weight loss surgery

Food Psych #180: Body Policing, Social Class, and Diet Culture with Sonalee Rashatwar


Anti-diet social worker and sex therapist Sonalee Rashatwar joins us to discuss body policing, the non-consensual nature of dieting for many kids, how body size gets treated as a marker of class status and cultural assimilation, how gender identity changes people’s relationships with food, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about whether there are any reasons to focus on fullness other than fatphobia, and whether a particular statement in the book Intuitive Eating is fatphobic.

Sonalee Rashatwar (she/they) is a licensed clinical social worker, sex therapist, community organizer, and public speaker based out of New Jersey. They are paid for their labor as a sexual assault counselor with specialties in ethnic identity development, sexual trauma, general sexuality or gender issues, and fat identity or body image issues. She is a sought after speaker on topics related to fat trauma, sexual colonization, reproductive freedom, consent culture, race as a body image issue, and unlearning diet culture. Her fame hit an all time high when she was featured on Breitbart in March 2018 for naming thinness as a white supremacist beauty ideal. In additional to her paid labor, they organize with two South Asian collectives around creating healing spaces for radical youth political education. As a nonbinary bisexual superfat donut queen, Sonalee brings their whole vulnerable self to all of her work and does not attempt to live within artificial boundaries of professionalism. Her spirit breathes for black, brown, and indigenous liberation. Find them online at SonaleeR.com.

We Discuss:

  • Sonalee’s relationship with food and her body growing up in an Indian-Hindu family in New Jersey

  • How patriarchy affects how we view our fathers

  • Dieting as a form of cultural and racial assimilation

  • How different social classes experience and uphold diet culture and other forms of oppression

  • The caste system in Indian communities

  • Healing from sexual trauma

  • Reclaiming agency in sex

  • Body policing based on gender presentation and size, and Sonalee’s experiences of this in her family and relationships

  • What helped her to resist pressure to have weight-loss surgery

  • Capitalism, and how it contributes to oppression

  • What disability justice can teach us about activism

  • How Sonalee’s size affects their ability and access

  • The medical model vs. social model of disability

  • How they are rebuilding their relationship with their parents

  • Setting and enforcing boundaries in our relationships

  • What fatness and being fat means to her

  • Our bodies as heirlooms


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

If you take away the fatphobia, why does the book Intuitive Eating emphasize that eating past fullness is something that ought to be avoided? How can chronic conditions, particularly ones that affect the digestive system, change how fullness is perceived? Why do some people consistently eat past fullness? What is The Restriction Pendulum?

Resources Mentioned

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Food Psych #176: Confessions of a Former Weight-Loss-Surgery Dietitian with Vincci Tsui

Vincci Tsui.jpg

Anti-diet dietitian and certified intuitive eating counselor Vincci Tsui joins us to discuss weight loss surgery and its consequences on physical and mental health, her journey from working in bariatrics to specializing in intuitive eating and Health At Every Size®, how dietitians get caught up in The Wellness Diet, what thin privilege really means, disordered eating and how it interplays with bariatric surgery, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to deal with the fear of weight gain in recovery from an eating disorder.

Vincci Tsui is a former bariatric dietitian turned Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and Health At Every Size advocate. She is passionate about helping people find freedom in their relationship with food and with their body, so that they can worry less and get the most out of life. Ultimately, she is on a mission to prove that it is possible to improve health without focusing on weight.

Vincci takes a collaborative and compassionate approach to nutrition counselling and coaching that is rooted in HAES® and Intuitive Eating philosophy. She believes in helping clients learn to listen to their body and their inner wisdom when it comes to making decisions around food, eating and health. Aside from her private practice, Vincci serves as the Community & Content Manager for Food Psych® Programs Inc, and is the author of The Mindful Eating Workbook: Simple Practices for Nurturing a Positive Relationship with Food. Find her online at VincciTsui.com.

Early bird registration for my Master Your Anti-Diet Message course is open for a few more days! If you’re a fellow Health At Every Size practitioner who would like to learn how to refine your marketing messages so that they are aligned with HAES philosophy, sign up at christyharrison.com/message.

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We Discuss:

  • How her different privileges helped to protect her relationship with food and body

  • Some of the food rules that she had growing up

  • Why so many people value “cleaning their plate”

  • Thin privilege, and how it can show up in our society

  • Why losing weight isn’t the answer to avoiding weight stigma

  • Why she pursued a career in dietetics

  • How becoming a dietitian changed her relationship with food

  • Diet culture, and how it can affect dietitians and nutrition advice

  • Her work with bariatric surgery patients

  • How current narratives around “obesity” actually helped her become a HAES practitioner

  • The Wellness Diet’s rhetoric, and how it shows up in “obesity” and bariatric care

  • What sparked her interest in HAES and intuitive eating

  • How she tried to introduce HAES concepts to people pursuing weight loss surgery

  • The Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH), and its position on bariatric surgery

  • Finding the middle ground between respecting body autonomy and holding the position that weight loss surgery is harmful

  • Complications that are associated with bariatric surgery, including strictures, nutrient deficiencies, and dumping syndrome

  • Disordered eating, and how it can interact with weight loss surgery

  • Why diagnostic criteria for eating disorders can sometimes be problematic

  • Eating disorders, and how they can get missed in diet culture

  • Nutrition recommendations post-bariatric surgery, and how they can affect a person’s relationship with food

  • How bariatric surgery is presented to patients, and how that can affect their mindset and expectations of the surgery

  • The consequences of bariatric surgery on physical and mental health

  • When bariatric surgery outcomes don’t meet expectations

  • HAES as an alternative to weight loss surgery

  • Finding her niche in HAES and intuitive eating

  • Attracting clients as a private practice dietitian

  • Vincci’s current and upcoming projects

  • The overlap between yoga, intuitive eating and mindful eating


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 if my set point weight is much higher than my current weight? How can I keep my fear of weight gain from getting in the way of my eating disorder recovery? Why is getting rid of the diet mentality and embracing Health At Every Size so important in eating disorder recovery? What are the risks of bulimia and other eating disorders to health? If higher weights don’t cause poor health, then what does? What are some strategies to help overcome internalized weight stigma? Why is it not recommended to jump into intuitive eating directly from an eating disorder? Where can I find support for eating disorder recovery? What if my finances are limited?

(Resources Mentioned: Intuitive Eating Fundamentals course, Food Psych® Podcast episode #172, Slides from Christy’s FNCE debate, Meredith Noble’s work and Food Psych® Podcast episode, Body Positive Instagram Accounts, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor directory, Heidi Schauster’s work and Food Psych® Podcast episode, Jessi Haggerty’s work and Food Psych® Podcast episode, Haley Goodrich’s work and Food Psych® Podcast episode, Marci Evans’ work and latest Food Psych® Podcast episode, Project HEAL, Nalgona Positivity Pride)

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