Anti-diet therapist and author Judith Matz joins us to talk about shifting the focus of emotional eating toward the underlying deprivation and diet mentality, why turning to food to meet emotional needs isn’t an “eating problem” but a “soothing problem,” how diet culture and marginalization rob us of the ability to meet our needs, why Health at Every Size and intuitive eating are better approaches for true health, Judith’s work teaching other therapists about weight stigma, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to frame public health efforts to change the built environment in a way that doesn’t stigmatize people in larger bodies.
Judith is the co-author of two books on the topics of eating and weight struggles.
Beyond a Shadow of a Diet: The Comprehensive Guide to Treating Binge Eating Disorder, Compulsive Eating and Emotional Overeating has been called “the new bible” on this topic for professionals. The Diet Survivor’s Handbook: 60 Lessons in Eating, Acceptance and Self-Care was a #1 bestseller on Amazon and a favorite resource for therapists to use with clients. She is also the author of Amanda’s Big Dream, a children’s book that helps kids to pursue their dreams – at any size!
Judith has a private practice in Skokie, IL, where she focuses her work with clients who want to get off the diet/binge rollercoaster and learn to feel at home in their bodies. Through her individual counseling, groups, workshops, presentations and books, Judith has helped thousands of people to develop self-care skills that increase physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing without a focus on the pursuit of weight loss. Through educational programs, she is dedicated to helping people end the preoccupation with food and weight and to fighting weight stigma.
Judith is a popular speaker at national conferences and descriptions of her work have appeared in the media including the New York Times, LA Times, Allure, Fitness, Self, Shape, Today’s Dietitian, Diabetes Self-Management, Psychotherapy Networker, NBC News Chicago, Huffington Post Live, and she appears in the documentary America The Beautiful 2. Find her online at JudithMatz.com.
Judith’s relationship with food growing up, including how intuitive it was when she was young, and how that changed with the introduction of body comparisons and commentary from peers
Recognizing the connection between restriction and binging
Judith’s experience with weight gain, weight cycling, and the restrict-binge cycle
How thin privilege shielded Judith from some of the negative impact of diet culture
The ways in which we can make children resilient against fatphobia and body shaming
The bonding experience of dieting and the toxicity of weight-related compliments
How many of us are complicit in diet culture even when we don’t realize it
The Weight Watchers announcement about their free program for teens, and why it’s unethical to be pushing intentional weight loss onto impressionable young kids
Why Health at Every Size is a better approach for true health
The shame attached to the diet-binge cycle and the inevitable weight regain
Judith’s professional work in mental health and therapy, and her experience working in a diet-centric program
Why eating behaviors aren’t all about the psychology, and why intuitive eating needs to be factored into the healing process for people struggling with binge eating
The ways in which physical deprivation, rather than emotional eating, drives binge behaviors
Why we need to suss out the influence of the diet mentality on our food choices before we ask questions about whether or not we’re emotionally eating
Judith’s work teaching other therapists about weight stigma, and how professionals who continue to perpetuate the diet-centric paradigm are complicit in the oppression of people in larger bodies
The problem with assumptions about eating behavior based on body size
Shifting the focus of emotional eating from being an “eating problem” to being a “soothing problem”
Utilizing compassion on our journey to find new coping mechanisms, and why we can always use food as an emotional coping skill
Shifting from being in control to being in charge
How leaving behind dieting and shifting to intuitive eating can decrease anxiety and allow ourselves the space to take care of ourselves through depression and other stressors
The ways in which diet culture and marginalization rob us of the ability to meet our needs
How marginalization and food insecurity affects our relationship with food and our ability to heal, and how the restrict-binge cycle becomes protective and adaptive in this situation
The grief process of letting go of dieting
The negative health outcomes related to weight cycling and weight stigma, and the health benefits of intuitive eating
Judith’s efforts to integrate Health at Every Size and social justice into her therapeutic practice
The positive and negative implications of social media, and how diet culture has gotten more aggressive while resources have become more abundant
Why diet culture is The Life Thief, and how it robs people of meaningful conversations
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Submit your questions for a chance to have them answered on the podcast!
My online course, Intuitive Eating Fundamentals, which includes monthly listener Q&A podcasts and access to my private Facebook support group
"Raising Resilient Children in a Fat-Shaming World" by Judith Matz
Overcoming Overeating by Jane R. Hirschmann and Carol H. Munter
Ellyn Satter’s definition of “normal eating”
The Diet Survivor’s Handbook by Judith Matz and Ellen Frankel
Beyond A Shadow of a Diet by Judith Matz and Ellen Frankel
LISTENER QUESTION OF THE WEEK
How do we support health for everyone and support increased access to health-promoting variables without resorting to fatphobia? Are there ways to sneak weight-incisive language into public health research? How can changes in the unit environment improve people’s health, regardless of body size? Are there ways in which individuals can develop a compulsive, extreme relationship to exercise or food commonly thought of as “healthy?” How does cultural familiarity with certain foods affect people’s ability to interact with these foods? What research is out there about weight stigma and health disparity related to social inequities?
(Resources Mentioned: "Weight Science: Evaluating the evidence for a paradigm shift” by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor, Linda Bacon and their Food Psych Podcast episode, Lucy Aphramor and her Food Psych Podcast episode, "Weighed down by stigma: How weight-based social identity threat contributes to weight gain and poor health,” Journal of Social Issues, Vol 70, Number 2)
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