We’re excited to bring you our conversation with Christy Harrison, author of Anti-Diet and host of the Food Psych podcast. Many of you might know of Christy’s work, but might not know what led her to shift her career from working as a journalist reporting on food sustainability to becoming an anti-diet dietitian, author, and host. She breaks down her personal journey with food and eating disorder recovery and how it ultimately led her to write Anti-Diet, a culmination of her research on the history of diet culture, its roots in systems of oppression, Health at Every Size, intuitive eating, and so much more.
Connect with Christy:
Website URL: https://christyharrison.com/
Instagram Handle: https://www.instagram.com/chr1styharrison/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/christyharrisonnutrition
Twitter Handle: https://twitter.com/chr1styharrison
Book: Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being, and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating
Podcast: Food Psych
Connect with Opal:
Thank you to our team…
Editing by David Bazzi
Music by Aaron Davidson: https://soundcloud.com/diet75/
Administrative support by Camille Dodson
Lexi Giblin 0:06
Hello and welcome to the appetite the podcast brought to you by oboe, food and body wisdom, an eating disorder treatment center in Seattle, Washington. I’m your host for today, Dr. Lexi Gibbon, a psychologist and executive director and co founder of opal. Today I am sitting down with Christy Harrison and Julie church. Julie is one of our co founders, and is nutrition director and also Community Relations Director. And before we dive into conversation with Christy, I thought I’d just introduce you to her but many of you probably already know her. Christy Harrison is an anti diet registered dietitian and intuitive eating coach, and is the host of the very popular food psych podcast, which launched in 2013. And Christy was a journalist for is, I guess, currently still as a journalist for the past 17 years and working in food and nutrition media, and you could find her work in New York Times, or May the Food Network, and so on, and maybe put most pertinent to this current conversation we’re having today is that she is the author of the book that was released in December of 2019, called anti diet, reclaim your time, money, well being and happiness through intuitive eating. So welcome, Christy and, Julie,
Christy Harrison 1:30
thank you so much for having me. It’s really good to be here.
It’s great to have you Christy.
Lexi Giblin 1:35
Well, one of the questions we like to ask at the beginning is a question that gets up your early roots around food and body. So Christy, how would you describe? Where How would you trace the earliest fruits of your passion for food and body movement?
Christy Harrison 1:53
That’s a great question. I mean, I think it’s worth saying that I had a lot of privilege growing up in the sense that we always had enough food, my family was financially secure. And I also was in a smaller body, you know, I’ve been in a smaller body my whole life. So no one ever interfered in my relationship with food by trying to tell me to lose weight, or that my body was wrong, or, you know, anything like that. And so and, you know, another privilege, I think, is that my family, generally speaking, didn’t have a lot of disordered eating in it. You know, there’s, of course, all families, everyone is, you know, grows up in diet culture, and is steeped in these beliefs about food and weight, that can be really harmful. And so there was definitely a little bit of dieting, a little bit of kind of meal skipping and slightly disordered eating in my midst. But it wasn’t anything like some clients of mine have, or podcasts, guests, or, you know, things that I’ve heard about from other folks where there’s like a significant disorder culture in the family. And so I think what was modeled for me was mostly intuitive, eating mostly a peaceful relationship with food. And I was certainly allowed to, to have a peaceful relationship with food and maintain my intuitive eating skills that I was born with, that we’re all born with. So really, I didn’t have any major issues in my relationship with food, or my body. I mean, certainly, going through puberty, I started to have some body image concerns, but it wasn’t anything I really acted on. There wasn’t anything that took up a lot of my mental space or energy. And so I was able to have a pretty peaceful relationship with food in my body, until the age of 20. And that’s when I went to France to Paris to study abroad for a year, and changed my birth control pill there gained some weight. And suddenly, everything I had been told about food and weight and eating my whole life, you know, because I was never the subject of it. But I was kind of filing away these ideas throughout my life, you know, the diet, culture, beliefs that were around me. And so everything kind of came to the fore once I gained that little bit of weight and started my first diet and tumbled pretty quickly into really disordered eating. And, you know, at various points, it could have been diagnosed as an eating disorder, I never got a diagnosis because of weight bias. I think in the, in the field, you know, I was never quote unquote, thin enough to quote unquote, look like I had an eating disorder, like, huge air quotes around all of that, because those aren’t real, right? Like, you don’t have to be a certain low weight to qualify as having an eating disorder. There’s no look that eating disorders have. But I think at the time, especially this was like the early 2000s. I was, you know, seeking care and treatment from people who didn’t necessarily specialize in eating disorders, just kind of, you know, General therapists, and so never got the diagnosis and was actually told, like, I don’t think you have an eating disorder, you’re not small enough, which, of course, is really harmful to someone who does have an eating disorder. And so, you know, I spent about 10 years from my early 20s until about, you know, almost 30 in deep and disordered eating
And I was also at that point at the beginning of my career as a journalist and journalists, you know, really have to pick a beat, to cover. So in an area of expertise, an area that you’re going to focus on, and the things that I was obsessed with at the time, because I wasn’t eating enough food, we’re food and nutrition and health. And so those became my beats. And the sort of, you know, those were like almost sub beats under environmental journalism, because I did have a really strong interest in that and focus in that. But as, as we now know, and have seen over the last, you know, 21 years or whatever, I think the environmental and sustainable food movement has really dovetailed with diet culture, and has kind of turned into its own form of diet culture, in the sense of like, quote, unquote, Whole Foods, trying to eat plant based trying to eat local and all these things, which are, you know, I think, admirable efforts in and of themselves. But unfortunately, they’ve gotten so tied up with weight stigma and demonization of certain foods, and this good and bad food rhetoric. And so it’s become this really disordered thing. And that’s kind of where I was, at the time, when I first started my career in journalism, was really trying to eat local, I was obsessed with Michael Pollan was, wanted to be the next, you know, Eric Schlosser, or Marion Nestle, telling people what to eat, and why the food environment was so bad. And so that’s, that’s where I began my career. And I think it really, there was a part of me that was this sort of wise part that wanted healing that wanted to understand why my relationship with food was so troubled, and that was sort of researching and doing that journalistic work to try to get at the secret, you know, the key to healing and to feeling safe and secure with food again, but the the sort of more conscious part of me, I think, was like, I gotta lose weight, I got to figure out the secret to this. And, you know, I have to tell people to lose weight, because, quote, unquote, obesity is, you know, a huge problem, I really bought into that rhetoric around the so called obesity epidemic, which, you know, again, I now use major air quotes around because I have subsequently learned and, you know, discuss in the book, that it’s really not a thing that actually, weight stigma was so much more of a driver of this so called epidemic than anything else. And, you know, pharmaceutical industry influence and diet industry influence as well played a huge role. But anyway, so you know, my interest in all of this stuff, I think, really stemmed from the personal at first. And in 2009, I decided to go back to school or I did go back to school, to become a dietitian, get my master’s in public health, nutrition. And the goal with that was one practical because my magazine was about to fold, I kind of heard the rumblings that was coming. The magazine industry in journalism in general, you know, has really gone through an upheaval with the advent of the Internet. And a lot of publications have really suffered because of that, because of so much free content. And, you know, we also the 2008, economic collapse and all this stuff. So like, I knew that the kind of the industry I was in was not a great, secure, long term path just by itself. But I had always wanted to be a writer and a journalist, like, since I was a kid, you know, it was something that I had been pursuing for a very long time. And so I knew I wanted to keep that I knew I wanted to, but you know, stay a journalist, but also have some other credentials and some other potential career paths to go down so that I wasn’t just dependent on this one industry. And, you know, personally, I also was like, maybe this will show me the secret to finally losing weight and keeping it off, you know, because at that point, you know, again, I’ve always been on the thinner end of the BMI spectrum. I’ve never been considered fat by societal standards. But I was, you know, in my own eyes, I needed to lose weight, right, I believed I did, because of the toxic conditioning I had received from diet culture. And so those were sort of the, you know, primary drivers of going back to school to become a dietitian. And fortunately, when I was when I was in school, I happened to be working on a proposal for a different book that I never wrote. But through that research, I discovered the book intuitive eating, I discovered the work of Pallavi and Herman on how restriction begets bingeing, why so called emotional eating isn’t really a thing in the absence of deprivation. And so all of that really changed my personal relationship with food in conjunction with therapy, which I had already been doing for years at that point. And so was healing my own relationship with food, while studying to become a dietitian. And I was also working all through grad school, both freelance journalism and working in like community nutrition settings and nutrition policy settings. And through that work, I started to observe this sort of cognitive dissonance of what I was practicing and my own recovery and my own healing, and what I was learning in school and what I was telling people to do in my jobs, and I think that cognitive dissonance really really started to build and reached a sort of crust around 2012 or so when I decided to start my podcast and decided to or, you know, started thinking about starting a podcast anyway. And when I decided also that I wanted to get some more training and eating disorders and learning about eating disorders, and, you know, so I was doing a lot of research and reading on my own. And eventually, that really shifted the course of my career, because I started to work in the eating disorder field, I started my podcast in 2013, and was talking to people about their relationships with food. And it really started to click that, you know, this wasn’t just me, this wasn’t just my shameful secret that so many people struggle in their relationships with food, and why is that, you know, it’s actually because of the system of beliefs that I, you know, later came to call diet culture. So that’s kind of the long and short of of how I got to where I am today,
Lexi Giblin 10:54
I appreciate hearing that all at all at once. And I love that you have your roots are in intuitive eating. So you grew up with eating intuitively, and so you have a lot of experience with that, and we’re able to move back to that. And I just think your book is really amazing, in a few ways. One of the ways I, it just it feels like your journalistic acumen is felt as a reader, it feels sort of like you’re kind of reporting from the trenches, like a, like an ethnographer, from participant, you know, the diet world and what’s going on out there. And doing so with this observational kind of bringing in this knowledge base that you’re you’re you’re acquiring as you go. And it just it to me It felt like really relatable. And right on, you know, it was it, it brought everything into one book. You know, I think that’s the thing that I just I loved about it, it just felt like it. It’s Yeah, every one stop one stop reading, you know, rather than my books that maybe would dive deeper into one of the subjects you’re working with you, you took it, you go everywhere we know and go to places do a great job, I think of connecting up disordered eating and systems of oppression. And your book is still relevant today. And I was thinking of the December 2019, you release it. And then here we go into 2020. And, and your book was I think such a gift for this year, because it did it You seem to have been already already thinking forward about where we are or where most people need to go. And so I wonder how how that’s been for you to release it right before the pandemic. And before the civil unrest Black Lives Matter. resurgence.
Christy Harrison 12:52
Thank you so much for that, that good feedback. I really appreciate that. And, you know, I think it was it was really interesting, the timing of it, the you know, the social justice components that I wove into the book, I think were, you know, partly, I had always been interested in social justice, my mom’s a social worker, we grew up in the Bay Area, and to, you know, left left leaning, you know, liberal family. And so I had always thought about social justice issues and in the work that I was doing, and it was sort of a natural fit, when I discovered Health at Every Size, and the haze movement was really starting to bring in issues of social justice and intersectionality into the work around justice for and ending discrimination and oppression against larger bodied people. And so it all just really clicked and I started to, I started to kind of be exposed to that and learn about that around like 2014 2015 when the haze movement was you know, I went to the My first Asda conference, I think was in 2015. And there was a lot around social justice there and intersectionality. And so it’s been part of my learnings and practice in this in this field for many years as it has for so many of us. And thanks to the the leaders who’ve paved the way for that and started to bring in social justice issues, you know, Deseret attaway and Erica Hines saw them speak at the 2016 PETA conference, you know, like all these folks who have brought in sort of racial justice and intersectional lenses to the Hayes movement to kind of enrich it and make it a more inclusive space. And of course, there’s still more work to do, but I think it was really impactful on my work to see sort of intersectionality of this issue of diet culture. And as I was researching my book as well, I actually discovered the work of Sabrina strings. through another book that I referenced, Laurie, you know, heavily in my chapter on history called fat shame stigma and the fat body. I forget exactly what the subtitle is but fat shamed by Amy urban feral and she’s a historian, a researcher And that book was really, hugely helpful for me and understanding how diet culture came to be and how it was so wrapped up in racism and misogyny. And in that book, she referenced the then unpublished thesis, doctoral thesis of Sabrina strings. And I tracked down realize that she was going to be releasing a book around the same time as I was, or, you know, sometime the same year, got a galley, early copy of it, and was able to reference some of it actually didn’t get the galley until, like, a couple drafts into that history chapter. So I wasn’t able to, like really dig into it as much in the book as I would have otherwise. But, you know, it was so happy that that could be there. Because now Her work has been so impactful on, you know, the larger public, she’s gotten a lot of mainstream attention this year, this this past year, before her book, fearing the black body. And so it was just it all, you know, I think, a lot of work that other people were already doing, and you know, scholars and activists and advocates in this space was really influential on me. So I don’t want to be like, I was this visionary, you know, that I saw this stuff. Before anyone else, I think I’ve always had a good eye for what’s going on, in, you know, sort of social spaces or academic spaces. That is the next thing, I think I tend to kind of be attracted to like, something that that seems like it’s really going to be impactful. And, you know, the the new stuff. I’m not like the earliest adopter, but I’m an early adopter, I think. And so, you know, I got interested in this stuff that other people were already doing and putting out and it’s made so much of a difference in my work as well, you know, with clients, and in my journalism, because I think it’s the missing piece, you know, this understanding of diet culture as a part of other systems of oppression, or as having roots in racism, and homophobia, and sexism, and all these other things, was, has been really helpful for me, because I think I’ve always been someone who cares about social justice and is working for a more equal and equitable society. And so it’s so obvious when it’s spelled out that diet, culture is oppressive in these ways that like diet, culture also needs to go and that, you know, this pressure on people to lose weight and shrink their bodies is another form of oppression that we need to stamp out. And I think that, you know, a lot of my readers and my clients as well, being in New York City, and having a lot of clients and people in my orbit who are social justice minded, I think it It helps to make the case, you know, it helps to sort of get into spaces where people might not otherwise be thinking about fat phobia and diet culture as a system of oppression, you know, because I, I’ve seen certainly in, you know, the food justice movement, which I was a part of, and other, excuse me, other progressive movements that, you know, there still is rampant fat phobia. But I think once people’s eyes are open to this, the ways in which fat phobia is actually just another form of oppression that we’re trying to fight against. I think a lot of people who are justice minded will sort of understand and come over to the side of fighting against fat phobia and diet culture.
Lexi Giblin 18:17
Well, I wonder about that both quickly. And, Julie, I wonder how do you make sense of that? Why Why are folks not seeing fat as a social justice part of the social justice movement? Why is it so slow? Why are folks so slow to get there?
Christy Harrison 18:35
I mean, I think yeah, it’s it’s so complicated. I think a lot of it is the sort of steady toxic drip of culture over time. And that’s one thing that I really wanted to trace in history chapter of my book. And also the second chapter on kind of how diet culture has morphed and shape shifted in the 21st century, is that there’s a I think a lot of people would understand this as a social justice issue if it weren’t for how much the diet industry and diet culture in general has made us believe that this is an issue of health. This is an issue of you know, body size is an issue of health. body size is an issue of moral responsibility, that you know, is that you’re individually responsible for your body size, that it is, quote, unquote, bad to be larger body because like you’re taking resources away or you’re a drain on healthcare system, like all these horrible Hellfest ideas about body size and about food, I think had been fed to us for so many years, especially with the advent of the so called obesity epidemic. I say Advent it’s really like invention, you know, it’s it’s a, it was it was a trumped up term that was sort of, you know, given to this what could have been just sort of a neutral change in people’s body size over the years that wasn’t even that significant. You know, the the original research leading to the creation of the idea of the so called obesity epidemic was that people’s body size had. You know, on average in the US had gone up a couple of pounds over, you know, a few decades, and it was not a big deal, right? And same same with people’s average height. And so it could have been seen in the same way of Oh, interesting, you know, people seem to be getting taller and larger. Okay, like, who knows, right? But instead, it was pathologized. Instead, it was turned into this, suppose that epidemic, and I think that more than anything, at least for my generation, of people who are progressive minded, maybe are interested in, you know, food justice, or environmentalism and related topics, like, I think that construction of the so called obesity epidemic, really turned it into like, okay, we have to fight this, we have to fight. So called obesity, this is bad for people, you know, and so took it out of the realm of a human rights issue that, you know, people should be allowed to exist in bodies of all sizes, free from oppression and discrimination, and put it into this realm of health where it was like, they’re unhealthy, they’re doing a bad thing, they’re personally responsible, and also like, the food system is responsible, and we have to change the food system to make people less fat. And so I think just sort of pulling back the curtain on those things, and, and showing people how this notion of the so called obesity epidemic was actually constructed and is actually so driven by pharmaceutical and weight loss industry influence is really important and meaningful for helping people who are otherwise progressively minded to like understand this as a social justice issue.
I think the one thing I would add also is that the because it was brought into the health realm, medical practitioners were very much so in it, and then regurgitating the diet culture messages, and then that because of the way that that, especially MDS, as you know, I guess, have a lot of power and influence and trust in our culture for good or for bad. They were just regurgitating the stuff that wasn’t grounded in science, and then they just were being trusted. And then people just followed it. I think that that allowed it to gain a lot of traction, and put a lot of fear in people from somebody that they think they’re supposed to believe and trust. Right. So I think that’s really, I totally agree. Yeah, from all right, from all spheres, I guess. And that’s where I think it’s still is insidious, and still is continuing to have, I think that what you’re talking about progressive, or people that are sort of trying to be aware of the things that influenced them are the ones that are willing to reject the diet mentality and, and see it for what it is, but those that are maybe more conventional, in their thinking, and also are just trustworthy of systems are continuing to listen to the doctors that actually and I don’t want to just say doctors, it’s medical practitioners, it’s, it’s, it’s healthcare, in general, that is continually being done. So it’s, that’s one of the things that I think do is so hard to stop and where to where to kind of get into those systems is really I know, you didn’t speak to that in your books. Um, I know, with us and our clients, it’s like the individual person speaking to the their own individual practitioner is where I think a lot of the change is gonna happen. But I think that is really, it is Yeah, and I think like, you know, doctors base their decisions on the science, right to the best of their ability, and they’re busy people and don’t have time necessarily to do the deep dive into all the research and there’s so much scientific research out there. So it’s sort of like, the consensus of what the scientific research says is what most medical practitioners I think, try to base their practice on, plus, you know, clinical experience and personal experience as well. You know, I’ve heard a number of doctors say to their patients, like, Oh, well, I tried, you know, x diet, and that’s what works for me, so maybe you should try that. Right. Like, so. It’s like, yeah, this, you fodmaps I feel like that’s like, Oh my goodness, sorry, gluten free me. Yeah, all that stuff has been very
Christy Harrison 24:03
frustrating because there’s some maybe germ of research or they see they see one study or they see reporting about some study that says, you know, fodmaps could be you know, is the thing for IBS or whatever, right? And then not doing that sort of deeper research to understand Oh, actually, like in follow up studies fodmaps are equal or the low fodmap diet is just as effective is as like yoga or, you know, other forms of stress management, right. You know, yoga is far less invasive and potentially driving of eating disorders, then, you know, restricting your your diet in such a harsh way.
Lexi Giblin 24:40
Another question I have is regarding your use of the word anti diet, and I I’m curious about the why why that word, what draws you towards that?
Christy Harrison 24:53
I mean, so I see my whole book as as based as rooted in Health at Every Size principles, right like the principles of Health at Every Size. Including weight inclusivity. You know, that’s kind of like what the whole thing is about. Right. But I don’t I, you know, I talk about it explicitly later in the book sort of in like the solutions section, right. And like the life, there’s two parts of the book, it’s like, you know, kind of where we are now, or how did we get here? And then like, going forward, you know, Life Beyond Diet culture, I call it. So I think, you know, I included it in that that sort of solution section, because I think that’s where the formal Principles and Practice of Health at Every Size makes more sense. I think, you know, maybe I didn’t even intentionally do this, I don’t think but I just instinctively didn’t talk about it by name. And the first part of the book, because I wanted to make the case, kind of on its own merits for why diet culture is so harmful and toxic. And I think some people, you know, you bring in the buzzword Health at Every Size, they’re like, if someone Google’s that, that first few pages of Google are just like riddled with trolls, basically, like, there’s a lot of there’s a lot of reaction and resistance to the concept of Health at Every Size. And people don’t really understand it, when they’re having those reactions, usually, or they have a lot of their own disordered thinking about food and weight that is, you know, driving them to have that reaction. And so I kind of didn’t want to get into the weeds with all of that I kind of wanted to just, I’m rooted in Health at Every Size, like I know where I stand. But, you know, the first half of the book is sort of explaining, you know, how the system works, how diet culture works, how to recognize it, how it steals your time, your money, your well being your happiness. And there’s just so many stories with all of that, right, and so much research and so much, you know, so much to say about all those topics that I think introducing the concept of Health at Every Size and spending time unpacking, like, why it’s not what the trolls say, it just wasn’t, you know, didn’t make sense in that first half of the book. Yeah, one of the, you know, the the use of the word health in the phrase of Health at Every Size can bring up its own controversies and feelings and beliefs. And so I just would I know that you have used the word health ism in in this recording already. And I I’m just curious what, what you would say about that, or how you Yeah, it’s really nuanced. Because, you know, I think on the one hand, yes, like health is not a moral obligation, right. Health ism is this idea that health is sort of the Supreme value that everyone should hold. And if they’re not healthy, there’s something wrong with them. And that, to me, is obviously flawed. Like that’s a problematic worldview to hold. And so many of us hold it right. I mean, I had helpless beliefs, of course, going in, I think most health professionals do before they sort of interrogate it. And so you know, and in Health at Every Size in the, in the movement, the concept that health is not a moral obligation has been brought in explicitly to, you know, the HAES discourse, right. So that’s like, I don’t know if it’s in the official principles, or in some some of the discussion around the principles, but like, that phrase is definitely a part of it. Because I think in you know, recent years in the 2010s, there started to be some more discussion within the Health at Every Size movement that like, we need to prevent this from being read as a Hellfest agenda, you know, that this is not about like, it’s okay to be bad, as long as you’re healthy or only if you’re healthy. Right? That’s, that’s really problematic. That’s just health ism. Yeah. And so I think that, you know, definitely health is not a supreme moral obligation, and having health as the first word in the name of the paradigm can be read as problematic for that reason. And I also think, when you think about what the actual goal or objective of the Health at Every Size movement is, Originally, it was about creating a health care kit, creating an approach to healthcare, that is weight inclusive, that doesn’t recreate the weight stigma that’s out there in the sort of general health care field, and allowing people of all sizes to have access to compassionate quality care. And I think that’s still so important, you know, 30 years, 40 years later, after the inception of Health at Every Size, you know, and, I mean, that was sort of formalized, I think, in the 1990s as being called Health at Every Size, it’s still more necessary than ever, because of how Thai culture has created this fabricated trumped up idea of a so called obesity epidemic. And now, doctors and other health care professionals who are trying to help who are trying to do right by their patients are, you know, spouting this really harmful, unintentionally harmful weight, stigmatizing rhetoric that just ultimately, you know, forces people to often avoid going to the doctor not to get the high quality and compassionate care that they deserve, not to get the evidence based care that they deserve, because there is a lot of evidence to support a weight inclusive or weight neutral approach to healthcare. And so I think in that sense, you know, talking to interfacing with the medical community, I think Health at Every Size is kind of a good thing. phrase for kind of getting in the door and for saying what it is, you know that this is an approach to healthcare health that is for people of all sizes, and that doesn’t, you know, force weight loss on people. So, you know, I think in that sense, it’s really useful. And I don’t think I would advocate for changing it, because I think it, you know, it is important to keep the focus on health care access for larger bodied people and other marginalized people.
Yeah, I think it’s interesting to say, Yeah, I like how you said that I, I think to that health, defining what is health and allowing for each person to define that, you know, I think each person deserves to be cared for in a compassionate way, and given access to what they want access to. Right. So and I’m always like, yeah, if you don’t, if you don’t desire to have health care, or to pursue improved health markers in some of these traditional hybrid, you know, cardio metabolic markers, or something like that, that’s, that’s okay. And that’s, that’s your choice also. And yeah, like you’re saying, I think this allows at least those, those systems that are created that are supposed to be helping people with their health, to see that Wait, some of these systems that are out there are not helping people move towards health, if they want that.
Christy Harrison 31:22
And I think too, it’s important to bring in the social determinants of health, you know, that’s a piece that was really impactful for me in my, in my public health degree, and I think has become even more part of the discussion. You know, over the years that even if people want access to health, they may not be able to afford it or access it because of, you know, marginalization, and like in the US especially right, like access to health care is not universal. It’s not a it’s not conceived of as a fundamental human right in this country the way it is, in every other developed nation. And so, but even in other developed countries, there is, you know, sort of a tiered system where the most basic access is available to everyone, but it’s still not maybe as high quality or, you know, there’s a long waiting list and things like that, and then people who are more well to do can buy their way into care through private systems, because there there are private systems and, you know, Canada and Australia and the UK. And so, you know, I think it’s I think that’s an important piece of this too, is that like, some people may not have the desire to prioritize health. And some people may want to prioritize health, but not have the ability to do that, because of, you know, areas of marginalization and because they’re lacking access to quality care, right. And one thing I’m realizing is that we’re, we’re all three white women talking about, about anti diet, your book and all the issues they’re in. And I’m curious, Christy, what it’s like for you to be a white, thin, able bodied sis woman doing the work that you’re doing in a public in a public way, and how that’s felt for you. I don’t know if you’ve received any, any pushback about being in the role that you are publicly around food and body concerns? And if so, what’s that been like? And how do you how do you see your position? in the field question? I mean, of course, I’ve received pushback, because I think in this day and age, you know, identity is so centered, and, you know, if someone of my privileged identities is doing the work that I’m doing, there’s going to be some questioning and discussion around that my sort of approach has been, how can I own my privileges? How can I, you know, and sort of not own in like, a proud way, but just in a way of like, this is what it is, you know, I’m, I can’t change these things about myself. These are unearned privileges that I have, and everyone should have these advantages. You know, I think that I don’t think privilege is something to feel guilty about. But I think it’s something to, you know, use as a as a spur to like, push for social justice and to push for everyone to have the advantages that those of us who are white and thin and able bodied and cisgender and all the things are able to access, right? I’ve heard from many people, that larger bodied people and people of other multiple marginalization, right people of color who are disabled or trans or queer, that my speaking these messages helped them access this movement and this world in a way that maybe seeing someone who looked like them wouldn’t have at the time because they were so steeped in diet culture. And so, you know, I’m like this, I kind of see myself as maybe a transitional figure in a way of helping bring people in, you know, maybe I’m the person standing at the door handing out the flyers and someone’s like, Oh, you know, she’s handing out the flyers. This must be cool. And then they come in It’s like, very different, you know, it’s it’s more diverse. That’s, you know, there’s more going on than maybe it would seem, when you see me handing out the flyer, right, but, but I’m someone who can, you know, that’s my role, I think, or one of my roles in this movement is to show people the way who might be unwilling to listen to someone who is, you know, who looks different than I do. And, but I think at the same time, I have a responsibility to, you know, share the mic share the spotlight, and, you know, there’s sort of some critique around like, you know, pass the mic, share the mic, and then like, whatever the sort of alternative to that is give up the mic completely and let other people only speak. And I don’t think that’s, you know, that hasn’t been the thing that I’ve done, I haven’t retreated from public life, because I’ve just gotten so much positive feedback from people who are so different than me, so many people have so many different identities, saying thank you for doing the work that you’re doing and like ushering me into this world. And I also think that, you know, as a journalist, I do have some skills at explaining concepts that might be tricky to explain, or making the science more accessible and things like that. And just also on a practical level, like I trained as a journalist, and then I trained as a dietitian, and I have like a mountain of student loan debt from going back to school. So I’m like, Well, I really can’t do anything else, I really don’t want to do another career change. So I kind of have to make it work in journalism and Dietetics. And what’s the way to, like, have a career in journalism dietetics, that does the least amount of harm and the most amount of good in the world. That’s what I tried to do in my, in my life. And, you know, as a journalist for like, 18 years now, I think some amount of public recognition sort of comes with the territory, you know, being in the public space is kind of necessary for the work that I do. And so to the extent that I sort of have to do that, in order to do my work, I do. But I really try not to take up an inordinate inordinate amount of the spotlight. Like you might notice, if you follow me on social media, or listen to the podcast, I don’t really do a lot of lifestyle shots or like videos of what’s going on in my life, or, you know, centering myself in that way, I don’t really show pictures of myself, I show up in videos and stuff when people want to do like a Videoconference with me or whatever, but I don’t have like my image be centered, and most of what I do, it’s on my podcast, album art, just because like, that was the trend, when I first created my podcast album, it was to have a picture of the host. And that’s it, you know, I don’t really, I try not to, like make it about my body and how I look. But I am aware too, that that’s a that’s a little like, key that I have to let people in the door is they see me and they see my identities and they’re like, Okay, well, if she’s talking about this, then maybe, you know, it’s not so weird.
Lexi Giblin 37:54
Yeah, I appreciate I love the not giving up the mic completely. But sharing the mic, I love those phrases, that makes sense. And then the idea of you being a transitional somebody who can speak or is understands both cultures, or both sides of the experience or the different, the different worlds that people might be in and brings access in that way and uses your power for good.
No, I feel I don’t about you, let’s say that comforting and sort of move me kind of in a comforting way to hear you speak about kind of so grounded Lee, kind of how you’ve chosen to stay present and stay speaking and stay writing in the midst of all of this. So I I know that I have similarly you know, in some of my speaking and teaching our Health at Every Size has stated like some of you are taking the words that I’m sharing right now and are believing them more because of my body size and shape and the privileges and identities that I shared who I am, and some of you are discrediting them of the voice and things that I’m sharing because of those things. So I know that that it does it does matter. And I think it’s it’s a neat way to think about that recognizing that there still are people in both camps though that are going to be able to hear some of these really life changing principles and to continue to whatever sphere we’re in you said orb whatever orto just still be speaking of these truths to help those that we can around us so cuz I certainly know that I have kind of gone through my own journey of trying to figure out do I keep talking and what why am I even bothering and
Lexi Giblin 39:40
Yeah, all right, well, thank you Christy for this wonderful book called anti diet reclaim your time money well being and happiness through intuitive eating. Be sure to check it out. It is really wonderful and gives you I love Christy all the language you use that makes it so theseQuick little short phrases that bring together so many ideas into one. And like life thief, you know, I just love it. So I appreciate your your work and sharing your journalistic work in this field.
And I can just say to you, it was like, as I was like maybe a couple chapters in I was like, out, I’m sending this to friends, family, you know, it was that kind of a support of it. Because when I want to be understood to and in sort of how I think about this, and what my career is, and how I think I just, this is it. This is like the summary, you know, and I just appreciate that your food perspective aligns with ours, because I think there’s a lot out there that can have this and that piece. So I just, I guess I just want to echo what Lexi’s already saying, but I think this this is the like if I had one book for somebody to read right now, honestly, this is the book
Christy Harrison 40:53
Thank you so much. That really means a lot and I you know, I wrote it from that place too, of like, wanting to share my perspective and the perspective of people on this movement and like a one stop shop like here’s, here’s all the arguments like here’s the here’s the book of it, and then you make your own decisions, you know,
Lexi Giblin 41:12
so be sure to check out the book and also Christy’s podcast called food psych. Thank you for being here. And you can learn more about Christie at ChristyHarrison.com And thank you to David bazi for editing Camille Dodson for podcast management, and Aaron Davidson for the appetites original music. We will see you next time.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai