trans body image

Food Psych #150: Disordered Eating & Gender Identity with Sand Chang

SandChang.jpeg

Psychologist and trans-health educator Sand Chang joins us to talk about the complex experience of body acceptance for trans folks, the intersections of trans advocacy and Health at Every Size work, the growing body of research around trans folks and eating disorders, the shape-shifting nature of fatphobia and diet culture, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how food restrictions to try to cure acne can exacerbate an eating disorder.

Dr. Sand Chang is a Chinese American clinical psychologist, educator, and writer based in Oakland, CA. Sand identifies as queer, nonbinary, and genderfluid and uses they, them pronouns.

Sand currently divides their time between working at Stanford University’s counseling center, Northern California Kaiser Permanente Transgender Services, and a private practice specializing in trans health, relationships and sexuality, trauma, EMDR, eating disorders, and addictions. As a psychotherapist, trainer, and advocate, Sand is invested in healing and empowerment within marginalized communities and disrupting systems of oppression.

Sand co-authored the 2015 APA Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Clients and is the past Chair of the APA Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity. They regularly present at conferences and provide trainings on a wide number of topics for health care systems, educators, and organizations. Sand’s upcoming book, A Clinician’s Guide to Gender-Affirming Care: Working with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Clients, which they co-authored with their colleagues Drs. lore dickey and Anneliese Singh, will be published by New Harbinger in late 2018.

Outside of their professional work, Sand is a dancer, avid foodie, punster, and pug enthusiast. They live in Oakland, CA with their pug Zelda Sesame. Find them online at SandChang.com.

 


WE DISCUSS:

  • Sand’s relationship with food growing up, including how their Chinese-American heritage influenced how they related to food

  • Sand’s first exposure to diet culture and fatphobia, including how unconscious and covert diet mentality was while they were growing up

  • How being involved in dance negatively influenced Sand’s body image

  • Sand’s experience with an eating disorder and over-exercise, and how trauma and coping played a role in the development of their disordered behaviors

  • How positive feedback from weight loss egged on Sand’s disordered relationship with food and the issue with body appraisals

  • Sand’s process of seeking recovery, including the ways in which healthcare practitioners both help and harm individuals attempting to heal

  • How weight bias prevents folks from getting the proper care for their eating disorder

  • Sand’s discovery of size acceptance and fat liberation, and struggling with applying body acceptance to our own bodies

  • Trans healthcare and body image, including the fatphobia and binaries embedded in queer communities and body norms within the trans community

  • Sand’s experience discovering their gender non-conforming identity

  • The growing body of research around trans folks and eating disorders

  • How the minority stress around being misgendered feeds into disordered eating

  • The current limitations within the healthcare field around trans identity and barriers to care for trans folks

  • Gender dysphoria vs body dysmorphia

  • The limitations of the current DSM mental-health diagnoses for eating disorders and for the trans experience

  • The complex experience of body acceptance for trans folks

  • The intersections of trans advocacy and anti-diet, Health at Every Size work

  • Why gender-affirming surgery isn’t a cosmetic surgery and why it saves lives

  • Sand’s experience finding their way back to inclusive eating disorder work

  • The need for the HAES movement and eating disorder work to become more intersectional and move away from the gender binary

  • “White feminism” vs intersectional feminism

  • Sand’s experience with orthorexia, how their experience navigating their gender identity within the healthcare system reinforced their disordered experience, and their path to breaking out of diet culture for good

  • Sand’s path to finding intuitive eating, joyful movement, and body acceptance

  • How diet culture keeps up in the limbo period between disordered and recovered

  • Moving away from the perfectionism around the idea of recovery

  • The positive and negative takeaways from Sand’s time in Overeaters Anonymous

  • How valuable it is to have a community by your side during healing

 

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 eating in certain ways and cutting out certain foods help cure cystic acne? What are the dangers of trying to heal our skin through food restriction? Can disordered eating contribute to hormonal acne issues?

(Resources Mentioned: Dr. Steven Bratman’s work on orthorexia, Julie Duffy Dillon’s anti-diet resources for PCOS, the Certified Intuitive Eating Counselors Directory, the Health at Every Size Registry)

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Food Psych #142: Breaking Free from Fatphobia & Gender Norms with Caleb Luna

Caleb Luna

Writer and fat activist Caleb Luna joins us to talk about how gender identity intersects with fatness, how to tolerate the desire for weight loss, navigating food choices as a form of self-care rather than deprivation and restriction, why representation matters, the effect of internalized fatphobia within the family, breaking out of the gender binary, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about navigating thin privilege while living in a smaller body.

Caleb Luna is a writer, activist, teacher, performer, fat babe and Ph.D. student at the University of California, Berkeley, where their current project focuses on the relationship between bodies and discourse. They have also explored the intersections of fatness, desire, white supremacy and colonialism from a queer of color lens. You can find more of their writing on Black Girl Dangerous, Everyday Feminism and The Body Is Not An Apology. Find them on Twitter at @tummyfuq.

Grab Christy's free guide, 7 simple strategies for finding peace and freedom with food, to start your intuitive eating journey.

 

We Discuss:

  • Caleb’s relationship with food growing up, including learning to associate food with comfort and experiencing anxiety around their body size

  • Caleb’s experience visiting a nutritionist at a young age, and learning to equate body size with health

  • The effect of internalized fatphobia within the family and the intergenerational transition of fatphobia

  • Caleb’s relationship with their father, and how his addiction shaped Caleb’s childhood and understanding of coping skills

  • Media representations that expose thin privilege and weight bias

  • The evolution of and history of the Food Psych Podcast

  • Caleb’s discovery of fat acceptance and fat activism, and how it helped them to strip away the shame around their eating habits

  • The stress of eating in public as a person in a large body, the judgment around hunger, and making peace with our basic needs

  • The cultural desire to erase fat bodies

  • Caleb’s experience dissociating from their body as a form of safety

  • Navigating food choices as a form of self-care rather than deprivation and restriction

  • The value of community in the recovery process, and the importance of seeing people in fat bodies enjoying their lives

  • Why representation matters, especially for non-white, non-cisgender fat folks

  • Caleb’s romantic and sexual experience, and discovering that their body was attractive and desirable, rather than something to “settle” for

  • Fat discrimination in the queer community

  • How higher education enabled Caleb to feel affirmed and validated in their identity

  • The healing work of therapy, fostering non-judgmental self-awareness, developing skills to change the way we interact with others, and embracing self-compassion

  • How Caleb’s gender identity intersects with their fatness, and breaking out of the gender binary

  • Smaller fat bodies vs larger fat bodies, understanding thin privilege as a spectrum, and different intersections with fatness that compound oppression and marginalization

  • Caleb’s advice on how to tolerate the desire for weight loss, and the ways in which the desire for weight loss is a response to trauma

  • Scrutinizing who benefits from white, cisgender, colonized beauty standards

  • How our values can guide us towards self-care

  • Caleb’s PhD project, including how categorizing individuals contributes to disconnection between all humans

 

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 exactly is “thin privilege?” How do we participate in the fat liberation movement if we’re in smaller bodies? What are the real-life consequences of weight stigma?

(Resources Mentioned: Sarah Harry’s Food Psych Podcast episode and Lisa DuBreuil’s Food Psych Podcast episode)

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Food Psych #141: Pleasure, Sex, and Body Acceptance with Dawn Serra

Dawn Serra

Body-positive sex coach and fellow podcast host Dawn Serra joins us to talk about the social currency that comes with dieting and pursuing weight loss, her work in sexuality and how it intersects with fat activism, body image struggles within sexual experiences, how weight discrimination affects people in larger bodies, thin privilege, the good-fatty/bad-fatty dichotomy, cultivating curiosity with food and pleasure, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about gender dysphoria and disordered eating.

Sex is a social skill. Dawn Serra speaks it, writes it, teaches it, and she helps you learn how to develop it. Committed to ending sexual and bodily shame, Dawn is the creator and host of the weekly podcast, Sex Gets Real as well as the radical online summit, Explore More. In addition to working one-on-one with clients around pleasure, desire, and connection, she also lectures at colleges and universities on sex, relationships, and body politics. It's not all work though! In her downtime, Dawn can be found making up absurd games with her husband or reading a great book with her cats. Find her online at DawnSerra.com.

Head to warbyparker.com/psych to order your free Home Try-On’s today! That’s warbyparker.com/psych.

Grab Christy's free guide, 7 simple strategies for finding peace and freedom with food, to start your intuitive eating journey. 

 

We Discuss:

  • Dawn’s relationship with food growing up, including how body comparisons played into policing her food choices

  • The pervasive nature of fatphobic messaging, including within the family unit

  • Dawn’s experience as being viewed as strong and powerful in her body in the context of sports, but also getting policed for being “too large”

  • The effect of watching someone be completely intuitive with foods when we ourselves are disordered with food

  • Why gentle nutrition needs to be left to the end of the intuitive eating process, and the importance of rooting out the diet mentality in our eating behaviors

  • Giving ourselves time to unlearn diet culture, and being compassionate enough to be patient

  • Oprah, and the pros and cons of her influence on the world

  • The disordered process of deliberately not honoring our hunger

  • The social currency that comes with dieting and pursuing weight loss, especially when you’re in a larger body

  • Dawn’s experience being the “clean-eating fat person,” and the good-fatty/bad-fatty dichotomy

  • The myths behind the idea of “willpower,” and the truth of the restrict-binge cycle

  • How weight discrimination affects people in larger bodies, the experience of thin privilege, and the seduction of social acceptance that we’re told comes with being in a small body

  • Dawn’s experience finding community in the fat activist and fat acceptance movement, and how healing it is to find a space to share the emotional trauma of existing in a marginalized body

  • Weight stigma and size bias in the medical community

  • Using anger and compassion to fuel our own healing

  • Dawn’s professional journey, how she came to work as a sex therapist, and how her work intersects with fat activism

  • Dawn’s status as a sexual assault survivor, how that has affected her work, and the current #MeToo campaign

  • Navigating consent and boundaries within sexual experiences and experiences with food and our bodies

  • Accessing pleasure and practicing embodiment, and what it means to say yes

  • The connection between sexual exploration and food exploration

  • How to navigate body acceptance within sexual experience

  • Cultivating curiosity in order to make space for healing and pleasure

  • Challenging the cultural story around sexual-romantic relationships

  • Practicing holding two opposite truths together, opening up to vulnerability, and the value of pushing through discomfort

 

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 may gender expression play into our desire to change our bodies? Does gender dysphoria complicate eating disorder recovery? What are the resources out there for trans folks struggling with disordered eating?

 

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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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