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Unlearn diet culture this National “Nutrition” Month

Unlearn diet culture this National “Nutrition” Month

By Alex Raymond, RD, LD. Did you know, March is National Nutrition Month or NNM for short. The theme this year is “Eat Right, Live Right, Feel Right.” I first saw that and 2 things went through my mind… OMG what bullshit…. Well, sounds pretty on point for the culture we live in today.   As an anti-diet dietitian, I have a slightly (okay, very) different take on nutrition than what we hear in our everyday lives. The messages we get from the media, celebrities, instagram stars and even many health professionals can actually be harmful to our overall physical and emotional wellbeing.   Let me start out by describing a bit of what I believe “nutrition” actually means.  Firstly, I follow a Health at Every Size © (HAES) and intuitive eating framework with my clients. I believe I should be supporting my clients in improving their relationship with food and body. Not shaming them about what they eat, how much they eat, and how their bodies look. HAES and intuitive eating are evidence based. So providers who practice this way, including myself, are not making these things up. “Nutrition” actually has very little to do with WHAT we eat. Per the dictionary, nutrition is defined as “the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth.” Interesting… I don’t see kale smoothies, quinoa black bean cookies or cauliflower pizza crust anywhere in there…   There’s a lot of layers to nutrition. But at its very core, it’s about nourishment AND enjoyment. It’s about providing your body with the fuel it needs to survive. We all...
The Truth About Body Positivity and How it Fits Into Eating Disorder Recovery

The Truth About Body Positivity and How it Fits Into Eating Disorder Recovery

By Alex Raymond, RDN, LDN What is body positivity? Body positivity is a buzzword these days. People seem to be latching on to the idea of loving and appreciating their bodies. People post #bopo pics all the time. And while this may seem like a positive thing, unfortunately, much of the true meaning of “body positivity” is lost in mainstream social media. Body positivity is actually a social justice movement to give voices to those individuals in marginalized bodies. It’s rooted in the belief that ALL bodies are GOOD bodies. Including, but not limited to… fat bodies, disabled bodies, trans people, bodies of different races/ethnicities. And everyone deserves to find a place of body peace and respect for themselves. This is separate from having a “positive body image” and/or loving/liking the way your body looks. The body positive movement is so much more than aesthetics. It’s about existing in a world and being treated humanely regardless of how your body looks. Individuals who live in marginalized bodies have done so much work starting and continuing the body positive movement. And the problem is, well, privileged women. Honestly, like myself, white, cis, smaller bodied…etc. Have, most likely unintentionally, made it into something it’s not. I can understand why it happened. Who doesn’t like the idea of “body positivity”? But now, the voices of people who have started the movement are diluted, due to the other “body positive” noise that’s out there. Body Positivity vs. “Positive Body Image” I was inspired to write this blog after reading Lauren Newman’s (aka gofeedyourself_) instagram post on body positivity vs. positive body image. I...
Love Your Body Month: Our Favorite Resources for Body Love and Positivity

Love Your Body Month: Our Favorite Resources for Body Love and Positivity

By Alex Raymond, RD,LD and Rebecca Foss, Intern.  It’s that time of year—a time for red and pink hearts and flowers, but did you also know that the month of sending love to others with Valentine wishes is also a month to celebrate and love your own body? February is Love Your Body Month and it’s a great time to celebrate your body. Like I always say, “you don’t have to love your body in order to respect it.” So, it’s okay if you take this month to learn how to appreciate your body, even if you don’t get to a place of “body love.” It’s okay to  redefine what “love your body month” means to you and your recovery. Maybe you spend this month starting to explore body image with your treatment team. You might read articles about the body positive movement. Maybe it means you learn how to “love your body” aside from physical attributes. Maybe love your body month isn’t for you. And you have to stay off of social media for a bit to reset. Please remember… “Loving your body” also means we remember and accept that our bodies do not define our worth. It means that no matter what shape or size, we are worthy of love and belonging. We start to believe our bodies are “good” even if we don’t like how they look or our bodies don’t do the things we want them to do. All bodies are good bodies.   To celebrate Love Your Body Month right, we’ve compiled a list of some great resources for you to come back to throughout...
Empowered Eating Resolutions

Empowered Eating Resolutions

By Alex Raymond, RD,LD. Oh, January… The month in which we are all bombarded with diet talk galore. We all feel the pressure to make New Year’s Resolutions and to somehow reinvent ourselves in the New Year. But, truly, all that happens is the sun sets and rises on another day. The diet industry has completely taken over New Year’s to, well, make a huge profit. The diet industry is worth almost 70 billion dollars. What this means is this industry knows how to play it to get our money. And they do this by making us feel badly about our bodies. And driving us to want to change our bodies to meet this unrealistic ideal. Think about it… how many New Year’s resolutions are about some kind of weight loss or toning or shaping our bodies? I don’t believe it’s anyone’s “fault” if they fall victim to the diet industry. It’s constantly in our face. We are constantly bombarded with those messages. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You do not have to measure your worth by the number on the scale. Thoughts of food and body image take away from you living your full and best life. Overall, I do think New Year’s Resolutions are overrated. We get all hyped up for the New Year and what’s going to be better, but the resolutions don’t last. And that’s okay. If it’s a diet, it wasn’t meant to last. I’d like to talk a bit about reframing resolutions if you do decide to make one. Which, keep in mind, there is absolutely no pressure to make one....
Diet Culture Terms to Look Out for in the New Year

Diet Culture Terms to Look Out for in the New Year

By Alex Raymond, RD,LD. Happy New Year! When I think about the New Year, my brain automatically goes to “New Year’s Resolutions.” I think about all the messaging out there about “weight loss” and becoming a better YOU (usually by some form of losing weight). *cue eye roll* And this messaging is just so damaging, well to all people, but particularly to those struggling with eating disorders and those who are working on improving their relationships with food and body.  The diet industry sells us a false sense of happiness. When our self worth is based on our appearance and the way our bodies look, we will never truly be content. And the diet industry makes a HUGE profit out of our discontent. Encouraging words to remember! When I help my clients make New Year’s Resolutions, if they decide to make them, we never talk about resolutions about food. We instead talk about self care and compassion and silly things like…. Putting your clothes back on the hanger after you try them on. In this blog, I wanted to talk about diet culture terms to watch out for in 2019. The reason being…. I feel it is important to call out diet culture. This is because diet culture can often be difficult to see. It can often be difficult to understand the ways it can shapeshift and insert itself into a “non-dieting approach” (making it  non-non-dieting). Once you see it, and are able to point it out. It gets WAY easier to un-see. Please keep in mind: some of these below terms may seem harmless, so you may be...
Empowered Eating Input: Clothes You Feel Comfortable In

Empowered Eating Input: Clothes You Feel Comfortable In

By Alex Raymond, RD, LD and Caroline Best ( student intern) Happy fall! The holidays are one of my favorite times of year. I love snuggling into a blanket and sipping on hot chocolate (or a chocolate peppermint latte).  I was thinking about the change in weather and how this typically follows a changing the clothes in your closet as well. I’m personally a HUGE fan of fall and winter clothing. Even though I don’t like the cold, I do love wearing sweaters. And it got me thinking about how important it is to wear clothes that truly make you feel comfortable. Think about your favorite clothing item for a second. Mine is a really comfortable sweater that is incredibly fuzzy.  Pulling it out of my closet makes me so excited. Which means I am SO happy the weather is started to get a bit chillier. I can finally wear it 🙂 But, in diet culture, we’re taught that it’s important to fit into smaller clothing. And that after a certain point, it’s bad to grow out of clothing. How many of us have kept jeans from a period of time when we were smaller? Perhaps they were our favorite pair of jeans. And we keep them in hopes of eventually being able to fit into them again. Even though they are uncomfortable to wear as our bodies are now, we wouldn’t imagine ever throwing them out. Why? In diet culture, it’s a symbol of success to shrink your body to fit into those jeans again. And it’s so easy for us to fall for that. I get it. It...

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