weight stigma

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 #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 #192: Why We Can’t Fight Weight Stigma While Also Advocating for Weight Loss with Jeffrey Hunger

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Social psychologist and weight-stigma researcher Jeffrey Hunger joins us to discuss why we can’t fight weight stigma while also advocating for weight loss, how “wellness” has been co-opted by diet culture (aka The Wellness Diet), why we need to do more than just tell people “diets don’t work,” the role of critical thinking in taking down diet culture, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to handle cravings for sugar and “processed” foods after a restrictive Wellness Diet.

Jeffrey Hunger, PhD, is currently a postdoctoral scholar in Health Psychology at UCLA and will be joining the Miami University as an assistant professor in Psychology this fall. He received his Bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Minnesota, Master’s degree in psychological research from CSU Fullerton, and PhD in Psychological and Brain Sciences from UC Santa Barbara. As a social and health psychologist, Dr. Hunger is interested in using insights from psychology to understand and ultimately improve the health of stigmatized groups, including heavier individuals, and racial and sexual minorities. Dr. Hunger’s research is published in top outlets across psychology, public health, and medicine, and has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, NPR, and more. To learn more about him and his work, please visit JeffreyHunger.com.

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:

  • The classist dynamics of the “whole food” movement

  • The barriers for working class families to meet current “healthy eating” recommendations

  • How family meals can support a positive relationship with food

  • Diet culture and pressures to be thin within the gay community

  • What initially informed Jeffrey’s current perspectives on weight and health

  • Why we need to do more than just tell people “diets don’t work”

  • How the concept of wellness has been co-opted to mean weight loss

  • Why so many people are attracted to The Wellness Diet

  • Mindfulness practice as an analogy for adopting intuitive eating

  • Stereotype threat, and how it connects to weight stigma

  • How diet culture and weight stigma show up even in weight stigma research

  • Why you can’t truly be anti-weight-stigma while advocating for weight loss

  • The evolution of Jeffrey’s framing of his own work

  • How intentional weight loss is like gay conversion therapy, and why both are harmful

  • Why the framing of weight is important outside of research (i.e. public policy)

  • How everyone deserves dignity and respect

  • How diet culture promotes the moralization of weight and body size

  • Why a multi-pronged approach is necessary to tackle weight stigma

  • Representation, and how it can help fight stigma

  • Why it’s important to name diet culture vs. diets/dieting

  • How Jeffrey and Christy are working to reject diet culture

  • Why you don’t need to be “perfect” to take down diet culture

  • Critical thinking, and its role in toppling the hierarchy of diet culture

  • Health vs. healthism

  • Weight Stigma Conference, and the interdisciplinary nature of the weight stigma field

 

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 a person trust their intuition when it keeps on craving sugar and “processed foods?” What are some popular phrases and ideas that are espoused by The Wellness Diet? Why is it normal to crave sugar, carbohydrates, and energy-dense foods after a period of restriction? What does “balanced eating” really mean, or look like? What is the “restriction pendulum,” and how is it related to the “honeymoon phase?” What does an intuitive relationship with food look like? How can a vegan diet get in the way of eating-disorder recovery? What are some ways to contribute to animal welfare causes without following a vegan diet?

Resources Mentioned:

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Food Psych #182: Fitness Culture, Hypothalamic Amenorrhea, and Why Health Is Not an Obligation with Cara Harbstreet

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Non-diet dietitian Cara Harbstreet joins us to discuss hypothalamic amenorrhea and the lack of adequate care in conventional and alternative health, the normalization of diet-culture thoughts and behaviors in collegiate athletics and dietetics education, why thin privilege and other privileges don’t necessarily protect a person from internalizing body shame, why you don’t have to engage in or value movement or health, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about whether weight loss is necessary for conception and pregnancy.

Cara Harbstreet is a Kansas City-based non-diet dietitian. She's the owner of Street Smart Nutrition, a food blog that celebrates fearlessly nourishing meals and explores food-related topics. She's also the founder of Libre Connections, a digital platform that connects clients to HAES-informed dietitians for virtual coaching services. Her mission is to provide greater access to the support so many of us need for our healing journeys to take place, as well as providing opportunities for dietitians who aspire to work in this area. She is passionate about advocating for change both within and beyond the dietetics profession. Cara is an active volunteer for multiple professional organizations and recently authored a cookbook, The Pescetarian Cookbook: The Essential Kitchen Companion, to promote a more realistic and simple approach to home cooking for health and happiness. When not occupied with work, she can usually be found checking out the local food scene, spending time outdoors, or experimenting in the kitchen. Find her online at LibreConnections.com.

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We Discuss:

  • How Cara’s parents’ emphasis on family meals positively influenced her relationship with food growing up

  • Thin privilege, and how it and other privileges don’t necessarily protect a person from internalizing body shame

  • The normalization of diet culture in collegiate athletics, and how this affected Cara’s relationship with her body

  • How over-exercising affected her athletic performance and overall health

  • Hypothalamic amenorrhea (HA) (aka missing periods), and her experience of being misdiagnosed with PCOS

  • The lack of competent care from conventional and alternative health practitioners when it comes to menstrual and hormonal issues

  • How “fear talk” associated with some medical diagnoses perpetuates diet culture

  • How diet culture skews our view of how much food or activity is “normal”

  • Dietetics education, and how it reinforces diet mentality and behaviors

  • Cara’s experience working at a weight-loss camp for children

  • One of her key strategies to help recover from diet mentality

  • What helped her push diet culture away and start to heal her relationship with food and her body

  • Her experience with the “honeymoon phase” of intuitive eating

  • Why she credits some of her business success to intuitive eating

  • Exploring other forms of movement after her collegiate athletic career

  • Giving ourselves permission to not engage in physical activity

  • Why you don’t owe anybody your health, even if it is something that you value

  • How participating in The Wellness Diet is a form of privilege

  • A quick litmus test to see whether an activity is right for you

 

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

Can weight loss help regulate hormones and increase fertility? Is it possible to try to lose weight without relapsing into eating disorder behaviors? What are some ways that the eating disorder voice or diet culture messaging can show up for people? What is harmful about intentional weight loss? What is likely behind difficulties with conceiving for people in larger bodies and why don’t we hear about them? What is hypothalamic amenorrhea (HA) and what are some of its risk factors? What can a person do instead to help increase their chances of conception?

Resources Mentioned

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Food Psych #181: How to "Just Eat It" and Break Free from Diet Culture with Laura Thomas

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Intuitive eating counselor and author Laura Thomas joins us to discuss the problems with The Wellness Diet, why subtle levels of weight stigma are so hard to pinpoint and eradicate, why "emotional eating" and turning to food for comfort are falsely demonized in diet culture, why people in the nutrition field often struggle in their own relationships with food, her new book Just Eat It, and lots more. Plus, Christy answers a listener question about whether the 12-step model works for food issues.

Laura Thomas, PhD is an AfN Registered Nutritionist and Certified Intuitive Eating Counsellor specialising in intuitive eating, mindful eating, weight-inclusive and non-diet nutrition. She has a BSc in Health Sciences from the University of Aberdeen, a PhD in Nutritional Sciences from Texas A&M University, and completed her post-doctoral research at Cornell University in behavior change. She is the host of Don’t Salt My Game podcast and was the Nutritionist for the 2017 BBC1 documentary Mind Over Marathon. She established the London Centre for Intuitive Eating in 2017 to help clients and train clinicians in Intuitive Eating. Her first book, Just Eat It: How intuitive eating can help you get your shit together around food was published this month by Bluebird Books. Find her online at LauraThomasPhD.co.uk.

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:

  • How Laura’s difficult family life mirrored her complicated relationship with food and her body

  • Why it’s normal for people, especially children, to turn to food for comfort

  • The factors that reinforced Laura’s disordered eating

  • How we were introduced to Health At Every Size®, and why it can be difficult for people to embrace the paradigm

  • Why people in the nutrition field often struggle in their own relationships with food

  • Our experiences with The Wellness Diet, and what helped us realize that it’s actually diet culture in disguise

  • How a lot of “anti-wellness” work is still rooted in diet culture

  • Christy’s FNCE debate, and the response from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

  • The problem with how the “obesity”-industrial complex is trying to combat weight stigma

  • Our gratitude for the pioneers of the HAES® movement and the difficult work that many continue to do

  • Privilege, and how it interplays with HAES work and activism

  • Microaggressions, and how they affect people in marginalized bodies

  • Why subtle levels of weight stigma are so hard to pinpoint and eradicate

  • Why the “o-word” and labeling larger body size as a disease is problematic

  • Laura’s experiences of weight stigma in nutrition academia

  • Her book, Just Eat It: How intuitive eating can help you get your shit together around food

  • The oppressive nature of diet culture, and why liberation is important

  • How Trump embodies patriarchy

 

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

Does the 12-step model work for food issues? What is the difference between addiction to alcohol and substances and addiction to food? Is the feeling that food has addictive qualities the same as food addiction? What is the role of restriction and deprivation in the addictive qualities of food? What is The Restriction Pendulum? Is it possible to be “starving” without looking emaciated? What do physical and psychological starvation look like? How can intuitive eating stop The Restriction Pendulum? Why doesn’t the abstinence model work with food issues? How does the 12-step model reinforce diet culture? What is the problem with food-addiction research? What is the role of pleasure in human life?

Resources Mentioned

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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 #177: Intuitive Eating, Chronic Illness, and Breaking Free from The Wellness Diet with Linda Tucker

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Health At Every Size® health coach and certified intuitive eating counselor Linda Tucker joins us to discuss how dieting causes health problems even while purporting to solve them, how diet culture and its new guise as the Wellness Diet twist the definition of self-care and health, how intuitive eating can help with managing a chronic illness, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to handle the feeling that things were just *easier* in a smaller body.

Linda is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor who incorporates Health at Every Size, body liberation, and intuitive living into her private coaching practice. Linda works through a truly holistic lens, meaning that ALL aspects of someones lived experience are examined. She has her own history of disordered eating and chronic illness and wants to raise awareness and release shame around both. Find her online at LindaTuckerCoaching.com.

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.

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:

  • The different factors that affected Linda’s relationship with food and her body growing up

  • Scarcity mentality, and how it played into her relationship with food

  • Struggling with body image despite having lots of privilege

  • Men and dieting

  • How fatphobia shows up in people with thin privilege

  • The toxicity of complimenting weight loss

  • Linda’s experience with diet pills and their side effects

  • Her personal journey with dieting, weight loss, and “wellness”

  • The tendency to give dieting the credit for weight loss and deny the harm that it can cause

  • Clean eating, and how it worsened her health and triggered or exacerbated chronic illness

  • Having compassion for people who are stuck in diet mentality

  • How diet culture and The Wellness Diet twist the definition of self-care and push us to blame ourselves for poor health

  • Isolation, and how it can make us susceptible to perfectionism and performing

  • Social media, and how it can perpetuate disordered thoughts and behaviors

  • Praising productivity, and how that can be problematic

  • What inspired Linda to start doing the work that she does today

  • How we sometimes use health and wellness goals to hide our true desire to lose weight

  • Diving into the meaning behind our wellness and weight goals

  • The contradictory messages from popular diet programs

  • Why intuitive eating alone isn’t enough for full recovery

  • Using the principles of intuitive eating, HAES®, and body liberation together

  • How Linda’s health concerns helped to solidify her belief in body liberation

  • Ableism, and its damaging messaging

  • The intersection of body liberation and chronic illness

  • The healing qualities of holding space versus offering solutions

  • How she uses self-care to manage her chronic health conditions

  • How our digestive system can carry a lot of tension

  • Why it’s important to oppose healthism

  • Acceptance and letting go, and how they can improve health

  • Being our “own client” first

 

Resources Mentioned

Some of the links below are affiliate links. Affiliates or not, we only recommend products and services that align with our values.

  • 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 if being in a smaller body was easier? How can a person reconcile the freedom of intuitive eating with mourning a thinner body? Any advice to make peace with my body and its limitations today? Can changes in body size be seen as neutral? Can we manage the changes associated with weight gain without losing weight? How do diet culture and weight stigma make it difficult to live in a larger body? How can we harness our anger in mourning a smaller body? What are some ways to help reframe the discomfort that is associated with a larger body, and practice self-care and self-compassion?

(Resources Mentioned: Food Psych® episodes #113 with Sonya Renée Taylor, #119 with Ragen Chastain, and #62)

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

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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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Food Psych #171: Healthcare Without Diet Culture with Jennifer Gaudiani

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Physician and eating disorder specialist Jennifer Gaudiani joins us to discuss how healthcare professionals are doing harm by perpetuating diet culture, why people with eating disorders are often missed in our medical system, medical outcomes she has seen in some of her patients who have adopted Health At Every Size®, the role of social justice and acknowledging privilege in our work, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about whether it’s a contradiction to be an eating-disorder treatment provider who also does bodybuilding and fitness competitions.

Jennifer Gaudiani, MD, CEDS, FAED, is the Founder/Medical Director of the Gaudiani Clinic. Board Certified in Internal Medicine, she completed her undergraduate degree at Harvard, medical school at Boston University School of Medicine, and her internal medicine residency/chief residency at Yale. From 2008 to 2016, she was one of the leaders of the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders. She left after serving as its Medical Director to found the Gaudiani Clinic, which provides expert in-person and nationwide telemedicine outpatient medical care to patients of all genders with eating disorders/disordered eating and to those in recovery. The Clinic is a HAES-informed provider and embraces treating people of all shapes and sizes. Through a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach, the Clinic cares for the whole person, in the context of their values.

She has lectured nationally and internationally, is widely published in the scientific literature as well as on blogs and is a current member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Eating Disorders and the Academy for Eating Disorders Medical Care Standards Committee.

Dr. Gaudiani is one of very few outpatient internists who carries the Certified Eating Disorder Specialist designation. She is also a Fellow in the Academy for Eating Disorders. Find her online at GaudianiClinic.com.

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Ready to learn how to cook, make movies, write books, and more from the masters? MasterClass has launched the All-Access Pass – a thoughtful gift for the home cooks or lifelong learners in your life. Food Psych listeners can get the All Access Pass at MasterClass.com/FOODPSYCH.

This episode is also brought to you by TomboyX. Go to tomboyx.com/foodpsych and check out their special bundles and pack pricing. Food Psych listeners will also get an extra 15% off with the code FOODPSYCH.

We Discuss:

  • How her privilege and family background shaped her relationship with food

  • Her sister’s struggle with bulimia, and how that influenced her work in eating disorders

  • Weight stigma in the medical field

  • Recognizing the harm that we as health professionals have done in perpetuating diet culture

  • When she realized ‘calories in, calories out’ doesn’t work

  • How she discovered the Health At Every Size® model and began to use it in her practice

  • Why people with eating disorders are often missed in our medical system

  • What an initial assessment looks like at her clinic

  • Medical outcomes that she has seen in some of her patients who have adopted HAES

  • The importance of having a multidisciplinary, HAES-informed team

  • The links between our healthcare system, the supposed “obesity epidemic,” and diet culture

  • How our bodies adapt to starvation

  • “Survival” genetics vs. “sensitive” genetics

  • How diets can make health issues worse

  • Why she doesn’t recommend moderation (and what she recommends instead)

  • Letting go of diet fads and embracing all foods

  • What draws people to problematic alternative-medicine practices, and what providers can do to help them re-engage in evidence-based healthcare

  • How she’s continuing to learn and integrate HAES into her practice and her book

  • The role of social justice and acknowledging privilege in our work

  • Jennifer’s book, Sick Enough: A Guide to the Medical Complications of Eating Disorders

  • The problems with our current diagnostic criteria for eating disorders

  • Atypical anorexia nervosa, and its high mortality and complication rates

  • How we can stop the spread of diet culture

 

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

  • Carmen Cool’s work, and her Food Psych® Podcast episode

  • Deb Burgard’s work, and her Food Psych® Podcast episode

  • Hilary Kinavey’s work, and her Food Psych® Podcast episode

  • Desiree Adaway’s work

  • Jennifer’s book, Sick Enough: A Guide to the Medical Complications of Eating Disorders (TW: Contains detailed descriptions of eating disorder behaviors)

  • Gaudiani Clinic

  • Jennifer and the Gaudiani Clinic on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

  • This episode is brought to you by Paribus. Paribus helps you save money by monitoring online retailers to make sure that you get the best price, and will even help you get compensated if your shipment arrives late. Head to GetParibus.com to sign up.

  • Ready to learn how to cook, make movies, write books, and more from the masters? MasterClass has launched the All-Access Pass – a thoughtful gift for the home cooks or lifelong learners in your life. Food Psych listeners can get the All Access Pass at MasterClass.com/FOODPSYCH.

  • This episode is also brought to you by TomboyX. Go to tomboyx.com/foodpsych and check out their special bundles and pack pricing. Food Psych listeners will also get an extra 15% off with the code FOODPSYCH.

     

Listener Question of the Week

Is it contradictory for eating disorder professionals to promote body acceptance and intuitive eating alongside bodybuilding and fitness competitions? What is diet culture? Would bodybuilding and fitness competitions exist without it? How are other sports related to diet culture? What if you’re an eating disorder professional with diet culture beliefs? How do you approach someone who is sharing triggering content?

(Resources Mentioned: Sand Chang’s Food Psych® Podcast episode)

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Food Psych #170: How to Combat Fat Stigma with Cat Pausé

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Fat-studies scholar Cat Pausé joins us to discuss why you can’t fight “obesity” and fat stigma at the same time, the effects of stigma on health, how fat studies differs from conventional paradigms, the implications of using the word “fat,” and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about why elimination diets shouldn’t be the first line of treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Cat Pausé, Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer in Human Development at Massey University. She is lead editor of Queering Fat Embodiment (2014, Routledge), and coordinated two international conferences - Fat Studies: Reflective Intersections (2012) and Fat Studies: Identity, Agency, Embodiment (2016). Her research is focused on the effects of fat stigma on health and well-being on fat individuals and how fat activists resist the fatpocalypse. Her work has appeared in journals such as Fat Studies, Feminist Review, and Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, as well as online in the Huffington Post, The Conversation, and in her blog. Her fat positive radio show, Friend of Marilyn, is travelling the world – make sure your city is on the tour! Find her online at about.me/FriendofMarilyn.

This episode is brought to you by LinkedIn, where a new hire is made every 10 seconds. Go to linkedin.com/foodpsych to get $50 off your first job post.

Save money with Paribus! Paribus monitors online retailers to make sure that you get the best price, and will even help you get compensated if your shipment arrives late. Head to GetParibus.com to sign up.

This episode is also brought to you by TomboyX. Visit tomboyx.com/foodpsych and check out their special bundles and pack pricing. Food Psych listeners will also get an extra 15% off with the code FOODPSYCH!

We Discuss:

  • Cat’s positive relationship with her body as a child, despite a “confused” relationship with food

  • The fat-positive role models that she had in her life

  • How pop culture can spread diet culture messaging

  • What influenced her to become a feminist

  • Learning about asking for more and getting her needs met

  • How diet culture teaches women to socialize over dieting

  • Speaking to our parents and loved ones about our changing relationships with food and bodies

  • Slipping into younger versions of ourselves when we’re around our parents

  • How Cat learned about the field of fat studies

  • The difference between fat studies and conventional paradigms like critical obesity studies or weight studies

  • Why you can’t fight “obesity” and weight stigma at the same time

  • The defining characteristics of fat studies

  • Framing stigma within fat studies versus weight studies/healthcare framework

  • The implications of using the word “fat”

  • Why we need to turn our attention to the experiences of people in superfat bodies

  • Privilege and its role in fat studies work

  • Why Cat no longer uses the “fat isn’t unhealthy” argument

  • Fat stigma as a social determinant of health

  • Our role in the work of fat liberation

  • Cat’s latest project, Fat Studies MOOOs

 

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

  • The Diet Myth by Paul Campos

  • Michael Gard’s work (TW: o word)

  • Paul Ernsberger’s work

  • Deborah Lupton’s work

  • Angela Meadows’ work (TW: o word)

  • Chris Crandall’s work

  • Cat’s Fat Studies MOOO

  • Cat’s about.me page, blog, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram

  • This episode is brought to you by LinkedIn, where a new hire is made every 10 seconds. Go to linkedin.com/foodpsych to get $50 off your first job post.

  • Save money with Paribus! Paribus monitors online retailers to make sure that you get the best price, and will even help you get compensated if your shipment arrives late. Head to GetParibus.com to sign up.

  • This episode is also brought to you by TomboyX. Visit tomboyx.com/foodpsych and check out their special bundles and pack pricing. Food Psych listeners will also get an extra 15% off with the code FOODPSYCH!

     

Listener Question of the Week

Can you incorporate an elimination diet along with intuitive eating concepts in people with IBS? What is the link between disordered eating, mental health concerns, and gastrointestinal (GI) issues? What is the “nocebo” effect, and what is its role in GI concerns? What is the science behind certain diets for IBS? What are some other ways to manage IBS without going on an elimination diet?

(Resources Mentioned: Psychological features are important predictors of functional gastrointestinal disorders in patients with eating disorders, Disordered eating practices in gastrointestinal disorders, Alan Levinovitz’s Food Psych® Podcast episode)

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Food Psych #167: Food, Sex, and Body Liberation with Kimberly Dark

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Sociology professor, writer, and performer Kimberly Dark joins us to discuss the connections between our relationship with food and our relationship with sex, the harms of “medically supervised” diets, how to view diet culture through a critical lens, how food can help connect us with our inner wisdom, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to stop calorie counting and worrying about weight gain when transitioning to intuitive eating.

Kimberly Dark is a writer, professor and raconteur, working to reveal the hidden architecture of everyday life one clever essay, poem, and story at a time. She uses humor, surprise and intimacy to help audiences discover their influences, and reclaim their power as social creators. Kimberly teaches in Sociology at CSU, San Marcos along with writing and theatre courses for Cal State Summer Arts. She also facilitates experiential retreats in Hawaii for Conscious Practitioners - examining how our own embodiment and social relationships influence how we work with others in helping professions and Yoga is for Every Body retreats for all.

Kimberly Dark has written award-winning plays, taught and performed for a wide range of audiences in various countries over the past two decades. She is the author of Love and Errors, a book of poetry and Co-Editor of the anthology Ways of Being in Teaching. Her novel, The Daddies is forthcoming in 2018. Her essays appear in popular online publications, such as Everyday Feminism, and Ravishly. Kimberly's storytelling performances and interactive lectures make big, complex ideas relatable at campuses, conferences, companies, and anywhere people seek startling revelations and positive change. Learn more at KimberlyDark.com

This episode is brought to you by LinkedIn, the better way to hire. Go to linkedin.com/foodpsych to get $50 off your first job post!

This episode is also brought to you by TomboyX. Go to tomboyx.com/foodpsych and check out their special bundles and pack pricing. Food Psych listeners will also get an extra 15% off with the code FOODPSYCH!

 

We Discuss:

  • Kimberly’s relationship with food as a child in a larger body

  • How fatphobia is normalized in our society

  • Receiving praise for weight loss while struggling with an eating disorder

  • The harms of “medically supervised” diets

  • What started her recovery from disordered eating

  • Bingeing as our body’s way of responding to restriction

  • How Kimberly used her trauma history to help with her recovery

  • The connections between food and sex

  • Engaging critically with diet culture

  • Kimberly’s unique career as a sociology professor and performer

  • Autoethnography, the practice of writing about the self in order to understand the culture

  • The institution of academia, and how it silences certain types of knowledge

  • Our bodies as a site of knowledge

  • Conventional research, and how it imposes intellectual knowledge instead of considering lived experiences

  • The role of patriarchy in diet culture

  • Food as a vehicle to attune to the body’s inner wisdom

  • The performative element of wellness culture, and how it relates to sexuality

  • Social media and selfie culture

  • The emotional labor of creating content

  • The body as part of the visual narrative

 

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 do we unlearn the food rules and calorie counting from the diet mentality when trying to eat intuitively? How can we separate ourselves from our eating-disorder thoughts? How do we stop worrying about weight gain? What are some steps we can take to overcome internalized oppression from diet culture? Where can we get support when we’re at the beginning of eating disorder recovery?

(Resources Mentioned: Kylie Mitchell’s Food Psych Podcast episode, Intuitive Eating Fundamentals online course, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselors Directory)

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Food Psych #166: How to Resist Diet Culture & Build Community with Lilia Graue

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Eating-disorders specialist and Certified Body Trust® Provider Dr. Lilia Graue joins us to discuss letting go of perfectionism, the importance of community in body acceptance and overcoming shame, diet culture as a form of trauma, why working toward societal change is just as important as individual recovery, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how the Health At Every Size® framework addresses the notion of an “obesity epidemic.” 

Lilia Graue, MD, LMFT, is an eating disorders specialist and clinical supervisor; mindfulness, compassion and mindful eating instructor; and Certified Body Trust® Provider. With 18 years of clinical experience, she is intimately familiar with bodies and minds and our healing processes, and how we relate to, nourish and take care of ourselves and our bodies in ways that bring us closer to wholeness, radical presence, fierce embodiment and joy.

Lilia practices at the intersection of different healing modalities, centering lived experience and the body as a source of knowing. Her own life experiences with developmental and complex trauma, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and a healing journey through psychotherapy and mind-body practices, have shaped her approach. Her practice is trauma informed, and rooted in intersectional feminism. She is Mexican and provides services in both English and Spanish.

Lilia loves working with providers navigating the challenges of advocating bravely for body liberation, embodiment and freedom from performative health who wish to cultivate and honor boundaries that allow for their self-care and replenishing empathy and compassion. 
Lilia is an avid amateur cook, baker, and foodie. She and her partner share their home with their beloved cats, Thomas and Ziggy. Find her online at fiercelyembodied.com.

This episode is brought to you by Casper. Get $50 toward select mattresses by visiting casper.com/foodpsych and using the code FOODPSYCH at checkout.

This episode is also brought to you by TomboyX. Go to tomboyx.com/foodpsych and check out their special bundles and pack pricing. Food Psych listeners will also get an extra 15% off with the code FOODPSYCH!

You can also get my Master Your Anti-Diet Message course in Spanish thanks to today’s guest, Lilia Graue! Just go to christyharrison.com/spanish to learn more and sign up.

 

We Discuss:

  • Lilia’s complex relationship with food as a child

  • Growing up with, and eating around, family members that had mental health concerns

  • How being a competitive swimmer while going through puberty affected her relationship with food and with her body

  • The interrelationship between depression and disordered eating

  • Fatphobia and healthism in the medical field

  • How performative health can actually push people into a disordered relationship with food and body

  • The role of privilege in intuitive eating and recovery

  • Being more connected to food through eating and cooking with our hands

  • Sensory issues, and how they can affect a person’s eating preferences and relationship with food

  • Incorporating gentle nutrition without falling back into the diet mentality

  • Yoga, meditation, and mindful eating

  • Attuning to our body’s own needs instead of trying to be “normal”

  • Learning from our mistakes in our intuitive eating practice

  • The role of trauma in our relationship with food

  • Diet culture as a form of trauma

  • Why intuitive eating and mindful eating are about more than our relationship with food

  • How our societal ideals are causing harm to non-conforming bodies

  • The importance of community in body acceptance and overcoming shame

  • White supremacy and the mythic norm

  • Why it’s typical for people with a history of trauma to become caretakers

  • Connection through embodiment and vulnerability

  • Moving past black-and-white terms in eating disorder recovery

  • Living with and resisting diet culture at the same time

  • Finding community in your recovery journey

  • The difficulty of translating concepts across cultures, and the need for local communities within different cultures

  • How diet culture has co-opted mindful eating

  • Why we need to work toward societal change along with individual recovery

  • Lilia’s current projects as a medical provider and mindful eating teacher

 

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 does Health At Every Size® fit in with research that shows that we are becoming heavier as a population? Is HAES® concerned with “obesity” prevention? If HAES views that there is nothing wrong with being in a larger body, and that there is no effective way to lose weight, does it matter what causes some bodies to be larger than others? How can “obesity” prevention potentially be harmful? What other changes have happened at the same time as our population increasing in weight? What are some resources where I can continue to learn about HAES?

(Resources Mentioned: Misclassification of cardiometabolic health when using body mass index categories in NHANES 2005-2012, Perceived Weight Discrimination and 10-Year Risk of Allostatic Load Among US Adults, Weight Science: Evaluating the Evidence for a Paradigm Shift, What’s Wrong with Fat? by Abigail Saguy, Medicare’s Search for Effective Obesity Treatments: Diets Are Not the Answer)

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