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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 #196: Diet Culture’s Racist Roots with Sabrina Strings

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Sociologist and author Sabrina Strings joins us to discuss her new book, Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia; the history of how “race science” led to the development of diet culture; the many problems with using weight as a measure of health; how culture influences science; and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to tell the difference between diet-culture rules and intuitive observations about foods that help us feel our best.

Sabrina Strings is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Irvine, and a former Berkeley Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Sociology and the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Women in Culture and Society, The Feminist Wire, and Feminist Media Studies. Find her online at uci.academia.edu/SabrinaStrings.

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We Discuss:

  • How Sabrina’s grandmother influenced her relationship with food growing up, as well as her current sociology work

  • What is considered a “desirable” black body

  • Her decision to become vegetarian, and now pescatarian

  • The role of cooking in her and Christy’s relationships with food

  • Sabrina’s grandmother’s reaction to diet culture

  • The life-and-death situation that inspired Sabrina’s graduate studies

  • The problems with conflating weight and health

  • Her experience with fatphobia in the medical system, despite being within the “normal” BMI range

  • How weight stigma in healthcare worsens health

  • Her book, Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia

  • Why BMI continues to be used as a measure of health, despite evidence proving otherwise

  • Weight research, and its ties to the weight-loss industry

  • The racist roots of diet culture

  • The history of “race science”

  • The links between “race science”, politics, and capitalist interests

  • Why science is not completely objective

  • How culture influences science

  • Spreading the Health At Every Size® message to the mainstream medical community and education

  • The need for cultural competency in healthcare

  • The increasing acceptance of HAES® and anti-diet work

  • The role of religion in the establishment of diet culture

  • The coded ways we talk about race

  • How the racist origins of fatphobia affect white women, too

  • Intersectionality, and how racism reinforces other oppressive hierarchies

  • Why all body ideals are unattainable

  • How beauty is both empowering and oppressive

 

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 someone tell the difference between a diet-culture food rule, and what makes their body feel their best? How can someone figure out how much to eat without restricting, and also without eating too much so that they don’t feel well? What are some of the ways that diet culture can co-opt intuitive eating? Can our physical symptoms always be traced back to what and how much we eat? What are some other potential reasons why a “large” nighttime snack might leave someone feeling tired the next day? Where might diet mentality be showing up in self-judgments of eating “large” amounts of food? What are some coded words that diet culture uses to mean “fat” and reinforce fatphobia? How can internalized fatphobia and diet-culture beliefs contribute to struggles with intuitive eating? What are some of the subtle differences between unconditional and conditional permission to eat? Why is it normal to eat to the point of discomfort in the early stages of intuitive eating?

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