Pork Belly Tacos with a Side of Anxiety by Yvonne Castaneda
Pork Belly Tacos with a Side of Anxiety by Yvonne Castaneda

Pork Belly Tacos with a Side of Anxiety by Yvonne Castaneda

In Pork Belly Tacos with a Side of Anxiety, Yvonne Castañeda shares vibrant stories of her childhood growing up in Miami as the daughter of humble immigrants from Mexico and Cuba . . . and how she came to develop an unhealthy relationship with food.

The Wellness Trap: Break Free from Diet Culture, Disinformation, and Dubious Diagnoses, and Find Your True Well-Being By Christy Harrison
The Wellness Trap: Break Free from Diet Culture, Disinformation, and Dubious Diagnoses, and Find Your True Well-Being By Christy Harrison

The Wellness Trap: Break Free from Diet Culture, Disinformation, and Dubious Diagnoses, and Find Your True Well-Being By Christy Harrison

The Wellness Trap delves into the persistent, systemic problems with that industry, offering insight into its troubling pattern of cultural appropriation and its destructive views on mental health, and shedding light on how a growing distrust of conventional medicine has led ordinary people to turn their backs on science.

The Body Liberation Project: How Understanding Racism and Diet Culture Helps Cultivate Joy and Build Collective Freedom By Chrissy King
The Body Liberation Project: How Understanding Racism and Diet Culture Helps Cultivate Joy and Build Collective Freedom By Chrissy King

The Body Liberation Project: How Understanding Racism and Diet Culture Helps Cultivate Joy and Build Collective Freedom By Chrissy King

From author and wellness personality Chrissy King, an exciting, genre-redefining narrative mix of memoir, inspiration, and activities and prompts, with timely messages about social and racial justice and how the world needs to move beyond body positivity to something even more exciting and revolutionary: body liberation.

The Body is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love
The Body is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love

The Body is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love

The Body Is Not an Apology offers radical self-love as the balm to heal the wounds inflicted by violent systems of oppression

The Art of Body Acceptance: Strengthen Your Relationship with Yourself Through Therapeutic Creative Exercises By Ashlee Bennett
The Art of Body Acceptance: Strengthen Your Relationship with Yourself Through Therapeutic Creative Exercises By Ashlee Bennett

The Art of Body Acceptance: Strengthen Your Relationship with Yourself Through Therapeutic Creative Exercises By Ashlee Bennett

Ashlee Bennett will teach you how to reclaim your creativity and make amends with your body using art.

whitneytrotter.rd

Whtiney Trotter, MS, RDN/LDN, RN, RYT (she/her) is a Registered Dietitian and RN, Anti-racism Educator/Consultant and Human Trafficking Activist

Reclaiming Body Trust: A Path to Healing & Liberation
Reclaiming Body Trust: A Path to Healing & Liberation

Reclaiming Body Trust: A Path to Healing & Liberation

Informed by the personal body stories of the hundreds of people they have worked with, Reclaiming Body Trust delineates an intersectional, social justice?orientated path to healing in three phases: The Rupture, The Reckoning, and The Reclamation. Throughout, readers will be anchored by the authors’ innovative and revolutionary Body Trust framework to discover a pathway out of a rigid, mechanistic way of thinking about the body and into a more authentic, sustainable way to occupy and nurture our bodies.

your.latina.nutritionist

Dalina Soto RD LDN (she/her) is an anti-diet dietitian. She founded Your Latina Nutritionist because she’s passionate about building nourishing new narratives for us that don’t include depriving ourselves of the foods we grew up eating. Her work is about supporting you to reclaim the flavor and enjoyment of your life by celebrating the foods you love and incorporating them into your daily life with education and awareness.

your_body_is_good

Amanda Martinez Beck (she/her) is a fat activist, body image coach, & author of More of You: The Fat Girl’s Field Guide to the Modern World

yrfatfriend

Aubrey Gordon (she/her) is an author, columnist, and cohost of Maintenance Phase. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Vox, Literary Hub, SELF, Health, Glamour and more. Her first book, What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat was released in November 2020. Her second book, “You Just Need to Lose Weight” and 19 Other Myths About Fat People, is a New York Times and Indie bestseller.

meganjaynecrabbe

Megan Jayne Crabbe (she/her) is best known for changing the narrative of how women feel about their bodies. She is the author of Body Positive Power.

Belly of the Beast By Da'Shaun L. Harrison
Belly of the Beast By Da'Shaun L. Harrison

Belly of the Beast By Da’Shaun L. Harrison

In this book, Da-Shaun takes on desirability politics, the limitations of gender, the connection between anti-fatness and carcerality, and the incongruity of “health” and “healthiness” for the Black fat. Harrison viscerally and vividly illustrates the myriad harms of anti-fat anti-Blackness. They offer strategies for dismantling denial, unlearning the cultural programming that tells us “fat is bad,” and destroying the world as we know it, so the Black fat can inhabit a place not built on their subjugation.

"You Just Need to Lose Weight": And 19 Other Myths About Fat People By Aubrey Gordon
"You Just Need to Lose Weight": And 19 Other Myths About Fat People By Aubrey Gordon

You Just Need to Lose Weight: And 19 Other Myths About Fat People By Aubrey Gordon

The co-host of the Maintenance Phase podcast and creator of Your Fat Friend equips you with the facts to debunk common anti-fat myths and with tools to take action for fat justice

Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being, and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating By Christy Harrison
Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being, and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating By Christy Harrison

Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being, and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating By Christy Harrison

Reclaim your time, money, health, and happiness from our toxic diet culture with groundbreaking strategies from a registered dietitian, journalist, and host of the Food Psych podcast.

Decolonizing Wellness: A QTBIPOC-Centered Guide to Escape the Diet Trap, Heal Your Self-Image, and Achieve Body Liberation By Dalia Kinsey
Decolonizing Wellness: A QTBIPOC-Centered Guide to Escape the Diet Trap, Heal Your Self-Image, and Achieve Body Liberation By Dalia Kinsey

Decolonizing Wellness: A QTBIPOC-Centered Guide to Escape the Diet Trap, Heal Your Self-Image, and Achieve Body Liberation By Dalia Kinsey

Become the healthiest and happiest version of yourself using wellness tools designed specifically for BIPOC and LGBTQ folks.

Fat Talk by Virginia Sole-Smith
Fat Talk by Virginia Sole-Smith

Fat Talk by Virginia Sole-Smith

Fat Talk is a stirring, deeply researched, and groundbreaking book that will help parents learn to reckon with their own body biases, identify diet culture, and empower their kids to navigate this challenging landscape. Sole-Smith draws on her extensive reporting and interviews with dozens of parents and kids to offer a provocative new approach for thinking about food and bodies, and a way for us all to work toward a more weight-inclusive world.

Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia By Sabrina Strings

An important and original work, Fearing the Black Body argues convincingly that fat phobia isn’t about health at all, but rather a means of using the body to validate race, class, and gender prejudice.

How to Raise an Intuitive Eater by Sumner Brooks and Amee Severson
How to Raise an Intuitive Eater by Sumner Brooks and Amee Severson

How to Raise an Intuitive Eater by Sumner Brooks and Amee Severson

A manifesto for parents to help them reject diet culture and raise the next generation to have a healthy relationship with food and their bodies.

Landwhale By Jes Baker
Landwhale By Jes Baker

Landwhale By Jes Baker

By the author of Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls and a heroine of the body image movement, an intimate, gutsy memoir about being a fat woman. A deeply personal take, Landwhale is a glimpse at life as a fat woman today, but it’s also a reflection of the unforgiving ways our culture still treats fatness.

Sick Enough By Dr. Jennifer Guadiani
Sick Enough By Dr. Jennifer Guadiani

Sick Enough By Dr. Jennifer Guadiani

Sick Enough offers patients, their families, and clinicians a comprehensive, accessible review of the medical issues that arise from eating disorders by bringing relatable case presentations and a scientifically sound, engaging style to the topic. Using metaphor and patient-centered language, Dr. Gaudiani aims to improve medical diagnosis and treatment, motivate recovery, and validate the lived experiences of individuals of all body shapes and sizes, while firmly rejecting dieting culture.

melissadtoler

Melissa Toler (she/her) is a former wellness coach turned writer, speaker, and educator

heysharonmaxwell

Sharon Maxwell (she/her) is a speaker; weight inclusive consultant; and fat activist

v_solesmith

Virginia Sole-Smith (she/her) writes about diet culture, anti-fat bias, feminism and health. She is a journalist whose latest book is, Fat Talk: Parenting in the Age of Diet Culture

thrivewithmeg

Meghan Watson (she/her) is a licensed psychotherapist, writer & consultant. She is the founder of the group practice Bloom Psychology & Wellness — a therapy collective of Black, Indigenous, South Asian, and Multi-racial therapists with a focus on building connection and fostering emotional growth in communities of colour. She shares reflections, skills and tools on how to show up as your whole self through a self compassionate and growth focused lens on her Instagram page

thethicknutritionist

Natasha Ngindi is a non-diet nutritionist helping you find peace around food, love your body, and move in ways that bring you joy!

theshirarose

Shira Rose (she/her) is an eating disorder therapist, LCSW who operates from a fat positive + Health At Every Size framework

thenutritiontea

Shana Minei Spence,MS,RDN,CDN (she/her) is a non-diet, weight inclusive dietitian who created this platform for an open discussion on nutrition and wellness topics considering all the information circulating around these days.

thefatdoctor

Dr. Asher Larmie is a fat doctor campaigning for an end to medical weight stigma so that everyone can access fair and equal healthcare irrespective of the number on the scales.

resilientfatgoddex

SJ (they/them) is a Coach, Consultant, And Soon To Be Social Worker Focused On Fat Liberation Based In Anti-Racism And Anti-Colonialism.

ragenchastain

Ragen Chastain (she/her) is a Speaker, Writer, Researcher, Board Certified Patient Advocate, ACE Certified Health Coach and Functional Fitness Specialist. She primarily writes about the intersections of weight science, weight stigma, health and healthcare at the WeightAndHealthcare substack

nic.mcdermid

Nic McDermid (she/her) is a fierce activist, feminist, advocate and content creator whose work focuses on disrupting the dominant discourse around weight and bodies, and challenging the ways in which certain types of bodies are both idolised and idealised.

newmoonrd

Meghan McGann, RD (she/her) is an anti-diet dietitian who advocates for inclusive care.

nalgonapositivitypride

Non-conventional eating disorder awareness organization run by Gloria Lucas (she/her). Her work focuses on eating disorder harm reduction.

jessicawilson.msrd

Jessica Wilson, MS, RD (she/her) is a clinical dietitian, consultant and author, whose work focuses on her experiences navigating the dietetic fields as a Black, queer dietitian

thefriendIneverwanted

Nia Patterson (they/them) is a queer, fat body Liberation Coach, consultant, writer, speaker, activist, and author

drcolleenreichmann

Dr. Colleen Reichmann is a clinical psychologist whose writing and work focus on body image, eating disorders, motherhood, and feminism.

bodyimage_therapist

Ashlee Bennett, AThR is an art therapist and artist and the author of The Art of Body Acceptance. Her areas of special interest include body image, internalized weight stigma/fat phobia, disordered eating/eating disorders, chronic dieting, and trauma.

bodyimagewithbri

Bri Campos is a body image educator who teaches body acceptance through grief

bodyjusticetherapist

Allyson Inez Ford is an eating disorders and OCD therapist. Social justice is an integral part of her work and she operates from a HAES lens.

bodyliberationwithlindley

Lindley Ashline is a body liberation photographer, writer and activist

decolonizingfitness

Ilya Parker founded Decolonizing Fitness in an effort to help dismantle toxic fitness culture. It is an online resource hub for coaches, gym owners, personal trainers and anyone who is invested in cultivating movement spaces that are more affirming and supportive to diverse bodies.

dietitiananna

Anna Sweeney, MS, RDN, CED-S is a relational nutrition therapist who specializes in eating disorders, disordered eating, and chronic illness

dr.jenniewh

Dr. Jennie Wang-Hall is a liberatory eating disorders psychologist creating community spaces for anti-carceral and agentic care

drrachelmillner

Dr. Rachel Millner is a psychologist, Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and Supervisor, and a Certified Body Trust® provider. Her work is trauma-informed, fat-positive, anti-diet and rooted in feminist theory, relational theory, social justice, and body liberation

edadhd_therapist

Stacie Fanelli, LCSW is an AuDHD eating disorder therapist who discusses neurodivergence, EDs, intersectionality & treatment reform

encouragingdietitian

Christyna Johnson, MS, RD, LDN is a non-diet registered dietitian specializing in eating disorder, disordered eating, intuitive eating, and body image. She sees the world through a liberation lens and advocates for collective care to move us forward.

Maintenance Phase

Debunking the junk science behind health fads, wellness scams and nonsensical nutrition advice.

Peace Meal

Peace Meal covers topics related to eating disorders, body image, and how society may influence our thinking.

Can I Have Another Snack?

Can I Have Another Snack? podcast is an exploration of appetite, identity, and bodies. We talk about how we feed ourselves and our kids (in all senses of the word!), and the ingredients we need to survive in diet culture. We’re sitting with the questions: who or what are we nurturing? And who or what is nurturing us? Hosted by Laura Thomas – anti-diet nutritionist and author of the Can I Have Another Snack? newsletter.

The Full Bloom Podcast

For busy parents who want a regular dose of body-positive parenting wisdom, this podcast features conversations with experts from a wide range of fields

The Body Grievers Club

Brianna Campos is changing the cultural conversation from diets and rules to acceptance and freedom. This is a podcast that explores the ins and outs of body image, self-esteem, diet culture, self-love, and finding peace as you come home to your body.

Recovery Warrior Shows

Experts and warriors who know what it takes to recover from an eating disorder tell their stories and share evidence-based research that inspires, educates, and enlightens the path to recovery for all people impacted by eating disorders.

Burnt Toast

Virginia Sole-Smith engages guests in conversations about how we dismantle diet culture and fatphobia, especially through parenting, health and fashion

Navigating Weight & Scale-Neutral Conversations With Your Doctor

Navigating Weight & Scale-Neutral Conversations With Your Doctor by Sara Remus, MEDA Social Media Manager

While the concept of Health at Every Size (HAES) is slowly making its way into the medical field, finding HAES practitioners remains a struggle. While they do exist, they are still few and far between. That makes it all the more important to know how to advocate for yourself when moving through the health care system, especially as it is very likely that many of your providers will not be HAES informed. In Massachusetts, there are just 14 healthcare practitioners on the official HAES registry.

This doesn’t mean that your provider may not share HAES values. It does mean that you should be prepared to champion your needs when visiting your doctor, and that goes well beyond your physical health. We’ve compiled some tips  to help you guide your interactions with your health care team to a place that is safe for your body and mental well-being. Read on for some ideas for having a weight and/or scale neutral conversation with your doctor.

If you have the opportunity to communicate with your provider through a digital platform, use it to start the conversation. 

Many health care facilities use secure digital patient portals to schedule appointments, provide test results, and offer payment options. This can also be a great resource for setting expectations when you request an appointment with your provider. Usually, these programs will give you the ability to submit a note when requesting to see your doctor. You can disclose as much or as little as you feel comfortable with. This is an example of how you could potentially make the request:

“Hello, I’m looking for an appointment to be seen for (insert issue and any details here). Please add a note in my request that I would like for this appointment to not involve any discussions around weight, and would prefer to not be weighed. If I must be weighed, due to something like medication whose dose is weight dependent, I request that the nurse and doctor allow me to be weighed with my back to the scale and not share any of my weight information with me.”

If you are comfortable doing so, you can share that you are recovering from an eating disorder, and that these sorts of conversations and having information about your weight tends to be triggering and not helpful in your recovery process. However, you are certainly not obligated to provide this information!

If there is not a patient portal available for communicating with your doctor’s office, you can also offer this information over the phone. If you’re not comfy doing so, you could also draft a hand-written or typed note that you can fax to the office ahead of time or hand deliver to any medical personnel when you arrive for your first appointment. You might find it handy to keep several copies of this note in your wallet or bag, so that you can hand it to a provider in a pinch. If, for example, should you end up in an emergency or last-minute situation where there isn’t time for the conversation to be had ahead of time.

If you have a behavioral health provider, ask them for help.

If you have a counselor, therapist, or social worker that is helping you through your recovery, ask them for advice in navigating your specific needs with a medical doctor. In many cases, your behavioral health provider will be happy to communicate with your doctor directly, with your written permission to do so. These communications typically happen over the phone or hrough a secure platform. You can ask to see what is being communicated between your providers (or not!). Your counselor, therapist or social worker can handle discussions with your provider that you may not feel comfortable having.

If you feel you are being diagnosed incorrectly due to your size, be vocal. 

It is a sad truth that some health care practitioners blame weight as the culprit for illness or injury before investigating and addressing other potential causes. We know that weight is usually not the cause of problems that typically lead us to visit our doctor.

If you feel that your doctor is attributing your pain or condition(s) to your weight, try asking them the following questions:

  • “If weight were not a factor, how would you go about treating me?”
  • “Would you give the same advice to someone who was in a thin body?”
  • “It is important to me that we look at all the potential causes for why I am experiencing these symptoms. Can you think of any other causes aside from my weight?”

If they insist that the issue is weight related and refuse to talk to you about any other potential causes, you can request to see a different provider. Having these sorts of conversations with your doctor can be quite uncomfortable, so if you decide not to push back on your provider, walk away from this appointment without answers and go elsewhere, that is completely understandable. It is important to remember that you are entitled to look for other doctors. When looking for a new provider, make sure to ask if they’re willing to have a weight-neutral discussion.

Lastly, if you have ever worked with a specialist for an eating disorder, they can be a great resource in helping you find educated medical practitioners suited to provide you with quality care that doesn’t revolve around weight. You may also find that asking around in your recovery group is a great way to find a doctor you can trust. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself. If that sounds a little scary, remember that it’s OK to lean on others for support!

Dispelling Diet Culture Once and For All

Dispelling Diet Culture Once and For All by A Recovery Warrior in the Community

Despite its pervasiveness in our society, “diet culture” is not an easy term to define because of the many facets it encompasses. That said, “diet culture” is a belief system that idolizes thinness and equates it with moral superiority and good health. Diet culture is more than going on a diet. It is, as mentioned above, a belief system, or a culture in and of itself. Diet culture is also insidious because of its ubiquity – it becomes difficult to notice because it is so dominant in our culture. This way of thinking about food and our bodies is so deeply embedded that it becomes hard to recognize. Often, diet culture masks itself as health or wellness. Think: Noom.

The impacts of diet culture are significant and harmful to folks of all sizes. Diet culture perpetuates eating disorders, normalizes disordered eating, and instills deep-rooted insecurities. In other words, it sets all of us up to feel poorly about ourselves, judge and compare ourselves to others, all while promising that losing weight is a panacea. Diet culture suggests that in order to be loved, accepted, successful, and happy you have to be thin.

In addition, diet culture oppresses people who don’t align with what diet culture’s image of “health” is. This has racist, patriarchal, ableist, healthist, and transphobic roots. The people who are harmed the most are women, BIPOC, transgender folks, and people with disabilities.

Despite what diet culture claims, healthy and unhealthy bodies come in every shape and size. Those who are deemed “healthy” should not be put on a pedestal nor should there be a moral obligation to be healthy. But even beyond that, the use of weight, BMI, or body size as proxies for health should be rejected. Weight is just a marker of size, not health. Health is a multifaceted construct and other factors such as the social determinants of health (e.g., education, income levels, discrimination, access to health care, etc.) play a large role in whether or not you are in good health.

Additionally, scientifically speaking, diets for weight loss don’t even work. So, what we’re left with is billions of dollars poured into an industry that is capitalizing off of people’s insecurities.

So how can you begin to break free from diet culture?

  1. Challenge and think critically about comments on weight, size, and shape as they relate to “health” and “wellness”.
  2. Learn about Health at Every Size ® (HAES), a movement that acknowledges that health is primarily driven by social, economic, and environmental factors, not weight. This approach encourages pursuing one’s own health, not as an obligation and independent from a focus on weight loss. HAES is built on five principles, including weight inclusivity, health enhancement, eating for well-being, respectful care, and life-enhancing movement.
  3. Consider intuitive eating. Created by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, intuitive eating is based on 10 principles (e.g., honor your hunger, make peace with food, and challenge the food police).
  4. Reject any diet or “wellness” lifestyle that comes with rules. Do you have rules floating around in your head constantly about what you can or cannot eat, when you can eat, etc.? Diet culture instills one-size-fits-all rules into us, which goes against the many different factors that contribute to meeting our own food needs, like nutritional needs, taste preferences, cultures, and food access and budgets.
  5. Instead of spending time and energy trying to lose weight, use that space to do things you genuinely enjoy – read a book, learn a new hobby, spend time with family and friends.
  6. Accept that health is complex and nuanced. Health is not an obligation nor a measure of self-worth. Despite what diet culture may have us believe, there is very little about health that is in our control.
  7. Cultivate the belief that your body is worthy of care and nourishment no matter its size.

Taking Focus Away from Diet Culture

Taking Focus Away from Diet Culture

By Victoria Kupiec RD, LDN, Director of Nutrition Services, Timberline Knolls

Diet culture is a prominent part of society that is often difficult to avoid. Conversations surrounding diet are ever-present on social media, in stores, and on television. This diet culture places a strong emphasis on achieving the ideal level of thinness with the promise of love, acceptance, and health to follow.

We are often told that we will suffer from disease and feelings of worthlessness if we fail to achieve an appropriate weight. Blame and ever-changing body standards that transform with time serve as major barriers to sustaining well-being.

The focus on unrealistic body standards promotes a cycle of shame that further attracts individuals to diet culture and products with the intention of “fixing” their bodies. Yet, the majority of diets that are started with the intention of weight loss are unsuccessful in the long term. Individuals often feel shamed or guilty if they are unable to meet the goals they set for themselves. If someone does not experience or sustain the weight loss they desire, they may adopt the belief that they are weak and do not possess enough willpower to manage their weight.

The overwhelming number of individuals whose dieting is unsuccessful points toward a big-picture issue with approaches rather than a problem with the individual. Another aspect that impacts the effectiveness of dieting tools is their heavy reliance on external cues and strategies. A more effective approach to support a positive relationship with food should instead focus on building sustainable habits that are not rooted in restriction and that help rebuild the body’s own innate wisdom to guide one’s eating.

Individuals who begin dieting will often regain the weight shortly after, which triggers the continuation of the dieting cycle. This cycle and the associated negative feelings leave our bodies and minds exhausted. Over time, this fatigue takes a toll on our emotional and physical well-being. The adverse effects of dieting can be seen with every fad diet that emerges, yet it is common place to fault the individuals rather than the approaches.

One solution to this struggle is to allow ourselves an open-minded approach to discover how we interact with food. Individuals are encouraged to develop and honor internal cues of hunger and fullness while exploring how different foods affect their bodies. This would also involve permission to incorporate foods for enjoyment. By allowing ourselves to explore the tastes, smells, and textures of food through an unbiased lens, we can find a balanced, yet diverse connection with what we eat.

These methods of self-inquiry are important, especially when supplemented by education from healthcare professionals who are trained in nutrition. There is no single solution to achieve a body image that you are comfortable with. Because each individual, and their relationship with food and eating, is unique, it is important to emphasize the body as a complex and multifaceted system that must be nurtured and cared for. In this way, our society can begin to see the importance of a person’s well-being, rather than focusing solely on their weight.

Fatphobia is probably something you’ve heard about but didn’t have a name for.

Fatphobia is probably something you’ve heard about but didn’t have a name for.
Written by Meagan Mullen, Clinician and Community Outreach Specialist

It is no secret that our society can be judgmental, competitive, and appearance-obsessed. So it’s no surprise that people in bigger bodies can be treated poorly. Most people are probably aware of the fact that being in a bigger body comes with a certain stigma, and having negative attitudes or thoughts about these people is called fatphobia. Similarly, weight stigma is stereotyping people based on their weight.

These types of thoughts and beliefs can often lead to chronic dieting, disordered eating, or full blown eating disorders!

There have been plenty of articles (here and here) that highlight the dangers of fatphobia (and weight stigma!) and showcase how present it is in our society, but what do we do to work against this type of discrimination and unhealthy belief?

There are a few steps we can take to address this issue, and they might be easier to achieve than you think.

1. Recognize your own bias.

Just like with any type of discrimination or unfair treatment, it’s important to be aware of our own biases. It can be hard to live in a society with such apparent judgments on appearance and not catch ourselves slipping up. In a way, we’ve been taught to think certain things that we hear from others, from the media, or even from parents, friends, and family. That being said, acknowledging our own biases is the first step in changing our thought patterns and beliefs.

2. Challenge fatphobic thoughts you have or words you use.

When you catch yourself saying things that might have a negative connotation in relation to someone’s weight or size, STOP! Be patient and kind to yourself as you work against these beliefs that have been ingrained in so many of us. Try using language that is more neutral like “bigger-bodied,” or just drop the body descriptors all together!

3. Read up/learn more about Health At Every Size® (HAES) or body positive movements.

Research and engage with communities/resources online or in person to learn more about how toxic diet culture is! Not only will this information help to challenge some of your own biases, it will also provide you with the necessary language and information to educate/share with others.

4. Set boundaries with others in regards to their language.

If you hear someone else making comments that are fatphobic or degrading about someone’s weight or size, speak up! You can always try to educate others about the Health At Every Size® (HAES) movement, or you can simply tell people that commenting on appearance isn’t appropriate and can lead to negative body image and disordered eating. You can also talk with a trusted friend, adult, family member, or therapist to strategize ways to set these boundaries. My personal favorite: reminding people that there are more interesting things to talk about than someone’s body, diet, exercise, etc.

5. Advocate for and work towards body acceptance.

This is a lifelong goal! So many people are affected by negative body image, chronic dieting, and eating disorders. Helping others realize that a lot of what we’ve been taught about weight and size is false can continue the growth of body positivity.

While no single person can change the world alone, there are plenty of likeminded individuals who see the harm that fatphobia does. Working on these small steps in your own life can begin to change your thought patterns, beliefs, and might even improve your own body image!

Tips for Talking to Your Doctor About Their Weight Stigma and Your Eating Disorder

Written by Monique Bellefleur, Ed.M, LMHC, MEDA Director of Community Education

I hear time and again from clients that they are afraid to go to the doctor’s office. I don’t blame them when I hear their stories: The doctor told them they were eligible for gastric bypass surgery (even though they had not asked about it and have an active eating disorder); They had a heart rate in the low 40’s and the doctor told them they were perfectly healthy (even though they had a BMI of 17 and an active eating disorder); They went to the doctor’s for a sinus infection and the doctor told them they need to lose weight. The list goes on…

However, it remains important to receive medical care. Although we wish the medical community understood more about eating disorders, we unfortunately have to learn to be our own best advocates until the medical community catches up.

Here are MEDA’s 5 tips for speaking to your doctor about their weight stigma and/or your eating disorder:

  1. Don’t be intimidated: Remember, doctors are just people who have gone to medical school. Yes, they have spent years studying the human body, but that does not mean that they are perfect, all-knowing beings. Even though eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness (Smink et al, 2012), a 2014 national survey found that out of 637 internal medicine, pediatric, family medicine, psychiatry, and child and adolescent psychiatry programs, 514 did not offer any scheduled or elective rotations for eating disorders (Mahr et al, 2015).
  2.  Use your Voice: Doctors are often overbooked, overworked, and rushing to the next appointment. We all know the overwhelming feeling that comes from listening to your doctor rapidly firing off questions while simultaneously directing you to stick out your tongue, say “ahh”, take deep breaths, cough three times, undress, redress, on and on. It may seem impolite to interrupt this process to ask your own questions, but you deserve to be heard, especially when it comes to your health. Speak up and express your questions and concerns about your care and your body until you feel satisfied with the information you have received. It is not your fault that you have an eating disorder. It is a serious mental illness that deserves appropriate care, and you may need to be very upfront with your doctors regarding your ED. Learning to use your voice is an important part of eating disorder recovery- think of it as an opportunity to practice.
  3. Confidence is Key: It’s a natural response to respect a person of authority’s opinion, but you are the expert on yourself. If something doesn’t feel right, let the doctor know, including when you feel dismissed. For example, if not seeing your weight is helpful for your recovery, tell the doctor and medical staff directly. If they happen to let that information slip (which seems to happen frequently!), bring it to their attention. If you feel like your doctor is dismissing your condition due to your body size or eating disorder diagnosis, tell them. Doctors take the Hippocratic oath to “do no harm”. It may be uncomfortable, but if their comment or behavior harmed you, you can let them know. By educating your doctor on how they made you feel, you may be saving another patient from a similar experience.
  4. Come Prepared: Have you created a plan with your treatment team for how you will handle your doctor’s appointments? Have you done research of your own on a suspected condition? Bring this information with you. Write your questions and symptoms down in advance. Bring along a friend or loved one if you need support. When you are prepared, you will be less likely to panic and forget your questions. If you have literature to share with your doctor about eating disorders, weight stigma, or any other condition, share it with your doctor and express how important it is to you that they consider the information. They may not have had a chance to learn about these topics in their medical training.
  5. Connect them to MEDA: MEDA offers free trainings to the medical community on eating disorders and weight stigma. If you feel like your doctor could benefit from a training, connect them to MEDA at education@medainc.org or at 617-558-1881.

Resources to bring to your doctor’s office on eating disorders and weight stigma:

Citations:

Mahr, F. , Farahmand, P. , Bixler, E. O., Domen, R. E., Moser, E. M., Nadeem, T. , Levine, R. L. and Halmi, K. A. (2015), A national survey of eating disorder training. Int. J. Eat. Disord., 48: 443-445. doi:10.1002/eat.22335

Smink, F. E., van Hoeken, D., & Hoek, H. W. (2012). Epidemiology of eating disorders: Incidence, prevalence and mortality rates. Current Psychiatry Reports,14(4), 406-414.

Do I have Orthorexia? 4 Questions to ask

Written by Meg Salvia, MS, RDN, CDE  from Walden Behavioral Care 

Is there such a thing as eating too healthfully?

Orthorexia can be bit of a tricky topic: while it isn’t formally included as its own eating disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), there’s growing concern about the physical and psychological impact of striving to eat “properly” in overly “healthy” patterns. At the same time, it seems counterintuitive to be concerned about eating too healthfully.

When is this a problem, and what should you do if you have concerns that this might be an issue for you or someone in your life?

Orthorexia is a pathological obsession or compulsion to eat healthfully or purely. Anorexia nervosa, as included in the DSM-5, includes the hallmark drive for weight loss and thinness. With orthorexia, the goal isn’t necessarily weight loss but a drive to consume foods considered pure, natural, or virtuous—distress is typically experienced around foods perceived as unhealthy. It’s also separate from appropriate or constructive efforts at supporting bodily function, because orthorexia results in a negative impact on functioning or health. 

Although there isn’t an official screening tool or standardized diagnostic criteria to assess (yet this is a work in progress [2]), asking the questions below might highlight if or how orthorexic tendencies might be problematic. It can be helpful to take a look at this from both the mental health and physical health points of view.

1) If my eating choices are driven by a desire to support my body’s health, am I actually meeting my body’s needs?

To support our physical health, meals and snacks need to meet the basic principles of adequacy, balance, and variety. We need to get enough fuel (energy and hydration) to support metabolic functions, include all the major food groups (including carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) and be exposed to a wide variety of foods to engage our senses and provide an array of micronutrients.

It’s certainly possible that pursuing an aggressive eating pattern means we’re not getting all the nutrition our body needs in one form or another. If our choices are rigid, omit entire food groups, or get progressively more and more limited, malnutrition could be a problem.

2) Are you no longer eating foods you once enjoyed?

Often, choosing nutritious foods to help support physical function and overall health means adding foods to ensure adequate intake of healthful foods. “Pathological nutrition” (as eating disorders dietitian and orthorexia expert Jessica Setnick calls it) often results in reductions or limitations around intake. Preference for eating only healthy foods can be a socially acceptable way of restricting our intake.

Is there a sense of fear and anxiety around foods that once brought enjoyment and pleasure? Do you notice your food choices becoming narrower and narrower?

3) Do my eating patterns and choices impact my functioning and engagement in life?

Here are some of the ways that orthorexia can have a negative impact on your daily life, outlook, and mental health:

• Obsessive thoughts: frequent and intrusive thought patterns about what you’re allowed or not allowed to eat, what you’ve eaten in the past, or what you will eat in the future. These thoughts can occupy a large chunk of the day, distract from other activities, or be a frequent and repetitive focus of attention.

• Feeling isolated or socially limited: Do rigid eating patterns or limited permission to eat a variety of foods prevent you from hanging out with friends, socializing with coworkers, or joining family at meals or events? Are your eating patterns helping you plug in to your social life, or are they barriers? Are you only able to socialize with those whose eating patterns look like yours?

• Attaching moral value or self-worth to what are perceived as virtuous choices: Do you see yourself as a better person for the choices you make around food? Are you harsh on yourself when your meals and snacks don’t live up to your own standards? Is this an ever-moving target you never reach? Feeling a sense of accomplishment with nourishing and taking care of our bodies can be appropriate, but if this feels like a significant or inflexible part of your identity or how you judge your self worth, it can be a sign that it’s orthorexia.

• Harsh judgment of yourself or others’ food choices: Are you unable to eat at restaurants based on what else is on the menu? Is your social circle limited because of what others are eating? It might feel uncomfortable to recognize there’s an element of judgment in our assessment of others’ choices. What impact is this having on our lives?

4) What’s the deeper reason behind my food choices?

See if you can identify what is driving your quest to eat healthfully. Have you experienced a health event in your family that brought health and eating patterns to the forefront of your attention? Experiencing a loss or having a health scare often prompts us to evaluate our own health risks or those of other people in our lives; If this feels panicky or obsessive, though, that can be a red flag.

Does making specific food choices give you a sense of control or safety? Are you choosing foods based solely on the fact that they feel safe and won’t cause you anxiety?

If it feels like you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, or answered yes to any of the questions, know that it is absolutely worth it to get help. As always, we’re here for support.

References

1. Setnick, Jessica. The Eating Disorders Clinical Pocket Guide, 2nd Edition. 2016 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
2. Dunn TM, Bratman S. On orthorexia nervosa: A review of the literature and proposed diagnostic criteria. Eating Behaviors. 2016: 21(11-17).

Meg Salvia, MS, RDN, CDE is the dietitian at Walden Behavioral Care’s Peabody clinic. She sees adolescents and adults in the partial hospitalization program as well as in the binge-eating intensive outpatient program. She is also a board-certified diabetes educator (CDE). She began her career working in research at Joslin Diabetes Center and joined Walden Behavioral Care’s team in 2013. Meg earned a Master’s degree in nutrition from Boston University and a BA in English from Boston College.

This blog was originally published March, 2018 at https://www.waldeneatingdisorders.com/do-i-have-orthorexia-4-questions-to-ask/ and is republished here with permission.