food addiction

Food Psych #155: Diet Culture in the "Natural" Health Field with Sarah Thompson

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Certified Body Trust Provider and Health at Every Size recovery coach and consultant Sarah Thompson joins us to talk about the barriers she faced to getting an eating disorder diagnosis, the ways in which diet culture has infiltrated naturopathy and Chinese medicine, the lack of Health at Every Size education in healthcare programs, the false connection that diet culture makes between larger bodies and being unhealthy, weight bias in “food addiction” theory, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about whether bingeing on fruits and vegetables is a sign of orthorexia.

Sarah Thompson is an eating disorder recovery coach, consultant, and writer based in Portland, Oregon and transplanted from Akron, Ohio. Her writing focuses on a wide range of philosophies - Body Trust®, Health at Every Size®, Intuitive Eating, Fat Liberation, eating disorder recovery, and more. She seeks to share what she has experienced and learned from her own discovery and journey with body liberation. Sarah definitely does not have all the answers, but she’s super excited to share what she has learned so far.

Even while Sarah is fat, female, and queer, she recognizes that being a working-class, white, and cis gender woman has afforded her many privileges. She strives to listen and learn from experiences that differ from hers.

Outside of her professional work, Sarah is an ice cream connoisseur, Grey’s Anatomy expert, avid movie buff, and lover of dogs, cats, horses, and ducks. Find her online at ResilientFatGoddess.com.

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We Discuss:

  • Sarah’s relationship with food growing up, including being body shamed at a young age and learning that her size was connected to the food she ate

  • Her experience with sneaking food, and how she learned to not feel shameful for those actions later in life

  • Her experience with formal dieting programs and weight loss, and her path from disordered eating into an eating disorder

  • How objectification and sexualization played a role in her body shame

  • Sarah’s experience with the restrict-binge-cycle, and the pros and cons of her experience with Overeaters Anonymous

  • The barriers she faced to getting an eating disorder diagnosis, including the “food addiction” model of Overeaters Anonymous and weight bias

  • The false connection that diet culture makes between larger body size and being unhealthy

  • The value in harm-reduction techniques for food-behavior struggles

  • Sarah’s experience in the naturopathic community and the Chinese-medicine community, and the ways in which it fueled her disordered eating and chronic dieting

  • Sarah’s exploration of body-positive social media accounts

  • The historical roots of Whole30, paleo, and The Wellness Diet in naturopathic medicine

  • Sarah’s experience with weight-based microaggressions, and her journey to learning how to set boundaries around diet talk and weight-loss talk

  • The healthism and diet culture embedded in the “natural” wellness field and the healthcare system in general

  • The ways in which diet culture has influenced Chinese medicine and naturopathy, despite their roots in body trust

  • Sarah’s use of acupuncture to manage mental health struggles, and the ways in which she’s felt unsafe in her body over the years

  • The lack of Health at Every Size education in healthcare programs, and the inherent weight stigma that is often taught

  • The role of trauma in health issues, and how it often is ignored in favor of food-focused and weight-focused solutions

  • Why the naturopathic community might be more open to HAES and the anti-diet paradigm than Western medicine

  • Sarah’s path to coming out of chronic dieting and disordered eating and transitioning into a non-diet, intuitive-eating approach

  • Why we don’t need to cut out food groups to alleviate allergies or digestive issues, and the different treatments that are out there aside from dietary changes

  • How to weigh whether or not changes in your eating are worth it, mentally and physically

  • What “holistic” health really means, and why we need to consider discrimination and systemic issues

     

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

What does it mean if we start bingeing on fruits or vegetables? Can an eating disorder turn into orthorexia in recovery? How does deprivation contribute to bingeing? Do we need to investigate why we’re cutting out certain foods, even if we have ethical or environmental concerns around certain foods?

(Resources Mentioned: HAESCommunity.com, NEDA.org, IntuitiveEating.org)

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Food Psych #127: Intuitive Eating & Health At Every Size FAQs with Ashley Seruya & Christy Harrison

Ashley Seruya & Christy Harrison

This week is a very special edition of Food Psych! Rather than having a new guest on, I felt it was time to have an episode devoted to laying out the concepts and perspectives that we talk about every single week. This episode is ideal for newcomers to the Food Psych crew, for you to come back to when you’re struggling to remain true to the tenets of Health at Every Size and intuitive eating in this diet-culture world, and for you to share with friends and family who need an overview of the philosophy.

My Administrative and Community Manager, Ashley Seruya, joins me this week to pose some burning questions that get to the heart of what this podcast, and the anti-diet movement, is all about. Ashley is a current MSW student at Fordham University and a fellow anti-diet activist and body liberation advocate. She’s passionate about Health at Every Size and recovery, and hopes to one day combine her training in writing, social work, intuitive eating, Health at Every Size, and more to help the world recover from diet culture at large. Keep up with her work through her Instagram, where she shares posts about her beloved pets, self-care, eating disorder recovery, mental health, and more!

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 :)

 

We Discuss:

  • What is intuitive eating?

    • The 10 principles of intuitive eating, and the connection between intuitive eating and eating disorder recovery

    • Why gentle nutrition comes at the END of the intuitive eating process, and why rejecting the diet mentality is the FIRST principle

    • The role of an intuitive eating coach and counselor

    • How mental health and self-care play a role in the intuitive eating journey

    • The role of diet culture in disordered eating

    • Recovery as a nonlinear process

  • What is Health at Every Size (HAES)?

    • The weight-neutral approach

    • The truth about intentional weight loss

    • The cost of sustaining intentional weight loss

    • Set-point weight theory, the famine response, and breaking down weight science

    • The history of HAES and the non-diet approach

    • Fat activism and the fat acceptance movement

    • How HAES incorporates intuitive eating, joyful movement, and self-care

    • The importance of size diversity in the HAES movement and embracing the genetic determination of body size

    • The caveat of HAES with eating disorder recovery and weight restoration

  • What's the connection between eating disorder recovery, chronic dieting, Health at Every Size, and intuitive eating?

    • The path of eating disorder recovery to intuitive eating

    • The spectrum of eating behaviors, from full blown eating disorders to disordered eating and chronic dieting

    • Diagnosis criteria and the prevalence of undiagnosed disordered eating

    • The importance of a weight-neutral, Health at Every Size approach to recovery

    • Risk factors of orthorexia

    • Why we don’t have a moral obligation to pursue health, and varying limitations to achieving health

  • I have an eating disorder. Can I do intuitive eating?

    • Which principles of intuitive eating we can practice while in eating disorder recovery

    • Why we need to avoid the hunger and fullness parts of intuitive eating while in recovery

    • The concept of nutritional rehabilitation

    • The relationship between emotional eating and disordered eating, and the importance of not demonizing emotional eating as a coping mechanism

    • Why gentle nutrition and joyful movement should wait toward the very end of the process

    • The importance of working with an eating disorder dietitian with HAES and intuitive eating training in the recovery process

  • I'm gaining weight. Am I doing intuitive eating wrong? How do I cope?

    • The difference between body acceptance, body respect, body trust, body positivity, and body love

    • Letting go of internalized weight stigma and body shame

  • How can I trust my body if every time I try to listen to it I end up face-first in a tub of ice cream?

    • The impact of restriction and deprivation on food behaviors, including food insecurity

    • Biological need for increased dietary intake, including during puberty

    • The effect of shame in feeling out of control around food and binge eating

    • Gender identity and struggling with trans issues and body image

    • Understanding that body trust is a process

    • Breaking down the concept of food addiction

  • How can I eat whatever I want if I'm concerned for my health? You're a nutritionist, so shouldn't you be telling me to eat fruits and vegetables?

    • Mental health, discrimination and stigma, and social situations that determine our health status regardless of nutrition (AKA social determinants of health)

    • The shapeshifting nature of diet culture

    • Diet culture’s effect on the medical model, weight science, and dietetics education

    • An intuitive eating counselor’s role in telling people what to eat

  • How do I make sure I don't turn intuitive eating into a diet?

    • How to avoid the hunger and fullness diet

    • How to recognize and root out subtle diet mentality

    • Using self-compassion to get you through the unlearning process

  • What if I'm "too" fat? Is there a threshold where Health at Every Size doesn't apply anymore?

    • Weight stigma’s influence on health status

    • Fatphobia’s effect on internalized weight stigma

    • Stigma resistance and resiliency

    • The effect of weight cycling on health outcomes

  • Aren't you worried you're promoting “obesity”?

    • The many issues with the term “obesity,” the “obesity epidemic,” and pathologizing larger bodies

    • The truth of size diversity

    • Fat acceptance and reclaiming the word “fat”

    • The genetic and environmental influences on body size

    • Finding the joy in life no matter your size

    • Discovering body acceptance and making room for all people to love their bodies

  • As a person in a smaller body, why are you so vocal about fat acceptance?

    • Thin privilege, and using our privilege to speak out for those more marginalized (AKA becoming thin allies)

    • The universality of body shame

    • The influence of weight stigma on eating disorders

    • The parallels of the fat acceptance movement to other social justice movements

  • Rapid fire

    • What is healthism?

    • What is diet culture?

    • What is fatphobia?

    • What is body liberation? And why have you decided to use body liberation instead of body positivity?

    • Why is body liberation/body positivity a social justice movement? (including fatphobia in woke spaces)

    • How does intersectional feminism and femme empowerment factor into all of this? (including the trans experience and grappling with the patriarchy)

 

Resources Mentioned

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

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