advocacy

Food Psych #192: Why We Can’t Fight Weight Stigma While Also Advocating for Weight Loss with Jeffrey Hunger

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Social psychologist and weight-stigma researcher Jeffrey Hunger joins us to discuss why we can’t fight weight stigma while also advocating for weight loss, how “wellness” has been co-opted by diet culture (aka The Wellness Diet), why we need to do more than just tell people “diets don’t work,” the role of critical thinking in taking down diet culture, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to handle cravings for sugar and “processed” foods after a restrictive Wellness Diet.

Jeffrey Hunger, PhD, is currently a postdoctoral scholar in Health Psychology at UCLA and will be joining the Miami University as an assistant professor in Psychology this fall. He received his Bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Minnesota, Master’s degree in psychological research from CSU Fullerton, and PhD in Psychological and Brain Sciences from UC Santa Barbara. As a social and health psychologist, Dr. Hunger is interested in using insights from psychology to understand and ultimately improve the health of stigmatized groups, including heavier individuals, and racial and sexual minorities. Dr. Hunger’s research is published in top outlets across psychology, public health, and medicine, and has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, NPR, and more. To learn more about him and his work, please visit JeffreyHunger.com.

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We Discuss:

  • The classist dynamics of the “whole food” movement

  • The barriers for working class families to meet current “healthy eating” recommendations

  • How family meals can support a positive relationship with food

  • Diet culture and pressures to be thin within the gay community

  • What initially informed Jeffrey’s current perspectives on weight and health

  • Why we need to do more than just tell people “diets don’t work”

  • How the concept of wellness has been co-opted to mean weight loss

  • Why so many people are attracted to The Wellness Diet

  • Mindfulness practice as an analogy for adopting intuitive eating

  • Stereotype threat, and how it connects to weight stigma

  • How diet culture and weight stigma show up even in weight stigma research

  • Why you can’t truly be anti-weight-stigma while advocating for weight loss

  • The evolution of Jeffrey’s framing of his own work

  • How intentional weight loss is like gay conversion therapy, and why both are harmful

  • Why the framing of weight is important outside of research (i.e. public policy)

  • How everyone deserves dignity and respect

  • How diet culture promotes the moralization of weight and body size

  • Why a multi-pronged approach is necessary to tackle weight stigma

  • Representation, and how it can help fight stigma

  • Why it’s important to name diet culture vs. diets/dieting

  • How Jeffrey and Christy are working to reject diet culture

  • Why you don’t need to be “perfect” to take down diet culture

  • Critical thinking, and its role in toppling the hierarchy of diet culture

  • Health vs. healthism

  • Weight Stigma Conference, and the interdisciplinary nature of the weight stigma field

 

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 can a person trust their intuition when it keeps on craving sugar and “processed foods?” What are some popular phrases and ideas that are espoused by The Wellness Diet? Why is it normal to crave sugar, carbohydrates, and energy-dense foods after a period of restriction? What does “balanced eating” really mean, or look like? What is the “restriction pendulum,” and how is it related to the “honeymoon phase?” What does an intuitive relationship with food look like? How can a vegan diet get in the way of eating-disorder recovery? What are some ways to contribute to animal welfare causes without following a vegan diet?

Resources Mentioned:

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Food Psych #187: How to Make the World More Accessible for ALL Bodies with Alissa Sobo

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Software engineer and Ample co-founder Alissa Sobo joins us to discuss how being fat-shamed at the doctor’s office inspired her to create the Ample app, how to improve the accessibility of public spaces for people in ALL bodies, her journey through disordered eating and recovery, why business reviews are a form of education and advocacy, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about whether the principles of intuitive eating and Health At Every Size® still apply for older people.

Alissa is a software engineer and a cofounder of Ample, a review website, like Yelp, for rating doctors, services, and establishments on their accessibility and inclusiveness towards fat, trans, disabled, and BIPOC bodies. Ample has amassed over 700 reviews and recommendations across 10 countries since its beta launch in 2018. Alissa began the open-source, volunteer-led project in 2017 after experiencing fat shaming at the doctor during her pregnancies. While there were some nascent resources for finding fat friendly services at the time, she started Ample with the hope of improving these tools with up-to-date technologies, centralizing the information into one easy-to-find repository, and honoring the intersectional identities of communities. When she’s not coding, she can be found riding bikes and gardening with her family in Portland, OR. Find her online at IsItAmple.com.

Help us and our potential advertisers learn a little bit more about you. Visit podsurvey.com/foodpsych to take an anonymous survey, and you can enter to win a $100 Amazon gift card. Terms and conditions apply.

This episode is also brought to you by NurX, the game-changing company that’s here to make getting birth control easier. Visit nurx.com/foodpsych for a $20 credit, and you can get birth control delivered securely and confidentially to your door in less than a week.

We Discuss:

  • Alissa’s experiences growing up as a larger-bodied child

  • How her relationship with food and her body developed into an eating disorder

  • How she learned about Health At Every Size

  • How where we live can influence our relationship with food and our bodies

  • Body acceptance, and how it can look different for everyone

  • Her experience of being fat-shamed at the doctor’s office, and how it inspired her to start Ample

  • How creating the app helped her to learn more about accessibility

  • Why Ample is for all marginalized identities, not just larger bodies

  • The mechanics behind the app

  • Practical strategies for increasing accessibility, even when space and/or funds are limited

  • Advocating for ourselves, and the work that it can take to be comfortable doing so

 

Resources Mentioned

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

  • Virgie Tovar’s work, and her first, second, and third appearances on Food Psych®

  • Health At Every Size by Linda Bacon (and their Food Psych episode) (CW: Dr. Bacon no longer recommends the book Health At Every Size and instead directs people to their second book, Body Respect)

  • Hot & Heavy by Virgie Tovar

  • Shoog McDaniel’s work

  • The Ample app

  • Corissa Enneking’s work, and her Food Psych episode

  • Fat Friendly Docs

  • Ragen Chastain’s work, and her first and second appearances on Food Psych

  • Ample on Facebook and Instagram

  • Help us and our potential advertisers learn a little bit more about you. Visit podsurvey.com/foodpsych to take an anonymous survey, and you can enter to win a $100 Amazon gift card. Terms and conditions apply.

  • This episode is also brought to you by NurX, the game-changing company that’s here to make getting birth control easier. Visit nurx.com/foodpsych for a $20 credit, and you can get birth control delivered securely and confidentially to your door in less than a week.

     

Listener Question of the Week

Is there any point in Health At Every Size and/or intuitive eating where an older person with health concerns should consider weight loss? Is there an age limit to HAES and intuitive eating? What are the effects of dieting, or any intentional weight loss? What are the consequences of weight cycling and weight stigma? How can a person access healthcare that doesn’t involve weight cycling or weight stigma? What are some things you can prepare ahead of a doctor’s appointment?

(Resources Mentioned:

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