diversity

Food Psych #157: The Truth About Weight Science with Fiona Willer

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Anti-diet dietitian Fiona Willer joins to talk about why we need to be critical of current weight research, how the Health at Every Size paradigm can go viral, why weight-inclusive work is a life-saving endeavor, how fatphobia and weight stigma prevent compassionate medical care for people in larger bodies, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to adjust to a different culture’s eating times when studying abroad.

Fiona Willer, AdvAPD, is the author of 'The Non-Diet Approach Guidebook for Dietitians', and co-author of 'The Non-Diet Approach Guidebook for Psychologists and Counsellors'. Her business, Health, Not Diets, provides online and face-to-face training and workshops for health professionals in the non-diet approach. Fiona's background includes clinical dietetics, private practice and university lecturing in nutrition and dietetics. She is currently conducting PhD research into HAES ® use in dietetics. As an advocacy leader in this field, she represented Australia in contributing to the HAES graduate curriculum for the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH), and has been an invited speaker at DAA, SDA, ANZAED, DC events and presented at a variety of academic conferences Fiona is a proud member of the DAA, current Vice-President International of ASDAH, and executive member of HAES Australia. Find her online at FionaWiller.com, UnpackingWeightScience.com, and HealthNotDiets.com.
 

We Discuss:

  • Fiona’s relationship with food and her body growing up, including how negative body messaging infiltrated her life during adolescence

  • Fiona’s experience of feeding her family and her children

  • Why diet culture is The Life Thief, and Christy’s process writing her book and exploring the different ways diet culture stole moments from her throughout her life

  • Fiona’s exploration of “clean eating” and vegetarianism, as well as her struggles with binge eating

  • Fiona’s experience pursuing a naturopathy degree, and how she eventually ended up pursuing dietetics instead

  • Fiona’s move to a Health at Every Size perspective, and the problem with current weight science

  • Fiona’s work as a lecturer at universities, and her goal to inject weight-inclusive approaches into dietetics education

  • How rewarding it is to share a message that we ourselves desperately needed to hear when we were stuck in diet culture 

  • How Fiona discovered mindful eating, and how mindfulness helped guide her to recovery

  • Fiona’s PhD journey, how she has showed her supervisors the HAES perspective, the ways in which combining her research with the psychology discipline has allowed her more room to practice in an anti-diet way, and her current HAES research

  • Why Health at Every Size is like an iPhone, and the ways in which the HAES message is spread virally and virtually

  • The generational differences in accepting diversity, and the fear of loss that looms over professionals who stick to the diet paradigm

  • The things that need to be done to create a size-inclusive society, and the money that can be made for creating access for diverse bodies

  • How fatphobia and weight stigma stand in the way of compassionate medical care for people in larger bodies

  • Fiona’s work on unpacking weight science, and why we need to be critical of current weight research

  • Why weight-inclusive work is a life-saving endeavor, and the ways in which weight stigma negatively affects the healthcare experience of people in larger bodies

  • How to introduce a HAES perspective to practitioners who are reticent to embrace it

  • Why we need to move away from black-and-white thinking

 

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 adjust to new settings and food schedules when we’re in recovery from disordered eating? What do I do if I’m thinking about food constantly?
 

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Food Psych #152: How to Make Peace with Photos of Yourself with Lindley Ashline

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Body-positive photographer Lindley Ashline joins to talk about the power of representation, the process of breaking fashion rules for people in larger bodies, how the diet industry uses aspirational marketing to lure us in and keep us hooked, Lindley’s journey to her career in photography for diverse bodies, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about whether it’s appropriate to talk to diet-recovery clients about choosing “whole” foods. 

Lindley Ashline is a professional photographer in Seattle, WA, who specializes in body positive portraits of people of all sizes, genders, orientations, ability levels, and ethnicities, not just the ones whose bodies are likely to be seen in magazines and advertisements. Lindley takes a judgment-free approach to her photographic subjects, with little to no retouching.

She created RepresentationMatters.me in 2016 as a response to (and rejection of) the airbrushed, normative, too-perfect stock photography available on the big mainstream stock sites. The images available on the site focus on representing people who are fat, of color, and/or part of the LGBTQIAP+ community.

Representation Matters gives small business owners a way to represent the real bodies and lives of their customers in their marketing and on websites and social media. It contains Lindley's own photography as well as photos and illustrations from a growing number of contributors, making diverse and body positive artwork accessible and affordable while paying contributors a living wage. 

Find thousands of high-quality diverse stock images and free monthly photos over at Lindley's site, RepresentationMatters.me.

 

We Discuss:

  • Lindley’s relationship with food, including how her family’s class status and her sensitivity to certain flavors and textures impacted it

  • Her journey to finding intuitive eating and learning how to create boundaries

  • How she avoided so much of the diet culture messaging while growing up

  • Lindley’s experience of body shame

  • Her struggle during puberty to find plus-size clothes

  • Dieting as a class marker and indicator of wealth, and how Lindley aspired to dieting due to the class status she felt that it indicated

  • The diet industry’s use of aspirational marketing

  • Lindley’s experience with weight stigma and fatphobia at the doctor’s office

  • The trajectory of “failing” a diet or “falling off the wagon”

  • How being in a relationship with an intuitive eater can help us on our own recovery journey

  • How the Fatshionista community on LiveJournal helped Lindley embrace fat acceptance and fashion

  • The process of breaking fashion rules for people in larger bodies

  • Lindley’s process of coming to body acceptance, and how self-photography played a role

  • How the heritage of body positivity affected Lindley’s relationship with her body

  • Lindley’s journey to her career in photography for diverse bodies

  • The complex issue of choice feminism

  • Lindley’s boudoir photoshoots, and how she balances accessing mainstream beauty standards with rejecting fatphobia and extreme photoshopping

  • The ways in which photos lie about our true, holistic appearance, and how to move away from focusing on the flaws that we see in photographs of ourselves

  • The ongoing process and internal dialogue of body peace

  • Lindley’s work with LGBTQ+ folks, and her efforts to make her work a safe place for people of all identities

  • The birth of Representation Matters stock photos, and how Lindley has used the platform to reject mainstream stock tropes

  • The power of representation

 

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 is “The Wellness Diet” a new form of diet culture? What’s the deal with “whole foods?” What are the issues with the current food industry? Are there class implications for demonizing “processed foods?” Why is gentle nutrition at the very end of the intuitive eating process?


(Resources Mentioned: Intuitive Eating, 3rd ed. by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, Food Psych Podcast Episode #127, Intuitive Eating Fundamentals)

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