chronic conditions

Food Psych #183: How The Wellness Diet Harms Your Health with Katherine Zavodni

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Eating-disorders dietitian Katherine Zavodni shares her own experience with chronic illness and The Wellness Diet, how it ultimately led her to embrace a Health At Every Size® approach in her work, why the popular narrative of personal responsibility in diet and wellness culture is harmful, what to do when others are stuck in diet mentality, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to stop obsessing over getting “enough” exercise.

Katherine Zavodni is a registered dietitian in private practice in Salt Lake City, UT. She is a certified eating-disorders dietitian and specializes in child and family feeding concerns, intuitive eating and Health At Every Size in addition to nutrition therapy for disordered eating. She is passionate about non-diet work and particularly about a non-diet approach to school nutrition education, and is working on developing a curriculum to teach food and nutrition within a positive, age-appropriate framework. Find her online at KZNutrition.com.

This episode is brought to you by Poshmark, the fun and simple way to buy and sell fashion (including many plus-sized options!) Get $5 off your first purchase when you sign up with the invite code FOODPSYCH.

We Discuss:

  • How going through puberty earlier than her peers affected Katherine’s relationship with her body growing up

  • Fatphobic messaging in children’s media

  • Chronic illness, medications, and how they can affect weight

  • How diets often get the “credit” for weight loss outcomes, despite many confounding factors

  • What motivated Katherine to embrace a Health At Every Size, non-diet approach to her work

  • Why the popular narrative of personal responsibility in health and wellness is actually causing harm

  • The multiple therapies that Katherine tried to manage her chronic inflammatory condition

  • The lack of evidence behind applied kinesiology

  • Why it’s common to blame ourselves when diets and treatments don’t work

  • Elimination diets, and how they’re ineffective or harmful for most people

  • Shame within diet and wellness culture

  • The pressure on people with chronic illness to find a therapy that “works”

  • How the internet has accelerated the spread of The Wellness Diet

  • The similarities and connections between diet culture and wellness culture

  • How health and wellness messaging often comes from people with privilege

  • Katherine’s work in eating-disorder recovery

  • Taking off the “expert hat” as a helping professional

  • Why it’s important to respect body autonomy even when others are dieting

  • Being conscious of your influence on others, particularly for helping professionals

  • Turning inward instead of looking outside in regards to self-care

  • Intuitive eating, and how it often gets turned into another diet

 

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 stop obsessing over getting “enough” exercise, or making weight loss the main motivator? What are some of the ways that diet culture influences our relationship with exercise? What are some of the consequences of both systemic and internalized fatphobia? How can we become more conscious of our motivations for movement? How can our relationship with movement affect our relationship with food?

(Resources Mentioned:

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Food Psych #177: Intuitive Eating, Chronic Illness, and Breaking Free from The Wellness Diet with Linda Tucker

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Health At Every Size® health coach and certified intuitive eating counselor Linda Tucker joins us to discuss how dieting causes health problems even while purporting to solve them, how diet culture and its new guise as the Wellness Diet twist the definition of self-care and health, how intuitive eating can help with managing a chronic illness, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to handle the feeling that things were just *easier* in a smaller body.

Linda is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor who incorporates Health at Every Size, body liberation, and intuitive living into her private coaching practice. Linda works through a truly holistic lens, meaning that ALL aspects of someones lived experience are examined. She has her own history of disordered eating and chronic illness and wants to raise awareness and release shame around both. Find her online at LindaTuckerCoaching.com.

Registration for my Master Your Anti-Diet Message course is open for a few more days! If you’re a fellow Health At Every Size practitioner who would like to learn how to refine your marketing messages so that they are aligned with HAES philosophy, sign up at christyharrison.com/message.

This episode is brought to you by Poshmark, the fun and simple way to buy and sell fashion (including many plus-sized options!) Get $5 off your first purchase when you sign up with the invite code FOODPSYCH.

We Discuss:

  • The different factors that affected Linda’s relationship with food and her body growing up

  • Scarcity mentality, and how it played into her relationship with food

  • Struggling with body image despite having lots of privilege

  • Men and dieting

  • How fatphobia shows up in people with thin privilege

  • The toxicity of complimenting weight loss

  • Linda’s experience with diet pills and their side effects

  • Her personal journey with dieting, weight loss, and “wellness”

  • The tendency to give dieting the credit for weight loss and deny the harm that it can cause

  • Clean eating, and how it worsened her health and triggered or exacerbated chronic illness

  • Having compassion for people who are stuck in diet mentality

  • How diet culture and The Wellness Diet twist the definition of self-care and push us to blame ourselves for poor health

  • Isolation, and how it can make us susceptible to perfectionism and performing

  • Social media, and how it can perpetuate disordered thoughts and behaviors

  • Praising productivity, and how that can be problematic

  • What inspired Linda to start doing the work that she does today

  • How we sometimes use health and wellness goals to hide our true desire to lose weight

  • Diving into the meaning behind our wellness and weight goals

  • The contradictory messages from popular diet programs

  • Why intuitive eating alone isn’t enough for full recovery

  • Using the principles of intuitive eating, HAES®, and body liberation together

  • How Linda’s health concerns helped to solidify her belief in body liberation

  • Ableism, and its damaging messaging

  • The intersection of body liberation and chronic illness

  • The healing qualities of holding space versus offering solutions

  • How she uses self-care to manage her chronic health conditions

  • How our digestive system can carry a lot of tension

  • Why it’s important to oppose healthism

  • Acceptance and letting go, and how they can improve health

  • Being our “own client” first

 

Resources Mentioned

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

  • This episode is brought to you by Poshmark, the fun and simple way to buy and sell fashion (including many plus-sized options!) Get $5 off your first purchase when you sign up with the invite code FOODPSYCH.

Listener Question of the Week

What if being in a smaller body was easier? How can a person reconcile the freedom of intuitive eating with mourning a thinner body? Any advice to make peace with my body and its limitations today? Can changes in body size be seen as neutral? Can we manage the changes associated with weight gain without losing weight? How do diet culture and weight stigma make it difficult to live in a larger body? How can we harness our anger in mourning a smaller body? What are some ways to help reframe the discomfort that is associated with a larger body, and practice self-care and self-compassion?

(Resources Mentioned: Food Psych® episodes #113 with Sonya Renée Taylor, #119 with Ragen Chastain, and #62)

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