Category Archives: VIP Blogs

Weight Bias is Not In Your Head…and that’s probably not a reason to diet.

Isabel Foxen DukeDear Isabel,

I understand that a focus on “weight control” is what’s behind most restriction (and subsequent binge/emotional eating behaviors). For the sake of my own healing, I’d like to get on the body-positivity train, but it’s hard to let go of dieting in a society that *really does* judge people on the basis of size. I have a deeply set fear that if I get bigger, I won’t be loved, I won’t be chosen for jobs as easily, I won’t be noticed—how do I overcome this fear when I see it happening around me all the time? 

xo Anonymous

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Here’s the short answer to this question: 

Yes, we live in a highly oppressive world—towards all marginalized groups on the spectrums of race, gender, size, ability, age, class and various other factors.

Weight discrimination is not just “in your head,” and healing your relationship with your body may mean learning to navigate an incredibly violent and prejudicial culture without hurting yourself or causing yourself further harm.

That being said—I don’t know many people who are made happier, or healthier, by *participating* in their own oppression—by agreeing with, perpetuating, or acquiescing to the demands of cultural mandates that are fundamentally designed to oppress them.

It’s worth asking yourself the question—are you really happier trying to conform to a particular weight standard, than you would be rejecting those standards and being true to yourself—even in the face of judgment?

Are you happier doing the *constant* labor of harming yourself so you can look like something that isn’t natural to you? Likely without any long-term ‘success’ in these efforts anyway?

Are you happier suffering at the hands of restriction, food obsession, diet-binge cycling? Weight-cycling up and down?

Are you happier spending your numbered days on this planet trying desperately to conform at the cost of your own health, sanity, and freedom?

Yes, you may incur judgment by being your natural size—and given the long-term success rates of dieting, you’ll likely incur the same judgment whether you choose to diet or not,

but is incurring the judgment of some fatphobic people really *more* scary than living in a constant state of self-harm, with no promise of safety from that judgment regardless?

Like most people, I battled a deep fear of judgment when I first gave up dieting—but that fear seemed infinitely more manageable when I honestly considered my alternative.

At some point, it felt less scary to stand up to fatphobia, than continue pandering to bigotry, ignorance, and hate.

That’s the short answer.

Binge-Eating Recovery PODCASTS

In anticipation of my upcoming Master Class (which opens for registration on September 7th!), I’m doing podcast interviews all over the place this week—

get ready…it’s basically an IFD podcast extravaganza! 

Here are some new episodes to check out on your downtime (broken up roughly by category so you can pick and choose whatever sounds interesting).

#1. “What if I’m not dieting, but still binge-eating?” 

You can listen to me answer this all-too-common question on this podcast episode with Julie Duffy Dillon. This episode is short and sweet, and covers super important core concepts in my work—including,

the difference between “emotional eating” and “binge-eating,”
how diet-mentality destroys our best efforts at binge-eating recovery,
why judging ourselves for emotional eating is a common cause of binge-eating
and ultimately, why the
don’t-binge-eat dietdoesn’t work very well.  

It’s a great episode for new and long-term listeners alike. Here’s the link to check it out.

Also—not exactly new—but if you missed this epic interview I did with Jessi Haggerty a few weeks back, make sure to check it out. We cover my *personal* story recovering from restriction and binge-eating in depth (including major turning points and “aha” moments)—a critical interview for anyone who may have missed it. Here’s the link once more.

#2. As you may know, I think we all need to just calm the fuck down about emotional eating. 

I recently shared my story with Dietitians Unplugged, including why it’s essential that we calm down about emotional eating, what it meant for me to “hit bottom” in my relationship with food, and why it took so long to turn the ship around.

Notable quotes from this interview include things like: “eating food ‘just for fuel,’ is like having sex ‘just for reproduction’….it’s unrealistic and misses the point.” Check out this interview here.

I also discuss these topics in depth with Sarah Vance on the Reclaiming You Podcast AND this amazing episode with On Air with Ella. It’s raining podcasts!

Additionally, I get the most adamant I’ve ever gotten about the critical importance of de-villainizing emotional eating in this podcast episode with Christy Harrison. We talk about everything from how negative emotional eating narratives harm recovery to why spending your life trying to avoid illness may not be a life well spent. This episode definitely covers more advanced topics and uses some more advanced language, so if you’re new—I recommend listening to my earlier episodes with Christy first and then move on to this latest episode thereafter. You can find my first and second interviews with Christy here and here.

#3. Curious about my take on “food addiction?” 

Okay, so this one isn’t new…but one of my favorite interviews I gave this year was with the HOME Podcast about the stark differences between compulsive behaviors with food (and other biological necessities) compared with chemical addictions (like drugs or alcohol). Click here to check it out.

#4. What is “Fatphobia?” Why Size-Acceptance Activism? 

Katie Dalebout was one of the first people to ever interview me on a podcast 4+ years ago. This is a reunion episode for us where we talk about everything from the history of weight-bias, to dealing with food allergies in recovery, and much, much more. Katie’s also a Master Class Alum. Click here to check it out.

On a final note, I know this list is pretty exhaustive—so don’t feel any pressure to listen to every show. Pick one or two topics that resonate with you and enjoy those episodes at whatever pace makes sense for you.

Struggling with Intuitive Eating? FAQs with Evelyn Tribole

Evelyn Tribole is one of the co-authors of the pivotal book, Intuitive Eating, and is a total science and research badass. I recently got a chance to ask her some critical questions about her work, including topics like: 

1. Common pitfalls and challenges that clients may struggle with early on in Intuitive Eating…and how to move past them.

2. The critical importance of shifting our mindset (and diet-mentality) around food, rather than simply approaching Intuitive Eating like it’s the “hunger-and-fullness diet.”

3. We do some serious myth-de-bunking on the divisive topic of “food addiction” (which I also discuss at length in this podcast), and discuss why shifting our perspective on this issue is critical to recovery.

4. We talk about the highly sensitive topic of “gentle nutrition,” and how to approach this concept safely (and sanely) in recovery, with respect for different health situations and scenarios.

5. For the history nerds out there, we’ll also discuss the historical evolution of Intuitive Eating, and how it’s shifted to include principles like Health At Every Size,  Weight Set Point Theory, and the critical need for body-image work and stigma-resistance work in ED and diet-recovery treatment.

Without further ado, I hope you enjoy the track below!

(You can also find more posts about these subjects in my blog at the top of this page).

Resisting Fatphobia (A Social Justice Perspective on Size)

First, what is fatphobia?

In a highly over-simplified nutshell,

Fatphobia is any number of beliefs, attitudes, or ideas that rest on the assumption that “thin is good” and “fat is bad.” 

Fatphobia includes any actions, statements, exclusions, designs, or policy frameworks that assume this view—rather than respect and celebrate the reality of body-diversity in our world.

Fatphobia is being proliferated around us all the time, affecting so many areas of our lives (individually, collectively; emotionally, physically, etc.), that it is unreasonable to believe any individual could escape this cultural force unscathed, or unaffected, in our current social climate.

Realizing that escape, denial, and/or attempts at assimilation (e.g. dieting) are NOT suitable solutions to the problems posed by fatphobia—we are left with one option: 

Resistance. 

We reject those forces, structures and ideas that rank acceptability of bodies on a scale.

We stand up for our right to exist proudly in our own bodies, and for all other persons who have the right to exist in theirs.

We explore, identify and challenge our own fatphobic beliefs on an ongoing basis—reviewing both our own self-judgment, as well as our judgment of others.

We question research, institutions, authority figures, and social structures that uphold fatphobic ideals.

We educate ourselves about alternative paradigms (e.g. Health At Every Size, or weight-neutral Intuitive Eating).

We say no to media, institutions, and in some contexts, relationships that deny the humanity of non-conforming bodies, and/or put our own bodies or recovery at risk.

We seek to understand fatphobia and other systems of oppression (e.g. sexism, racism, ableism, and others) so that we may be more skilled in challenging these ideologies when they become known to us.

We acknowledge our privilege where it exists, and fight for the rights of marginalized people, understanding that “no one is free until we are all free.” (*)

We practice those skills and action steps that dismantle oppressive systems—that serve to protect, liberate, and improve the lives of all affected.

“Resistance,” in a nutshell, is the conscious and intentional practice of these skills—not only for the purpose of healing ourselves but for the purpose of healing the world at large. 

*And yes, I just quoted Martin Luther King Jr.

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