religion

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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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 #186: How to Rebuild Trust in Your Body with Jenna Hollenstein

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Non-diet dietitian, certified intuitive eating counselor, and author Jenna Hollenstein returns to discuss her new book, Eat to Love: A Mindful Guide to Transforming Your Relationship with Food, Body, and Life, the role of self-compassion and non-judgment in recovery, how to rebuild trust in your body and inner wisdom, the importance of having enough, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about whether or not you need to cut out certain foods for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Jenna Hollenstein, MS, RDN, CDN, is a non-diet dietitian who helps people struggling with chronic dieting, disordered eating, and eating disorders. She uses a combination of Intuitive Eating, mindfulness techniques, and meditation to help her clients move toward greater peace, health, and wellness. Jenna’s private practice is located at 750 Lexington Avenue in New York City where she consults with clients in person and virtually.

Jenna is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and a Certified Dietitian Nutritionist (CDN) in New York State. She has a Bachelors degree in Nutrition from Penn State, a Masters degree in Nutrition from Tufts University, is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and an Open Heart Project meditation guide. In 2018, Jenna joined the board of The Center for Mindful Eating.

Jenna is the author of Understanding Dietary Supplements, a handy guide to the evaluation and use of vitamins, minerals, herbs, and botanicals for both consumers and clinicians, and more recently the memoir Drinking to Distraction. Her third book, Eat to Love: A Mindful Guide to Transforming your Relationship with Food, Body, and Life, was released in January 2019. Find her online at Eat2Love.com.

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We Discuss:

  • Jenna’s process in writing her new book, Eat to Love: A Mindful Guide to Transforming your Relationship with Food, Body, and Life

  • What she’s learned from being a mother of a young child

  • The role of the “honeymoon phase” in intuitive eating

  • The “three objects, three poisons, and three seeds of virtue” in Buddhist philosophy, and how they can relate to our relationship with food and body

  • The benefits of learning to sit with our discomfort

  • Non-judgmental mindfulness, meditation, self-compassion, and their roles in recovery

  • The similarities between mindful eating and intuitive eating

  • The “fix-it” mentality of modern culture, and why it can be problematic

  • Diet culture and intuitive eating through a spiritual lens

  • Learning to rebuild trust in our body and inner wisdom

  • How intuitive eating and Buddhist philosophy overlap

  • How self-improvement is actually limiting us

  • Waking up to our inherent goodness

  • Self-esteem vs. self-compassion

  • Learning to accept fullness, satisfaction, and having enough

  • Using our values as our guiding principles

  • Asking ourselves what we really want

  • How conformity is sometimes necessary to keep us safe

  • Why the law of attraction is problematic

  • Unchecked privilege in health and wellness spaces

  • How different parts of our culture are responding to uncertainty in nutrition science

  • Embracing uncertainty and the unknown

 

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

Do I need to cut out certain foods to manage Hashimoto’s thyroiditis? How can a person with a history of disordered eating safely navigate the advice to restrict certain foods? What is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and how is it diagnosed? What is something to watch out for when working with an alternative or conventional healthcare practitioner? How can meeting with an endocrinologist help with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis? Why are so many sources promoting a “Hashimoto’s diet” despite the lack of evidence? Where do some of the claims for cutting out certain foods come from? What are some ways that a person can manage their Hashimoto’s, with or without medications? What is the “nocebo” effect?

(Resources Mentioned:

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