Food Psych #125: Healing Your Relationship with Food & Overcoming Disordered Eating with Lisa Pearl

Lisa Pearl

Health at Every Size dietitian Lisa Pearl joins us to discuss breaking down internalized weight bias, how we relate to food and our bodies, fighting back against diet culture, the importance of a HAES approach to eating disorder treatment, body image and finding self-compassion, and so much more! PLUS, Christy answers a listener question about letting go of the weight-loss ideal.

As an undergraduate, Lisa double majored in biology and nutrition. Her postgraduate studies have included clinical nutrition, expressive movement therapy, fellowships in adolescent medicine, nutrition support and psychiatry, and executive coaching.

Lisa began her work as an eating disorder specialist more than 30 years ago at Children’s Hospital in Boston. During her tenure at Children’s Hospital, she worked with a team to seek new and better advances in treatment for eating disorders. With their support, she was able to incorporate many new treatment ideas including behavioral therapy groups, family meals and parent groups, expressive movement therapy and yoga, and a mindful eating program. Lisa has been an advocate for HAES throughout her career.

While at Children’s Hospital she received national recognition for demonstrating the need for a multidisciplinary team approach to the treatment of eating disorders and for her work with the Joint Commission for Hospital Accreditation to improve patient care through the inclusion of nutrition therapy for eating disorders.

Through the years Lisa has continued to push the envelope of innovation with presentations at local and national conferences. She has worked as a consultant for MIT, Harvard University, Boston Ballet, and numerous independent and public schools for prevention, education, and treatment of eating disorders. She has written health curriculums and protocols for numerous public and private organizations. Lisa has directed internships and provided mentoring for dietetic, social work, and medical students. She has served on the Board of Directors for Anorexia, Bulimia Care, Feeding Ourselves, and MEDA.

Lisa has received the ADA’s Recognized Dietitian of the Year Award and the Governor’s Commendation for Excellence in Public Service. In 2012, she was honored at MEDA's Annual Gala.

Lisa has volunteered as a community organizer for City Year and Habitat for Humanity as well as working on school boards, and various community efforts to bring awareness to human rights.

Most recently, Lisa is spearheading a new graduate program at Simmons College for clinicians who would like to work in the treatment of eating disorders. This program will provide dietitians with the opportunity to receive both academic training as well as internship opportunities. Connect with Lisa online to learn more about her private practice, CNC360, and her other work.

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 :)

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


We Discuss:

  • Lisa’s introduction to relational theory, and how that introduced her to the idea that we have a relationship with food and with our bodies

  • The need for a shift to Health at Every Size, body diversity, size acceptance, and body positivity

  • Lisa’s relationship with food growing up, including learning the myth that nutrition can cure all ills

  • The detrimental effect of gymnastics on Lisa’s body image

  • How family trauma can impact our relationship with food and our bodies

  • Lisa’s exploration of the dietetics field

  • The demonization of Western medicine in favor of natural methods

  • Uncovering intuitive eating and mindfulness as a path to eating disorder recovery

  • How important community and mentorship is to the Health at Every Size, body liberation, intuitive eating movements

  • Lisa’s experience restructuring an eating disorder treatment center and introducing a multidisciplinary team approach

  • Persevering through diet culture, and how far the Health at Every Size movement has come

  • How fat acceptance and Health at Every Size fit into eating disorder treatment

  • The ways in which shame immobilizes and paralyzes people from living their life

  • Internalized weight bias and fatphobia in the eating disorder community

  • Finding body acceptance and self-care without weight loss

  • The protective quality of disordered eating

  • Compassion as a healing technique

  • The sociological elements of chronic dieting and disordered eating

  • Developing new programing for dietitians that is Health at Every Size, size-acceptance focused

  • Finding your voice and community in the body liberation movement

  • The importance of self-compassion and casting aside shame in the unlearning process

  • Learning from our mistakes


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

How do we handle weight gain, and get past the weight loss ideal? Are there certain life events that are particularly triggering in terms of body image? What’s the deal with the wedding industrial complex, and how does it reinforce patriarchy and the thin ideal? What do we do if we don’t want to be weighed at the doctor’s office? What’s the cost of maintaining restrictive weight loss? (Resources Mentioned: Amber Karnes’ Food Psych Podcast episode, Glenys Oyston’s Food Psych Podcast episode)

Get the Transcript of This Episode

Join my email list to get the transcript delivered to your inbox instantly!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by Seva