public health

Food Psych #151: Emotional Eating and Diet Culture with Judith Matz

judith.jpg

Anti-diet therapist and author Judith Matz joins us to talk about shifting the focus of emotional eating toward the underlying deprivation and diet mentality, why turning to food to meet emotional needs isn’t an “eating problem” but a “soothing problem,” how diet culture and marginalization rob us of the ability to meet our needs, why Health at Every Size and intuitive eating are better approaches for true health, Judith’s work teaching other therapists about weight stigma, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to frame public health efforts to change the built environment in a way that doesn’t stigmatize people in larger bodies.

Judith is the co-author of two books on the topics of eating and weight struggles.

Beyond a Shadow of a Diet: The Comprehensive Guide to Treating Binge Eating Disorder, Compulsive Eating and Emotional Overeating has been called “the new bible” on this topic for professionals. The Diet Survivor’s Handbook: 60 Lessons in Eating, Acceptance and Self-Care was a #1 bestseller on Amazon and a favorite resource for therapists to use with clients. She is also the author of Amanda’s Big Dream, a children’s book that helps kids to pursue their dreams – at any size!

Judith has a private practice in Skokie, IL, where she focuses her work with clients who want to get off the diet/binge rollercoaster and learn to feel at home in their bodies. Through her individual counseling, groups, workshops, presentations and books, Judith has helped thousands of people to develop self-care skills that increase physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing without a focus on the pursuit of weight loss. Through educational programs, she is dedicated to helping people end the preoccupation with food and weight and to fighting weight stigma.

Judith is a popular speaker at national conferences and descriptions of her work have appeared in the media including the New York Times, LA Times, Allure, Fitness, Self, Shape, Today’s Dietitian, Diabetes Self-Management, Psychotherapy Networker, NBC News Chicago, Huffington Post Live, and she appears in the documentary America The Beautiful 2. Find her online at JudithMatz.com.

 

WE DISCUSS:

  • Judith’s relationship with food growing up, including how intuitive it was when she was young, and how that changed with the introduction of body comparisons and commentary from peers

  • Recognizing the connection between restriction and binging

  • Judith’s experience with weight gain, weight cycling, and the restrict-binge cycle

  • How thin privilege shielded Judith from some of the negative impact of diet culture

  • The ways in which we can make children resilient against fatphobia and body shaming

  • The bonding experience of dieting and the toxicity of weight-related compliments

  • How many of us are complicit in diet culture even when we don’t realize it

  • The Weight Watchers announcement about their free program for teens, and why it’s unethical to be pushing intentional weight loss onto impressionable young kids

  • Why Health at Every Size is a better approach for true health

  • The shame attached to the diet-binge cycle and the inevitable weight regain

  • Judith’s professional work in mental health and therapy, and her experience working in a diet-centric program

  • Why eating behaviors aren’t all about the psychology, and why intuitive eating needs to be factored into the healing process for people struggling with binge eating

  • The ways in which physical deprivation, rather than emotional eating, drives binge behaviors

  • Why we need to suss out the influence of the diet mentality on our food choices before we ask questions about whether or not we’re emotionally eating

  • Judith’s work teaching other therapists about weight stigma, and how professionals who continue to perpetuate the diet-centric paradigm are complicit in the oppression of people in larger bodies

  • The problem with assumptions about eating behavior based on body size

  • Shifting the focus of emotional eating from being an “eating problem” to being a “soothing problem”

  • Utilizing compassion on our journey to find new coping mechanisms, and why we can always use food as an emotional coping skill

  • Shifting from being in control to being in charge

  • How leaving behind dieting and shifting to intuitive eating can decrease anxiety and allow ourselves the space to take care of ourselves through depression and other stressors

  • The ways in which diet culture and marginalization rob us of the ability to meet our needs

  • How marginalization and food insecurity affects our relationship with food and our ability to heal, and how the restrict-binge cycle becomes protective and adaptive in this situation

  • The grief process of letting go of dieting

  • The negative health outcomes related to weight cycling and weight stigma, and the health benefits of intuitive eating

  • Judith’s efforts to integrate Health at Every Size and social justice into her therapeutic practice

  • The positive and negative implications of social media, and how diet culture has gotten more aggressive while resources have become more abundant

  • Why diet culture is The Life Thief, and how it robs people of meaningful conversations

 

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 support health for everyone and support increased access to health-promoting variables without resorting to fatphobia? Are there ways to sneak weight-incisive language into public health research? How can changes in the unit environment improve people’s health, regardless of body size? Are there ways in which individuals can develop a compulsive, extreme relationship to exercise or food commonly thought of as “healthy?” How does cultural familiarity with certain foods affect people’s ability to interact with these foods? What research is out there about weight stigma and health disparity related to social inequities?

(Resources Mentioned: "Weight Science: Evaluating the evidence for a paradigm shift” by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor, Linda Bacon and their Food Psych Podcast episode, Lucy Aphramor and her Food Psych Podcast episode, "Weighed down by stigma: How weight-based social identity threat contributes to weight gain and poor health,” Journal of Social Issues, Vol 70, Number 2)

Get the Transcript of This Episode

Enter your email address to get the transcript delivered instantly!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Food Psych #137: How to Navigate Diet Culture with Evette Dionne

Evette Dionne

Writer and editor Evette Dionne joins us to talk about how to fight fatphobia and advocate for yourself in healthcare settings, how to navigate difficult conversations and challenge weight stigma in close relationships, why the body-positive movement needs to be intersectional, how oppression is learned and can be unlearned, why it’s important to acknowledge our privilege, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to deal with friends and family who are stuck in diet culture.

Evette Dionne is a Black Feminist culture writer, editor, and scholar. Presently, she’s the senior editor at Bitch Media and regularly contributes stories about race, size, gender, and popular culture to Teen Vogue, The Guardian, Cosmopolitan, the New York Times, Refinery29, Harper's Bazaar, MIC, and other print and digital publications. Find her online at EvetteDionne.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 :)

Give your wardrobe an upgrade with MM.LaFleur by going to MMBento.com. Use the code PSYCH at checkout and MM.LaFleur will donate 10% of profits to GlobalGiving.

 

We Discuss:

  • Evette’s relationship with food growing up, including connecting food with family and love

  • Evette’s experience with food and body shaming from authority figures

  • Fatphobic school environments, Evette’s experience with harassment, and how it led to the development of agoraphobia

  • Evette’s transition into the workforce and obtaining her GED, and her experience with food policing from a manager

  • Navigating food choices with newfound independence

  • The pressure on college students to avoid weight gain

  • The connection between emotional eating and restriction, and using food as a coping mechanism

  • The traumatizing effect of weight concerns

  • The threshold of acceptable fatness

  • Medical fatphobia, weight stigma in healthcare, and the need for self-advocacy at the doctor (refusing to be weighed, asking for pillows at the gynecologist, and insisting that any specialist tests are pushed to the yearly physical)

  • Fat shaming getting in the way of proper medical care for people in larger bodies

  • Compassion and Health at Every Size as effective intervention strategies

  • Patriarchy, sexism, racism, ableism, and why the body-positive movement must be feminist, political, and intersectional

  • The radical origins of body positivity in fat acceptance and the need to push for a more equitable world

  • Empowerment vs activism and the need for systemic change

  • Learning and unlearning our own oppression, building the body of knowledge around us so we can fight back, and learning how to have these difficult conversations in order to challenge someone’s fatphobia within close relationships

  • Giving people the space to grow while also barring yourself against toxic relationships

  • How we are all complicit in this culture that makes it unsafe for marginalized bodies

  • The problem with staying in the comfortable stage of the body-positive journey

  • Moving away from black-and-white thinking

  • Acknowledging privilege, moving beyond shame, and grappling with feeling defensive

 

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 create distance between ourselves and diet culture? What do we do it diet talk is permeating your relationships with friends and family? Is there a way to push people towards anti-diet ideas before they’re ready? How does “planting seeds” work? Can New Year's’ Resolutions fit into this distancing process? How do we make our boundaries around diet talk clear to those around you?

Get the Transcript of This Episode

Enter your email address to get the transcript delivered instantly!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit
 

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.

 

Get the Transcript of This Episode

Enter your email address to get the transcript delivered instantly!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit