When we are in school getting our nutrition degrees, we learn all about food safety, how to counsel a nutritious diet, a metric ton of chemistry, and medical nutrition therapy to treat various conditions and diseases. We spent some time learning nutrition counseling techniques too.
But rarely are we prepared for what is often at the root of so many eating problems: a fractured relationship with our body image.
In school, they never gave us the language to understand this, for ourselves or other people, and they certainly never gave us the idea that we might also help the healing.
But in fact, we need to be able to help our clients heal not just their relationship to food and eating, but also their bodies.
I’m not talking about doing the work of a therapist. I’m talking about being able to listen and validate and understand WHY someone could hate their bodies so much that they lose their ability to eat in any peaceful, nourishing way. And helping them to find ways to reconnect with their bodies with self-compassion.
We CAN and SHOULD talk about this with our clients, and in the below episode of Dietitians Unplugged, Aaron and I talk more about how we as dietitians can start doing this work.
Dietitians Unplugged Episode 37 – Aaron and Glenys Tackle Their Inner Critics
We all have an inner critic. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t. It’s the voice that’s try to keep us safe by avoiding unnecessary risk.
So, yes, sometimes that little voice can be really helpful in keeping us safe…but sometimes it can hold us back by sending damaging and unhelpful thoughts.
In this Dietitians Unplugged podcast episode, Aaron and I talked about our own inner critics, how they manifest, and how we deal with them. This is a truly unplugged (and sometimes unhinged!) discussion that we’re sure you’ll enjoy and hopefully will give you a few more tools for your self-care toolbox.
Dietitians Unplugged Episode 38 – ED Treatment for Marginalized People with Gloria Lucas
In this fabulous episode, Aaron and I were thrilled to welcome to the podcast Gloria Lucas, founder of Nalgona Positivity Pride (NPP). I got to see Gloria speak a few years ago at the 2016 BEDA conference on the role of colonialism in historical trauma and we’ve been excited to have her on ever since then.
Gloria shared her story of how and why she came to found NPP, which helps to provide eating disorder resources to marginalized people. She also talked about how eating disorder communities must learn to do better to include people of color into the discussion and make treatment more available and inclusive of marginalized people.
Dietitians Unplugged Episode 39 – Is Sugar Addiction a Real Thing? with Tiffany Haug
Ever wonder if you’re addicted to sugar? Or some other kind of food? Aaron and I talked to Tiffany Haug, MS, RD, EDOC, who broke down the science of addiction for us, and explains why your diet history makes all the difference in how you approach highly palatable foods. Tiffany also talked about the problem with how food addiction is studied and the problems with the Yale Food Addiction Scale.
Dietitians Unplugged Podcast Episode 34: Healthism vs. Self-Care with Lucy Aphramor
I’ve been a little remiss in the last few months about updating this blog with our latest Dietitians Unplugged podcast episodes. I have been crazy busy this past year – in reality, too busy, because I was trying to do way too much.
It took it’s toll. I had to find ways to triage everything in my life. That meant I had to pick between writing, which I really enjoy, and doing the podcast, which I really love too. It even meant I had to let go of things like updating this blog with the podcast, which pricked at me frequently but also was just something I didn’t have room for.
I termed this self-care. No one can do everything all the time. Some things have to go by the wayside. Until something gave way in my schedule (which it finally did) I decided to only do the very most important things in my life — that was spending time with my partner, going to my job, caring for my clients, podcasting and resting.
The topic of self-care makes a great introduction to this podcast we did back in February about the necessity of self-care, and how “healthlism” — the belief that health is our sole responsibility, and even obligation, and is not affected by our economic status, race, environment, sex, etc. — isn’t really making us healthy in any meaningful way.
UK-based radical dietitian Lucy Aphramor guided us through this topic with her usual eloquence (no surprise that she’s also a poet). As a radical dietitian, she focuses on the deep roots of what causes judgement, war and shame.
Dietitians Unplugged Episode 35 – Metaphors & Storytelling in healing Eating Disorders with Dr. Anita Johnston
Eating in the Light of the Moon by Dr. Anita Johnson, eating disorder psychologist and storyteller, is one of the seminal works on eating disorders and one of the books that people tell me first helped them in their recovery from EDs and diet culture. We were so thrilled to have Dr. Johnson on our show and talk about how story-telling can be integral to our healing.
In addition to authoring this amazing book, Dr. Johnson is co-creator of the Light of the Moon Cafe, a series of online interactive courses and women’s support circles, and Soul Hunger workshops. She is currently the Clinical Director of Ai Pono Hawaii eating disorder programs with out-patient programs on Oahu and the Big Island of Hawaii, and an ocean-front residential program on Maui.
She also gifted our listeners with this handy guide to help discover the meaning behind your food cravings or phobias.
Dietitians Unplugged Episode Episode 36 – You are More than Your Body with Summer Innanen
One of my absolute favorite people in the body positive, anti-diet world is Summer Innanen. She has a genuine, no BS way about her that I just can’t resist. And it’s not just because we’re both Canadian, I swear!
Summer is a professionally trained coach specializing in body image, self-worth, and confidence. She helps women all over the world through her private and group coaching to break out of the diet culture cage and cultivate their inner, rampant untameability so they can wear, say and do what they want. She is the best-selling author of Body Image Remix, creator of the You, On Fire online program, and host of Fearless Rebelle Radio, a podcast dedicated to anti-dieting, body positivity, and feminism.
Rebecca Scritchfield and I are running our virtual groups again focusing on non-diet, non-weight-focused care for diabetes and other related metabolic conditions. Two tracks available starting September 11 and 13. Group size is limited so sign up soon!
When I first began my body acceptance journey back in 2010, I started out looking at fat fashion blogs. One of those blogs I found was Chubstr.com. Since then, founder Bruce Sturgell has turned Chubstr into a comprehensive lifestyle site and invaluable resource for large men. Because fat guys should have great clothing too!
In this episode of Dietitians Uplugged, we chat with Bruce about why he founded Chubstr, two things everyone should do when they’re starting to figure out their own style, and some of the best places to find big men’s clothing right now.
Do you struggle with PCOS and your weight…but don’t want to diet ever again?
If you’ve been given the standard advice when it comes to Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome — which has traditionally been to lose weight — but never want to diet again and aren’t sure the best way to eat for your health and fertility, I have exciting news for you. My friend, registered dietitian Julie Duffy Dillon, has created a course that is 100% diet-free to help those suffering with PCOS, called Your Step-By-Step Guide to PCOS and Food Peace. Registration is open until January 31, so check it out now!
One of the best things about having a podcast is that it’s a great excuse to hang out with your friends and also get to learn from them. That’s why Aaron and I were excited to have our dear friend, registered dietitian and eating disorder expert Robyn Goldberg, on the show recently to talk about progression people take in their recovery from eating disorder to intuitive eating.
Robyn talked about learning to connect with body signals, finding satisfaction with food, the challenges of being in a larger body with an ED, the resistance of health care practitioners to Health at Every Size® and more in this informative episode.
If you are in eating disorder recovery, or know someone who is, we think you’ll find this episode invaluable.
Brene Brown, Geneen Roth, Glennon Doyle, Oprah — women who want to empower us, all of them. That’s the message we’ve gotten, certainly, and many of us have felt the empowering effects of these women’s words on our lives.
But some of them haven’t gotten the message lately that worrying about weight loss or going on restrictive diets aren’t exactly empowering — or effective for that matter.
So when our friend Dana Sturtevant, MS, RD from Portland, OR’s Be Nourished sent a wonderful video rant to their Body Trust Network members about this very topic (among others), we knew we had to get her on the podcast and talk more about this and, like, everything else. Yoga, self-empowerment gurus promoting diet culture, social justice, true self-care, and how Dana found her way into the HAES® way of practicing are all here.
Last year, Aaron and I did a podcast on how much we hated the terrible, exploitative show The Biggest Loser. Some data had just come out about how participants metabolisms had all but flat-lined and stayed that way for years after their time on the show. For us, it was no surprise, but it was good to finally see some data supporting what we already knew (and what data from other studies also showed).
Imagine, then, how delighted we were when we heard that The Biggest Loser would NOT be returning this year for another round of fat-people abuse. We REALLY needed to celebrate this – and who better to celebrate with than a former contestant of the show?
Kai Hibbard was a season 3 contestant who came in second that year. Since then, she’s become an outspoken critic of the show and its tactics, a proponent for body positivity, and an all ’round riots-not-diets kind of sHero. When we contacted her to see if she’d like to come on our podcast and toast the end of this shit-show of shame, she was all in.
What followed was an honest exposé of her time on the show, how she developed extremely disordered eating during and after the show, her eventual recovery and transformation into a body positive warrior. Yes, there is lots and lots of swearing, too.
And while we have no doubt this is not truly the end of the exploitation of fat people for the profit of network TV, we think it was a nice little nail in the coffin. We need to celebrate every win against diet culture.
I’m amazed to say that before a few years ago, I had never heard of the condition Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS for short). A friend in college had first mentioned that she thought she may have it, but couldn’t get a firm diagnosis.
Since then, I’ve met many more women who have PCOS – so many, in fact, that I have a hard time believing the statistic that 1 in 10 women have it. If I had to guess, it’s more than that – but the typically poor attention and research around many complex women’s medical conditions will probably hinder proper diagnosis and of course, appropriate treatment.
PCOS causes hormonal imbalances, can hinder fertility, may be related to unexplained weight gain, and is related to insulin resistance and diabetes. One of the common treatments suggested has been weight loss – and you know how a HAES® dietitian feels about that. Weight loss in absence of any medical condition is already difficult to achieve and nearly impossible to maintain. PCOS makes it even harder. And as we know, it is in all likelihood a temporary solution at best, with the most likely result being even more weight gained in the long run.
That’s why I’m so glad my wonderful colleague and fellow podcaster, registered dietitian Julie Duffy Dillon, is an expert in the area of PCOS. She’s on top of all the latest research. So, of course, I reached out and said, “Julie! Make sweet, beautiful podcast magic with us on this incredibly complex condition!” and happily she said yes without hesitation.
If you or someone you know struggles with PCOS and related weight gain or insulin resistance, I think you’ll find this episode of Dietitians Unplugged incredibly enlightening and reassuring. There are things you can do for your health and your fertility, but luckily, one of them isn’t suffering under the tyranny of yet another weight loss regimen.
One of my big heroes in the anti-diet world is Isabel Foxen Duke. She is a bad-ass who doesn’t mince words when it comes to explaining why diet culture is bullshit, eating isn’t the addiction, and why emotional eating might be saving your ass. So when we got to meet over the phone a while back, of course I leaped at the chance to invite her on our podcast.
In this awesome episode of Dietitians Unplugged, Isabel, Aaron and I talk about all stuff anti-diet, intuitive eating, Health at Every Size and yes, even sex (don’t worry, the episode is still by and large PG!).
More About Isabel
Isabel Foxen Duke is the Creator of Stop Fighting Food—a free video training program for women who want to “stop feeling crazy around food.” After years of trying to overcome emotional eating, binge-eating and chronic weight-cycling through traditional and alternative approaches, Isabel discovered some radical new ways to get women over their “food issues” once and for all—not just by shifting the mindsets of individuals, but by challenging the dominant diet culture as a whole.
I have grey hair. Not a lot. Just some right now. There will in all likelihood be more down the road. This aging thing doesn’t go in reverse, Benjamin Button style.
When I was younger, I always thought I’d dye my hair. My grandmother did, until she was very old and couldn’t make it to the hairdresser anymore. My mother did too, until she got sick enough to no longer think about the dreaded roots (amazingly, only the last couple months of her life; and I think she still probably thought about her roots).
I thought there was no other option than to dye your hair because grey hair was simply to ghastly to be allowed to run unchecked on one’s head. If one’s head belonged to a female, at least.
Until one day I figured out there wasn’t just one option, which was to “hide” grey and pretend like it just wasn’t happening. If I no longer believed in societal beauty ideals, there were suddenly multiple options! I could let my hair get grey. I could shave it off. I could dye it not to hide it, but to bring attention to it, in unicorn pink-blue-purple! I could do whatever the fuck I wanted with it. That’s at least four more options right there.
I chose going grey, mostly because I’m lazy, but also because, as it came in, I kind of liked it. I liked it a lot, actually, once I decided that I’d see it as 1. simply another hair color that I was going to get to experience without having to do a lick of work 2. a way to buck patriarchal beauty rules that weren’t providing me with any real power, and 2. a symbol that I wasn’t afraid to get older — that in fact, I was going to own the hell out of getting older.
It hasn’t always been easy. As I dropped quickly and dramatically out of thin-and-acceptably-young-and-cute and deep into pudgy-grey-and-middle-aged, I noticed how people changed in reaction to me. Because I slipped out of the realm of fuckability in many people’s men’s eyes, it’s gotten harder to have my opinion heard around them. This would be a much bigger problem if I worked in a male-dominated profession, which thankfully I don’t anymore (frankly it was already hard enough to have my opinion heard by male co-workers and managers at any age); but not everyone has this luxury.
Anyway, I’ve thought about this stuff a lot as I’ve witnessed myself going from young-hot-mess (20s) to confused-but-getting-there (30s) to mature-and-on-a-mission (40s at the moment). I like me now better than me then. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still suffer the indignities of aging in a society that is distinctly anti-aging for women.
That’s why we got my friend and fellow middle-ager Michelle Vina-Baltsas on the line to chat with the Dietitians Unplugged. Aging affects our body image in a profound way, and it needs some processing. I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as we enjoyed having it.