight needed to make positive changes for their health. She is an expert in the field of eating disorders and also supervises other Registered Dietitians.

Jennifer has created the business Pursuing Private Practice, along with authoring a book series of the same name, to help other healthcare professionals reach their goal of owning their own business. Pursuing Private Practice: 10 Steps to Start Your Own Business was released in January 2016, and Pursuing Private Practice: 10 Steps to Grow Your Own Business was released in April 2016. She is working on an e-course that will be out April 2017. Find her online at or, and be sure to sign her HAES petition!

Be sure to join the new Food Psych Facebook group to connect with fellow listeners around the world!


We Discuss:

  • Jennifer’s relationship with food growing up, including her experience finding joy in food up until diet culture took hold in her teenage years

  • Jennifer’s struggles with body image, and her eventual first weight loss “success” that led her down the path of disordered eating

  • The protective element of thin privilege in our fat-phobic world

  • How the influence of peers can impact our own food and movement choices and potentially encourage dangerous changes

  • Jennifer’s experience with binge eating disorder, including how intense restriction contributed to the development of her eating disorder

  • How bingeing is your body’s way of protecting itself from starvation

  • Jennifer’s experience with an orthorexic mindset (“clean” eating, morality attached to food), including her desire to study nutrition in order to find the “answer” to health and the ways in which nutrition education helped her to see that all foods fit in a balanced life

  • Jennifer’s decision to seek out therapy to help support her eating disorder recovery

  • The importance of eating-disorder-trained dietitians and Health-at-Every-Size-informed dietitians

  • Navigating the world of HAES after coming from a classic dietetics, weight loss background

  • Jennifer’s petition to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in regards to the certification in Obesity and Weight Management from the Commission on Dietetic Registration

  • Jennifer’s transition to being a HAES dietitian, working with clients struggling with eating disorders, and moving into private practice

  • The fear that many dietitians have of letting go of selling weight loss

  • The importance of networking within the HAES community, as well as tailoring marketing to be 100% anti-diet and HAES, rather than straddling the line between weight management and HAES

  • The explosion of the HAES, body-positive, intuitive eating movement, and the potential danger of mainstream intuitive eating and HAES

  • How to approach weight concerns as a HAES, anti-diet dietitian

  • What is really behind the desire to lose weight

  • The myths that weight loss, motherhood, and romantic love will give us immediate life fulfillment

  • Jennifer’s experience as a mother, including body image concerns during her pregnancy and dealing with the postpartum period

  • Understanding that when we want to turn back to dieting or have negative body image thoughts, we are often using our bodies to ignore what’s really going on within

  • The value in sharing our recovery stories and supporting one another by showing we are not alone in our struggles


Resources Mentioned

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Food Psych #75: How to Build a Body-Positive Business Without Selling Weight Loss with Melissa Toler

Melissa Toler - Ditching Diet Culture & Building a Body-Positive Business

Fellow anti-diet health and wellness coach Melissa Toler shares how she began dieting and fighting against her body, what led her to give up the fight and embrace body positivity, why she no longer sells weight loss (and what that means for her business), and lots more!

Melissa Toler is non-diet, weight-neutral health and wellness coach, speaker, and writer. Her goal is to help women connect the dots between our culture's ridiculous beauty standards and our personal struggle with self-acceptance. She helps women unlearn the toxic messages and behaviors from lifelong dieting so they can learn a new set of skills. Melissa uses her background as a pharmacist, a certified health & wellness coach, and her 25-year history with dieting in her work.

Melissa gave up the weight loss quest years ago and it was one of the best decisions she's ever made. Find her online at, and check out the blog post we discussed, "Why I Stopped Selling Weight Loss." 

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