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Food Psych #191: Stopping a Lifetime of Dieting with Savala Trepczynski

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Writer and social-justice lawyer Savala Trepczynski joins us to discuss how she stopped a lifetime of dieting and started decolonizing her relationship with food, why pathologizing emotional eating is problematic, how fatphobia shows up even in social-justice-oriented communities, why there’s so little legal protection for discrimination based on body size, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about food planning for long hiking trips and how calorie counting can contribute to bingeing.

Savala Trepczynski is a writer, teacher, and social justice attorney. She is the Executive Director of the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice at UC Berkeley School of Law, convening scholars, activists, lawyers, and community members at the best public law school in the country to tackle social justice problems.

Savala and her writing about race, gender, bodies and culture have been featured in/on NPR, Forbes, Bust, The Nation, Detroit Free Press, San Francisco Chronicle, and more. She is a regular keynote speaker and panelist on social justice issues, including body-based bias, implicit bias, structural racism, and understanding Whiteness.

She has practiced law in San Francisco and Detroit, MI, and was a law clerk in the Obama Administration’s Office of White House Counsel, where she focused on constitutional law. Before becoming a lawyer, Trepczynski worked at the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy.

She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her partner and child. Find her online at SavalaT.com.

We Discuss:

  • How Savala started dieting at a very young age

  • Generational fatphobia

  • How bodies can be viewed differently by different cultures

  • Savala’s journey to “diet rock bottom,” and how she started to “decolonize” her relationship with food

  • How it’s common to circle around intuitive eating before being fully ready

  • How intuitive eating is often twisted in the service of diet culture

  • Why viewing fatness as a problem is so harmful

  • Eating as a coping mechanism, and how it is pathologized by diet culture

  • The history of the problematization of emotional eating

  • The connections between racism and fatphobia

  • Social media, and its pros and cons

  • How body liberation has helped Savala be a better parent

  • Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility model

  • Creating a diet-free zone for children

  • Diet culture as The Life Thief

  • The power of community in breaking down oppressive systems

  • Fatphobia in woke spaces

  • How different forms of oppression are all connected

  • Savala’s experiences with oppression in her work as a lawyer

  • Why there is little legal protection for discrimination based on body size

  • The compounding nature of marginalized identities

 

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

Is it possible to food plan for long trips in a way that binge eating can be avoided? Why might a person still binge despite ensuring that they’re having a certain amount of calories worth of food? How does diet culture reinforce deprivation and bingeing? What are some ways that a person can prevent bingeing during/after a long hiking trip? What are some next steps for someone who still keeps binge-eating after allowing themselves more food? How might diet culture and disordered eating influence a person’s career choice?

(Resources Mentioned:

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Food Psych #167: Food, Sex, and Body Liberation with Kimberly Dark

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Sociology professor, writer, and performer Kimberly Dark joins us to discuss the connections between our relationship with food and our relationship with sex, the harms of “medically supervised” diets, how to view diet culture through a critical lens, how food can help connect us with our inner wisdom, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to stop calorie counting and worrying about weight gain when transitioning to intuitive eating.

Kimberly Dark is a writer, professor and raconteur, working to reveal the hidden architecture of everyday life one clever essay, poem, and story at a time. She uses humor, surprise and intimacy to help audiences discover their influences, and reclaim their power as social creators. Kimberly teaches in Sociology at CSU, San Marcos along with writing and theatre courses for Cal State Summer Arts. She also facilitates experiential retreats in Hawaii for Conscious Practitioners - examining how our own embodiment and social relationships influence how we work with others in helping professions and Yoga is for Every Body retreats for all.

Kimberly Dark has written award-winning plays, taught and performed for a wide range of audiences in various countries over the past two decades. She is the author of Love and Errors, a book of poetry and Co-Editor of the anthology Ways of Being in Teaching. Her novel, The Daddies is forthcoming in 2018. Her essays appear in popular online publications, such as Everyday Feminism, and Ravishly. Kimberly's storytelling performances and interactive lectures make big, complex ideas relatable at campuses, conferences, companies, and anywhere people seek startling revelations and positive change. Learn more at KimberlyDark.com

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We Discuss:

  • Kimberly’s relationship with food as a child in a larger body

  • How fatphobia is normalized in our society

  • Receiving praise for weight loss while struggling with an eating disorder

  • The harms of “medically supervised” diets

  • What started her recovery from disordered eating

  • Bingeing as our body’s way of responding to restriction

  • How Kimberly used her trauma history to help with her recovery

  • The connections between food and sex

  • Engaging critically with diet culture

  • Kimberly’s unique career as a sociology professor and performer

  • Autoethnography, the practice of writing about the self in order to understand the culture

  • The institution of academia, and how it silences certain types of knowledge

  • Our bodies as a site of knowledge

  • Conventional research, and how it imposes intellectual knowledge instead of considering lived experiences

  • The role of patriarchy in diet culture

  • Food as a vehicle to attune to the body’s inner wisdom

  • The performative element of wellness culture, and how it relates to sexuality

  • Social media and selfie culture

  • The emotional labor of creating content

  • The body as part of the visual narrative

 

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 unlearn the food rules and calorie counting from the diet mentality when trying to eat intuitively? How can we separate ourselves from our eating-disorder thoughts? How do we stop worrying about weight gain? What are some steps we can take to overcome internalized oppression from diet culture? Where can we get support when we’re at the beginning of eating disorder recovery?

(Resources Mentioned: Kylie Mitchell’s Food Psych Podcast episode, Intuitive Eating Fundamentals online course, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselors Directory)

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