eating disorder treatment

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 #190: Why Intuitive Eating Is NOT a Diet with Caroline Dooner

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Fellow author and podcaster Caroline Dooner returns! We discuss her new book, The F*ck It Diet: Eating Should Be Easy, why mental deprivation is just as much of a problem as physical deprivation, why people often treat intuitive eating as another diet (and why it’s not), the essential role of rest in healing our relationship with movement, why focusing on fullness can be problematic, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about whether a certain model of treatment for binge-eating disorder is actually making the problem worse.

Caroline is the creator of The F*ck It Diet, where she teaches chronic dieters how to heal their relationship with food and weight. Caroline recently released her first book, The F*ck It Diet: Eating Should Be Easy. Find her online right here.

This episode is brought to you 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.

We Discuss:

  • What Caroline calls “F*ck It Diet 2.0”: her two-year commitment to resting and rejecting unrealistic societal pressures in other areas of her life, not just around food and body

  • Trust, and its role in recovering from diet culture

  • How Caroline initially interpreted intuitive eating as another diet, and how she stopped

  • Embodiment, and its importance in healing our relationship with food and body size

  • How various traumas, including diet culture, can disconnect us from our bodies

  • Recovery as a non-linear process, and how that can make it difficult

  • How yoga can be helpful and harmful in healing our relationship with food and our bodies

  • Our culture’s fear of feeling and honoring unpleasant feelings and emotions

  • Yoga nidra

  • Rest as a form of basic self-care

  • Over-exercising, and how it is reinforced by diet culture

  • Why it’s understandable for intuitive eating to feel “impossible”

  • The changes that Caroline has experienced in her relationship with food

  • Why focusing on fullness can be problematic

  • How quickly diet culture robs us of our innate ability to eat intuitively

  • Mental deprivation, and how it can affect our relationship with food in the same way as physical deprivation

  • Why intuitive eating is possible for anyone, and why it’s NOT another diet

  • Deprivation in people with larger bodies

  • Caroline’s book, The F*ck It Diet: Eating Should Be Easy (TW: weight and calorie numbers, and "o-words")

  • The “nocebo” effect

  • Diet food, and its role as a tool 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.

Listener Question of the Week

Should people be given the option to choose non-weight-inclusive treatment options for binge eating disorder? What is wrong with referring to intuitive eating as “healthy living”? How has diet culture twisted otherwise weight-inclusive therapies? What are the risks of intentional weight loss? How does offering intentional weight loss as a treatment option promote diet culture? Why doesn’t Christy debate folks who promote diet culture on the podcast? Why should eating-disorder treatment centers be free from diet-culture influences and messaging? What are some next steps for eating-disorder clinicians who want to move away from weight-centric messaging in their work?

(Resources Mentioned:

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Food Psych #178: The Truth About High-Weight Anorexia with Erin Harrop

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Weight-stigma researcher Erin Harrop joins us to discuss how anorexia is treated (or not) in people of different sizes, how diet culture and weight stigma influence treatment and recovery for disordered eating, the problem with the “atypical” anorexia label, how improving eating-disorder treatment in people with larger bodies can benefit everyone, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about what to do if you develop binge eating in recovery from restrictive eating behaviors.

Erin Harrop received her B.S. and MSW from the University of Washington, where she is currently a fourth-year doctoral student in social welfare. Her research interests concern eating disorders, substance abuse, and weight stigma. She sees weight-based discrimination as a critical, and often ignored, social justice issue, and her research agenda seeks to address this limitation by focusing on the systemic factors of weight stigma which impact the illness journeys of eating disorder patients. She employs an interpretive, critical feminist theory and anti-oppression lens to her work, as well as an explicit Health at Every Size® approach to the promotion of health behaviors. Her research is informed by her clinical experience as a medical social worker at Seattle Children’s Hospital, where she has worked for the past five years. Erin recently was funded for two NIH TL1 Translational Research Training grants for her dissertation research with women who have atypical anorexia. Erin is also active in the student group, SWAG (Sizeism, Weightism Advocacy Group), which she co-founded in 2012. Find her online at facebook.com/erin.harrop.3

From now until New Year’s, we’re offering gift subscriptions to the Intuitive Eating Fundamentals course. It’s the perfect gift for someone looking for anti-diet inspiration, or put it on your wishlist so that others know to get it for you. For more information, visit christyharrison.com/gift.

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:

  • “Intuitive cooking,” and how it helped to bring experimentation and joy to Erin’s relationship with food

  • Gendered messages around food

  • Diet culture, and how it steals our pleasure from food

  • Learning to trust our body’s desires for different foods

  • How diet culture and The Wellness Diet can twist our expectations of intuitive eating

  • The Restriction Pendulum

  • The role of Health At Every Size®, fat activism, and intuitive eating in Erin’s eating-disorder-recovery journey

  • Pushing beyond the “Recovery Diet”

  • How diet mentality and weight stigma amongst eating-disorder clinicians and treatment centers can hinder people’s recovery

  • Erin’s personal experiences in treatment as someone with anorexia in a lower-weight and higher-weight body

  • Why improving eating-disorder treatment for people in higher-weight bodies would improve treatment for everyone

  • Erin’s research on how anorexia is treated (or not) in people of different sizes

  • The reliance on weight in anorexia diagnoses, and how that is causing harm

  • How restriction, not weight loss or low weight, leads to the medical complications associated with anorexia

  • The delays and gaps in eating-disorder care

  • How our own biases can affect eating-disorder treatment and recovery

  • Why we shouldn’t make assumptions when people say that they’ve “restricted” or “binged”

  • How diet culture blurs the line between normal eating and disordered eating

  • Why we need to validate people’s problematic experiences with food

 

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. From now until New Year’s, we’re offering gift subscriptions! It’s the perfect gift for someone looking for anti-diet inspiration, or put it on your wishlist so that others know to get it for you. For more information, visit christyharrison.com/gift.

  • Erin’s Facebook page and email

  • 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 can a person do if they’re still binge eating after they stop restricting their food? How can they accept their body while believing that they’ll gain weight eating so many calories? What are some less-obvious signs of disordered eating or thinking that can still lead to a feeling of deprivation? What’s the difference between physical and mental restriction? What’s the difference between diet culture and diet mentality? How are diet mentality and binge eating linked? Where can a person get support to overcome diet mentality and pursue eating-disorder recovery? How can a person tell whether they’re binge eating as a result of restriction or as a coping mechanism for difficult emotions? What are some ways that eating-disorder treatment can hinder recovery?

(Resources Mentioned: Anti-Diet, Health At Every Size, and Intuitive Eating Providers for Disordered-Eating Recovery, Food Psych® podcast episode 151 with Judith Matz)

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