Food Psych #131: How to Reclaim Pleasure In Food and Your Body with Substantia Jones

Substantia Jones

Activist and photographer Substantia Jones joins us to discuss recovery from chronic dieting, taking pleasure in food, using photography to find body love, the patriarchy’s influence on beauty ideals, the role of romantic relationships in our body image journey, the power of the diet industry, coping with hatred and online trolls, and much more! PLUS, Christy answers a listener question about how to deal with fatphobic “workplace wellness” programs.

Photo-activist Substantia Jones created, manages, and is sole photographer for the fat acceptance campaign, The Adipositivity Project. The website, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary, hosts a diverse and growing collection of hundreds of her photographs of fat people of all genders, mostly women, mostly nude. She describes the project as “feminism, fuckyouism, and fat.”

The mission of Jones’ work is to combat sizeist bigotry and weight-related misinformation, to promote recognition of an individual’s body autonomy, and to encourage critical thinking and enlightened discussion of body politics. Jones lectures in schools and universities (with slideshow!), but her work is done primarily with photography, subverting this tool commonly used in promoting body shame, and using it instead to demystify the fat body and give it the respect and visibility too often denied it by the media and popular culture. The message is to love your body, and to allow others to love their own.

Her photography has been featured globally in books, magazines, and news outlets, and has been exhibited in galleries and museums internationally. She is a happily fat woman who lives in New York City and quotes Monty Python a lot. Maybe too much. Find her online at

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


We Discuss:

  • Substantia’s relationship with food growing up, including struggling with picky eating and gaining access to highly palatable foods like sweets

  • Substantia’s experience in her developing body, including her reaction to being sexualized at a young age and learning about the thin ideal, and how that led to chronic dieting

  • The effect of diet pills, and the dangers of using them

  • The science of intentional weight loss and weight cycling

  • How effective the diet industry is at blaming the victim and encouraging repeat business

  • Holding compassion for those who choose to lose weight

  • The need for fat acceptance on a global, societal, and systemic level

  • The power and money behind diet culture

  • Patriarchy’s influence on beauty ideals and body image

  • The effect of body hatred on sexual development

  • How positive romantic relationships can help us to move towards body neutrality and body love

  • Substantia’s use of photography on her body image journey, and how positive depictions of fat bodies can foster fat acceptance on a cultural level

  • Body preferences and biases

  • Shifting the focus of The Adipositivity Project from changing the opinion of fat people in the culture at large to using it to help fat people make peace with their bodies

  • The process of finding “adiposers” for The Adipositivity Project

  • The issue of internet trolls, online fat hatred, and threats of violence

  • Charlottesville, and the ways in which different oppressions compound and relate to one another

  • Coping with voices of hate and the power of "fuck-you-ism"

  • The pleasure aspect of eating, and it’s role in recovery from disordered eating

  • Reclaiming your relationship with food and body through anger


Resources Mentioned


Listener Question of the Week

What do we do if our workplace is buying into diet culture through wellness programs? How do we assert our desire to not be weighed? Is there a way to challenge the program at the administrative level, or to get around it through working with doctors? How does discrimination factor into these programs? Can Health at Every Size research bolster our position? Does diet culture affect even those who consider themselves to be recovered? How does “planting the seed” work?


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