weight watchers

Food Psych #77: How to Handle Weight Stigma & Body Shame in the Family with Joanne Soolman

Joanne Levy Soolman - Health at Every Size Dietitian

Fellow Health at Every Size dietitian Joanne Soolman shares how weight stigma manifested in her family, how she overcame body shame and discovered Health at Every Size, how she handles having a sister who's a prominent Weight Watchers leader, and lots more!

Joanne Levy Soolman, MS, RD, LDN, is a registered dietitian and co-owner of Soolman Nutrition and Wellness, LLC located in Wellesley, MA. She and her husband Jonah, who is also a registered dietitian, provide outpatient nutrition counseling services for those in southeastern New England. Joanne got her BA in Psychology from Brown University and her MS in Nutrition and Health Promotion from Simmons College. Joanne specializes in nutrition counseling for individuals struggling with eating disorders and disordered eating. In addition to being a professional member of the Multiservice Eating Disorder Association, she is a proud member of the Association for Size Diversity and Health, promoting the principles of Health at Every Size®. Find her on her website at SoolmanNutrition.com.


We Discuss:

  • Joanne’s relationship with food growing up, including being taught the association of eating “too much” food with being fat, and discussions with her family regarding the thin ideal

  • How Joanne’s experiences at the doctor’s office as a young child fed into the obesity hysteria and a heavy focus on weight and food intake

  • The issues within the current medical model of weight regulation

  • Joanne’s first experience with a diet, including Slim Fast and beginning Jenny Craig during puberty, as well as Joanne’s first experience with disordered eating and restrictions and how the positive attention fed into the disordered patterns

  • The feeling of “failure” in relation to weight gain

  • Joanne’s journey to Health at Every Size 

  • How having a supportive partner can make such a difference in intuitive eating and body positivity

  • The difficulties doing body image work

  • The ways in which Joanne has navigated having a family member heavily involved in the pro-diet industry

  • How to let go of the weight-loss goal as a nutrition professional

  • The challenge of being involved with a family that subscribes to the diet mentality and the thin ideal while being a HAES dietitian

  • The future of the diet industry, and whether we will see a pro-HAES world soon

  • The pros and cons of HAES and body-positive activism, including internet trolls and fat phobia, as well as surprising acts of kindness


Resources Mentioned


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