dieting

Food Psych #201: The Path Back to Intuitive Eating with Devinia Noel

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Psychotherapist and fellow certified intuitive eating counselor Devinia Noel joins us to discuss how her work as a therapist influenced her own process of re-learning intuitive eating, why using food as a coping skill isn’t a bad thing, how diet culture creates shame, the need for diversity among intuitive-eating counselors, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about what to do if you get a diagnosis of pre-diabetes.

Devinia Noel is a cognitive-behavioural psychotherapist and certified intuitive eating counsellor. She believes in a health at every size paradigm and a weight-neutral approach. Her mission is to create a safe diverse intersectional space for all individuals to develop peace with food and their bodies. Devinia is passionate about making non-diet spaces more diverse by sharing her experiences as a black woman previously trapped by diet culture. She also works in the community as a cognitive behavioural psychotherapist helping people with a wide range of problems including depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and disordered eating. Her experience of implementing self-care and self-compassion, inspires her to encourage clients to implement these practices. When Devinia has free time, she can be found baking, lifting weights and spending time with family and friends. Find her online at DeviniaNoel.com.

We Discuss:

  • How Devinia’s relationship with food changed as she grew up, including the role of experiencing puberty and comments from family members

  • Why using food as a coping skill isn’t a bad thing

  • The pain and shame of living in diet culture

  • How to introduce intuitive eating to our families

  • Having compassion for our younger selves who were trapped in diet culture

  • The process of re-learning intuitive eating

  • How Devinia’s work as a therapist influenced her personal path toward intuitive eating

  • Weight stigma in the public-health field

  • What it’s like to be a black woman working in the anti-diet space

  • The need for more diversity among intuitive eating professionals

  • Vulnerability and navigating social media

  • The challenges and rewards of setting boundaries

  • The importance of self-care for activists

 

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

As someone living in a larger body, will my diagnosis of being prediabetic push me back towards having an eating disorder? Are there any HAES resources for people who are prediabetic? Is prediabetes a real diagnosis? Does prediabetes lead to diabetes for most people? How can healing my relationship with food help my blood sugar levels? Should I cut out carbs? Will healing my relationship with food also heal my physical symptoms?

Resources Mentioned:

  • Article about how the diagnosis of prediabetes is influenced by the pharmaceutical industry (CW: “O-words” and other diet-culture language)

  • Christy’s list of Health at Every Size providers

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Food Psych #200: How Diet Culture Harms the Gay Community with Jeff Iovannone

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Activist and scholar Jeff Iovannone joins us to discuss diet culture and harmful body standards in the gay community, how oppression and the AIDS crisis shaped the “normate gay” aesthetic, why every body is a Pride body, how to create a gay men’s body-liberation movement, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about fatphobia in eating-disorder treatment programs.

Jeff Iovannone is an activist-scholar, writer, and researcher from Buffalo, New York who specializes in gender and LGBTQ studies. He is the creator of the blog Queer History for the People, writes a bi-weekly column--entitled Talk Queerly--on LGBTQ culture and politics for the web magazine Th-Ink Queerly, and is a founding member of Body Liberated Buffalo, a volunteer-run activist and advocacy organization that works for body liberation in Western New York. Find him online at medium.com/@jeffry.iovannone.

We Discuss:

  • Jeff’s relationship with food growing up, including being stigmatized for his weight at a young age

  • The mixed messages he received about food growing up in an Italian-American family where food was love but fatphobia was rampant

  • Why coming out as gay and finding gay community didn’t lead to the acceptance he was hoping for

  • How the gay community has its own hierarchy of bodies

  • Body standards and ideals as they relate to gay culture, and the concept of “gay-fat”  

  • How diet culture influences the oppression of the gay community

  • How the historical oppression of gay people helped shape gay culture’s body ideals

  • How the AIDS epidemic further influenced the aesthetic in the gay community

  • The development of what Jeff calls the “normate gay”

  • The morality of being gay as it relates to the morality of control, appetite, and food

  • How femininity and masculinity affect the way we experience diet culture

  • How diet culture prevents the gay community from working together towards liberation

  • Why desire is a social and political issue  

  • The manifestation of toxic masculinity in gay culture, and how it’s related to diet culture

  • Why Jeff started moving away from diet culture and The Wellness Diet

  • How capitalism and marketing techniques target the gay community via diet culture

  • How to change Pride month so it doesn’t center corporate Pride celebrations

  • Why every body is a Pride body

 

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

People make eating disorder recovery sound so easy, so why can’t I recover after three years of consistent treatment? Is my fatphobic treatment team slowing down my recovery? Why do eating disorder providers treat people in larger bodies differently than those in smaller bodies? Is fatphobic eating disorder treatment common? Are there any Health at Every Size treatment options for people that need a higher level of care?

Resources Mentioned:

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Food Psych #199: PCOS and Food Peace with Julie Duffy Dillon

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Fat-positive dietitian Julie Duffy Dillon joins us to discuss common misconceptions about managing polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), how weight stigma harms people with PCOS, why you shouldn’t believe the hype about certain foods causing inflammation, the connection between PCOS and binge eating, the importance of considering that PCOS occurs in people of all genders, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about the problems with a particular multi-level-marketing diet and the concept of “accountability” in the fitness world.

Julie Duffy Dillon is a Fat Positive Dietitian, Eating Disorder Specialist, and Food Behavior Expert who partners with people along their Food Peace journey. Julie began specializing in treating Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome in 2005 after noticing the connection with weight bias and eating disorders. She sought training on the physiology and endocrinology from pioneering experts willing to not focus on weight loss and diets to treat the complicated condition. This insight has provided people with PCOS to advocate for their physical and emotional health without torturing themselves with diets.

Julie hosts the weekly podcast Love Food. It is a Dear Abby show for those with eating concerns hoping to rewrite their fate. Listeners pen a letter to food outlining their complicated relationship. Julie and sometimes a guest discuss solutions before Food writes back.

She speaks around the country about anti-diet approaches to PCOS while running a group practice in Greensboro North Carolina. She was the featured expert dietitian and PCOS expert on TLC's documentary My Big Fat Fabulous Life. Find her online at JulieDillonRD.com.

We Discuss:

  • The effects of weight stigma in polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) management and support

  • PCOS and My Big Fat Fabulous Life

  • Common misconceptions about PCOS management

  • The psychological consequences of PCOS

  • Julie’s practice-based evidence of PCOS management

  • Research on PCOS and weight

  • The updated evidence-based guidelines for PCOS management

  • The role of omega-3 supplementation for people with PCOS

  • Inflammation as it relates to PCOS

  • Why inflammation and “anti-inflammatory diets” are the latest bogus diet trend

  • Falsely blaming weight for medical conditions

  • The effects of weight cycling on health

  • Carbohydrate cravings among people with PCOS

  • High insulin levels in people with PCOS and what that means

  • Research on binge eating and PCOS

  • Christy’s experience with a misdiagnosis of PCOS

  • How sexism affects PCOS support from healthcare providers

  • Current research that may change the way PCOS is diagnosed

  • The importance of considering that PCOS occurs in people of all genders

  • Why it is important to have gender-affirming care for all health conditions, including PCOS

 

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 is your opinion on programs like Beach Body, and should I stop using and paying for them? Why does this program make you feel bad about yourself? Why is it important to give yourself permission to walk away from programs like this? How is this program different from a diet? How is the concept of accountability related to diet culture? How is movement different from exercise? How are the business practices of these types of program unethical? How are these businesses harmful to the coaches and clients of these programs?

(Resources Mentioned:

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Food Psych #198: Preventing Disordered Eating in the Next Generation with Lauren Muhlheim, Psychologist and Eating-Disorder Specialist

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Eating-disorders psychologist Lauren Muhlheim joins us to discuss how we can model a peaceful relationship with food for the kids in our lives, the problem with “childhood obesity” interventions, how some eating-disorder-treatment methods are being co-opted for weight loss, the rise of orthorexia, weight bias in medicine and the eating-disorders field, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about the Biggest Loser reboot and shares the official description that will be on the book jacket of her upcoming book, Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being, and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating.

Lauren Muhlheim, Psy.D., FAED, CEDS is a psychologist, certified eating disorder specialist (CEDS), and IAEDP (International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals) - approved supervisor who provides evidence-based treatment for eating disorders in the outpatient setting. She directs Eating Disorder Therapy LA in Los Angeles and is able to provide teletherapy in California and New York. She provides cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for adults and family-based treatment (FBT) for adolescents and adheres to Health at Every Size® principles. She is certified in FBT by the Training Institute for Child and Adolescent Eating Disorders.

Dr. Muhlheim is the author of When Your Teen Has an Eating Disorder: Practical Strategies to Help Your Teen Overcome Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating, published by New Harbinger Publications in September, 2018. This book is an FBT-based book for parents who are helping adolescents with eating disorders.

Dr. Muhlheim is active in several professional organizations. Dr Muhlheim is the Eating Disorders Expert for Verywell (formerly About.com) and is Clinical Director of the Eating Disorder Information website, Mirror-Mirror Eating Disorders. She presents nationally to parents, professionals, and trainees. She is active on social media and in eating disorder advocacy efforts. Find her online at EatingDisorderTherapyLA.com

Christy’s upcoming book, Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being, and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating is NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER! Be one of the first to get a copy of the book and help spread the anti-diet message to more people when you pre-order at christyharrison.com/book.

We Discuss:

  • The lineage of dieting in Lauren’s family

  • Her different experiences with dieting

  • What helped her overcome dieting and disordered eating

  • What motivated her to become an eating-disorders psychologist

  • Psychodynamic therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

  • Enhanced cognitive-behavioral therapy for eating disorders (CBT-E)

  • How CBT is often co-opted for weight loss

  • Adopting a weight-inclusive approach in the weight-centric healthcare field

  • Lauren’s different roles throughout her career as a psychologist, including starting the Shanghai International Mental Health Association

  • Family-based treatment (FBT)

  • Weight bias and diet mentality in the eating-disorders field

  • Goal weights in eating-disorder recovery, and the problem with setting them too low

  • Parents gaining weight and recovering from diet culture when helping their child recover from an eating disorder

  • Why diagnostic criteria for eating disorders can be problematic

  • Orthorexia, and how our culture has contributed to its development as an eating disorder

  • Health At Every Size as a treatment framework for eating-disorder recovery

  • How parents, especially those who are in eating-disorder recovery, can model a more peaceful relationship with food for their children

  • Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility (DoR)

  • Why DoR doesn’t work for kids with eating disorders

  • Early signs of disordered eating in children

  • FBT as an early intervention for disordered eating in kids

  • How eating disorders are often missed in sports and healthcare

  • The problem with “childhood obesity” interventions

  • Lauren’s book, When Your Teen Has an Eating Disorder: Practical Strategies to Help Your Teen Overcome Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating

 

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 is Christy and the Health At Every Size community saying about the return of The Biggest Loser? What were some of the harmful outcomes of the show? How does The Biggest Loser uphold The Wellness Diet? What makes The Wellness Diet so harmful? Why are there doubts that The Biggest Loser reboot won’t be different from the original version? What are some ways that people can speak out against this show?

(Resources Mentioned:

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Food Psych #194: The Truth About Weight-Loss "Success Stories" with Carrie Dennett

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Fellow anti-diet dietitian, certified intuitive eating counselor, and journalist Carrie Dennett joins us to discuss her experiences with “successful” dieting and being part of the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), why she ultimately stopped dieting and embraced Health At Every Size®, the many problems with the NWCR, why the vast majority of intentional weight-loss efforts fail, how weight stigma affects people of all sizes, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about whether to expect weight loss with intuitive eating.

Carrie Dennett is a Pacific Northwest-based registered dietitian, Certified Intuitive Eating counselor, journalist, author and blogger. She writes a weekly nutrition column for The Seattle Times and contributes regularly to The Washington Post. Carrie is the author of Healthy For (Your) Life: A Holistic Approach to Optimal Wellness, which blends intuitive and mindful eating with a non-diet approach, current nutrition science, and a lot of nutrition myth-busting—principles she also brings to her virtual private practice. She is a second-career dietitian who worked as a newspaper journalist for many years before earning her Master of Public Health in nutritional sciences from the University of Washington. Find her online at NutritionByCarrie.com.

We Discuss:

  • The positive and negative aspects of Carrie’s relationship with food, body, and physical activity growing up

  • How easily children can pick up on diet-culture messaging

  • The harmful effects of weight shaming

  • Carrie’s early experiences with dieting, and how that led to years of yo-yo dieting

  • What made her decide to become a dietitian

  • Her experience with, and criticisms of, the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR)

  • The history of the NWCR

  • The research on the failure rate of diets

  • The problem with the siloing of research

  • What motivated Carrie to give up on dieting

  • Paradigm straddling in the dietetics field

  • How learning about the social determinants of health helped to shift Carrie and Christy’s thinking about health

  • How Health At Every Size® is becoming more incorporated in dietetics training and practice

  • Self-compassion, and its role in examining our own biases and dietetics practice

  • Why it’s important to fight against societal weight stigma, not just internalized weight stigma

  • Why social justice is an important but overlooked part of dietetics practice

  • Privilege, and how it can affect our relationship with diet culture

  • How privilege doesn’t provide complete protection from diet culture and body hatred

  • Weight stigma, and how it affects people of all sizes

 

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 weight loss possible with intuitive eating? How does diet culture condition us to desire a smaller body? Why do some people have a smaller body than others? What is “thin privilege”? Why is it important to acknowledge size diversity? Why is diet culture a Life Thief?

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Food Psych #189: False Pictures of Health with Tiffany Roe

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Mental-health counselor and fellow podcaster Tiffany Roe joins us to discuss how diet culture paints false pictures of what health and eating disorders “look like”; the connections between religion, shame, diet culture, and eating-disorder recovery; why we need to fight fatphobia in the eating-disorder-treatment field; the importance of learning to sit with feelings of distress and discomfort; why even therapists have internalized stigma about mental illness and treatment, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how navigating emotional eating fits into the intuitive eating process.

Tiffany Roe is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, psychology teacher, speaker, podcast host, & the owner of Mindful Counseling in Orem, Utah. She passionately helps her clients remember they are enough. Tiffany has focused her career on treatment for women navigating disordered eating, poor body image, poor relationships with themselves and food, anxiety, life transitions, and low self-worth. Tiffany personally survived an eating disorder and has been fully recovered for over 12 years. She passionately works to dismantle diet culture and feels called to work with women and to help them find their true purpose and self-worth. Tiffany believes you can love yourself, your mind, your body, and your relationship with food.

She attended Argosy University where she graduated with honors and received her Master of Arts degree in Mental Health Counseling in 2011. She received her Bachelor degree in Sociology from Brigham Young University in 2008. Tiffany is an award-winning teacher & speaker. She taught psychology courses in the Behavioral Sciences Department for Utah Valley University from 2012-2017. Tiffany regularly speaks for community events, workshops, and retreats. She wants to change the mental health game and make therapy accessible and cool. Find her online at TiffanyRoe.com.

This episode is brought to you by Ori, a new clothing brand that makes cute, comfortable, and modern pieces specifically designed to fit larger bodies. Head over to WearOri.com/Psych for an exclusive 15% discount for Food Psych® listeners.

This episode is also brought to you today by Katie Dalebout’s let [a podcast] out course. If you’ve ever wanted to start a podcast, this workshop, which features interviews with over 100 podcasters (including Christy,) will help you learn the ins-and-outs of podcasting, so that you can focus on crafting your own unique content. To learn more and sign up, visit LetAPodcastOut.club, and use promo code FOODPSYCH for $25 off at checkout. Sign up before March 21, 2019 to receive an additional $75 off the course.

We Discuss:

  • How growing up in a large family steeped in diet culture affected her relationship with food and with her body

  • The factors that led to her eating disorder

  • How disordered eating is often normalized or ignored because of stereotypes of what eating disorders “look like”

  • Why people who are diet culture’s “picture of health” are often secretly struggling

  • How moving to another country as a Mormon missionary exacerbated her eating disorder

  • How recovery changed her relationship with her faith and identity

  • The connections between shame, religion, and diet culture

  • Post-traumatic growth

  • Intuitive eating, and its role in eating-disorder recovery

  • What inspired Tiffany and Christy to work with eating disorders

  • Why we need to fight fatphobia in eating-disorder treatment and dietetic training

  • The importance of recognizing our own biases

  • Being open to being called out/in and educated

  • Why it’s essential for helping professionals to be aware of social justice and systems of oppression

  • Healthism in healthcare institutions

  • Sitting with our shame and discomfort in growth and recovery

  • Mental-health stigma amongst therapists

  • Tiffany’s work to break down the stigma around mental illness and treatment

  • Vulnerability, and arriving at a place where it feels safe to share personal information and experiences

  • Trust in eating-disorder recovery and intuitive eating

  • Tiffany’s podcast, Therapy Thoughts

 

Resources Mentioned

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

  • Be Nourished, and Food Psych® episodes with co-founders Dana Sturtevant and Hilary Kinavey

  • Therapy Thoughts podcast

  • Tiffany’s website, counseling practice, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

  • This episode is brought to you by Ori, a new clothing brand that makes cute, comfortable, and modern pieces specifically designed to fit larger bodies. Head over to WearOri.com/Psych for an exclusive 15% discount for Food Psych® listeners.

  • This episode is also brought to you today by Katie Dalebout’s let [a podcast] out course. If you’ve ever wanted to start a podcast, this workshop, which features interviews with over 100 podcasters (including Christy,) will help you learn the ins-and-outs of podcasting, so that you can focus on crafting your own unique content. To learn more and sign up, visit LetAPodcastOut.club, and use promo code FOODPSYCH for $25 off at checkout. Sign up before March 21, 2019 to receive an additional $75 off the course.

     

Listener Question of the Week

Given that emotional eating is normal, does the intuitive eating principle “Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food” still apply? What truly drives what we call “emotional eating?” Is it possible to turn to food for comfort without a background of dieting or deprivation? Why is simply replacing emotional eating with other coping mechanisms usually not effective? What are the first steps that a person take to recover from disordered eating? What are some coping mechanisms that a person can use in addition to emotional eating? What are some ways to reframe the idea of emotional eating?

(Resources Mentioned:

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Food Psych #188: How to Improve Treatment for Disordered Eating with Marcella Raimondo

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Eating-disorders psychologist Marcella Raimondo joins us to discuss how to improve disordered-eating treatment for people who don’t fit diet culture’s idea of what an ED “looks like,” how eating disorders can affect our career choices, why more representation of marginalized identities benefits everyone, how fatphobia was born out of racist beliefs about body size, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to handle the fact that there are hateful corners of the internet devoted to tearing down the fat-acceptance movement.

Marcella Raimondo, PhD, MPH is a passionate and spirited clinical trainer speaking from her heart on multicultural issues in eating disorders since 1995. Marcella is a licensed psychologist for Kaiser Permanente’s adult eating disorder clinic in Oakland and part of a regional leadership team. She runs her own practice in Oakland. She is also on the Board for Eating Disorders Recovery and Support (EDRS) as President, advisory board for Association of Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH,) Advisory Board for Nalgona Positivity Pride (NPP) and Board of Founders for About-Face. Marcella herself recovered from anorexia nervosa over 15 years ago. Her recovery and her martial arts training inspires her dedication to multicultural body nurturance and community celebration. Find her online at MarcellaEDTraining.com.

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:

  • The mixed messages that Marcella received in adolescence about food as a way to connect to her heritage, while being aware of the changes in her body

  • Anti-fatness as a response to racism and trying to assimilate

  • The thoughts and emotions that pushed her to start dieting, and eventually fueled her eating disorder

  • What motivated her to pursue recovery

  • How eating disorders can affect our career choices

  • Her eating-disorder recovery experience

  • The effect of learning about the experiences of other women of color on her recovery

  • Privilege, and how it affects a person’s ability to access treatment

  • Why acknowledging eating disorders and disordered eating in marginalized identities helps everyone

  • Grassroots efforts to make eating-disorder treatment more accessible to everyone

  • Finding the balance as a small-business owner between making a living and offering accessible eating-disorder treatment

  • Fatphobia as a barrier to treatment and recovery

  • The many ways in which our current healthcare system is broken and harms marginalized folks

  • How martial arts and yoga can play a role in various parts of recovery

  • The importance of self-compassion and forgiveness

  • What drew Marcella into martial arts training, and how it affected her recovery and work today

 

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 advice is there for dealing with anti-fat discourse on the internet? What motivates people to be hateful toward larger-bodied people? Why do some people get defensive toward the idea of fat acceptance? What are some strategies to handle the fact that there are hateful corners of the internet devoted to tearing down fat acceptance and other forms of social justice? How does the structure of the internet itself uphold hateful rhetoric? What are some trusted resources for fat-positive information?

(Resources Mentioned:

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Food Psych #185: How Diet Culture Hurts Your Relationships with Kristina Bruce

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Health At Every Size® life coach Kristina Bruce joins us to discuss how diet culture can affect relationships, how to find self-trust and self-acceptance in recovering from disordered eating, how diet culture shows up in spiritual communities, why health and well-being is about so much more than eating and exercise, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about weight stigma in the military.

Kristina Bruce is a Certified Integrative Life Coach and advocate of the Health at Every Size paradigm. Calling upon her education in health studies, sociology, yoga, meditation, and The Work of Byron Katie, Kristina works one-on-one with people to help them reconnect to their bodies and feel more trusting and accepting of themselves. Find her online at KristinaBruce.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:

  • Some of the covert diet culture messaging that Kristina received growing up, despite her parents avoiding overt diet talk

  • The evolution of diet culture, particularly over the last few decades

  • How Kristina’s relationship with her body changed from childhood to young adulthood

  • Yoga culture, and how it uses “spirituality” to reinforce The Wellness Diet

  • How relationships—particularly romantic relationships—can highlight and be affected by disordered relationships with food, exercise, and/or the body

  • What helped Kristina stop dieting and embrace Health At Every Size

  • Her experience of returning to dieting while in recovery

  • Diet culture in spiritual communities

  • Relearning self-trust, and why the “honeymoon phase” is sometimes necessary to get there

  • The body-soul connection

  • Self-acceptance, and its importance in recovery

  • Letting go of our inner critic

  • How relationships transform with recovery

  • Why health and well-being is about so much more than eating and exercise

 

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 challenge the BMI and body-size standards required by the military? How can a person choose between their health and their career? How can individuals advocate for systemic and institutional change? Why are some organizations and people quicker to adopt new ideas than others?

(Resources Mentioned:

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Food Psych #184: Why Diet Culture Is a Form of Oppression with Virgie Tovar

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Activist and author Virgie Tovar returns! We discuss her newest book, You Have the Right to Remain Fat; the intersections between fatphobia, sexism, and diet culture; how dieting is a form of oppression and assimilation; the influence of American history on diet culture; body liberation as a collective movement; and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to navigate the dating pool while working to accept your body and maintain your feminist values.

Virgie Tovar is the author of You Have the Right to Remain Fat and is one of the nation's leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. She is the founder of Babecamp, a 4-week online course designed to help women who want to break up with diet culture. She started the hashtag campaign #LoseHateNotWeight and in 2018 gave a TedX talk on the origins of the campaign. She pens a weekly column called Take the Cake on Ravishly.com and is a contributor for Forbes.com. Tovar has been featured by Tech Insider, The New York Times, NPR, Al Jazeera and Self. Find her online at VirgieTovar.com.

This episode is 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.

This episode is also brought to you by Blinkist, where thousands of non-fiction books are condensed into key takeaway information that you can read or listen to in just 15 minutes. Start your FREE 7-day trial by going to blinkist.com/foodpsych.

We Discuss:

  • What Virgie has been up to since her last appearance on the podcast, including her new book, You Have the Right to Remain Fat and other writing projects

  • Diet culture as a barrier to feminism

  • How weight-neutral messaging is being co-opted to market weight loss

  • How fatphobia, sexism, and other forms of discrimination have not gone away, but have only become subtler and sneakier

  • Internalized inferiority, and what it looks like in our culture

  • The effort required to pinpoint subtle forms of marginalization

  • One strategy to help bring a different perspective to diet culture

  • The link between diet culture and fatphobia

  • The dietary reform movement of the 1800s as a precursor to present-day diet culture

  • Dieting as a form of oppression and assimilation

  • The National Fitness Test and its nationalist roots

  • Common narratives in American culture and history, and why they are problematic

  • Gaslighting, and how it shows up in the body-positive movement

  • Why body liberation is a social justice movement rather than an individual pursuit

  • What was lost when fat liberation morphed into body positivity

  • How seeking personal relief often brings people to anti-diet work

  • The link between internalized inferiority and unexamined privilege

  • Gentrifying vs. pupil energy

  • Why collective liberation is important

  • How separating ourselves from our thoughts can help with liberation

  • Virgie’s latest project, Camp Thunder Thighs

  • Her five principles/practices for meaningful change in our relationship with our bodies

 

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’s previous Food Psych® episodes #45 and #100

  • You Have the Right to Remain Fat

  • Sander Gilman’s work

  • James Baldwin’s work

  • Camp Thunder Thighs

  • Virgie’s website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

  • This episode is 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.

  • This episode is also brought to you by Blinkist, where thousands of non-fiction books are condensed into key takeaway information that you can read or listen to in just 15 minutes. Start your FREE 7-day trial by going to blinkist.com/foodpsych.

     

Listener Question of the Week

What are some tips for navigating the dating scene as a person in a larger body? How can a person stop feeling hurt by being rejected for their size? How does one reconcile their feminist critiques of dating culture with feelings of loneliness? How does dating culture reinforce patriarchal ideals? Why is it important to work on self-acceptance in the context of dating? What are some qualities to look for in a potential partner?

(Resources Mentioned:

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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 #180: Body Policing, Social Class, and Diet Culture with Sonalee Rashatwar

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Anti-diet social worker and sex therapist Sonalee Rashatwar joins us to discuss body policing, the non-consensual nature of dieting for many kids, how body size gets treated as a marker of class status and cultural assimilation, how gender identity changes people’s relationships with food, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about whether there are any reasons to focus on fullness other than fatphobia, and whether a particular statement in the book Intuitive Eating is fatphobic.

Sonalee Rashatwar (she/they) is a licensed clinical social worker, sex therapist, community organizer, and public speaker based out of New Jersey. They are paid for their labor as a sexual assault counselor with specialties in ethnic identity development, sexual trauma, general sexuality or gender issues, and fat identity or body image issues. She is a sought after speaker on topics related to fat trauma, sexual colonization, reproductive freedom, consent culture, race as a body image issue, and unlearning diet culture. Her fame hit an all time high when she was featured on Breitbart in March 2018 for naming thinness as a white supremacist beauty ideal. In additional to her paid labor, they organize with two South Asian collectives around creating healing spaces for radical youth political education. As a nonbinary bisexual superfat donut queen, Sonalee brings their whole vulnerable self to all of her work and does not attempt to live within artificial boundaries of professionalism. Her spirit breathes for black, brown, and indigenous liberation. Find them online at SonaleeR.com.

We Discuss:

  • Sonalee’s relationship with food and her body growing up in an Indian-Hindu family in New Jersey

  • How patriarchy affects how we view our fathers

  • Dieting as a form of cultural and racial assimilation

  • How different social classes experience and uphold diet culture and other forms of oppression

  • The caste system in Indian communities

  • Healing from sexual trauma

  • Reclaiming agency in sex

  • Body policing based on gender presentation and size, and Sonalee’s experiences of this in her family and relationships

  • What helped her to resist pressure to have weight-loss surgery

  • Capitalism, and how it contributes to oppression

  • What disability justice can teach us about activism

  • How Sonalee’s size affects their ability and access

  • The medical model vs. social model of disability

  • How they are rebuilding their relationship with their parents

  • Setting and enforcing boundaries in our relationships

  • What fatness and being fat means to her

  • Our bodies as heirlooms

 

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

If you take away the fatphobia, why does the book Intuitive Eating emphasize that eating past fullness is something that ought to be avoided? How can chronic conditions, particularly ones that affect the digestive system, change how fullness is perceived? Why do some people consistently eat past fullness? What is The Restriction Pendulum?

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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Food Psych #171: Healthcare Without Diet Culture with Jennifer Gaudiani

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Physician and eating disorder specialist Jennifer Gaudiani joins us to discuss how healthcare professionals are doing harm by perpetuating diet culture, why people with eating disorders are often missed in our medical system, medical outcomes she has seen in some of her patients who have adopted Health At Every Size®, the role of social justice and acknowledging privilege in our work, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about whether it’s a contradiction to be an eating-disorder treatment provider who also does bodybuilding and fitness competitions.

Jennifer Gaudiani, MD, CEDS, FAED, is the Founder/Medical Director of the Gaudiani Clinic. Board Certified in Internal Medicine, she completed her undergraduate degree at Harvard, medical school at Boston University School of Medicine, and her internal medicine residency/chief residency at Yale. From 2008 to 2016, she was one of the leaders of the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders. She left after serving as its Medical Director to found the Gaudiani Clinic, which provides expert in-person and nationwide telemedicine outpatient medical care to patients of all genders with eating disorders/disordered eating and to those in recovery. The Clinic is a HAES-informed provider and embraces treating people of all shapes and sizes. Through a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach, the Clinic cares for the whole person, in the context of their values.

She has lectured nationally and internationally, is widely published in the scientific literature as well as on blogs and is a current member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Eating Disorders and the Academy for Eating Disorders Medical Care Standards Committee.

Dr. Gaudiani is one of very few outpatient internists who carries the Certified Eating Disorder Specialist designation. She is also a Fellow in the Academy for Eating Disorders. Find her online at GaudianiClinic.com.

This episode is brought to you by Paribus. Paribus helps you save money by monitoring online retailers to make sure that you get the best price, and will even help you get compensated if your shipment arrives late. Head to GetParibus.com to sign up.

Ready to learn how to cook, make movies, write books, and more from the masters? MasterClass has launched the All-Access Pass – a thoughtful gift for the home cooks or lifelong learners in your life. Food Psych listeners can get the All Access Pass at MasterClass.com/FOODPSYCH.

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.

We Discuss:

  • How her privilege and family background shaped her relationship with food

  • Her sister’s struggle with bulimia, and how that influenced her work in eating disorders

  • Weight stigma in the medical field

  • Recognizing the harm that we as health professionals have done in perpetuating diet culture

  • When she realized ‘calories in, calories out’ doesn’t work

  • How she discovered the Health At Every Size® model and began to use it in her practice

  • Why people with eating disorders are often missed in our medical system

  • What an initial assessment looks like at her clinic

  • Medical outcomes that she has seen in some of her patients who have adopted HAES

  • The importance of having a multidisciplinary, HAES-informed team

  • The links between our healthcare system, the supposed “obesity epidemic,” and diet culture

  • How our bodies adapt to starvation

  • “Survival” genetics vs. “sensitive” genetics

  • How diets can make health issues worse

  • Why she doesn’t recommend moderation (and what she recommends instead)

  • Letting go of diet fads and embracing all foods

  • What draws people to problematic alternative-medicine practices, and what providers can do to help them re-engage in evidence-based healthcare

  • How she’s continuing to learn and integrate HAES into her practice and her book

  • The role of social justice and acknowledging privilege in our work

  • Jennifer’s book, Sick Enough: A Guide to the Medical Complications of Eating Disorders

  • The problems with our current diagnostic criteria for eating disorders

  • Atypical anorexia nervosa, and its high mortality and complication rates

  • How we can stop the spread of diet culture

 

Resources Mentioned

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

  • Submit your questions for a chance to have them answered on the podcast!

  • My online course, Intuitive Eating Fundamentals, which includes monthly listener Q&A podcasts and access to my private Facebook support group

  • Carmen Cool’s work, and her Food Psych® Podcast episode

  • Deb Burgard’s work, and her Food Psych® Podcast episode

  • Hilary Kinavey’s work, and her Food Psych® Podcast episode

  • Desiree Adaway’s work

  • Jennifer’s book, Sick Enough: A Guide to the Medical Complications of Eating Disorders (TW: Contains detailed descriptions of eating disorder behaviors)

  • Gaudiani Clinic

  • Jennifer and the Gaudiani Clinic on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

  • This episode is brought to you by Paribus. Paribus helps you save money by monitoring online retailers to make sure that you get the best price, and will even help you get compensated if your shipment arrives late. Head to GetParibus.com to sign up.

  • Ready to learn how to cook, make movies, write books, and more from the masters? MasterClass has launched the All-Access Pass – a thoughtful gift for the home cooks or lifelong learners in your life. Food Psych listeners can get the All Access Pass at MasterClass.com/FOODPSYCH.

  • 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.

     

Listener Question of the Week

Is it contradictory for eating disorder professionals to promote body acceptance and intuitive eating alongside bodybuilding and fitness competitions? What is diet culture? Would bodybuilding and fitness competitions exist without it? How are other sports related to diet culture? What if you’re an eating disorder professional with diet culture beliefs? How do you approach someone who is sharing triggering content?

(Resources Mentioned: Sand Chang’s Food Psych® Podcast episode)

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Food Psych #169: The Truth About Fitness Culture and "Clean Eating" with Christine Yoshida

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Mental health counselor and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor Christine Yoshida joins us to discuss how fitness culture affected her relationship with food, how she broke free and restored her relationship with her body, why diet mentality and “clean eating” can make health problems worse, how young children can be influenced by diet culture, using empathy and connection to spread the anti-diet message, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to handle black-and-white thinking in eating-disorder recovery.

Christine Yoshida, MS, NCC, maintains a private counseling practice in Vancouver, Washington (north of Portland, Oregon). Christine is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, NASM certified personal trainer, and she is also currently in the process of completing a program to obtain her Eating Disorder Certificate. Her practice focuses on assisting teens and adults dealing with eating disorders and disordered eating. She is a practitioner and advocate of Intuitive Eating, Body Respect, and Health at Every Size.

While Christine loves working with and helping young children in a school setting (she has been an elementary counselor since 2007) she has an unwavering passion for helping all people struggling with body insecurity, poor relationships with food, eating disorders, chronic dieting, and over-exercising. Christine strives to help her clients overcome and unlearn the harmful messages and artificial standards created by the diet and fitness culture.

Away from work, Christine lives in Portland with her husband and two cute but troublemaking young children, Lucy and Matthew! Find her online at ChristineYoshida.com.

Save money with Paribus! Paribus monitors online retailers to make sure that you get the best price, and will even help you get compensated if your shipment arrives late. Head to GetParibus.com to sign up.

If you’re a smoker who is trying to quit, get the support you need through a unique, three-pronged approach with a Zero Quit Kit. Save $50 on your first month by visiting QuitWithZero.com/FoodPsych.

We Discuss:

  • Growing up with access to enough food even in poverty

  • How having privilege shielded Christine from many diet culture messages, and helped her to have an intuitive relationship with food as a child and adolescent

  • How fitness culture affected her relationship with food and her body

  • Going on her first diet, and how it quickly spiraled into disordered eating

  • Having health concerns dismissed or misdiagnosed due to being in a “normal weight range”

  • Wellness culture, and how even health providers can take advantage of genuine health concerns and feed into the diet mentality

  • “Clean eating,” and how it can actually trigger health problems

  • Remembering that healthcare providers are people too, and can be struggling with diet culture themselves

  • The prevalence of digestive issues in people with disordered eating

  • How we’re rarely taught to trust our intuition and inner wisdom throughout our lives

  • How dieting lures us by making us feel temporarily powerful and accomplished

  • Becoming pregnant, and how that helped Christine become more intuitive with her eating

  • The various forms of diets in disguise within fitness culture

  • Seeing the harms of a weight-centric model through her clients, and working to create a career and life that’s better aligned with her values

  • Having self-compassion for having worked within diet culture in the past, and also having compassion for people who are still in it

  • Learning about intuitive eating and Health At Every Size® for the first time

  • Why getting support can be important in integrating the concepts of intuitive eating into your life

  • How intuitive eating becomes easier over time

  • How diet mentality can be passed on to young children by parents and teachers

  • Fighting against diet culture messaging in subtle ways

  • Using empathy and connection to spread the anti-diet message

  • Christine’s private practice, and how that is different from her work as a school counselor

 

Resources Mentioned

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

  • Submit your questions for a chance to have them answered on the podcast!

  • My online course, Intuitive Eating Fundamentals, which includes monthly listener Q&A podcasts and access to my private Facebook support group

  • Health At Every Size, by Linda Bacon, and their Food Psych Podcast episode

  • Intuitive Eating, 3rd Ed., by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, and their Food Psych Podcast episodes (Evelyn’s episode, and Elyse’s episode)

  • Julie Bowman’s work

  • Katharine Jeffcoat’s work

  • Elizabeth Scott’s Food Psych Podcast episode

  • Hilary Kinavey’s work through Be Nourished, and her Food Psych Podcast episode

  • Christine on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

  • Save money with Paribus! Paribus monitors online retailers to make sure that you get the best price, and will even help you get compensated if your shipment arrives late. Head to GetParibus.com to sign up.

  • If you’re a smoker who is trying to quit, get the support you need through a unique, three-pronged approach with a Zero Quit Kit. Save $50 on your first month by visiting QuitWithZero.com/FoodPsych.

     

Listener Question of the Week

How do we handle black-and-white thinking in eating-disorder recovery? Can all-or-nothing thinking be a good thing? How are disordered eating, diet culture, and black-and-white thinking linked? What are some helpful first steps when someone is ready for eating-disorder recovery? Why might researching eating disorders be unhelpful in the early stages of recovery? What are some resources that can be helpful for recovery, and how do we know when we’ve found them? Do the anti-diet and Health At Every Size® communities engage in black-and-white thinking around weight stigma?

(Resources Mentioned: Health At Every Size® Community, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselors directory)

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