Finding Peace with Food through Mindfulness

Add a subheadingWe welcomed Jenna Hollenstein, MS, RDN, CDN, author of the book Eat to Love: A Mindful Guide to Transforming your Relationship with Food, Body, and Life, to the podcast to talk about her framework, which is based in Buddhism, for healing disordered eating.

In this episode, she explains the six Paramitas (generosity, discipline, patience, exertion, meditation and wisdom) and how we can apply them in approaching intuitive eating. Her compassion-based framework asks us to see ourselves as a beloved other in learning how to listen to our inner wisdom and bring about sustainable, positive self-care.

 

Episode 62_ A Buddhist Framework for Eating Recovery with Jenna HollensteinEpisode 62 – A Buddhist Framework for Eating Recovery with Jenna Hollenstein

 

 

Show Notes:

Find Jenna Hollenstein:

www.eat2love.com

Instagram @jennahollenstein

Facebook

Moving toward Body Liberation with Jes Baker

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Photo courtesy of RepresentationMatters.me

The Dietitians Unplugged podcast was excited and honored to host Jes Baker, aka The Militant Baker, author of the books Landwhale and Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living to talk about what body liberation means and how it can change our lives for the better.

Jes is a positive, progressive, and magnificently irreverent force to be reckoned with in the realm of self-love advocacy and mental health. She is internationally known for preaching the importance of body liberation, hard conversations, strong coffee, and even stronger language. Jes burst onto the body image scene when she created her own ads mocking Abercrombie & Fitch for discriminating against all body types – a move that landed her on the Today Show and garnered a loyal following for her raw, honest, and attitude-filled blog missives.

In this fantastic episode, she tells us about her revelation that she hadn’t been a fat child, turning insults into cool nicknames, and how talking about mental health can be healing.

Episode 58 - Jes BakerEpisode 58 – This is Body Liberation with Jes Baker

Show notes:

Learn more about Jes Baker

Read Jes’ writing at The Militant Baker

Check out Jes’ books Landwhale and Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls

Nike’s Plus Size Mannequin Backlash

Nike recently unveiled a new plus-size line of athletic clothing and with it, a plus-size mannequin on which to display the clothing. Makes sense, right? A plus-size mannequin to display plus-size clothing.

One journalist, however, railed against this move as “promoting obesity.” In this Dietitians Unplugged episode, Aaron and I talk about the reaction to the mannequin, both good and bad, how promoting obesity is not actually “a thing”, and the role that internalized weight stigma may have played in this reaction.

Episode 60 – Nike Plus-Size Mannequin Does NOT Promote Obesity

Show notes:

I’m not linking to the original article because it’s pretty mean, and you can search the Tanya Gold/Nike article if you want to read it (it’s pretty easy to find). Instead, here are some great articles clapping back.

Telegraph’s Fatphobic Take On Nike’s Plus-Size Mannequins Receives Backlash

Nike’s plus-sized mannequins don’t ‘promote’ obesity – they reflect reality. Why on earth is that an issue?

The Real Issue With Nike’s Plus Size Mannequins

Dances with Fat: Nike’s Plus Size Mannequins Uncover the Truth About Weight Stigma

Study showing lower mortality in “overweight” category (referenced)

You are already sick enough with Dr. Jennifer Gaudiani

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In this episode of the Dietitians Unplugged podcast, we were thrilled to talk to Dr. Jennifer Gaudiani of the Gaudiani Clinic in Denver, CO which provides in-person and telehealth care to people with current or a history of eating disorders.

Dr. G is the author of the book Sick Enough, a Guide to the Medical Complications of Eating Disorders. She talked to us about her journey to becoming a HAES-aligned doctor, and how she realized that HAES is the only ethical way to treat patients, especially those in larger bodies. She explains her “house on fire” analogy which helps those who struggle to understand that they are already sick enough with their eating disorder and don’t need to delay treatment any longer. We think everyone will benefit from listening to this podcast – patients and doctors alike.

Listen now:

Ep 56 Jennifer Gaudiani
Episode 56 – Sick Enough with Dr. Jennifer Gaudiani

Show notes:

Gaudiani Clinic

Sick Enough, a Guide to the Medical Complications of Eating Disorders

The Rise of Fat TV: the Good, the Bad, and the Meh

tv-2213140_1280I’m a long-time TV fan but as I get older, my time is precious. I want to watch things that I find really entertaining. And with the rise of more fat representation on TV, there are more things for me to think about watching. But just because something includes a fat person doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a great show.

So in this episode, Aaron and I discussed the viewing options presented over the past year (thanks to streaming!) and offered up some criticism to help you in deciding what to watch. And it is summer after all, which, if you’re old enough, you remember as the time of summer reruns and trying to figure out what’s on that’s good (apparently this is no longer a problem, but nostalgia dies hard in my home).

In this episode, we talked about the TV show Dietland, based on the book of the same name by Sarai Walker, that aired last year on AMC and now streams on Hulu, and Shrill, which debuted this spring and runs on Hulu as well. We also mention a few shows with dubious fat representation that we have not and will not be watching (return of The Biggest Loser, Insatiable) for a variety of reasons.

Cover2Episode 59 – Fat TV Reviewed: Shrill, Dietland

 

 

Getting Back into Your Body

Stock Photo: Hands Holding Hydrangea Flower
Photo courtesy of Representation Matters

Our bodies tell so much of the story of ourselves. In an ideal world, we’d be good friends with our bodies, appreciate them for what they allow us to experience of the world, and be in tune with what they tell us about those experiences. But because we don’t live in a perfect world, we can lose touch with the wisdom of our bodies. Or, because of past trauma, our bodies have become a scary place for us to be.

Getting back into our bodies can be a challenge, so we asked Tracy Brown, RDN, LD/N, a somatic nutrition therapist, how she helps people do just that. She talked about the effects of trauma on the body, how “feeling fat” isn’t really about body size at all, how the fight/flight/freeze reflex can keep us trapped in the diet cycle and how reconnecting with the body can help end the cycle.

And if you want to see body disconnection in action, I provided a spectacular example during this episode (you’ll probably know it when you hear it!). Last year was great professionally, but tough and also way too busy. I spent too much time working and growing, and not enough relaxing and regenerating. And I am someone that needs a fair amount of relaxation in order to function optimally for the long run. When we recorded this episode, I was experiencing the late effects of total body breakdown: exhaustion, headaches, and a real difficulty with concentration. It’s been a hard lesson in knowing my limits and learning to respect my body, but life is always a work in progress!

Cover2Episode 55 – Getting Back to Our Bodies with Tracy Brown, RDN

 

 

HAES Care for Diabetes

Rebecca Scritchfield and I are working hard on a new, expanded offering of our weight-inclusive diabetes groups. Make sure to sign up on this page to be one of the first to find out when it launches.

What We Mean by “Thin Privilege”

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An example of thin privilege: only images of thin women appeared when I searched “attractive woman”

I rarely bring up the concept of thin privilege with thin people unless the situation warrants it (like when they are tsk tsking about fat people). My goal is always to try to bring people into the HAES fold with kindness and compassion, and I find bringing up something like thin privilege gets them on the defensive fast and shuts everything down and my seed planting goes to waste. Some might disagree with this philosophy and that’s okay.

I do talk about this quite a bit, however, with my clients in larger bodies because it provides a framework and understanding for why they experience weight stigma, and for why they long to be in thinner bodies. Who doesn’t want privilege?? We all want that.

At the same time, I strongly feel that dietitians and dietitians-to-be —  thin or not –absolutely must understand this concept if they want to practice compassionate care. At some point, dietitians will treat people in fat bodies, and it is imperative that they understand how people suffer so under such an unfair system of privilege. (It’s also important to understand that we need to change the unfair system and not the body size)

So when Aaron and I gave an introductory talk on Health at Every Size and Intuitive Eating to a large group of dietetic interns, we were a little surprised at the “feedback” (more like vitriolic criticism) we got from several attendees for mentioning thin privilege (an example of the aforementioned shutting down). They felt they had been attacked personally by even the mention of thin privilege, even though no person in the room had actually been identified by us as having it — we were simply bring it up as a concept to consider when treating people in larger bodies.

Since we consider all life experiences fodder for a podcast,  this was our effort to process the whole experience and talk about why acknowledging thin privilege exists is so important (I had it once and can tell you it exists). If you are in a smaller body, I hope you’ll listen to this podcast with an open heart and mind, because no matter what, all bodies are good bodies, and we always appreciate our thin allies.

 

Cover2Episode 54 – What We Mean By “Thin Privilege”

Binge Eating Disorder Relapse

I work with many clients who have binge eating disorder or, if not an official diagnosis, definite binge eating behaviors. All are in different stages of recovery, and many make great progress with learning to eat in an unrestricted, nourishing way that they feel good about while also ceasing binge behaviors.

My clients also come in a range of body sizes, but most typically are in larger bodies. Given our culture’s view of fat bodies, it doesn’t surprise me at all when they eventually ask, “When can I start trying to lose weight again?”

The reality is, my clients are not strangers to dieting and weight loss. They have “succeeded” at weight loss many times, always with the inevitable weight regain that we know comes with weight loss attempts. They have developed extremely disordered eating, if not an eating disorder, and struggle to know the best way to feed themselves. So of course, I know that attempting to lose weight again is a disaster waiting to happen for their health, their eating, their mental health.

But sometimes we need to hear the stories of others to fully grasp the potential impact of certain behaviors (like dieting and restriction). That’s why I was thrilled to talk to Sunny Sea Gold, author of the book Food: The Good Girl’s Drug, about her recovery from and subsequent relapse back into binge eating disorder. We are all susceptible to diet culture, even in recovery, and we need to be reminded regularly that diets aren’t the answer and that they were often the likely cause of a lot of our problems with food and weight.

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Episode 53 – What BED Relapse Looks like with Sunny Sea Gold

 

 

 

HAES-Focused Diabetes Care

Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN, of the Body Kindness book, and I have cooked up something wonderful for those with diabetes who don’t want to diet. Our HAES Care for Diabetes Concerns has been getting rave reviews from participants, and we are working hard to expand access to this program this year. Get on our priority email list to find out when this group is happening next!

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Is there a size limit for HAES?

Cover2People often send us questions for our Dietitians Unplugged podcast. We love getting questions and once in a while we’ll pick one to answer in our show. This one in particular was one we felt was probably on the minds of many people for whom HAES was a completely new concept.

Our listener wrote:

I just listened to Dietitians Unplugged episode about Tess Holiday. Can you explain to me your feelings around obesity in a little more context. I am confused with what you actually promote around being very overweight. I do understand intuitive eating.  And let me note, I’m not commenting on Tess Holiday specifically or her being on a cover of a magazine. I’m talking about obesity in general. In your opinion obesity is not bad? How can you support that opinion if obesity is linked to an endless number of medical conditions? I see how one can be overweight but still healthy. Just as someone can be skinny and unhealthy. But at a certain point in time, if you are so over weight that you are declared obese then you have fat crushing your major organisms, you are shortening your life, and setting yourself up for a difficult aging processes. How can someone with that amount of excess weight still “healthy.”  Thank you for reading, your inquisitive listener.

To be very honest, I wasn’t sure if at first we were being trolled. But I sometimes forget what a wonderful little HAES bubble I live in much of the time, both in my mind, and online (and even IRL with most of my local friends and acquaintances), and I realize that in fact, most people haven’t even heard of HAES and might have questions (and I’m pretty sure that early on, this was one of the skeptical questions I had very early on when being introduced to HAES). 

For those of you who aren’t podcast listeners, I’ll give you the very quick and short answer to the question of, “Is there a size limit to HAES?”: No. Slightly longer answer: I feel that anyone of any size can benefit from Health at Every Size principles, and furthermore, dieting to lose weight is probably doing actual harm. My clients in large bodies have tried dieting more times than you can count, and aside from usually gaining even more weight than they lost in the first place, they come to be with extremely disordered eating and total confusion and frustration around the best way to take care of themselves with food and movement. And finally: I never promote a particular body size. To me, all bodies are good bodies. I am more interested in promoting the best, most sustainable and life-affirming ways to take care of the body a person has right now. 

If you want the longer, much more nuanced answer to our listener’s question, give this episode a listen!

Episode 52 – Is there a size limit to HAES?

 

HAES Focused Diabetes Care

Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN, of the Body Kindness book, and I have cooked up something wonderful for those with diabetes who don’t want to diet. Our HAES Care for Diabetes Concerns has been getting rave reviews from participants, and we are working hard to expand access to this program this year. Get on our priority email list to find out when this group is happening next!

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What is Orthorexia?

almondsMany of you have heard this word before: orthorexia. But what is it?

While not an official eating disorder listed in the DSM V, orthorexia is a growing concern in the ED world. The NEDA website tells us,

The term ‘orthorexia’ was coined in 1998 and means an obsession with proper or ‘healthful’ eating. Although being aware of and concerned with the nutritional quality of the food you eat isn’t a problem in and of itself, people with orthorexia become so fixated on so-called ‘healthy eating’ that they actually damage their own well-being.” However, since there is no official diagnostic criteria, it can be very hard to recognize. It’s kind of a “I know it when I see it” situation, which isn’t great for those who suffer from it, because it means many people are probably getting overlooked.

I have orthorexic clients, and they’ve sought help because their “healthy” food choices are starting to ruin their lives. They have anxiety at the thought of eating anything outside their rigid “clean eating” food rules. It’s beyond “healthy eating” and making choices that meet both satisfaction and nutrition needs. It’s an obsession, and sometimes becomes a full-time job.

Aaron and I decided to tackle the topic on our Dietitians Unplugged podcast when he found a blog post that felt dismissive of the issue. If you are wondering if your eating might qualify as orthorexia, give this podcast a listen, and if you think you need it because your life is not your own anymore, reach out to a professional for help.

Cover2Episode 51 – When Caring About Food Becomes Orthorexia

Show notes:

Read the blog that inspired this episode

Need Diabetes Care that isn’t Weight-Focused?

imageRebecca Scritchfield, RDN, and I run a HAES-based virtual support and education group that helps with self-care for diabetes and other metabolic concerns. Get on the email list so you can be the first to find out when our next group is open.

Feedback from participants has been great and we are helping people to get past the feelings of shame that sometimes come with a diabetes diagnosis, especially for those who are in larger bodies, and moving towards positive self-care. Learn more: HAES Care for Diabetes Concerns