Food Psych #181: How to "Just Eat It" and Break Free from Diet Culture with Laura Thomas

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Intuitive eating counselor and author Laura Thomas joins us to discuss the problems with The Wellness Diet, why subtle levels of weight stigma are so hard to pinpoint and eradicate, why "emotional eating" and turning to food for comfort are falsely demonized in diet culture, why people in the nutrition field often struggle in their own relationships with food, her new book Just Eat It, and lots more. Plus, Christy answers a listener question about whether the 12-step model works for food issues.

Laura Thomas, PhD is an AfN Registered Nutritionist and Certified Intuitive Eating Counsellor specialising in intuitive eating, mindful eating, weight-inclusive and non-diet nutrition. She has a BSc in Health Sciences from the University of Aberdeen, a PhD in Nutritional Sciences from Texas A&M University, and completed her post-doctoral research at Cornell University in behavior change. She is the host of Don’t Salt My Game podcast and was the Nutritionist for the 2017 BBC1 documentary Mind Over Marathon. She established the London Centre for Intuitive Eating in 2017 to help clients and train clinicians in Intuitive Eating. Her first book, Just Eat It: How intuitive eating can help you get your shit together around food was published this month by Bluebird Books. Find her online at LauraThomasPhD.co.uk.

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We Discuss:

  • How Laura’s difficult family life mirrored her complicated relationship with food and her body

  • Why it’s normal for people, especially children, to turn to food for comfort

  • The factors that reinforced Laura’s disordered eating

  • How we were introduced to Health At Every Size®, and why it can be difficult for people to embrace the paradigm

  • Why people in the nutrition field often struggle in their own relationships with food

  • Our experiences with The Wellness Diet, and what helped us realize that it’s actually diet culture in disguise

  • How a lot of “anti-wellness” work is still rooted in diet culture

  • Christy’s FNCE debate, and the response from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

  • The problem with how the “obesity”-industrial complex is trying to combat weight stigma

  • Our gratitude for the pioneers of the HAES® movement and the difficult work that many continue to do

  • Privilege, and how it interplays with HAES work and activism

  • Microaggressions, and how they affect people in marginalized bodies

  • Why subtle levels of weight stigma are so hard to pinpoint and eradicate

  • Why the “o-word” and labeling larger body size as a disease is problematic

  • Laura’s experiences of weight stigma in nutrition academia

  • Her book, Just Eat It: How intuitive eating can help you get your shit together around food

  • The oppressive nature of diet culture, and why liberation is important

  • How Trump embodies patriarchy

 

Resources Mentioned

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Listener Question of the Week

Does the 12-step model work for food issues? What is the difference between addiction to alcohol and substances and addiction to food? Is the feeling that food has addictive qualities the same as food addiction? What is the role of restriction and deprivation in the addictive qualities of food? What is The Restriction Pendulum? Is it possible to be “starving” without looking emaciated? What do physical and psychological starvation look like? How can intuitive eating stop The Restriction Pendulum? Why doesn’t the abstinence model work with food issues? How does the 12-step model reinforce diet culture? What is the problem with food-addiction research? What is the role of pleasure in human life?

Resources Mentioned

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