holistic health

Food Psych #161: Self-Compassion and Boundaries with Dana Falsetti


Dana Falsetti—a yoga teacher, Instagram star (@nolatrees), and fellow podcast host dedicated to body liberation—shares how she found her yoga practice and the role it played in her body-acceptance journey, why setting boundaries is so important for healing from diet culture, the importance of self-compassion, why “doing no harm” doesn’t mean cutting out food groups, how she overcame her struggles with binge eating disorder, how diet culture shows up in the yoga community, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to deal with a doctor’s advice to reduce cholesterol without derailing your intuitive eating abilities.

Dana Falsetti is an advocate for women who want to find the confidence to live their lives more fully. More than just a bold yoga practitioner, Dana is seeking to enlighten others of the path she is forging in her own spiritual progress, while helping them navigate the uncertain route to self-growth and inner discovery. Originally known for her strength in yoga, Dana now uses her platform to inspire critical thinking, self-awareness, authentic living and confidence across multiple modalities, including her public speaking engagements, written pieces, international yoga workshops, brand new podcast and more. Truly a thought-leader in the inspiration space, Dana has cultivated a devoted and active following on social media. In 2017, Dana won the Shorty Award, recognizing excellence in social media, in the Health and Wellness category, and has been included on numerous lists of “most inspiring.” She aims to inspire others by being herself, constantly progressing towards her own truths. Find her online at DanaFalsetti.com.


We Discuss:

  • Dana’s relationship with food growing up, including how her parent’s divorce, puberty, and more contributed to the development of binge eating disorder

  • How Dana’s body size contributed to her disordered relationship with food and the fatphobia she experienced at the doctors, at school, and within her family

  • Why we need to give ourselves a break, ask for help, and stop carrying such heavy burdens

  • How Dana found her yoga practice and the role it played in her healing journey

  • The spectrum of disordered eating, and how we navigate triggers and challenges

  • The struggle that children who are thrown into adult roles face, and the overall struggle for kids to find their identity within a world that tells them who they have to be

  • The role of external shaming and body policing in the development of body image

  • How diet culture and internalized weight stigma guides our body shame

  • Why diet culture is The Life Thief, and the different ways that it steals parts of our lives from us

  • Dana’s experience with intuitive eating, and how she came to a peaceful relationship with food

  • Why there’s no such thing as good or bad coping mechanisms, and why an eating disorder might be protective in individuals who have struggled with intense trauma

  • Dana’s practice of constant forgiveness and compassion in order to combat shame

  • The diet culture that resides within the yoga community, and how it often hides behind wellness

  • How important setting boundaries is in guarding ourselves from diet culture, how self-worth gives us permission to set those boundaries, and why setting boundaries allows us to release anger

  • Recognizing the difference between helping and supporting

  • The process of learning how to show up for ourselves

  • Dana’s advice about how to get past the idea that yoga isn’t for everyone, and how to adapt the practice to make yoga accessible for all

  • How important it is to tune into our inner wisdom and intuition around our bodies

  • The concept of ahimsa, and why “doing no harm” doesn’t mean that we have to follow a vegan lifestyle

  • The capitalist elements wrapped up in the current yoga culture

  • Dana’s struggle with lawsuits within the yoga community, and how it propelled her to create her own content and make a cost-effective and fully accessible yoga resource


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 honor our intuition around food if we’re trying to manage food-related illnesses or conditions? Do we need to change our diet if we have high cholesterol? What is the conventional wisdom around high cholesterol? How much value should we place in current nutritional studies? Can restriction and rules around food contribute to issues with our holistic health?

(Resources Mentioned: Alan Levinovitz’s Food Psych Podcast episode)

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


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 #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)

*Note: Kai incorrectly attributed a quote by Alice Walker to Audre Lorde in the audio of this episode. "The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any," was spoken by Alice Walker.


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