As a naturopathic doctor, I believe that food can be a form of medicine and that it possesses many therapeutic properties. I regularly utilize personalized diets and recommend specific nutrients to support the mental, emotional, and physical health of my clients. I consider how genetic variations in individuals can impact how they metabolize certain foods and how this effects hormonal balance and overall wellness.
I also have come to know that the healing properties of food are much broader than its nutritional content. I believe that nurturing the body, mind, and soul are all of equal priority when achieving holistic wellness. This means a “healthy” diet cannot be attributed to one that narrowly fixates on biochemical attributes of each ingredient. Selection of foods should also take into account the social, cultural, and pleasurable aspects of the dining experience.
For these reasons, I adhere to teaching nutrition, lifestyle practices, and wellness solutions to promote well-being, rather than advocating for weight-centric outcomes. I am a HAES (Health at Every Size) practitioner because I feel that all bodies can thrive when treated with respect and dignity. This means that I embrace body diversity and do not subscribe to body size stigma, food shaming, or any other dangerous messages of diet culture disguised as health.
“Come On, Can You REALLY Be Healthy Without Focusing on the Scale!?”
I’ve heard this question a lot.
My answer is, “Yes, you CAN be healthy without focusing on weight. In fact, perhaps even more so.”
In previous articles, I have discussed the detrimental messages of our weight- obsessed society, the dangers of dishonoring body diversity and food shaming, and how healthcare is being misled by flawed “obesity” research. These prejudices and practices are resulting in stigma, disordered eating behaviors, food obsessions, and suboptimal medical care of larger bodies.
Diet culture is causing more harm than good, for everyone, of all sizes.
But How Can One Stay Healthy Without Trying to Shrink Their Body?
There is a movement underway with nutritional and well-being leaders that have ditched diet-culture and are teaching people how to finally make peace with food and their bodies. These like-minded dieticians, health care practitioners, and researchers are turning their backs to the scales. They are empowering people to live their lives by focusing on their goals, not the weight loss industry outcomes that they have been programed to pursue.
In this article, I conclude my series on diet culture by providing educational resources that focus on holistic, weight-neutral, healthy living.
- the concept of truly holistic health
- body resiliency
- intuitive eating
- making peace with food
- body image
It is my hope that these materials will help you on your journey to finding freedom from food obsession and honoring your body as it is now.
Podcasts for Peaceful Cohabitating with Food and Your Body
How To Set Health Goals Beyond the Scale (Listen to Your Body Podcast)
“Change is only possible when it happens at the core of who you are. Unraveling diet culture can genuinely shake the foundation of who you are or what you thought you believed in. While this can seem daunting, it is important to see this new mindset as an opportunity to analyze where your previous thoughts have come from and whether they truly align with what you want. Viewing your mindset as an opportunity to break away from the definition of health that diet culture has co-opted and instead embrace your own definition of health is the first step to understanding what true health really is…
While advertisements tell us that your health is solely physical, it is truly a combination of the four bodies, including mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health. By redistributing your energy to all four components of your overall health, you can work towards health in every aspect of the term.”
Body Resiliency: Discovering That Your Body is Not an Object, But Is Instrumental to Obtaining Your Objectives
I was just introduced to the concept of “body resiliency” through a few podcast interviews with doctors Lindsay and Lexie Kite. I learned that this is a very in-depth topic that does not try to band aid body shame by making women feel more beautiful. In fact, focusing on “feeling beautiful” perpetuates the meme that women’s power is only in their outside appearance.
Body resiliency offers a path that moves away from objectifying the body. It explores how to transform the pain from self-objectification into living life in an empowered way. It views the body as instrumental to making a change in the world, rather than solely an instrument to adorn.
Rather than using food as a focus of control to try to make one more comfortable in uncertain times, doctors Lindsey and Lexie Kite explain that the goal is to change from focusing on weight to what is nurturing. It is about the practice of embracing and finding comfort in the uncomfortable.
Below are two podcasts on this topic with links to additional resources:
Diet-Binge-Diet-Binge-Diet-Binge with Isabel Foxen Duke of Stop Fighting Food (Podcast with Laura Thomas)
This episode’s topic overview includes:
- Why control and willpower aren’t what helps you break out of the diet-binge cycle
- Why you can’t fall off the wagon if there is no wagon
- Why learning about set point weight theory, Health at Every Size and Fatphobia are important in recovering from disordered eating
- The ‘love yourself thin’ diet you need to watch out for
- How not to turn intuitive eating into a diet
- How hunger, fullness, and ‘overeating’ are pathologised by diet culture
The Psychology of Intuitive Eating with Elyse Resch MS, CEDRD-S (RD Real Talk Podcast)
“Elyse Resch, MS CEDRD-S, is one of the co-authors of the book, Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach. This is the 4th edition of the book, written with Evelyn Tribole. This non-diet approach to nutrition therapy and counseling has changed the way many dietitians practice now, giving us a language for effective nutrition work that provides an antidote to diet culture. In this episode—an intro to the NEW RD Real Talk Intuitive Eating podcast series! Elyse provides us with a foundation for the psychology of the Intuitive Eating approach. We review the “three brains” and how they all impact our behaviors, and survival instincts. And of course, she shares some real talk about how the approach has evolved over the years.”
Improve Your Body Image (How to Love Your Body Podcast)
This podcast explores “the different areas of body image and many tips on how to work through the struggles.”
What To Do Instead of New Year Resolutions (How to Love Your Body Podcast)
“Most resolutions are based on fixing yourself, but what if you did something fun or nurturing instead.”
Here’s another podcast that explores how to do just that. Listen in here.
Anyone can learn to honor their body and focus on their health goals by finding peace with food, aligning with their own definition of health, and taking nurturing and gentle care of their emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual wellness.
This can be achieved in tiny steps, by one action a day, until it turns into a new way of thinking. You may have to tune-out diet culture memes and tune-into you more to get there.
You deserve a fulfilling life that focuses on your values, not societal and stranger’s expectations of what outside appearance will deem you worthy. I realize this is not an easy task in today’s entrenched diet culture. Still, it is possible.
If you need additional support, you may want to contact a HAES provider, like myself, to help you along your way.
Everyone deserves food and body freedom and respect, by themselves and others.
Mental Health Resources
*If you are experiencing a mental health crisis and/or are suicidal, please seek professional mental health support:
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (U.S.) — Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Crisis Text Line — Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor
- Lifeline Crisis Chat — Chat online with a specialist who can provide emotional support, crisis intervention and suicide prevention services at www.crisischat.org
Other Helpful Resources
Below are some of the highlights of the many free resources on this website:
- Four Essential Oils Blends for Supporting the Mind-Body and Easing Tension
- VIDEO: How Your Brain and Body Suffer with Too Much Stress & Naturopathic Medicine Tips for Calming the Mind and Relieving Overwhelm
- Video Recap: Essential Oils to Ease the Stress & Anxiety of Back to School
- The Importance of Fun, Music, & Play for Mental Health
- Video Recap: Essential Oils for Brain and Mental Health & Soothing Stress
- 10 Natural Ways to Relieve Stress and Calm the Mind-Body During Trying Times
- Video: A Naturopathic Doctor’s Approach to Thyroid Health Using Essential Oils: Video Recap & Additional Resources
Additional Supportive Techniques & Tools
- The Tapping Solution, A Technique to Lower Cortisol and Reduce Stress- Podcast interview by Dr. Kara Fitzgerald with Nick Ortner.
- Stress management tips and resources
Disclaimer: This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
According to experts and the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no approved standard of care treatment, cure, or preventative for COVID-19. Supportive measures and containment are in full force as a result. Please see the CDC website and your state’s website for more information and updates. They also state when to contact your physician related to symptoms and travel history, exposures. Please read my more detailed article on this subject here.
This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
Thanks Pixabay and Canva.