wellness

Food Psych #203: Healing from Orthorexia and The Wellness Diet with Katherine Metzelaar

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Season 6 finale! Fellow anti-diet dietitian and certified intuitive eating counselor Katherine Metzelaar joins us to discuss orthorexia within the health-and-wellness field, the cultural shift that made it seem cool to eliminate foods, mourning the loss of community and connection when you stop dieting, why growing up with a peaceful relationship with food doesn’t guarantee a lifetime of immunity against diet culture, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to deal with physical discomfort like thigh chafing and waistbands digging into your belly. 

Katherine Metzelaar, MSN, RDN, CD is a Seattle-based Dietitian and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor who is passionate about inclusive healthcare for all bodies. She is the owner and founder of Bravespace Nutrition, a private nutrition practice that helps women, both virtually and in-person, to create peace with food and their body free from rules, dieting, and perfectionism. Through the use of a client-centered, therapeutic, non-diet approach, she helps women and womxn to recover from disordered eating, eating disorders, and body image challenges. In addition to her practice, Katherine is the founder of Body Image Badass: Compassion, Connection, Embodiment, a body-acceptance group that works to create community and a safer space for women to talk about the challenges of what in means to exist in a world that seeks to control and oppress women’s bodies via dieting and body-shaming. When not at work, you can find her checking out the local foodie scene, dancing salsa, and in the pursuit of finding the best latte in town. Find her online at www.bravespacenutrition.com.

We Discuss:

  • How participating in sports can nurture your relationship with food

  • Why Katherine told herself at a very young age that she would never go on a diet and how that changed when she went to college

  • Katherine’s struggle with orthorexia

  • Katherine and Christy’s shared experience of finding connection with other women through dieting

  • How connecting over diets builds a conditional sense of belonging, and how that changes when you stop dieting

  • Mourning the loss of community, connection, and identity when you move away from diets

  • Why growing up with a peaceful relationship with food doesn’t guarantee a lifetime of immunity against diet culture

  • The cultural shift that made it seem cool to eliminate foods

  • The link between perfectionism and idealizing diets

  • Katherine’s formal nutrition education that helped her liberalize her relationship with food

  • Orthorexia within the health-and-wellness field, particularly naturopathic medicine 

  • How The Wellness Diet fails to consider the reality of food insecurity 

  • The importance of making intuitive eating more inclusive to people struggling with food insecurity

  • The surprising ways people responded to Christy’s post about inflammation

  • Taking diet culture out of how we understand “wellness” 

  • The privilege of being able to interpret and critique health and nutrition research

  • The financial burden of training to be a dietitian 

  • Working in a fatphobic environment while practicing as a Health at Every Size® provider

  • Katherine’s new YouTube channel that will further spread the anti-diet message

 

Resources Mentioned

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Listener Question of the Week

How do I merge the two desires of having freedom with food and wanting to change my body’s size? How does diet culture affect the way you want to change your body’s size? Can you permanently shrink your body? How can you better tolerate the physical discomfort that may occur with weight changes? How does internalized fatphobia affect the way you want to change your body?

Resources Mentioned:

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

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

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

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

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

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We Discuss:

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

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

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

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

  • The benefits of learning to sit with our discomfort

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

  • The similarities between mindful eating and intuitive eating

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

  • Diet culture and intuitive eating through a spiritual lens

  • Learning to rebuild trust in our body and inner wisdom

  • How intuitive eating and Buddhist philosophy overlap

  • How self-improvement is actually limiting us

  • Waking up to our inherent goodness

  • Self-esteem vs. self-compassion

  • Learning to accept fullness, satisfaction, and having enough

  • Using our values as our guiding principles

  • Asking ourselves what we really want

  • How conformity is sometimes necessary to keep us safe

  • Why the law of attraction is problematic

  • Unchecked privilege in health and wellness spaces

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

  • Embracing uncertainty and the unknown

 

Resources Mentioned

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

Listener Question of the Week

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

(Resources Mentioned:

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Food Psych #185: How Diet Culture Hurts Your Relationships with Kristina Bruce

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Health At Every Size® life coach Kristina Bruce joins us to discuss how diet culture can affect relationships, how to find self-trust and self-acceptance in recovering from disordered eating, how diet culture shows up in spiritual communities, why health and well-being is about so much more than eating and exercise, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about weight stigma in the military.

Kristina Bruce is a Certified Integrative Life Coach and advocate of the Health at Every Size paradigm. Calling upon her education in health studies, sociology, yoga, meditation, and The Work of Byron Katie, Kristina works one-on-one with people to help them reconnect to their bodies and feel more trusting and accepting of themselves. Find her online at KristinaBruce.com.

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We Discuss:

  • Some of the covert diet culture messaging that Kristina received growing up, despite her parents avoiding overt diet talk

  • The evolution of diet culture, particularly over the last few decades

  • How Kristina’s relationship with her body changed from childhood to young adulthood

  • Yoga culture, and how it uses “spirituality” to reinforce The Wellness Diet

  • How relationships—particularly romantic relationships—can highlight and be affected by disordered relationships with food, exercise, and/or the body

  • What helped Kristina stop dieting and embrace Health At Every Size

  • Her experience of returning to dieting while in recovery

  • Diet culture in spiritual communities

  • Relearning self-trust, and why the “honeymoon phase” is sometimes necessary to get there

  • The body-soul connection

  • Self-acceptance, and its importance in recovery

  • Letting go of our inner critic

  • How relationships transform with recovery

  • Why health and well-being is about so much more than eating and exercise

 

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 challenge the BMI and body-size standards required by the military? How can a person choose between their health and their career? How can individuals advocate for systemic and institutional change? Why are some organizations and people quicker to adopt new ideas than others?

(Resources Mentioned:

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Food Psych #172: The Wellness Diet and Feeding Kids with Virginia Sole-Smith

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Journalist and author Virginia Sole-Smith joins us to discuss why The Wellness Diet is really diet culture in disguise, how journalists like her and Christy played unwitting roles in creating this new manifestation of diet culture, how her daughter’s experience with significant medical issues affected her relationship with food, how to help kids navigate diet-culture messaging in different stages of life, how to teach children about nutrition and health in a non-diet way, and so much more! Plus, Christy shares an excerpt from her "HAES vs. weight management" debate at FNCE (the national dietitians’ conference).

Virginia Sole-Smith is the author of The Eating Instinct: Food Culture, Body Image and Guilt in America. She's also a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Harper's, Slate, and Elle, as well as a contributing editor with Parents Magazine. She lives with her husband and two daughters in the Hudson Valley. Find her online at VirginiaSoleSmith.com.

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We Discuss:

  • Growing up as a picky eater, and what motivated her to try more foods

  • How her relationship with food and with her body shifted in college

  • The subtle ways fatphobia showed up in Virginia’s childhood

  • Third-wave feminism, and trying to marry feminist values with societal expectations of femininity

  • Virginia’s career in the magazine industry, and what sparked her interest in reporting on health and nutrition

  • Being a part of the cultural shift toward The Wellness Diet, and not realizing at the time that it is still a form of diet culture

  • How the so-called “obesity epidemic” was invented in the late ’90s

  • Privilege, and its role in spreading diet messaging in our society

  • How being a mother helped Virginia to see that The Wellness Diet and the alternative food movement are really diet culture in disguise

  • The trauma of having a young child with major health concerns

  • Virginia’s daughter Violet’s journey with a congenital heart condition and its required medical interventions, including being fed with a feeding tube and being on a medically required diet

  • The available research on treating feeding disorders in children: the behavioral approach versus the child-led approach

  • How current feeding therapies mirror diet culture

  • Our society’s reliance on external experts to tell us what and how to eat

  • Using Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibilities (DOR) model to help rebuild Violet’s relationship with food and her feeding cues

  • Diet-culture messaging in schools and elsewhere outside the home

  • Violet’s current relationship with food, and how she is sharing that with her younger sister

  • How parenting advice often reinforces diet culture

  • Sharing the anti-diet message with other parents

  • Accepting kids’ eating habits and helping them attune to their own cues in a helpful way

  • The demonization of sugar amongst parents and kids

  • Helping kids navigate diet culture at different stages in life

  • How to talk to children about food and health in a non-diet way

  • Having compassion for people who are still stuck in 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.

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