trauma

Food Psych #163: How to Unlearn Diet Culture's Rules with April Quioh

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TV writer and She’s All Fat podcast co-host April K. Quioh joins us to talk about how intersectional feminism and sociology helped her to finally let go of dieting and embrace her body size, why we need to challenge fatphobia and fight for it to be considered a valid form of discrimination, why it’s important to unlearn the diet-culture rules we’ve internalized around food and our bodies, the historical roots of diet culture, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to know if you're ready to start re-learning intuitive eating.

April K. Quioh is a comedy writer and podcast host from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She writes about fun stuff like popular culture, love, and blackness and has worked on television shows on Comedy Central, YouTubeRed, and Netflix. She has perfect skin and is a lawful good. She currently co-hosts and produces She's All Fat, a podcast about body positivity and intersectional feminism. Find her online at ShesAllFatPod.com.

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We Discuss:

  • April’s relationship with food growing up, including her experience with going on diets with her family and exploring the different kinds of beauty ideals she was exposed to

  • April’s process of breaking free from dieting, reconnecting with her internal cues, and her feelings around intuitive eating

  • Why it’s important to unlearn the diet-culture rules we’ve internalized around food and our bodies

  • How intersectional feminism and sociology helped April to finally let go of dieting and embrace fat acceptance and body positivity

  • The role of body-positive Instagram bloggers in her journey to body acceptance

  • April’s experience with internal and external body shame

  • Why we need to extend compassion to parents who pass diet culture along to their children

  • The historical roots of diet culture, and how race plays a role in our body expectations

  • April’s exploration of storytelling, how she found her passion for writing, and her professional journey to television writing in Los Angeles

  • Fatphobia and discrimination in the entertainment industry, and the ways in which April has had to navigate calling out weight stigma and racism in professional settings

  • Why we need to shame people who are fat-shamers

  • The power in calling out injustice on a public platform

  • How to talk to the people in our lives about Health at Every Size and weight-based discrimination, and why we need to remember that our time and our mental health is more important than trying to change the minds of people who aren’t open to hearing alternative viewpoints

  • Why fatness does not equate to health status, and why people have such a visceral reaction being told that people at every size can pursue and embody health

  • Why we need to challenge fatphobia and fight for it to be considered a valid form of discrimination

  • The birth of the She’s All Fat Podcast and the value in sharing our trauma with the world

 

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 know when we’re ready for intuitive eating? Is working with an intuitive eating therapist or nutrition coach a good path for intuitive eating support? How does deprivation play a role in bingeing and feelings of overeating? Does the current representation of eating disorders hold us back from finding recovery? Why do we turn to food to soothe or emotions, and how can we stop?

(Resources Mentioned: Certified Intuitive Eating Counselors Directory, Judith Matz’s Food Psych Podcast episode, Isabel Foxen Duke’s first Food Psych Podcast episode, Intuitive Eating Fundamentals online course)

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Food Psych #162: Self-Esteem and Diet Recovery with Victoria Welsby

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Body-image activist Victoria Welsby joins us to discuss the connection between self-esteem and intuitive eating, how to heal from trauma related to food and body, fighting back against internalized fatphobia and body shame, setting compassionate boundaries, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to dissuade kids when they begin to subscribe to diet culture and body shaming.

Victoria is a body image activist, confidence expert, Adjunct Professor at UBC and TEDx speaker. She went from being homeless, abused with self esteem that was achingly low into the courageous fat activist and change maker she is today. Victoria helps people fall in love with themselves and is dedicated to changing the way society views fat bodies. Find her online at BamPowLife.com, and join her free webinar "The 4 Steps I Took to Go from Meek and Mild to Courageous and Confident" (my affiliate link).

 

We Discuss:

  • Victoria’s relationship with food growing up, including how food insecurity, diet culture, alcoholism, and fatphobia affected how she related to food and her body

  • Victoria’s experience with restriction, over-exercising, bingeing, and other disordered eating patterns

  • Victoria’s struggle with negative self-esteem, an abusive relationship, and homelessness

  • The feeling of being out of control around food, and how that is often an indication that we aren’t eating enough on a consistent basis

  • The cultural associations we make with fat, and how media representation reinforces our belief that fat is bad

  • Fatphobia in children’s programming, and the challenge of parenting in a body-positive way

  • The importance of being able to rely on our gut instincts, and how positive self-esteem promotes our ability to listen to our intuition

  • How intuitive eating can lead to intuitive living

  • Victoria’s process to find healing from the trauma she experienced, how therapy helped her to break down her own internalized fatphobia, and how fat representation and fat activism lifted her out of her self-hatred

  • Navigating re-learning everything about food, our bodies, and what we deserve

  • Victoria’s experience with EMDR, how it helped her to break down her fear and shame around food and her body, and how she created a space to help her feel safe around food

  • How to set boundaries around food and diet culture with the people that you love, and how someone’s reaction to you setting a boundary can clue you in on the safety of those relationships

  • The process of finding the right partner, and how processing our own trauma can help us move past difficult patterns in relationships

 

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 raise kids to be resilient against diet culture and body shame? Can a child’s natural rebellious energy help spark curiosity about anti-diet work? Is there a way to explain to kids that certain thoughts keep us down, but others help us to flourish? How much power is there in planting a seed for change? What are some resources for raising body-positive children?

(Resources Mentioned: Elizabeth Scott’s Food Psych Podcast episode, Intuitive Eating, 3rd ed. by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, Your Child’s Weight: Helping Without Harming by Ellyn Satter, and Ellyn Satter’s work)

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

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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 #158: How to Heal from Weight Stigma with Kathleen Bishop

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Health at Every Size therapist Kathleen Bishop shares how the trauma of dieting gets passed from one generation to the next, how to mourn the loss of the life that diet culture stole from you, ways to start recovering from internalized weight stigma, the connection between substance use disorders and eating disorders, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to accept your changing body and stop beating yourself up for not being the same size you were 10 years ago.

Kathleen A. Bishop from San José, California. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and Relapse Prevention Specialist. In private practice, she specializes in Eating and Substance Use Disorders. and she works at a non-profit providing Intensive Outpatient Treatment to clients with Substance Use Disorder and cooccurring mental health conditions like anxiety, depression or Eating Disorders. Kathleen, who is also a body positive size diversity activist who promotes Health At Every Size (HAES) principles to end stigma and mistreatment that is associated with weight, has overcome her own body image obsessions and she shares her great insights with us! Find her online at BodyPeaceLiberation.com.

Enrollment for my latest Master Your Anti-Diet Message live webinar is open now! Register this week for early bird pricing.


We Discuss:

  • Kathleen’s relationship with food growing up, including her exposure to diet foods at a young age and her experience watching her mother weight cycle and diet her whole life

  • Intergenerational trauma, including how watching our parents chronically suffer due to diet culture can impact us in adulthood, and even in later generations

  • Kathleen’s experience with various eating disorders, including bulimia, and how it intersects with her alcohol use

  • The connection between substance abuse and eating disorders

  • The pros and cons of Overeaters Anonymous, including how it gives us a supportive community but also encourages restriction

  • How seductive the short-term results from our very first diet can be

  • Kathleen’s experience with weight cycling

  • Why our bodies push us towards food and prevent weight loss in times of deprivation

  • Kathleen’s career trajectory, and how she found her drive to better her life

  • The social aspect of diet culture, and the lure of social connection through the diet mentality

  • Kathleen’s discovery of intuitive eating and Health at Every Size

  • How intuitive eating becomes intuitive living, including how we learn to set boundaries and the ways in which we reclaim our time and energy when we leave dieting behind for good

  • Why grieving is an important part of the process from healing from diet culture

  • The ways in which Health at Every Size can spark our fire around advocacy and social justice

  • How to confront our privilege and unlearn our personal biases

  • Kathleen’s experience with EMDR therapy and trauma-informed care, why processing trauma is essential for mental wellbeing, and how EMDR therapy can help with body image concerns

  • Body image and weight stigma as trauma, and how we can recover from internalized weight stigma

  • The power in changing our clothing and rejecting clothing rules

  • How to embrace body diversity and different kinds of beauty

  • How to see the sneaky iterations of diet culture for what they really are, and how the diet industry and the gastric bypass surgery industry tries to keep us hooked

  • Why weight loss surgery is so harmful, and why we need to change the culture rather than our bodies

  • The growth of the Health at Every Size community


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 accept our changing body with age or the changing of circumstances? What are some strategies that we can use when we begin to feel nostalgic for your old body? Is the desire to change our bodies really about our body, or is it about something bigger? How can we meet our needs without resorting to weight loss efforts?

(Resources Mentioned: Food Psych Podcast episode 154 and 151)

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Food Psych #156: Breaking Free from Diet Culture with Joy Cox

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Researcher and activist Joy Cox joins us to talk about how we can fight back against internalized weight stigma and body shame, how intersecting identities can affect body image, why refusing to conform to cultural and societal expectations can help change the world, the racist roots of diet culture and why fighting it is an important part of creating a more inclusive society, the problems with framing larger body size as “obesity” and labeling it a disease, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about intuitive eating for athletes.

Joy is current doctoral candidate and self-professed fatty in the Department of Communication at Rutgers University using her dissertation to study the impacts of identity and social change within the Fat Liberation Movement. Through interviews and content analysis, Joy has been able to unearth answers to questions around member identification, micro and macro discourse, and political action outcomes for movement members. When not conducting research, Joy serves as the Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion team for ASDAH, and hosts her own podcast, Fresh Out the Cocoon, which highlights the lived experiences of Black fat women. She is an avid lover of justice and a fierce defender of those who cannot defend themselves. Find her on Instagram.

 

We Discuss:

  • Joy’s relationship with food growing up, including how coming from a black family created a culture of community and celebration around food, and how her family instilled a sense of body acceptance and body diversity from a young age

  • Joy’s process of learning self-advocacy and facing body shame from her doctor at a young age

  • The role of race in the development of Joy’s body image, and how her intersectional identities placed pressure on her to adhere to diet culture

  • Joy’s experience with weight stigma and medical fatphobia

  • The toxic nature of weight-loss related compliments

  • Joy’s experience going to culinary school, how it contributed to yo-yo dieting, and her struggle navigating the male-dominated restaurant industry

  • The pressure that Joy felt to stay at her suppressed weight and to maintain her extreme weight loss

  • Joy’s move to go back to university in West Virginia, and her realization that there was systemic oppression around her and affecting her experience

  • Joy’s experience with the Atkins diet, and how it reinforced her desire to be in a smaller body

  • Joy’s re-discovery of joyful movement

  • How so-called “obesity” being categorized as a disease led to Joy’s exposure to Health at Every Size and fat liberation

  • The power of research and literature in fighting against fatphobia and weight stigma

  • Why we need to move away from beauty standards and cultural norms

  • How Joy’s intersecting identities of being a black and being a woman and being fat informs her research and doctoral work

  • Why not conforming to cultural and societal expectations is a political act

  • The structural ways in which society excludes people in marginalized bodies

  • What it means to truly be committed to diversity and inclusion

  • Joy’s research into organization communication styles and how they perpetuate structural inequality

  • The ways in which society minimizes the trauma we as a culture inflict on larger bodies

  • Why shame and personal responsibility don’t lead to long-term change

  • Navigating the struggles around fat acceptance

  • The racist roots of diet culture, and why studying history is so important in the fight for social justice

  • How we can combat internalized fatphobia and other internalized oppressions through education and visibility

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 combine intuitive eating with competitive sports? What does intuitive eating tell us about “healthy” vs “unhealthy” foods? How does diet culture sever the connection between our brain and our bodies? What does “health” even mean? How do we recognize and break down the diet mentality? Are there ways to alleviate compulsive behaviors around movement?
 

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

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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 #149: The Truth About Binge Eating with Amy Pershing

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Anti-diet therapist and Binge Eating Disorder expert Amy Pershing joins us to discuss how our fatphobic culture hinders eating disorder recovery, how diet culture steals our personal power, the healing that can be found in getting angry, the role of restriction and trauma in binge eating, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about quick ways for primary-care providers to talk to patients about intuitive eating and HAES.

Amy Pershing LMSW, ACSW is the Clinical Director of the Center for Eating Disorders (CED) in Ann Arbor. In 1993, she developed “Bodywise™,” a comprehensive treatment program to serve a growing population of clients coming to the center with binge eating disorder (BED). In 2008, Pershing and Chevese Turner, CEO and founder of Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), joined forces to found Pershing Turner Consulting LLC which offers training to clinicians treating BED nationwide.

Pershing has pioneered an integrated approach based on almost 30 years of clinical experience. Her approach is strengths-based, incorporating Internal Family Systems, mindfulness strategies, Self Compassion interventions, and a range of somatic trauma techniques. Her approach also integrates intuitive eating and movement and a “health at every size” philosophy. Pershing offers two- and three-day Intensives for those in recovery, as well as “Hungerwise™,” a 10-week program for ending chronic dieting and weight cycling offered jointly with with St. Joseph Mercy Health System in Michigan.

Pershing lectures internationally and writes extensively on the treatment of BED and her own recovery journey for both professional and lay communities. She has been featured on numerous radio and television programs speaking about BED treatment and recovery, relapse prevention, weight stigma, and mindful eating and movement. She is the winner of BEDA's Pioneer in Clinical Advocacy ward. Pershing has also served on a variety of professional boards and is the Past Chair of the Binge Eating Disorder Association. Her book, published by Taylor and Francis, will be out in late summer 2018. She maintains a clinical practice in Ann Arbor. Find her online at TheBodyWiseProgram.com.

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We Discuss:

  • Amy’s relationship with food growing up, including learning conflicting narratives related to food

  • The ways in which parents try to shield their children from fatphobia and weight stigma

  • The many different iterations of diet culture over the years

  • Amy’s experience with restriction and hunger, and internalizing the moralization of food and the virtue in being hungry

  • Amy’s discovery of intuitive eating, and why food preoccupation is an inevitable side effect of restriction

  • Why foods with quick energy are most desireable in times of deprivation, and the role of pleasure and joy and eating

  • Diet culture’s message of personal responsibility and blaming the victim

  • How body shame and the thin ideal feeds into diet culture

  • Diet culture’s shift from aesthetics and the beauty ideal to health and “clean eating”

  • The classism embedded within the moralization of food

  • The seduction of the thin ideal, including the messages around desirability and love

  • Amy’s experience with weight stigma

  • How our fatphobic culture hinders eating disorder recovery

  • The value in weight-inclusive communities and the Health at Every Size message

  • The intersection between body image and self-compassion

  • Amy’s experience with the restrict-binge cycle and Overeaters Anonymous, and how she eventually reached out for help and support in her path towards recovery

  • The soothing effect of food, and understanding that food behaviors are often more about coping than about willpower

  • Amy’s training in trauma, and learning that our body will push us towards survival

  • How feminism, gender studies, and learning about the trauma of weight stigma informed Amy’s professional path

  • The power of shame and trauma narratives

  • How we attach moral value to movement, and how Amy embraced joyful movement

  • The power in throwing food and movement rules out the window in the recovery process

  • How Amy’s clients and colleagues have taught her to appreciate beauty in new ways

  • The value, healing, and power that comes with getting angry at the systems that oppress us

  • How diet culture steals our personal power, and how moving away from diet culture allows us to take that power back and put it towards more beneficial pursuits

  • Amy’s process of finding organic structure around movement and food

  • Why we need to focus on self-care, not self-control

  • The other ways in which the beauty ideal oppresses those around us

 

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 primary care providers give compassionate care around intuitive eating and Health at Every Size? What are some ways that physicians can promote an anti-diet perspective when they only have a short amount of time with each patient? How does weight stigma and chronic stress put individuals at risk for health conditions that are often blamed on a larger body size? How do referrals play a role in helping people break free from diet culture?

(Resources Mentioned: Body Respect by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor, Intuitive Eating, 3rd ed. by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch)

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Food Psych #143: Body Politics & Anti-Diet Activism with Maria Paredes

Maria Paredes

Health at Every Size psychotherapist Maria Paredes joins us to talk about how diet culture and the diet industry target the most marginalized folks, why activism is an important part of helping people heal from food issues, embracing the gray areas in recovery, the “recovered” vs “recovering” debate, remembering that there’s no way to do intuitive eating perfectly, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about someone’s partner’s smaller body triggering the diet mentality in them.

Dr. Maria Paredes is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Clinical Supervisor, Certified Eating Disorders Specialist & approved IAEDP supervisor, and owner of Three Birds Counseling & Clinical Supervision in Greensboro, NC. She helps rad women and men make peace with food and with their bodies, and live fuller lives, free from negative thinking, fear of food, and body hate. She believes ALL bodies have worth and that ALL individuals deserve to enjoy food, move in ways that feel joyful, treat their bodies with kindness and gentleness, and experience authentic connection with themselves and others. Maria recognizes that this healing must occur within the individual therapeutic relationship as well as within the larger, cultural environment, and thus embraces the role of advocacy and activism. She also works with individuals experiencing anxiety, infertility/pregnancy loss, and PCOS. Maria teaches courses in UNC-G’s Counseling department and provides clinical supervision and training to new professionals working toward their licensure as therapists or dietitians. Maria is Mom to 3 young girls and hopes that they will grow up to experience the wonder and power of all their bodies have to offer, without believing they must shrink themselves. Find her online at ThreeBirdsCounseling.com.

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

 

We Discuss:

  • Maria’s relationship with food growing up, including learning about “good” vs “bad” foods, associating food with family time, and being pushed to eat past fullness

  • Maria’s experience with purging and disordered eating, and the complex relationship that behavior had with trauma and relief

  • The various ways that all-or-nothing thinking and behavior showed up in other areas of Maria’s life

  • Intergenerational trauma, how our parent’s upbringing affects our relationship with food, and the ways in which deprivation can show up in our lives outside of diet culture

  • The conflicting messages Maria received around her religious upbringing

  • Embracing the gray, and remembering that there’s no way to do intuitive eating perfectly

  • #MeToo, feminism, and making space for people to speak out

  • Oprah and the insidious nature of diet culture even in the face of success

  • How diet culture and the diet industry targets the most marginalized folks

  • Maria’s experience growing up in Westchester County, noticing the extreme focus on appearance, and the relief in moving elsewhere

  • What led Maria to seek out counseling as a profession, and the ways in which the therapeutic relationship is valuable for both clinician and client

  • The recovered vs recovering debate, Maria’s experience recovering within diet culture, and knowing how to pick our battles

  • Maria’s experience getting diagnosed with PCOS, the lack of education around proper management and care, and why we shouldn’t be prescribing weight loss

  • Weight bias within various health-provider fields, and the prolific nature of advice based on diet culture rather than research

  • The value in staying curious, and the scary parts of turning your back on the weight management paradigm

  • Christy’s experience spreading the intuitive eating and Health at Every Size messaging

  • The role of “activist therapists” in the healing process, and thinking about the individual vs the collective

  • Revisiting the word "victim," and the importance of naming things for what they are

  • Having empathy for people who do engage in internalized oppression, and the privilege of escaping that oppression

  • The potential oppressive nature of intuitive eating, and the privilege embedded in being able to find full recovery

  • Maria’s experience raising daughters in our current cultural climate, modeling body neutrality, and trusting that they’ll be resilient through the struggle

 

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 do we do if our partner triggers the diet mentality in us? Are there resources out there for those of us feeling that way? How much does the thin ideal contribute to this struggle?

(Resources Mentioned: Lindy West’s article, Rachel Wiley’s spoken word piece, Dawn Serra’s Food Psych Podcast episode, Caleb Luna’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 #140: How to Heal from Over-Exercise & Find Joyful Movement with Jessi Haggerty

Jessi Haggerty

Anti-diet dietitian and personal trainer Jessi Haggerty joins us to discuss how to make the transition from instrumental exercise into joyful movement, why it’s so important to have a trauma-informed approach to movement, ableism in the fitness world, the shape-shifting nature of diet culture, embracing a Health at Every Size paradigm, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to deal with the desire to change a particular body part.

Jessi Haggerty is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, and Certified Personal Trainer with a private practice in Somerville, MA. She specializes in treating people struggling with eating disorders and disordered eating using using a customized, therapeutic, non-diet approach that combines nutrition and movement therapy, and also offers virtual recovery coaching.

In addition to her practice, Jessi has a podcast called the BodyLove Project where she hosts conversations about intuitive eating and body acceptance, with a special interest in how eating disorders and body dissatisfaction intersect with other tough-to-talk-about subject such as addiction, trauma, and postpartum. Despite the heavy topics, the BodyLove Project is about how to come out the other side, and live an authentic, embodied life.

Most recently, Jessi has launched an online workshop series for personal trainers, called Nutrition & Body Image Coaching Skills; How to Help Without Harming. This series is designed to empower trainers to coach from a HAES perspective, screen for eating disorders and disordered eating, and refer clients to a higher level of care when necessary. Find her online at JessiHaggerty.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 :)

 

We Discuss:

  • Jessi’s relationship with food growing up, including being exposed to diet foods at a young age, and becoming preoccupied with dieting and weight loss early in life

  • The effect of watching our parents struggle with weight gain

  • How important it is for health professionals to acknowledge their own disordered reasons for pursuing dietetics

  • The problem with making weight loss and health the responsibility of the individual, rather than acknowledging the systemic factors that influence these outcomes

  • The initial safety and community that can be found in diet culture, and ultimately what diet culture takes from you

  • Strategies for breaking down the stereotypes surrounding dietetics as a Health at Every Size practitioner

  • Jessi’s experience being a personal trainer at 17, her attempts at body manipulation through exercise

  • Jessi’s eventual exploration of physical therapy and personal training as a path to recovery, joy, and healing, rather than punishment

  • Practicing and marketing your business as a Health-at-Every-Size, anti-diet personal trainer

  • How to engage with movement as someone struggling with an eating disorder or wading into eating disorder recovery

  • How to find joyful movement, and using yoga as a baseline to explore boundaries around exercise

  • The ways in which fitness tech takes us out of our body and into our heads, and how that interferes with embodiment

  • The importance of safety when exploring whether or not movement is right for you, and prioritizing a trauma-informed movement practice

  • The issue of mirrors in exercise studios

  • Ableism in the fitness and exercise world, how to work with different abilities in the personal-training sector, and the need to question typical gym marketing on the basis of gender, size, ability, race, etc

  • Respecting everyone’s body’s abilities within movement practice, giving options for people in differently-abled bodies, and making room to modify for all different bodies

  • How our body image can be affected by our movement ability, especially when our ability changes over time

  • Jessi’s work as a nutritionist, and her efforts to eradicate diet culture from the personal training profession

  • How to navigate sports nutrition as an anti-diet dietitian

  • The shape-shifting nature of diet culture

 

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

Is cosmetic surgery a better alternative to dieting? How do we love a body part that feels unlovable? Are there some strategies out there to help us appreciate different kinds of bodies?

(Resources Mentioned: Jes Baker’s Food Psych Podcast episode, Sarah Harry’s Food Psych Podcast episode, Lisa DuBreuil’s Food Psych Podcast episode, Jes Baker’s Instagram guide, Meredith Noble’s Instagram guide, The Body is Not An Apology, Sonya Renee Taylor’s Food Psych Podcast episode, Everyday Feminism, The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf)

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Food Psych #135: Body Respect, Weight-Inclusive Care, and Health at Every Size with Lucy Aphramor

Lucy Aphramor

Lucy Aphramor, anti-diet dietitian and co-author (with Linda Bacon) of Body Respect, joins us to talk about Health at Every Size, why we need to be weight-inclusive instead of just weight-neutral, the social determinants of health, the importance of having a trauma-informed focus as a healthcare provider, her struggles with body image in the context of gender identity and sexuality, the importance of prioritizing emotional safety, and so much more! PLUS, Christy answers a listener question about how to handle arguments that stopping emotional eating automatically leads to weight loss.

Lucy Aphramor is an award-winning radical dietitian and critically acclaimed performance poet aka The Naked Dietitian. She practises the weight-equitable approach Well Now that advocates health-gain and body respect for all. Her co-authored book Body Respect, written with Linda Bacon, explores many of the key concepts of Well Now. She subsequently developed Well Now theory to be compassion-centered, trauma-informed and justice-enhancing. Lucy is interested in starting conversations that build a fairer world--and the role of story in this--and co-founded Dietitians for Social Justice with Fiona Clarke. Find her online at LucyAphramor.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 :)

12/20 is the LAST day to get Christy's newest online course for fellow health & wellness pros, Master Your Anti-Diet Message! Grab it now at christyharrison.com/message.

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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:

  • Lucy’s relationship with food growing up, including her transition into an orthorexic and anorexic style of eating and movement, and her struggle with IBS

  • Lucy’s experience as a nationally ranked runner, and the current problem with fitspo

  • How coping mechanisms can serve a larger purpose, even if they’re destructive in the end

  • The effect of trauma on our eating behaviors

  • Lucy’s experience finding a feminist therapist, and how they helped her heal

  • The experience of healing from an eating disorder versus healing our body image

  • Gender identity and sexuality, the idea of identity resilience, and understanding our core sense of self worth in our body image journey

  • The value in naming our experience

  • Lucy’s discovery of her queer identity, and how poetry helped her to discover it

  • Lucy’s model of “eating distress discovery,” and the different philosophies surrounding recovery

  • How social oppression affects our mental health struggles

  • Lucy’s experience training as a dietitian, and the ways in which dietetics education reinforce disordered eating

  • Lucy’s experience working in the mental health system, and the ways in which it opened her eyes to social justice

  • Social determinants of health, and Lucy’s process of finding a weight-neutral paradigm that considered trauma’s impact on wellness

  • Finding Health at Every Size, and Lucy’s approach of “Well Now”

  • Weight inclusive vs weight neutral, and the healthism embedded within neutrality

  • Lucy’s and Christy’s experiences finding communities to hold their ideas and exploration

  • Guiding clients away from weight loss and to intuitive eating, and exploring the role of restriction and dieting in someone’s life

  • Helping people to identify and meet their needs and desires

  • The importance of prioritizing psychic and emotional safety

  • Centering health behaviors vs social determinants of health in discussions about Health at Every Size, and grappling with the definition of HAES

 

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

Does stopping emotional eating lead to weight loss? Is intuitive eating a path to weight loss?

(Resources Mentioned: Food Psych Podcast Episode #127)

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Food Psych #125: Healing Your Relationship with Food & Overcoming Disordered Eating with Lisa Pearl

Lisa Pearl

Health at Every Size dietitian Lisa Pearl joins us to discuss breaking down internalized weight bias, how we relate to food and our bodies, fighting back against diet culture, the importance of a HAES approach to eating disorder treatment, body image and finding self-compassion, and so much more! PLUS, Christy answers a listener question about letting go of the weight-loss ideal.

As an undergraduate, Lisa double majored in biology and nutrition. Her postgraduate studies have included clinical nutrition, expressive movement therapy, fellowships in adolescent medicine, nutrition support and psychiatry, and executive coaching.

Lisa began her work as an eating disorder specialist more than 30 years ago at Children’s Hospital in Boston. During her tenure at Children’s Hospital, she worked with a team to seek new and better advances in treatment for eating disorders. With their support, she was able to incorporate many new treatment ideas including behavioral therapy groups, family meals and parent groups, expressive movement therapy and yoga, and a mindful eating program. Lisa has been an advocate for HAES throughout her career.

While at Children’s Hospital she received national recognition for demonstrating the need for a multidisciplinary team approach to the treatment of eating disorders and for her work with the Joint Commission for Hospital Accreditation to improve patient care through the inclusion of nutrition therapy for eating disorders.

Through the years Lisa has continued to push the envelope of innovation with presentations at local and national conferences. She has worked as a consultant for MIT, Harvard University, Boston Ballet, and numerous independent and public schools for prevention, education, and treatment of eating disorders. She has written health curriculums and protocols for numerous public and private organizations. Lisa has directed internships and provided mentoring for dietetic, social work, and medical students. She has served on the Board of Directors for Anorexia, Bulimia Care, Feeding Ourselves, and MEDA.

Lisa has received the ADA’s Recognized Dietitian of the Year Award and the Governor’s Commendation for Excellence in Public Service. In 2012, she was honored at MEDA's Annual Gala.

Lisa has volunteered as a community organizer for City Year and Habitat for Humanity as well as working on school boards, and various community efforts to bring awareness to human rights.

Most recently, Lisa is spearheading a new graduate program at Simmons College for clinicians who would like to work in the treatment of eating disorders. This program will provide dietitians with the opportunity to receive both academic training as well as internship opportunities. Connect with Lisa online to learn more about her private practice, CNC360, and her other work.

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:

  • Lisa’s introduction to relational theory, and how that introduced her to the idea that we have a relationship with food and with our bodies

  • The need for a shift to Health at Every Size, body diversity, size acceptance, and body positivity

  • Lisa’s relationship with food growing up, including learning the myth that nutrition can cure all ills

  • The detrimental effect of gymnastics on Lisa’s body image

  • How family trauma can impact our relationship with food and our bodies

  • Lisa’s exploration of the dietetics field

  • The demonization of Western medicine in favor of natural methods

  • Uncovering intuitive eating and mindfulness as a path to eating disorder recovery

  • How important community and mentorship is to the Health at Every Size, body liberation, intuitive eating movements

  • Lisa’s experience restructuring an eating disorder treatment center and introducing a multidisciplinary team approach

  • Persevering through diet culture, and how far the Health at Every Size movement has come

  • How fat acceptance and Health at Every Size fit into eating disorder treatment

  • The ways in which shame immobilizes and paralyzes people from living their life

  • Internalized weight bias and fatphobia in the eating disorder community

  • Finding body acceptance and self-care without weight loss

  • The protective quality of disordered eating

  • Compassion as a healing technique

  • The sociological elements of chronic dieting and disordered eating

  • Developing new programing for dietitians that is Health at Every Size, size-acceptance focused

  • Finding your voice and community in the body liberation movement

  • The importance of self-compassion and casting aside shame in the unlearning process

  • Learning from our mistakes

 

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 handle weight gain, and get past the weight loss ideal? Are there certain life events that are particularly triggering in terms of body image? What’s the deal with the wedding industrial complex, and how does it reinforce patriarchy and the thin ideal? What do we do if we don’t want to be weighed at the doctor’s office? What’s the cost of maintaining restrictive weight loss? (Resources Mentioned: Amber Karnes’ Food Psych Podcast episode, Glenys Oyston’s Food Psych Podcast episode)

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