restriction

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 #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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Food Psych #175: The Truth About Digestion and Gut Health with Marci Evans

Fellow anti-diet dietitian Marci Evans is back! We discuss the intersection of digestive disorders and eating disorders, the risks associated with elimination diets, the role of the gut microbiome in digestion and health, the importance of consistency in self-care and well-being, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about why she as a dietitian doesn’t advise people to shift their food choices to less-processed foods.

Marci is a Food and Body Image Healer™. She has dedicated her career to counseling, supervising, and teaching in the field of eating disorders. She is a Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian and Supervisor, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and Certified ACSM personal trainer. In addition to her group private practice, Marci launched an online eating disorders training platform for dietitians in 2015 and co-directs a specialized eating disorders dietetic internship at Simmons College. She volunteers for a number of national eating disorder organizations and has spoken locally and internationally at numerous conferences and media outlets. She loves social media and you can find her on all outlets @MarciRD. Find her online at MarciRD.com.

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We Discuss:

  • What Marci has been up to since she was last on the podcast

  • Christy’s upcoming book

  • How Marci became interested in digestive concerns in her work as an eating disorder dietitian

  • The risks associated with the low-FODMAP diet and other elimination diets

  • Alternative therapies to elimination diets

  • What defines a functional gut disorder

  • The overlap between eating disorders and functional gut disorders

  • The role of mental health in digestion

  • Why we shouldn’t dismiss psychosomatic symptoms

  • Whether eating disorders lead to functional gut disorders, or vice versa

  • The common risk factors between disordered eating and digestive issues

  • The mechanisms that lead to digestive concerns in eating disorders

  • Why symptoms can sometimes persist after recovery

  • How any disordered eating behaviors can contribute to gut symptoms

  • How dieting can lead to digestive concerns

  • The gut microbiome, and its role in digestion, weight, and health

  • Why it’s too early to draw many conclusions from gut microbiome research

  • The consequences of a restrictive diet

  • The limitations of nutrition and weight research

  • Anti-diet dietitians and medical nutrition therapy

  • Pelvic floor disorders, and how their symptoms can be similar to functional gut disorders

  • Why in many cases dietary interventions should be the last resort, not first-line care

  • The importance of consistency in self-care and well-being

  • Christy’s own experiences with digestive symptoms

  • Stress-management techniques, and how they can help calm gut symptoms

  • Body image and its intersection with digestive disorders

 

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 eat intuitively when you are choosing mostly highly-processed foods? Shouldn’t dietitians and health advisors be advising people to move away from fast food? How can you attune to your internal cues when there is so much external messaging associated with fast food and highly-processed foods? What does the science say about how our food environment and how it affects our eating habits? Why do we need to be skeptical of Brian Wansink’s research? What made his research so popular and widely cited? How can listening to our internal cues versus external cues change our eating habits? What is “gentle nutrition” in the context of intuitive eating? Why is gentle nutrition the last principle of intuitive eating? Why doesn’t Christy advise people to shift away from choosing fast food and highly-processed foods? What is the connection between food insecurity and disordered eating?

(Resources Mentioned: Food Psych® Podcast episode #127, Restrained Eating and Food Cues: Recent Findings and Conclusions, Food Insecurity and Eating Disorder Pathology - TW/CW for the last two resources for specific numbers and fatphobic language )

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Food Psych #168: Gentle Nutrition vs. Diet-Culture Nutrition with Heidi Schauster

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Health At Every Size® dietitian, eating-disorders specialist, and author Heidi Schauster returns to discuss her new book, unlearning diet-culture messaging, connecting with our body’s inner wisdom, gentle nutrition as an act of self-care, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about what to do when it seems like your disordered eating behaviors have more to do with individual mental-health issues than with diet culture.

Heidi Schauster, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S is a nutrition therapist with over 20 years of experience in the field of eating disorders and emotional eating issues. She is a writer, consultant, and certified eating disorders registered dietitian, based in the Greater Boston area. Heidi is the founder of Nourishing Words Nutrition Therapy, facilitates the No Diet Book Clubs, and supervises other nutrition therapists in the field of eating disorders. She is the author of the new book Nourish: How to Heal Your Relationship with Food, Body, and Self. Heidi lives in Arlington, Massachusetts with her partner David and twin daughters, Ava and Kyla. Heidi and her family enjoy hiking, swimming, herb gardening, tea-making, storytelling, and professional stilt performing. Heidi enjoys most food that is lovingly and consciously prepared, especially if it’s followed by a dishwashing dance party. Find her online at ANourishingWord.com.

We Discuss:

  • Heidi’s new book, Nourish: How to Heal Your Relationship with Food, Body, and Self, and what inspired her to write it

  • Why I created my Intuitive Eating Fundamentals course

  • The different chapters within the book, which are based on how Heidi works with her clients

  • Becoming aware of our eating habits in a non-judgmental way

  • Creating a resource that presents nutrition in a non-triggering way

  • How she defines “nourishment,” and the concept of “nutrition common sense”

  • Why intuitive eating requires some planning

  • The role of intention in our relationship with food

  • The contrast between abundance and scarcity, and how they affect eating disorder recovery

  • How small changes in our eating habits can sometimes make a big difference in how we feel

  • Joyful movement and gentle nutrition as acts of self-care

  • Overcoming fears around food and carbohydrates

  • Unlearning the patterns of restriction from diet culture

  • What guides her work in nutrition counselling

  • Why gentle nutrition is often considered “advanced” intuitive eating

  • Connecting with our body’s wisdom through mindfulness practice

  • The benefits of recovering from diet culture, and what motivates our work in helping others in this process

  • Anger as part of the recovery journey

  • Arriving at a positive relationship 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.

Listener Question of the Week

Is it just easier to take aim at diet culture rather than focus on individual mental health? What if a person’s disordered eating behaviors have more to do with individual mental-health concerns as opposed to diet culture? Can recovery at the individual level happen without addressing diet culture and fatphobia? How can cultural factors affect individual mental-health concerns? Does binge eating always happen in response to restriction? What are some subtle ways that diet mentality might be showing up for me?

(Resources Mentioned: Intuitive Eating Fundamentals online course, Judith Matz’s Food Psych Podcast episode)

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