life beyond dieting

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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Food Psych #124: How to Let Go of Weight-Loss Efforts & Embrace Intuitive Eating with Amber Karnes

Amber Karnes

Amber Karnes of Body Positive Yoga joins us to talk about her journey from disordered eating to intuitive eating, embracing a Health at Every Size mentality, why accessible yoga is a social justice issue, why community is such an important part of this anti-diet work, the process of mourning the thin ideal and embracing internal growth regardless of body size, how the visibility and representation of larger bodies influenced her own body image process, and so much more! PLUS, Christy answers a listener question about how to train for a career helping other people heal from diet culture.

Amber Karnes is a ruckus maker, RYT-200 yoga asana teacher, creator of Body Positive Yoga, and a lifelong student of her body. In Amber’s retreats, classes and workshops, students of all shapes and sizes will find tips, tricks, and modifications to make yoga asana work for their body type. She emphasizes safe alignment and mindful transitions, and guides each student to honor the body they bring to the mat today, while being empowered to learn about the body’s intelligence and power. She serves on the Yoga and Body Image Coalition and seeks to further the message of inclusivity, self-acceptance, consent, agency, body positivity, and accessibility for all on and off the mat. She blogs at bodypositiveyoga.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 :)

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

 

We Discuss:

  • Amber’s relationship with food growing up

  • Amber’s experience having a non-triggering childhood, but still being unable to escape the societal implications of diet culture

  • Disordered eating as a coping mechanism for anxiety

  • Body image issues during puberty, including encountering street harassment and experiencing the male gaze and self-objectification

  • Embodiment and childhood

  • Patriarchy’s impact on disembodiment

  • Amber’s experience with binge eating disorder

  • Amber’s exploration of yoga and embodiment, including navigating the yoga world in a larger body

  • Breaking down internalized fatphobia and embracing body acceptance and fat acceptance

  • The normalization of body shame, body hatred, and diet culture

  • Diet talk as a destructive bonding ritual for femme folk

  • Finding nourishing community spaces with other Health at Every Size, intuitive eating folks

  • The myths attached to weight loss

  • The importance of fat visibility and representation, and how transformative plus size fashion and cultivating your social media images can be in the journey of self acceptance

  • Unlearning patriarchy, white supremacy, diet culture, and privilege

  • Discovering Health at Every Size and intuitive eating through eating disorder recovery

  • Mourning the thin ideal

  • The disordered, life-consuming efforts required to maintain intentional weight loss, and why diet culture is a life thief

  • Achieving personal growth in ways separate from weight loss

  • The birth of Body Positive Yoga, and the freedom and challenges of starting your own business

  • Consent and agency found through yoga

  • Barriers to access, the importance of intersectionality, confronting privilege, and doing social justice work in yoga practice

 

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 are some of the paths to helping others in their relationship with food and their body? What are the pros and cons of pursuing a traditional dietetics degree? How can continuing education help with Health at Every Size, intuitive eating training?

(Resources Mentioned: Marci Evans’ Food Psych Podcast episode, Daxle Collier’s Food Psych Podcast episode, Courageous Living Coaching Certification, Coaches Training Institute, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor Program, Evelyn Tribole’s Food Psych Podcast episode, Elyse Resch’s Food Psych Podcast episode, Be Nourished, Hilary Kinavey’s Food Psych Podcast episode, Dana Sturtevant’s Food Psych Podcast episode)

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Food Psych #123: How to Accept Your Body and Yourself with Corissa Enneking

Corissa Enneking

Blogger and activist Corissa Enneking of Fatgirlflow joins to talk about learning to like yourself and your body, the current state of plus-size fashion, the impact of mental-health struggles on eating behavior, healthism and its various forms, the long and winding road to recovery, fatphobia in the medical community, her experience in the body-positive blogosphere, the value in just getting through each day, and much more! PLUS, Christy answers a listener question about eating intuitively on a budget.

Corissa is a body-positive blogger, activist, and plus size lifestyle expert from the Midwest. She is the creator of Fatgirlflow.com, a lifestyle blog that aims to celebrate our lives and our bodies as we are right now.

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:

  • Corissa’s relationship with food growing up, including the impact of scarcity

  • How a parent’s relationship with food impacts the children, even if adults try to hide their diet behaviors

  • Healthism, and the myth that exercise can cure all ills

  • Corissa’s experience with disordered eating and her struggle with an eating disorder

  • The impact of mental health on Corissa’s eating behaviors, including anxiety, agoraphobia, and panic attacks

  • Recovery as a non-linear and ongoing journey

  • How damaging the portrayal of eating disorders in popular media can be for those suffering in larger bodies

  • Fatphobia and weight bias in the medical community

  • Corissa’s winding journey to find treatment resources

  • The body positivity community on tumblr

  • Reclaiming our goodness and embracing liking ourselves, even just a little bit

  • The birth of Fatgirlflow and deconstructing plus-size fashion rules

  • The power of consumerism in creating a bigger variety of plus-size options

  • Fat acceptance

  • The dismal reality of the current plus-size clothing options

  • Accommodating and learning how to navigate our bodies, rather than trying to change them

  • Rejecting our cultural understanding of health, and acknowledging that health isn’t a moral obligation

  • Decoupling ability from perceived happiness

  • Mortality, healthism, and fitness culture

  • Why diet culture is a life thief

  • How values can inform our life choices

  • The power in just surviving through another day

 

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 deal with restriction when it relates to how much we can spend on food? How can we rethink our budget to make more room for intuitive eating? How does guilt on spending money about food undermine your intuitive eating journey? Is there a way to parse out where the diet mentality is still influencing our choices? How do we plan ahead to try and reduce our spending while still honoring our internal cues?

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Food Psych #122: How Anger Can Help in Diet Recovery and Body Acceptance with Carmen Cool

Carmen Cool

Anti-diet psychotherapist and Health at Every Size advocate Carmen Cool joins to talk about embracing anger against diet culture and the patriarchy, how to give yourself permission to engage in health-promoting behaviors for non-diet reasons, why intersectional feminism was so integral to her eating disorder recovery, the perceived hierarchy of disordered eating behaviors, her experience training health professionals in a weight-inclusive model, the social determinants of health and issues of access, and much more! PLUS, Christy answers a listener question about dealing with nighttime binges.

Carmen is a psychotherapist, educator, speaker, and a cupcake connoisseur. In addition to being a therapist for 17 years, she has started and run a nonprofit, created youth programs, and speaks internationally on Health At Every Size ®, feminism and eating disorders, and weight stigma.

Her work is focused on dismantling diet culture, healing our relationship to food and body, and supporting the next generation of body positive leaders. She is the immediate past Board President of the Association for Size Diversity and Health, was named “Most Inspiring Individual” in Boulder, Colorado and was the recipient of the Excellence in Eating Disorder Advocacy Award in Washington, DC.

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:

  • Carmen’s relationship with food growing up, including her experience with diet culture at a young age

  • Food as a source of comfort

  • Carmen’s experience with binge eating disorder, including sneaking food

  • Preoccupation with weight gain, and looking to diets and restriction as the answer

  • The toxic nature of body-related compliments due to weight loss

  • Carmen’s transition from dieting into bulimia

  • How food and body obsession take over our time and brain space

  • Carmen’s experience in an eating disorder treatment center

  • The impact of feminism and therapy in eating disorder recovery

  • How mainstream the diet/binge cycle has become

  • The intersection of weight stigma and eating disorders

  • Carmen’s experience having an eating disorder alongside her sister’s struggle with anorexia

  • The privilege that those with anorexia have vs other eating disorders

  • Carmen’s introduction to Health at Every Size and fat acceptance

  • Putting together the personal and the political

  • Intersectional feminism’s impact on the body acceptance, fat acceptance, and eating disorder recovery movements

  • Rejecting body ideals and embracing anger at the patriarchy

  • Why diet culture is a life thief

  • Making peace with food and movement choices previously associated with diet culture

  • Carmen’s introduction to mindfulness, intuitive eating, and body work through massage therapy

  • Self-care, non-judgmental awareness and observation, self-compassion, and an attitude of curiosity

  • Going from eating disorder recovery to intuitive living

  • The problem with weight loss models in eating disorder treatment

  • The need for weight-inclusive care

  • The influence of social determinants of health, the accessibility of intuitive eating and joyful movement, and the issue of healthism

  • Carmen’s work with health professionals to bring them into a weight-inclusive model

  • Making space for planting seeds of change while also not being overly invested in everyone’s individual process

 

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 deal with nighttime bingeing, especially if we’re already trying our best to eat enough throughout the day? Can we guide ourselves through these food and body struggles using our own intuition? How does emotional eating, food insecurity, deprivation, diet culture, and more contribute to bingeing behaviors? What are some ways we can experiment with an evening snack to stave off nighttime eating? Is the diet mentality still reinforcing subtle restriction, leading to ravenous hunger?

(Resources Mentioned: Isabel Foxen Duke’s second and third Food Psych Podcast episodes on emotional eating)

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Food Psych #121: The Truth About Diet Culture with Emily Contois

Emily Contois

Cultural historian Emily Contois joins us to talk about the history of diet culture, how women's political power increased the pressure on women and femmes to restrict their eating, the need for an intersectional approach to healthcare and food access, the religious undertones to our food behavior, gender roles in food, the body-image issues that men face in an industrialized patriarchal society, "dude food," and so much more! PLUS, Christy answers a listener question about intuitive eating in recovery from a restrictive eating disorder.

Emily Contois is the author of more than twenty academic articles, chapters, and reviews. Her dissertation, "The Dudification of Diet: Food Masculinities in Twenty-First-Century America," examines how media representations of food, cooking, and dieting construct and negotiate what it means to be "a real man" in the United States today. Her research has been referenced in The Huffington Post, Salon, The Globe and Mail, and NPR, among others. As a food writer, she has contributed to the Providence Journal, Nursing Clio, and Zester Daily.

Born in Australia and raised in the Big Sky Country of Montana, Emily spent a bit over a decade training in classical ballet before turning her attention to the study of food, health, and identities in American culture. Emily holds three master’s degrees—an MA in American Studies from Brown University, an MPH focused in Public Health Nutrition from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University, where she was a three-time recipient of the Julia Child Award. She is currently a PhD candidate in American Studies at Brown University, where she teaches courses in food studies, American studies, and gender studies.

Prior to her current research and teaching, Emily worked in the field of worksite wellness for five years. She now lives in Providence with her husband, Chris, and their rescue pup, Raven.

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:

  • Emily’s relationship with food growing up, including the influence of ballet and its impact on the development of her eating disorder

  • Emily’s scholarship in diet culture

  • Finding personhood through things other than food and body

  • How disordered eating and dieting is a cornerstone of American culture, and how it’s spread throughout the world via urbanization, capitalism, and consumer culture

  • The expectation of restraint vs the reality of a high consumer culture

  • The role of guilt in restriction and chronic dieting

  • Religious influences on our relationships with food, including the moralization of food and bodies

  • Classism and the idea of individual responsibility for health

  • Healthism

  • The historical context of diet culture, disordered eating behaviors, and restraint, and the impact of social change on these elements

  • The thin ideal and the history of restriction, including how the historical anxiety of masculinity and superhero media factors into this context

  • The incidence of eating disorders among trans folks and the impact of heteronormativity on body image

  • Women’s empowerment and feminism throughout the 20th century, and how it exists alongside reactionary oppression and increased dieting rhetoric

  • The emergence of nutrition science, calorie counting, and ready-made clothing

  • The evolution of beauty and the body ideal and how it relates to class status and racism

  • Fitspo and social media

  • Increasing body dissatisfaction for masculine folks

  • Performing masculinity and femininity and exploring gender roles

  • Emily’s work in “Dude Food” and her explorations of gendered marketing and media within the patriarchy

  • The difference between diet culture and weight loss for men vs diet culture and weight loss for women

  • Health at Every Size research, and the ways in which science is influenced by diet culture

  • Barriers to healthcare in fat bodies, including weight stigma

  • Hope for a world without diet culture

  • Intersectional feminism

 

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 engage with intuitive eating and reconnect with our hunger and fullness signals if we have a restrictive eating history? What are the other essential elements of doing intuitive eating in a sustainable way? How can we work on intuitive eating principles if we are still struggling with an active eating disorder? Can a meal plan be a bridge into intuitive eating? How do we challenge internalized fatphobia and fear of weight gain? How do we give voice to our compassionate inner voice?

(Resources Mentioned: Evelyn Tribole’s Food Psych Podcast episode, the Certified Intuitive Eating Counselors Directory, and the HAES Community)

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