science

Food Psych #199: PCOS and Food Peace with Julie Duffy Dillon

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Fat-positive dietitian Julie Duffy Dillon joins us to discuss common misconceptions about managing polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), how weight stigma harms people with PCOS, why you shouldn’t believe the hype about certain foods causing inflammation, the connection between PCOS and binge eating, the importance of considering that PCOS occurs in people of all genders, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about the problems with a particular multi-level-marketing diet and the concept of “accountability” in the fitness world.

Julie Duffy Dillon is a Fat Positive Dietitian, Eating Disorder Specialist, and Food Behavior Expert who partners with people along their Food Peace journey. Julie began specializing in treating Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome in 2005 after noticing the connection with weight bias and eating disorders. She sought training on the physiology and endocrinology from pioneering experts willing to not focus on weight loss and diets to treat the complicated condition. This insight has provided people with PCOS to advocate for their physical and emotional health without torturing themselves with diets.

Julie hosts the weekly podcast Love Food. It is a Dear Abby show for those with eating concerns hoping to rewrite their fate. Listeners pen a letter to food outlining their complicated relationship. Julie and sometimes a guest discuss solutions before Food writes back.

She speaks around the country about anti-diet approaches to PCOS while running a group practice in Greensboro North Carolina. She was the featured expert dietitian and PCOS expert on TLC's documentary My Big Fat Fabulous Life. Find her online at JulieDillonRD.com.

We Discuss:

  • The effects of weight stigma in polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) management and support

  • PCOS and My Big Fat Fabulous Life

  • Common misconceptions about PCOS management

  • The psychological consequences of PCOS

  • Julie’s practice-based evidence of PCOS management

  • Research on PCOS and weight

  • The updated evidence-based guidelines for PCOS management

  • The role of omega-3 supplementation for people with PCOS

  • Inflammation as it relates to PCOS

  • Why inflammation and “anti-inflammatory diets” are the latest bogus diet trend

  • Falsely blaming weight for medical conditions

  • The effects of weight cycling on health

  • Carbohydrate cravings among people with PCOS

  • High insulin levels in people with PCOS and what that means

  • Research on binge eating and PCOS

  • Christy’s experience with a misdiagnosis of PCOS

  • How sexism affects PCOS support from healthcare providers

  • Current research that may change the way PCOS is diagnosed

  • The importance of considering that PCOS occurs in people of all genders

  • Why it is important to have gender-affirming care for all health conditions, including PCOS

 

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

What is your opinion on programs like Beach Body, and should I stop using and paying for them? Why does this program make you feel bad about yourself? Why is it important to give yourself permission to walk away from programs like this? How is this program different from a diet? How is the concept of accountability related to diet culture? How is movement different from exercise? How are the business practices of these types of program unethical? How are these businesses harmful to the coaches and clients of these programs?

(Resources Mentioned:

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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.

This episode is brought to you by Poshmark, the fun and simple way to buy and sell fashion, including lots of plus-sized options. Download the free app and enter invite code FOODPSYCH for $5 off your first purchase.

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 #195: Why Fatphobia Hurts All of Us with Sofie Hagen

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Comedian, author, and fellow podcaster Sofie Hagen joins us to discuss her new book, Happy Fat; how fatphobia affects people of all sizes; why health isn’t a matter of individual responsibility (and why framing it as one is oppressive); how science often gets twisted by diet culture and the media, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to define “health” outside of diet culture.

Sofie Hagen is a stand-up comedian, author, podcaster, fat activist and blogger. A modern legend in her native Denmark, Sofie burst onto the British comedy scene by winning Best Newcomer at Edinburgh Festival 2015. Her 2016 follow-up, Shimmer Shatter, was a second total sell-out, which followed again with another sellout show in 2017, Dead Baby Frog. Sofie has spoken to millions as host of her successful Made of Human podcast, as well as Secret Dinosaur Cult and Comedians Telling Stuff. Her first book, Happy Fat, is published in the UK by 4th Estate on May 2, 2019. Find her online at SofieHagen.com.

We Discuss:

  • The many factors that contributed to Sofie’s negative relationship with food growing up

  • Why fat people are resilient, not weak

  • The different levels of fatphobia, and how they relate to thin privilege

  • The discomfort of acknowledging our privileges and biases

  • How we all have a role to play in social justice

  • Sofie’s history of depression and binge-eating disorder

  • Sofie’s and Christy’s experiences in therapy

  • Why the “individual responsibility” narrative is oppressive

  • How body positivity has been co-opted by diet culture

  • Sofie’s rebellious nature as a child

  • How she was introduced to feminism and body liberation

  • Her new book, and what it was like to share it with people around her

  • Responding to people who are indifferent or opposed to body liberation

  • The parallels between The Wellness Diet and how Hitler talked about health

  • The history of diet culture and weight stigma

  • Fatphobia in progressive spaces

  • Why fat jokes are cheap and harmful forms of comedy

  • How fatphobia affects everyone

  • Jes Baker’s body currency theory

  • How diet culture and American culture reinforce the harmful belief that we all can be “above average”

  • Science and research, and how it’s often twisted by diet culture and media

  • Corporate sponsorship of “o-word” research

 

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 is “health” defined in the Health At Every Size® paradigm? How are fitness level and health related? Is it possible to be healthy without being fit? What is the difference between “having health” and “being healthy?” What is the difference between diet culture’s and HAES®’s versions of health? Is it possible to be fit and not in good health? Can people with chronic conditions have health? What are some of the factors that contribute to a person’s health? What are social determinants of health, and how much do they contribute to health?

(Resources Mentioned:

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Food Psych #194: The Truth About Weight-Loss "Success Stories" with Carrie Dennett

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Fellow anti-diet dietitian, certified intuitive eating counselor, and journalist Carrie Dennett joins us to discuss her experiences with “successful” dieting and being part of the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), why she ultimately stopped dieting and embraced Health At Every Size®, the many problems with the NWCR, why the vast majority of intentional weight-loss efforts fail, how weight stigma affects people of all sizes, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about whether to expect weight loss with intuitive eating.

Carrie Dennett is a Pacific Northwest-based registered dietitian, Certified Intuitive Eating counselor, journalist, author and blogger. She writes a weekly nutrition column for The Seattle Times and contributes regularly to The Washington Post. Carrie is the author of Healthy For (Your) Life: A Holistic Approach to Optimal Wellness, which blends intuitive and mindful eating with a non-diet approach, current nutrition science, and a lot of nutrition myth-busting—principles she also brings to her virtual private practice. She is a second-career dietitian who worked as a newspaper journalist for many years before earning her Master of Public Health in nutritional sciences from the University of Washington. Find her online at NutritionByCarrie.com.

We Discuss:

  • The positive and negative aspects of Carrie’s relationship with food, body, and physical activity growing up

  • How easily children can pick up on diet-culture messaging

  • The harmful effects of weight shaming

  • Carrie’s early experiences with dieting, and how that led to years of yo-yo dieting

  • What made her decide to become a dietitian

  • Her experience with, and criticisms of, the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR)

  • The history of the NWCR

  • The research on the failure rate of diets

  • The problem with the siloing of research

  • What motivated Carrie to give up on dieting

  • Paradigm straddling in the dietetics field

  • How learning about the social determinants of health helped to shift Carrie and Christy’s thinking about health

  • How Health At Every Size® is becoming more incorporated in dietetics training and practice

  • Self-compassion, and its role in examining our own biases and dietetics practice

  • Why it’s important to fight against societal weight stigma, not just internalized weight stigma

  • Why social justice is an important but overlooked part of dietetics practice

  • Privilege, and how it can affect our relationship with diet culture

  • How privilege doesn’t provide complete protection from diet culture and body hatred

  • Weight stigma, and how it affects people of all sizes

 

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 weight loss possible with intuitive eating? How does diet culture condition us to desire a smaller body? Why do some people have a smaller body than others? What is “thin privilege”? Why is it important to acknowledge size diversity? Why is diet culture a Life Thief?

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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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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 #174: How to Make Peace with Your Body in Pregnancy & Beyond with Angela Garbes

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Angela Garbes, author of Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy, joins us to discuss how pregnancy changed her relationship with her body, how writing her book helped her develop greater body acceptance, how our society dismisses body diversity and encourages body hatred, the importance of self-compassion, the lack of diversity in science and medicine, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about whether eating dessert every day is a sign of “sugar addiction.”

Angela Garbes is a Seattle-based writer specializing in food, bodies, women’s health, and issues of racial equity and diversity. Garbes began writing for The Stranger in 2006, and became a staff writer in 2014. Her piece The More I Learn About Breast Milk, the More Amazed I Am is the publication’s most-read piece in its 24-year history, and the inspiration for her book, Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy. Garbes is an experienced public speaker, frequent radio and podcast guest, and event moderator. She grew up in a food-obsessed, immigrant Filipino household and now lives in Seattle with her husband and two children. Find her online at AngelaGarbes.com.

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We Discuss:

  • How growing up in an immigrant Filipino household affected Angela’s relationship with food

  • How being a person of color influenced her relationship with her body

  • Some of the contradictory messaging around food and bodies in Filipino culture

  • Christy’s relationship with food and her body, and how her careers in journalism and dietetics helped her in her recovery

  • Pregnancy, and how it changed Angela’s relationship with her body

  • Realizing that the problem is not with our bodies, but with societal ideals

  • The judgment that often comes with parenting

  • Having generosity and compassion for ourselves and others

  • Acknowledging the strength it takes to survive and stay alive

  • Angela’s book, Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy

  • Her path to becoming a food writer and author

  • How she almost had a career in public health and nutrition

  • Breastfeeding her daughter, and how it inspired her to write her popular piece, The More I Learn About Breast Milk, the More Amazed I Am

  • How the process of researching and writing her book helped her own body acceptance

  • Wishing that we’d heard more positive messaging around bodies growing up

  • Appreciating body diversity

  • Why Angela included parts of her own story and beliefs in her book

  • The lack of diversity in depictions of pregnancy

  • Our society’s policing of pregnant bodies

  • Intuitive eating in pregnancy

  • The surprising lack of evidence behind many of the recommendations for pregnancy

  • How intuitive eating can help with fertility

  • The non-inclusive history of science and medicine, and how that affects our understanding of bodies today

 

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 having dessert every day a sign of “sugar addiction?” Am I not getting intuitive eating in some way? Is it possible to be addicted to sugar? How do diet culture and the Wellness Diet reinforce the idea of “sugar addiction?” Is it possible to eat sugar every day and still be healthy? What are some of the benefits of eating sugar? What is the difference between intuitive eating and the diet mentality? What does “unconditional permission” mean

(Resources Mentioned: Food Psych® Podcast episode #80 with Marci Evans, Food Psych® Podcast episode #139 with Lisa DuBreuil, Sugar Addiction: The State of the Science (TW: weight/BMI numbers), etc.)

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