Food Psych #133: Healing from Weight Stigma and Diet Culture with Kai Hibbard, "Biggest Loser" Contestant Turned Anti-Diet Activist

Kai Hibbard

Past Biggest Loser contestant and current anti-diet trailblazer Kai Hibbard joins us this week to talk about the negative effect of weight bias and stigma on larger-bodied folks, her journey from disordered eating to Health at Every Size activist, the social determinants of health and her desire to change the face of public health, the power of anger in our anti-diet journeys, and so much more! PLUS, Christy answers a listener question about how ethical food choices and rejecting diet culture can coexist.

Kai was first cast into the spotlight through her participation in, and subsequent denunciation of the weight loss game show The Biggest Loser. Going through the program, she realized the negative impact the show had, not only on her own life, but on society in general. Vowing to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Kai has fought, often as the lone voice, against unrealistic and damaging message in the media regarding our bodies in general. Over time that struggle has been featured in countless magazines and newscasts, both domestically and internationally, ranging from The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, Good Morning America, ABC News, CBS News, E!, Star Magazine, US Weekly, People, TMZ, The NY Times, The NY Post, Inside Edition, Redbook, Access Hollywood, FoxNews,The Globe, Jezebel, Huffington Post Live and Upworthy, where Kai's honest, straight forward approach to her own story never fails to shine through. Find her online at KaiHibbard.com.

Grab Christy's free guide, 7 simple strategies for finding peace and freedom with food, to start your intuitive eating journey. You can also text "7STRATEGIES" to the phone number 44222 to get it on the go :)

Get Christy's BRAND NEW online course for fellow health & wellness pros, Master Your Anti-Diet Message, at christyharrison.com/message.

 

We Discuss:

  • Kai’s relationship with food growing up, including learning body comparisons and weight preoccupation from a young age

  • The connection between trauma, sexual assault, and disordered eating

  • Kai’s experience going to Weight Watchers at a young age, as well as how much she was bullied over her body size

  • Changing beauty ideals based on geographic location

  • How rare it is to find a non-diet community in our diet-culture world

  • How diet culture and body hatred embed themselves into femme bonding experiences

  • Setting boundaries and dealing with loved ones who are still stuck in diet culture

  • Kai’s experience as an aerobics instructor, how it influenced her eating habits, and her eventual struggle with rapid weight gain

  • The fitness competition community and how it sparks disordered eating

  • The current state of plus-size fashion

  • Kai’s experience on The Biggest Loser, including the restrictive eating styles the show promoted

  • How money and the diet industry motivates diet culture

  • Fatphobia’s influence on weight research and in the medical community

  • Social determinants of health, how weight stigma affects the ability of people in larger to get proper medical care, and the need for a paradigm shift in public health

  • Christy’s shift from the worrying about the obesity epidemic to the Health at Every Size paradigm

  • Kai’s doctoral work on social justice and public health

  • How internalized fatphobia can affect our professional work

  • Kai’s intervention, and how her family and friends helped push her towards recovery

  • Kai’s ups and downs in recovery, including how joining the Army influenced her food and body journey

  • Kai’s struggle to get her rheumatoid arthritis diagnosed due to her body size, and her experience with chronic illness

  • Embracing your right to proper medical care, no matter your size

  • The power of anger in sustaining our anti-diet truth

  • Realizing the societal influences that lead us to body hatred and disordered eating

  • Using our personal tools, skill sets, and privilege to fight against diet culture at large and uplift the voices of marginalized folks

  • Kai’s professional aspirations and future ambitions

 

Resources Mentioned

Some of the links below are affiliate links. Affiliates or not, we only recommend products and services that align with our values.

 

Listener Question of the Week

Can ethical food choices fit in with out intuitive eating journey? How does diet culture sneak its way into certain styles of eating? Are there some ways to check in with ourselves about our food choices that feels practical? How do we know when to prioritize our own needs over others? Do we need to heal our relationship with food before we can dive into ethical food restriction? What do we do if an eating style is part of our identity? Are there some ways to set boundaries around ourselves to protect us from the communities that promote certain ethical styles of eating?


(Resources Mentioned: Intuitive Eating Fundamentals)