clean eating

Food Psych #179: How to Avoid Falling for The Wellness Diet This New Year with Colleen Reichmann

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Anti-diet therapist Colleen Reichmann joins us to discuss how to keep from falling prey to diet culture, the problem with Whole30 and other forms of The Wellness Diet, why true well-being is about so much more than food and movement, a quick way to tell if your “lifestyle change” is really a diet, why eating-disorder diagnoses are often problematic, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to handle envy for people who seem to be “successfully managing” their weight.

Dr. Colleen Reichmann is a licensed clinical psychologist, practicing in Williamsburg, VA. She works in her private practice, Wildflower Therapy, and is a staff psychologist at the College of William and Mary. She is recovered from an eating disorder, and this experience sparked her passion for spreading knowledge and awareness that recovery is possible. She is now an eating disorders specialist, and has worked at various treatment facilities including University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro Center for Eating Disorder Care, and The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt. She is an advocate for intersectional feminism, body liberation, fat acceptance, and Health At Every Size. She speaks at national and regional eating disorder conferences, and writes about body image and eating disorders for MORELove Project, Project HEAL, The Mighty, Recovery Warriors, Adios Barbie, and more. Find her online at ColleenReichmann.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:

  • The different factors that contributed to Colleen’s multifaceted relationship with food growing up

  • The insidious nature of wellness culture

  • Colleen’s foray into dieting, and eventually her eating disorder

  • How diet culture keeps disordered eating under the radar

  • Why eating-disorder diagnoses are often problematic

  • The importance of receiving treatment even when diagnostic criteria are not met

  • The power of empathy and validation, and how feeling invalidated triggered Christy further into her eating disorder

  • How Colleen’s college experience intensified her eating disorder, and the restrictive culture at some college campuses

  • Bamboo as an analogy for eating-disorder recovery

  • How Colleen’s eating disorder morphed to a “wellness” focus in graduate school

  • The problem with Whole30 and other “wellness” diets

  • Orthorexia, and the need for more research and awareness

  • The Wellness Diet, how it is really the modern incarnation of diet culture, and why it’s so problematic

  • How wellness culture capitalizes on people’s fears of illness and death

  • Privilege and oppression in clean eating and diet culture

  • Christy’s upcoming book, and how it traces the history of diet culture

  • A quick way to tell whether your lifestyle change is really a diet

  • How true well-being is about so much more than food and movement

  • How Colleen recovered from her eating disorder, and why she works in eating disorder recovery today

  • Health At Every Size®, and why it is crucial in eating-disorder treatment and recovery

  • Diet culture and fatphobia in eating-disorder treatment, and how it gets in the way of full recovery

  • Why it’s important for clinicians to work through their own biases in order to provide ethical eating-disorder treatment

 

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 we give up the envy of those who seem to be able to stay at a lower weight through dieting and restriction? How can we give up the feelings of failure for not being able to stay at a lower weight? What is some of the research that shows the high failure rates of diets? What is likely happening when people are able to maintain a lower weight? What is thin privilege, and how is it related to other forms of privilege like male privilege or white privilege?

(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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