naturopathy

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 #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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