Food Psych #157: The Truth About Weight Science with Fiona Willer

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Anti-diet dietitian Fiona Willer joins to talk about why we need to be critical of current weight research, how the Health at Every Size paradigm can go viral, why weight-inclusive work is a life-saving endeavor, how fatphobia and weight stigma prevent compassionate medical care for people in larger bodies, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to adjust to a different culture’s eating times when studying abroad.

Fiona Willer, AdvAPD, is the author of 'The Non-Diet Approach Guidebook for Dietitians', and co-author of 'The Non-Diet Approach Guidebook for Psychologists and Counsellors'. Her business, Health, Not Diets, provides online and face-to-face training and workshops for health professionals in the non-diet approach. Fiona's background includes clinical dietetics, private practice and university lecturing in nutrition and dietetics. She is currently conducting PhD research into HAES ® use in dietetics. As an advocacy leader in this field, she represented Australia in contributing to the HAES graduate curriculum for the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH), and has been an invited speaker at DAA, SDA, ANZAED, DC events and presented at a variety of academic conferences Fiona is a proud member of the DAA, current Vice-President International of ASDAH, and executive member of HAES Australia. Find her online at,, and

We Discuss:

  • Fiona’s relationship with food and her body growing up, including how negative body messaging infiltrated her life during adolescence

  • Fiona’s experience of feeding her family and her children

  • Why diet culture is The Life Thief, and Christy’s process writing her book and exploring the different ways diet culture stole moments from her throughout her life

  • Fiona’s exploration of “clean eating” and vegetarianism, as well as her struggles with binge eating

  • Fiona’s experience pursuing a naturopathy degree, and how she eventually ended up pursuing dietetics instead

  • Fiona’s move to a Health at Every Size perspective, and the problem with current weight science

  • Fiona’s work as a lecturer at universities, and her goal to inject weight-inclusive approaches into dietetics education

  • How rewarding it is to share a message that we ourselves desperately needed to hear when we were stuck in diet culture 

  • How Fiona discovered mindful eating, and how mindfulness helped guide her to recovery

  • Fiona’s PhD journey, how she has showed her supervisors the HAES perspective, the ways in which combining her research with the psychology discipline has allowed her more room to practice in an anti-diet way, and her current HAES research

  • Why Health at Every Size is like an iPhone, and the ways in which the HAES message is spread virally and virtually

  • The generational differences in accepting diversity, and the fear of loss that looms over professionals who stick to the diet paradigm

  • The things that need to be done to create a size-inclusive society, and the money that can be made for creating access for diverse bodies

  • How fatphobia and weight stigma stand in the way of compassionate medical care for people in larger bodies

  • Fiona’s work on unpacking weight science, and why we need to be critical of current weight research

  • Why weight-inclusive work is a life-saving endeavor, and the ways in which weight stigma negatively affects the healthcare experience of people in larger bodies

  • How to introduce a HAES perspective to practitioners who are reticent to embrace it

  • Why we need to move away from black-and-white thinking


Resources Mentioned

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Listener Question of the Week

How do we adjust to new settings and food schedules when we’re in recovery from disordered eating? What do I do if I’m thinking about food constantly?

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