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Food Psych #202: How to Find Love at Every Size with Krista Niles

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Couples therapist and plus-size dating coach Krista Niles joins us to discuss statistics and misconceptions about body size and romantic relationships, how to navigate dating after being in a relationship with someone who says cruel things about your body, great strategies for creating a dating profile, what to do if you’re struggling to find a therapist, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to cope when you’re surrounded by people who buy in to diet culture. 

Krista Niles, couples therapist and dating coach, created the Curvy Cupid Course in 2016 to help women of all sizes start writing their love stories. Krista is a strong believer in the transformative power of love, and experienced firsthand the stuckness, discouragement, and hopelessness that can accompany dating as a plus-size woman. Through the Curvy Cupid Course, she teaches a step-by-step intentional approach to dating that encourages perseverance and nurtures confidence skills -- even within a deeply flawed system of fatphobia and poorly-designed dating apps. Find her online at CurvyCupidCourse.com.

We Discuss:

  • Why food was viewed as dangerous in Krista’s family

  • How food deprivation creates a sense of “addiction” to food, even though food itself is not addictive

  • How Krista discovered the anti-diet approach to food and body

  • How Christy was misdiagnosed with PCOS

  • Krista’s experience with a rapid change in weight coincidentally after starting to make peace with food, and how it affected her relationship with her body

  • Krista’s diagnosis of PCOS

  • How insulin resistance affects hunger and movement

  • Why the goal of intuitive eating is never weight loss

  • The trauma of dieting

  • The importance of changing who you follow on social media 

  • The isolation that Krista felt being fat-positive without having a sense of community support

  • The challenges of dating while living in a larger body

  • How Krista’s experience as a therapist and personal experiences shaped the way she created her Curvy Cupid Course

  • Size acceptance in the queer dating community

  • Statistics and misconceptions about body size, dating, and marriage

  • The surprising percentage of straight men who don’t care about body size

  • How fatphobia affects dating, especially for fat women

  • How your mindset influences the way you date

  • How to navigate the dating world after being in a relationship with someone who says cruel things about your body

  • What to do if you’re struggling to find a therapist

  • Body-positive tips for creating a dating profile

 

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

What are some strategies for coping when you are surrounded by people who are immersed in diet culture? Who are your anti-diet supporters? How can you call out diet culture in those moments? How can you connect with the anti-diet community online? What can you do after being around people who trigger you? How can you respond to diet-y comments with a different perspective? How can you set boundaries around discussing triggering topics related to food, body, and movement?

Resources Mentioned:

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Food Psych #193: Feminism, Marketing, and Breaking Free from Diet Culture with Kelly Diels

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Writer and feminist marketing consultant Kelly Diels joins us to discuss the links between diet culture, patriarchy, and anti-feminist marketing practices (aka The Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand); the role of abundance in healing from diet culture; how to reclaim your life from The Life Thief; understanding and healing our relationship with money; and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about what to do if you’re one of those weight-loss “success stories” who’s actually just in the throes of disordered eating.

Kelly Diels (she/her) is a writer and feminist marketing consultant. She writes about a phenomenon that she calls "The Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand," which she does not think is a good thing for women or our world. Kelly believes, instead, that we are culture makers and can create the culture we want to live in, right now. Kelly is also the Director of Marketing and Communications for SheEO (all opinions are her own). Find her writing and online workshops at KellyDiels.com.

This episode is brought to you by Poshmark, the fun and simple way to buy and sell fashion, including lots of plus-sized options. Download the free app and enter invite code FOODPSYCH for $5 off your first purchase.

We Discuss:

  • Kelly’s fraught relationship with food growing up

  • The societal messages about femininity that contributed to her eating disorder as a teenager

  • Kelly and Christy’s experiences as outspoken children growing up

  • The links between diet culture and patriarchy

  • Why adolescence is a high-risk time for eating disorders, especially for femme-identifying teens

  • How breaking free from diet culture has changed Kelly’s parenting

  • Why adolescence is a good time to introduce systemic analysis

  • The role of the Health At Every Size® and fat acceptance movements in Kelly’s recovery from anorexia and bulimia

  • Taking your life back from The Life Thief that is diet culture

  • How experiencing fatphobia can give people a heightened ability to recognize systemic oppression

  • Signs of a cultural shift toward increased fat acceptance

  • Community, including virtual communities, and their importance in recovering from diet culture

  • The “contagious” nature of cultural change

  • How Kelly was introduced to feminism, and how it helped her recover from the trauma of sexual abuse

  • The many anti-feminist practices in marketing today, and how it led her to her current work as a feminist marketing consultant

  • The meaning behind her motto, “We are the culture makers”

  • Why our friends and family can influence us more than big brands

  • The Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand (FLEB) and how to divest from it

  • The men’s-rights activist lineage behind many FLEB marketing techniques

  • Why money and resources are important in divesting from FLEB

  • The parallels between the traumas of diet culture and poverty

  • Abundance, and its role in healing from diet culture

  • Creativity and ingenuity as survival tools

  • The creativity inherent in many of the coping mechanisms that are demonized by our society, such as binge eating and addiction

  • Media and resources as a form of community

  • Kelly’s work with SheEO

  • The difference between how women and men spend their income

  • Understanding and healing our relationship with money

  • The importance of having money and resources for survival, especially for marginalized people

 

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

Where does the “95-98% of diets fail” statistic come from? Is it true that of the small percentage of people who are able to maintain long-term weight loss, most are struggling with some form of disordered eating? What is the true meaning of “body positivity?” How can a person be happier in a larger body when they know that they are engaging in unhealthy habits that are contributing to weight gain? What does Health At Every Size actually entail? How is HAES a holistic approach? Why are higher body weights generally considered unhealthy? What are some factors that could lead to people in larger bodies having more negative health outcomes? Why is it important to recover from disordered eating? How can weight stigma and other forms of discrimination contribute to poor health? Are there any health conditions that can only be managed with weight loss?

(Resources Mentioned (TW for all research papers mentioned for specific weight numbers, o-words, fatphobic language, and/or description of disordered eating behaviors):

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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 #166: How to Resist Diet Culture & Build Community with Lilia Graue

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Eating-disorders specialist and Certified Body Trust® Provider Dr. Lilia Graue joins us to discuss letting go of perfectionism, the importance of community in body acceptance and overcoming shame, diet culture as a form of trauma, why working toward societal change is just as important as individual recovery, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how the Health At Every Size® framework addresses the notion of an “obesity epidemic.” 

Lilia Graue, MD, LMFT, is an eating disorders specialist and clinical supervisor; mindfulness, compassion and mindful eating instructor; and Certified Body Trust® Provider. With 18 years of clinical experience, she is intimately familiar with bodies and minds and our healing processes, and how we relate to, nourish and take care of ourselves and our bodies in ways that bring us closer to wholeness, radical presence, fierce embodiment and joy.

Lilia practices at the intersection of different healing modalities, centering lived experience and the body as a source of knowing. Her own life experiences with developmental and complex trauma, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and a healing journey through psychotherapy and mind-body practices, have shaped her approach. Her practice is trauma informed, and rooted in intersectional feminism. She is Mexican and provides services in both English and Spanish.

Lilia loves working with providers navigating the challenges of advocating bravely for body liberation, embodiment and freedom from performative health who wish to cultivate and honor boundaries that allow for their self-care and replenishing empathy and compassion. 
Lilia is an avid amateur cook, baker, and foodie. She and her partner share their home with their beloved cats, Thomas and Ziggy. Find her online at fiercelyembodied.com.

This episode is brought to you by Casper. Get $50 toward select mattresses by visiting casper.com/foodpsych and using the code FOODPSYCH at checkout.

This episode is also brought to you by TomboyX. Go to tomboyx.com/foodpsych and check out their special bundles and pack pricing. Food Psych listeners will also get an extra 15% off with the code FOODPSYCH!

You can also get my Master Your Anti-Diet Message course in Spanish thanks to today’s guest, Lilia Graue! Just go to christyharrison.com/spanish to learn more and sign up.

 

We Discuss:

  • Lilia’s complex relationship with food as a child

  • Growing up with, and eating around, family members that had mental health concerns

  • How being a competitive swimmer while going through puberty affected her relationship with food and with her body

  • The interrelationship between depression and disordered eating

  • Fatphobia and healthism in the medical field

  • How performative health can actually push people into a disordered relationship with food and body

  • The role of privilege in intuitive eating and recovery

  • Being more connected to food through eating and cooking with our hands

  • Sensory issues, and how they can affect a person’s eating preferences and relationship with food

  • Incorporating gentle nutrition without falling back into the diet mentality

  • Yoga, meditation, and mindful eating

  • Attuning to our body’s own needs instead of trying to be “normal”

  • Learning from our mistakes in our intuitive eating practice

  • The role of trauma in our relationship with food

  • Diet culture as a form of trauma

  • Why intuitive eating and mindful eating are about more than our relationship with food

  • How our societal ideals are causing harm to non-conforming bodies

  • The importance of community in body acceptance and overcoming shame

  • White supremacy and the mythic norm

  • Why it’s typical for people with a history of trauma to become caretakers

  • Connection through embodiment and vulnerability

  • Moving past black-and-white terms in eating disorder recovery

  • Living with and resisting diet culture at the same time

  • Finding community in your recovery journey

  • The difficulty of translating concepts across cultures, and the need for local communities within different cultures

  • How diet culture has co-opted mindful eating

  • Why we need to work toward societal change along with individual recovery

  • Lilia’s current projects as a medical provider and mindful eating teacher

 

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 does Health At Every Size® fit in with research that shows that we are becoming heavier as a population? Is HAES® concerned with “obesity” prevention? If HAES views that there is nothing wrong with being in a larger body, and that there is no effective way to lose weight, does it matter what causes some bodies to be larger than others? How can “obesity” prevention potentially be harmful? What other changes have happened at the same time as our population increasing in weight? What are some resources where I can continue to learn about HAES?

(Resources Mentioned: Misclassification of cardiometabolic health when using body mass index categories in NHANES 2005-2012, Perceived Weight Discrimination and 10-Year Risk of Allostatic Load Among US Adults, Weight Science: Evaluating the Evidence for a Paradigm Shift, What’s Wrong with Fat? by Abigail Saguy, Medicare’s Search for Effective Obesity Treatments: Diets Are Not the Answer)

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