personal responsibility

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

Katherine Zavodni.jpg

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

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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

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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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