Food Psych #197: Hormones, Disordered Eating, and How The Wellness Diet Harms Your Health with Robyn Nohling

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Nurse practitioner and fellow HAES dietitian Robyn Nohling joins us to discuss her experiences with disordered eating and hypothalamic amenorrhea (HA), how diet culture wreaks havoc on our hormones, why doing less may actually be better for our health, how The Wellness Diet is making us sicker, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to navigate intuitive eating with diabetes.

Robyn’s own health journey has been the catalyst to her career focused on counseling, nursing, mentoring, and teaching in the field of women's health and eating disorders. As a Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner and Registered Dietitian, Robyn specializes in hormone & reproductive health along with eating disorders and disordered eating. She uses a weight-inclusive and non-diet approach and firmly believes health goes far beyond your plate and exercise routine. Alongside her private practice, blog and inpatient NP position, Robyn opened an online learning center in 2017 to both educate other practitioners and empower women to advocate for their own health and healing.

In both her RD and NP practices, Robyn works through the Intuitive Eating and Health At Every Size® framework. She is a member of and involved in several women's health and eating disorder organizations including the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals, Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health, and the International Federation of Eating Disorder Dietitians.

When she's not working with women or behind the screen, she enjoys exploring Boston and the northeast with her husband and baby boy, traveling despite her fear of flying, cooking new recipes, hosting others in her home and experiencing the food scene wherever she might be. Robyn loves connecting on social media. Follow her on Instagram and Pinterest, join The Real Life Facebook community, and check out her blog, The Real Life RD.

We Discuss:

  • How Robyn’s relationship with food and her body started shifting in high school

  • How her weight loss was normalized as “healthy”

  • Hormonal and menstrual concerns, and how they are often overlooked

  • How Robyn’s eating disorder evolved throughout college

  • “Ideal body weight,” and why it is bullshit

  • Michael Pollan and the “real food” movement

  • The links between Michael Pollan’s work, fatphobia, and orthorexia

  • Alcohol, and its role in Robyn’s eating disorder

  • What sparked Robyn’s interest in hormonal health

  • Her and Christy’s experiences with hypothalamic amenorrhea (HA), and the lack of support they received

  • The prevalence of disordered eating in the dietetics field

  • Why Robyn feels nursing school was a “healing experience” for her

  • How she got her period back after missing it for 10 years

  • How diet culture affects our hormonal health

  • “Sick thyroid” syndrome, and how restriction can affect thyroid function

  • The lack of evidence for cutting out gluten and dairy for autoimmune conditions

  • Stress, cortisol, and their effects on hormonal health

  • How The Wellness Diet is actually making us sicker

  • Diet culture in conventional and alternative healthcare

  • Why diets and food rules can be appealing

  • How disordered eating clouds our intuition

  • Robyn’s experiences with pregnancy and breastfeeding

  • The harmful messages regarding body size for people who are pregnant or postpartum

  • Intuitive eating, and how it can benefit reproductive health

  • The need for more research on HAES®, healthcare, and fertility

  • What it would take to shift fertility medicine toward HAES

  • Robyn’s course for health professionals


Resources Mentioned

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Listener Question of the Week

How can a person with diabetes or another chronic condition navigate intuitive eating? What can make intuitive eating particularly difficult for someone with type 1 diabetes? What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and not having diabetes? What are some intuitive eating skills that can apply for people with diabetes? Why is it important to make peace with all foods in diabetes? Why is it OK for people with diabetes to sometimes have blood sugars outside of the “normal” range?

(Resources Mentioned:

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