weight cycling

Food Psych #159: How Diet Culture Harms Your Health with Joanne Ikeda


Pioneering Health at Every Size dietitian Joanne Ikeda joins us to discuss the history of the HAES movement, how the dietetics field and the role of the dietitian has changed over time, the effects of dieting on weight gain and weight cycling, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about the food industry and diet soda.

Joanne Ikeda has been a trailblazer in the development of the Health at Every Size® paradigm and the fight against weight stigma. As founding co-director of the Center for Weight and Health in the College of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley, Ikeda has been a leader in efforts to refine approaches to childhood wellness at the local, state and national levels. She is author or coauthor of research publications as well as pamphlets, books, and training kits designed to help health professionals, paraprofessionals and parents instill healthy eating habits and encourage physical activity in children and adolescents. Her most recent effort involves empowering community coalitions to change local environments so they are more supportive of healthy lifestyles in families. She is dedicated to protecting children from becoming casualties in the “war on obesity” by promoting a Health at Every Size approach.

She has also conducted extensive community collaborative research on the food habits and dietary quality of California’s low-income, immigrant and ethnic populations. Her findings are used to develop culturally sensitive and relevant educational programs for these groups, which have included Hmong families in the Central Valley; Vietnamese-American communities in Northern and Southern California; Native Americans in rural areas; and African American women in urban areas of the state.

Ikeda has served as president of the 8,000-member California Dietetic Association. She has chaired the American Dietetic Association’s Nutrition Education for the Public Practice Group and more recently chaired the pediatric subunit of the Weight Management Practice Group. She helped establish the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH), and served as its secretary for two years. She recently finished a 3-year term as President of the Society for Nutrition Education & Behavior. She has been active on many advisory boards and committees and received numerous awards and honors, including the Society of Nutrition Education Weight Realities Achievement Award; the Ethel Austin Martin Nutrition Education Distinguished Lecturer Award from South Dakota State University; the University of California Outreach Award for service to minority communities; and more.

In 2003, Ikeda received the Community Awareness Award from the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) for her dissemination of the message of size acceptance. In 2008, NAAFA gave Ikeda its highest honor for her efforts towards ending size discrimination. She is also the primary author of NAAFA’s Child Advocacy Toolkit.  

She retired from the University of California, Berkeley, on January 1, 2007, and has been awarded the title of Nutritionist Emeritus. She currently is the Nutrition Consultant for the Cartoon Network, and a nutrition expert for ABC News and NAAFA.

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We Discuss:

  • Joanne’s relationship with food growing up, including her lack of cooking skills as a college student

  • How the dietetics career and the role of the dietitian has changed over time

  • Joanne’s experience with old-school weight-loss groups and developing weight-loss programs, and her realization that the weight-loss paradigm is ineffective

  • The role of food insecurity in weight gain and hunger

  • Joanne’s exploration of weight science, and her discovery that health is not dependent on weight

  • How the fat-acceptance movement opened Joanne’s eyes to the realities of weight stigma

  • The effects of dieting on weight gain and weight cycling

  • Joanne’s experience getting her research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association

  • The creation of the Health at Every Size principles and guidelines, and the reticence of the current dietetics community to embrace HAES

  • Why there isn’t enough HAES research out there, and why we need to fund more HAES projects

  • The value in and importance of weight stigma research and the negative impacts of long-term weight cycling

  • Why the calories-in-calories-out model is ludicrous

  • Why individuals are so invested in diet culture, and why we as a culture resist embracing a weight-inclusive perspective

  • What a weight-inclusive, fat-accepting world would look like

  • The problems with the National Weight Registry data

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 find a balance between knowing that the food industry is problematic, but not falling down the disordered-eating-rabbit-hole by demonizing foods? How does diet soda tie in with disordered eating? What role does restriction play in feeling out of control around high-sugar or high-carb foods?

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


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 #151: Emotional Eating and Diet Culture with Judith Matz


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.



  • 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



Some of the links below are affiliate links. Affiliates or not, we only recommend products and services that align with our values.




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)

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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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