Weight Bias and Stigma

This post was supposed to go out last Thursday, but Wednesday I got the call that I was getting a niece a bit early (her due date was today) SO all other things went on the back burner including proofreading, editing and sharing this post. She's adorable and happy and big sister likes her most of the time and I'm glad I dedicated my time to being there for my sister... But now I must get back to the last piece of my HAES series (just kidding, I will forever and always post about HAES but this is the last one I intentionally have planned in the foreseeable future).

So to embark on our HAES journey we have to acknowledge that those who are living in a larger body live with a stigma due weight bias. To fully understand, let's define these terms:

Weight Bias: Like any other bias is a judgement particularly made due to their size. This can be an assumption about their lifestyle and habits, their current health, their knowledge or education level, their relationship status, their happiness, their satisfaction with their life or body... This bias can and has infiltrated every inch of our society from our health care, to our schools, to our families, to our own minds. 

Weight Stigma: The result of weight bias leads to unfair treatment, inadequate care, discrimination, and harassment that one might face due to being in a larger body. The bias that results in this stigma can be both external and internal. 

The effects of bias and stigma in multiple subgroups has been linked to poor health outcomes (POC, LGBTQ, Low SES, Mental Illness, etc). Sometimes it can be an internalization of this stigma that prevents someone to get treatment to begin with, however, we must ask what is happening to make them not want to seek proper care? 

Of course, there are some individuals who literally live in a space without access to adequate care or do not have the means to see a health care provider. And that's a problem I hope is fixed in my lifetime (sooner would be great). 

In this instance though, I'm talking about people who choose not to go to the doctors (or perhaps elsewhere) because fear of biased care and treatment based on their or others experienced stigma. 

Then there are the ones who do but their problems are ignored because of this bias:

We're talking about the patient who went in for an earache to be told that they needed to diet.

The prospective gym goer who was immediately told prior to any assessment that they could help them lose the fat.

The new mom who was approached during a target trip to receive unsolicited weight loss advice. (Pro-tip: Stranger or not, just don't give weight loss advice. Weight loss attempts fail 95% of the time, so just don't.)

The one who's experienced some variation of all of the above and just doesn't leave the house anymore.

You may think that these scenarios aren't real. Or that they rarely happen. But they do happen and in my opinion that is enough to want to make a change. 

The fact that these people are human beings,  and in my opinion every human being deserves care, respect, and to be able to live day to day without being ridiculed for something they have no control over, and this should be enough but it isn't and there is even more at stake.

When weight bias infiltrates our healthcare system we misdiagnose. With weight bias we don't see the whole person. We don't listen. We miss important symptoms that in any other individual would be cause for concern.

With this comes high demands and impossible standards. We withhold treatment until weight loss is made or we suggest risky treatment that results are questionable.

We won't do a knee surgery that could improve one's quality of life but we would not hesitate to amputate healthy organs that will certainly have terrifying side effects, including the risk of death.

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All of this for the sake of a number that means next to nothing. All of this in hopes of achieving the (is it so glorious?) thin ideal. All of this because our society has a problem, a dangerous fatphobia. 

So how can you challenge weight (and other) bias?

Weight bias is not going to go away over night. It will likely be around for a very long time. It's ingrained in us and our society, but we can take steps to challenge it and make efforts to contribute to a shift.

  • Start with your own bias
    • Notice when initial thoughts about someone pops up and question where they come from. If it's an assumption-it was probably learned.
    • We may never be able to completely irradicate these thoughts but we can acknowledge that they are untrue, that they don't match our values, and move forward with compassion for everyone.
    • Start shifting your language. Being fat, POC, disabled, LGBTQ or any other group is not a bad thing. Because it is how someone identifies it's important not use any of these labels as a put down or used negatively in any way. Apply this to chat with others and our own self talk.
    • Vary what you see. If you use social media make sure who and what you're following provides a diverse representation. Our world is not one size, color, or gender. Our feeds should better represent that.
    • If you have children do your best to show them role models and heroes come varied too.
  • Take note if places you go are accessible to all bodies (why stop at larger bodies?)
    • Do they offer seating without arm rests that would be comfortable and supportive for all bodies
    • Is it handicapped accessible
    • Is it inviting to all persons
    • Do they use appropriate languages
  • Shop at places that offer a variety of sizes 
    • If you have a favorite shop that doesn't you can always try to reach out and see if they'll offer a variety of sizes
    • In Southern Indiana I love Skirt and Satchel and The Lemon Seed Boutique - the first offers all of their clothes in XS to 3X and the latter has a Plus Size Section
  • Use language that is preferred by the person
    • Some people may enjoy people first language (Person with X)
    • Others may find that their size, disability, or race is a core part of their identity. Let them define it for you. 
    • If you say something wrong, apologize and use it as a learning moment.
  • If you have the energy and passion, share your experiences and what you learn with others. Call people in. Stand up for others who you feel are being treated unfairly.

If you want to practice Health at Every Size definitely look up Linda Bacon and her work, as well as the Association for Size Diversity and Health. If you have any questions or want to discuss this more please feel free to reach out!

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27 by 27

Happy National Donut Day! Hope everyone who wants the best circular food with a hole in the middle gets one today (Bagels are a close, but definite second.) 

As May comes to a close and the freshness of being another year older begins to fade, I cannot help but wonder where I want to be in a year. I think I've said it before, and you'll probably see it again and again across this blog, but I love lists. Give me a reason to make a list and I will gleefully run with it. So here is my 27 things by 27 years old:

  1. Find more forms of movement that I enjoy and then participate regularly.
  2. Get out on and in the water more. I love to swim and be around water but in my adult years this just hasn't been as much of a priority, which is a shame considering all the places I've lived have had large lakes nearby. 
  3.  Create more. I love to create: weaving, water color, coloring but I do it more sporadically than anything and I hope to be more intentional with setting aside time to create. 
  4. With that, I would love to explore a new art form so I hope to take another art class this year (I took water color last year and fell in love with it!)
  5. Spend more time with the people I love.
  6. Unplug more.
  7. Experiment in the Kitchen more.
  8. Journal regularly.
  9. Always try to find the positive. Be more compassionate with myself and others. Try to only speak kind words while remaining honest and authentic.
  10. Expand my circle of people I communicate and interact with on a regular basis, really take time to consider who I look to as role models, that I know about, that I spend my time with.
  11. Continue to learn more about this field and topic I'm so passionate about.
  12. Take my dog on more walks. Slow, unrushed, unplugged.
  13. Finally get a State Parks Pass (that I keep saying I'm going to get) and really use it. 
  14. Try more new foods and dishes and recipes.
  15. Travel (near or far) whenever possible.
  16. Read more books. 
  17. Eat Tacos whenever the opportunity presents itself. Because, tacos.
  18. Cuddle my dog, against her will or when she'll let me, I'm equal opportunity on this one.
  19. Get outdoors more.
  20. Be more intentional with my time.
  21. Practice yoga and meditation on the regular.
  22. Try more new (or new to me) restaurants in Bloomington (this is a small fragment of a much longer list of restaurants I want to get to).
    1. The Owlery
    2. Social Cantina
    3. Scholars Keep
    4. Osteria Rago
    5. The Roost
  23. Bake more. From scratch, from boxes, from pre-made dough or desserts. I'm not picky.
  24. Get more massages (honestly, I've never had a massage so my goal is to just get one and test my irrational fear of getting a massage)
  25. Take another dance class (I took contemporary this past spring and had a blast!)
  26. Continue to question and grow and learn and hope and dream and set (and crush) goals and life things.
  27. Embrace the lived experience: good, bad, happy, stressful, worrisome, challenging, celebrating. I just want to embrace what comes.
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Looking back over this list, I see that my hope for this next year is all about adding to and I could not be more pleased. I have every intention to make the most of this life and I cannot think of a better way to do so.

 Do you make a "to do" list each year? What are some things you do or would put on your list?

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Set Point Theory

I've been a bit incommunicado for the last couple of weeks as we were traveling Germany and Austria... and then I underwent a major trip hangover-which literally all I wanted to do was plan future adventures-no worries we have a small weekend getaway to Louisiana planned for September, so I'm starting to recover. In all honesty, I had meant to prepare a few posts for when we got back and while I did most of the research I ran out of time to put it into coherent sentences.

My self care is and always will be a priority and while I would love to be the type who can whip out a post on the daily, I don't think I ever will be. And that's a-okay with me. I do hope to mostly post 2-3 times a week with occasional breaks here and there. It's likely to ebb and flow given what's going on in life. I hope you stay with me for the ride!

So we've addressed what HAES is and is not-now let's dive into some of the science. Excuse me while I nerd out a little bit.

At the core of Health at Every Size is set point theory. Set point theory suggests that all of our bodies have an individualized weight range that our bodies trend towards. Even though it is called a theory-science suggests that when we don't actively try to control our weight it tends to stabilize reinforcing this idea. Our set point is not likely to be an exact number so fluctuation in your weight it is completely normal- the range can vary +/- up to 10 pounds give or take-varying person to person.

Your weight may be more similar to body temperature or our pH balance than we are led to believe. For those who haven't done a lot of reading or research on the human body and anatomy, our bodies can only sustain life if our pH and temperature are kept within a very fine range-anytime we even begin to stray away our body has measures and mechanisms that kick in to get it back to a normal range to keep us safe and alive. In this case, we can try to change our weight, but our body will keep fighting us to get back to equilibrium (our set point range).

Catch 22: Your body wants to maintain the status quo and is stubbornly resistant to change. When you lose body fat, the very loss of fat triggers processes to reclaim it. So losing weight in and of itself is counterproductive to maintaining weight loss.”
— Linda Bacon, PhD, Author of Health at Every Size

This can go very far in explaining why diets and sustained weight loss are so damn hard. It’s possible that those who sustain the weight loss (generally around 5% of the population-that's right diets have a 95% failure rate) were above their set point prior to the weight loss. Or maybe they are currently below their set point because they are actively engaging in unhealthy restrictive behaviors.

So how is our set point weight determined?

There are a many factors that help determine body size-and our eating habits are pretty low on the list. Below are some of the major contributions:

Genetics is a large predictor in what our bodies size will be and what shape we may have. I know this sucks and our teenage self may want to come out and say "My parents ruin everything!" but honestly they didn't choose it either. And did that blame game ever get you anywhere, really?

Another factor that can influence our set point weight is environment. Which we may or may not have control over depending on, well, life and it's many mishaps and mayhems. Do you have access to fresh food and water? Are you in an environment that causes a lot of stress? Does your environment encourage you to be sedentary or physically active? This list can go on for a while, but our control over this varies with our age, wealth, and so much more.

The last thing, which we have the most control over, is our dieting history. And no, dieting typically doesn't do what you want it to (lower the set point) but actually raises it. Diet cycling particularly, where we are yo-yoing between diets triggers our set point may go up... and up... and up. What happens is that our body does not know when we are actively trying to lose weight versus a famine. So when we diet our body's alarms go off because of the restriction done in dieting believes we are starving. Our body, the self preserving machine  it is (see above desire to keep us in equilibrium), will do everything it can to get us back to our set point. Often times, it will raise the set point in anticipation of another famine... because if we have a bit of extra weight, we can survive for a little bit longer. You will see this weight gain as your body betraying you. Your body sees it as a means to survive.

Our body, the self preserving machine it is (see above desire to keep us in equilibrium) will do everything it can to get us back to our set point. Often times, it will raise the set point in anticipation of another .png

So what is my set point weight?

We're not talking about an exact number here. There is no specific formula to figure out your set point. There's not even an ideal number. As I said above, it's likely a range that can vary by nearly 20 pounds (depending on the individual). But if you're ready to give up dieting, if you want to work towards body acceptance, you can get there.

How do I get to my set point? 

As I said before, it's possible to achieve your set point. I wish I could tell you it's going to be easy... but it probably won't. It will take unlearning. And relearning. And a lot of patience and compassion for yourself and for your body. But you can do it by:

  • Rejecting diet culture
  • Listening to your hunger and fullness
  • Honoring your appetite and begin to return to eating intuitively (we'll touch more on intuitive
  • Recognize food for its values beyond nutrition by allowing yourself to feel not only full but satisfied by food whether it's physically, emotionally or mentally

If you are struggling with any of this but still want to continue on the path to accepting your body and saying no to diets for good, I highly recommend meeting with an anti-diet dietitian. We can help you move away from the restriction that comes with diets and into freedom. If you are in Bloomington, or wish to work virtually with me, you can check out my services here!

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Sources

Set Point: What your body is trying to tell you http://nedic.ca/set-point-what-your-body-trying-tell-you

Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon

Taco Pasta

You guys, tacos are one of my favorite foods. I don't say that lightly because I love most foods and I hate to play favorites, but I can barely resist a good taco. They're versatile and can be eaten for every meal.

When Banza announced their Banza + Plants contest I said to myself "challenge accepted." (I was re-watching How I Met Your Mother when it was announced so...) The challenge was to create a vegan pasta dish using Banza. 

Disclosure: As a nutrition ambassador for Banza I receive packages that include pasta and coupons. Banza provided the pasta for this recipe. My thoughts and opinions on Banza are 100% my own.

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This pasta turned out better than I imagined it would. Don't get me wrong I'm a good home cook (#humblebrag) but I've just begun really dabbling in recipe development. The conistency and taste of the mixture even had my meat loving husband enjoying it. SUPA PROUD.

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I highly recommend it for taco Tuesday... or Wednesday... or Thursday. Or Everyday. The leftovers make fantastic lunches. Okay, okay, enough telling you about how amazing this recipe is, words only go so far, right? I'll just let you try it out for yourself.

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I hope you enjoy and would love for you to let me know what you think! 

What I've Learned...

I feel like with every birthday comes a time for reflection and reminiscing. Over the first 26 years of my life, I like to think I've learned some things. Most days, just when I think I've got this life figured out, it tends to prove me wrong... Whether I know anything or not, here are some things that I've found to be true for me so far.

  1. Everything, everything, everything is on a spectrum. Nothing is black and white. There is gray everywhere and this is where most of us can find a common ground. But most people don't like the ambiguity of the gray. Try to embrace the gray.
  2. It's important to do your best to find things that fuel your fire but do not burn you out. If you find something is dimming your light, and it's within your control to let it go, you must. It may be hard. It may even hurt a little. But it will be worth it.
  3. Set aside time for the people who matter the most in your life. This list should most definitely include you. 
  4. Be brave enough to stand strong in your beliefs. Be open minded and compassionate enough to see things from others perspective. Realize there is a big difference between compromising and questioning. 
  5. Eat the doughnut. Buy the shirt. Take the art class. Life moves way too fast and regret is nothing more than a time suck. If you have it, do your best to learn from it and move on.
  6. I will continue to evolve. I know this to be true so I plan for this and I hope for this as it shows growth as a person. Some of my beliefs may hold true for me until the end of time. Some of them may change just a bit. Some may alter completely. Some I may leave and come back to later. All of the above will be okay as long as I'm being true to my character.

 

 

What are some things you've learned in your trips around the sun? I'd Love for you to share below!

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The Evil Dreaded No Good Dirty Rotten Birthday

Content Warning: In this post I talk about aging and body image. I want to start by acknowledging my immense privilege as a young, white, thin female who has faced minimal stigma in my life. I know this is not the case for everyone and if for any reason you feel this subject may que something for you and it will be safer for you to not read, please take care of yourself and do that. 

Tomorrow I turn 26 years old. To be honest I've never really enjoyed birthdays all that much, mostly because I'm an introvert and birthdays called for (in my opinion) unnecessary attention. I mean, they announced it at school, they sing happy birthday in restaurants, everyone makes a big stink about it and I just wasn't into it.

Last year turning 25, I couldn't help but think "oh god, the dreaded terrible 26, I'll officially be closer to my thirties than I am to my teens."  (because it's such a bad thing to put more distance between me and my teen years). Watching as others hit this marker before me, I have observed that this is, unfortunately, completely normal. According to the "powers that be", I feel like 25 is the last age deemed appropriate for most women to celebrate with enjoyment and glee, before 30 we should just stop sharing our age or choose the age we're going to use when we lie, at 40 we definitely aren't "allowed" to wear anything we want because there are some made up ridiculous rules about that too, and at 50 we're definitely not considered older and wiser, but just the little lady who probably needs aid crossing the street and is offered help for her grocery bags carried out to the car because we haven't managed for the first 50 years of our lives.

These last few months I've thought about ageism in our society today. I've thought about how it's ingrained in us, as women, to dread getting older. That we are told to fear aging, not necessarily because it means we're closer to death, but because with wrinkles and cellulite and stretch marks and sun spots and crows feet and graying hair and every thing else that shows that we've lived a full and meaningful life, that we won't fit our societies ideal of beauty. We're fed information and sold products and procedures. These products and procedures, of course, are only a temporary solution-because in spite of all the efforts in the world  you'll continue aging, but society will keep on saying, young is beautiful and it's bullshit, because we're all screwed as it is an inevitable part of life.

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So in my thoughts and angry rage towards these unrealistic standards I've decided to say (pardon my French) f*ck that sh!t. 

This year, I'm embracing my birthday. I'm embracing becoming older. I'm embracing the lived experience, which in my opinion, is so much better than youth. I'm embracing my cellulite. I'm embracing the inevitable crows feet and graying hair and wrinkles and sun spots that say I've lived and laughed and smiled and some days I forgot to reapply sunscreen because I was so immersed in the living (whoops). 

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If my tattoos begin to fade or distort with time, if I choose to have children and develop stretch marks, if I have injuries that leave me with scars, if I have experiences (even if that experience is simply having the opportunity to grow older) that alters my appearance-I want to be able to welcome it and be grateful for this life. 

I know this will not be easy. I know I'm going against a culture that does not agree. I know everything we are taught, nearly everything we see will say that this is the wrong approach. But in the end, I don't want to waste my life wasting time trying to regain something I can't get back. 

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The question is, are you ready to rebel? Will you join me?

Lone Travel, New and Old Friends, and Knowledge Overload

This past weekend in Chicago(that ran into Tuesday-hence the belatedness) was fantastic to say the least. I got to see old friends before heading into the city, dip my toe into a moment of lone travel, meet new amazing HAES warriors, and learn so, so much from rockstars in the anti-diet realm on a topic I am passionate and curious about... Honestly, it Wiped. Me. Out. In the best way possible.

I hear about flight anxiety often, but I just want to see if anyone experiences anxiety when driving? I think I'm always a bit on edge when driving but it is so heightened when I'm driving in an unfamiliar place or traffic is fairly heavy. So driving into Chicago was not ideal. 

I did make it (and paralleled parked! Who knew I could still do that?) Then, I was on my own the first evening in town, so I decided to test my boundaries and explored a little on my own. I've never really been a tourist on my own but found it enjoyable. I didn't love the crowded spots so much, but I don't like those when I'm with someone either, so that was nothing new.

I lucked out-as it had been gloomy for my entire drive, then suddenly the clouds began to break up and I got a glimpse of sunshine while I walked around the city. I walked around-relatively aimlessly-for about two hours, just trying to take everything in, finding little quiet spots in gardens and people watching, until someone walked past me with Shake Shack and I realized I was hungry and man did it sound good (and would be easily transported back to the room).

Knowing I would be around people for the next two days straight (albeit, some of my favorite kind of people) I knew I needed some "alone time" so I spent the rest of the evening just relaxing, while sipping on my PB milkshake (arguably the best kind of milkshake), watching reruns of Big Bang Theory and was asleep before 9 p.m. and it was an epic night. Self care at it's finest. 

The next morning was the start of the Body Image Workshop that brought me to Chicago and started with an (optional) yoga workshop put on by the fabulous Fi of The Mindful Dietitian. I loved yoga before this workshop and I love it even more now. She and everyone in the class brought all the knowledge for incorporating mindfulness and yoga principles into our practices while connecting them with body image. Plus, she introduced me to chanting and it may have been the coolest mindfulness practice I have ever done. (Seriously, if you ever get the chance-even if at first your red flag goes up and you're like... this is gonna be weird and awkward-because it is, but it's even more cool. And I don't use that term lightly.) 

Afterwards, I walked the whole 4 minutes back to the hotel room to get ready for the afternoon portion and meet up with my roommate and new (we've actually met in real life and not just facebook/instagram) friend, Aubrey from Grace Fueled Nutrition-another awesome anti-diet dietitian! We got lost then eventually got lunch at Eataly before we dove into the rest of the workshop. (seriously-that place was overwhelming... and delicious.) I'm not sure that outside of the workshop the two of us stopped talking for the next two days we spent together. Whoops.

Marci  and  Fi 's fabulous workbook and cards put together just for this workshop

Marci and Fi's fabulous workbook and cards put together just for this workshop

This workshop filled me up. It's so great to be in the presence of so many amazing people who are passionate and excited about the same things you are. It was one of those workshops where you walk away and you're like, yes, this is what I am made for, this is why I am here. 

I am so excited to incorporate all that I learned. Even more so, I am so excited to watch all those that I connected with inspire body image healing.

After such a great trip, I always expect a bit of a let down. I know after vacations the way I get over it, is by planning my next getaway or vacation. Perhaps with workshops I'll have to do something similar... In the meantime, I did some self-care on Wednesday afternoon and took a long bubble bath paired with some non-work related reading to calm my overwhelmed mind.

What do you do to get over the coming back to reality? I'd love to hear your ideas below!

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What Health at Every Size Isn't

I've heard a lot of reasons to be against health at every size, honestly, at one point or another I probably thought or said a lot of these things along my journey. And that's okay. This society makes the fat phobic mindset and bias the easiest route. So, climbing out of it and living on the other side takes a lot of unlearning, being open minded and seeing from multiple perspectives, while realizing when diet culture and fat bias might just be creeping in (and man, is it a sneaky one), and an openness to learning and researching and experimenting and forgiving yourself, ongoing. 

We had a brief introduction on what HAES is and before we dive further into it I want to put it point blank what HAES is not.

1. Health at Every Size is not a weight loss program

If there's a promise of weight loss, it isn't health at every size. The name says it all. Health at Every Size. Not at every size but... Not at most sizes... Not to a certain degree... Not just for an arbitrary range... It is health at EVERY size. It is inclusive of all body shapes and sizes. Anyone that considers themselves a Health at Every Size practitioner and chooses to use that term should not discriminate. 

2. Health at Every Size is not glorifying obesity

First of all, there's plenty of information out there that goes to show that BMI is useless, which is what we use to determine "obsesity".  I mean, the guy who invented it was literally just trying to plot weights vs height to show that they fell along a bell curve, and surprise, they did! (AKA there's a wide range of bodies across the spectrum but the bulk of people fall somewhere in the middle.) Again, I feel the name says it all. Health at Every Size. We aren't glorifying any one body type, but are saying that all body types are worthy to aspire for health without pursuing weight loss. If practicing health at every size, your body will eventually trend to your natural set point range, which we'll get to that a bit later. This weight may be higher than what you start at, it may be lower, or it may stay the same. Whatever weight it is will be a-okay because weight is a very poor indicator of health, which leads me to...

3. Health at Every Size is not letting go of yourself

I feel I keep coming back to the name... but here we are again. HEALTH at Every Size. Health is right there in the title. Through this approach we just take the fixation and obsession that comes with weight loss and dieting and truly focus on healthy behaviors for each individual. Because health isn't black and white, how we approach this is different for everyone, and allows us to provide truly comprehensive care. But it doesn't have to involve restrictive diets and it doesn't have to result in weight loss.

Side note: I want it to be clear that there are circumstances that prevent someone from having perfect health that are beyond their choices and control (disabilities, chronic disease, etc) and this is not exclusive to larger bodied people. There can be thin people with health problems, just as there can be larger bodied individuals who are in the best health-because size is not a determinant. In spite of these obstacles, individuals can still strive for health where they are at. 

4. Health at every size is not easy

I wish I could say it were. I wish I could tell you that you'll read this book and listen to some podcasts and follow some people on social media, and you'll be there, in all your HAES glory, rocking the body you have right now, intuitively eating, and living your best lives. But it takes a lot of work. At times diet culture will slip in-unintentionally-whether it's something you or someone else says, in an action (or reaction) you take or just a thought. But with practice, our reaction to others, our thoughts, our words and our actions start to better reflect HAES. You just have to keep at it and if you're ready, it's beyond worth it.

What are some misconceptions you've heard about HAES? If you've faced the misconceptions, what's stopping you from embarking on a Health at Every Size path?

I Believe...

I want to keep this blog fun, as well as filled with useful information, tools and recipes you can take away. So, I was brainstorming ideas and doing some reflecting, and I remembered how English was one of my least favorite classes growing up. Nothing made me despise reading and writing more than it being assigned to me (and I love to read) and writing is fine, as long as I don't have to summarize and provide an analysis. I much prefer reflection and journaling. Also, I tend to write how I speak and think and sometimes that results in really, really long run on sentences. Whoops.

Don't get me wrong, some of my favorite books were assigned to me-Lord of the Flies, The Outsiders, Fahrenheight 451. But I went into them kicking and screaming (figuratively-I am an introvert and would never call such attention to myself unless I felt my life was being threatened).

So most of the time I dreaded the assignments. Except for one time during my junior year of high school.

Here's a picture of me at 17 for reference. I believed in carrying a giant zebra print purse filled with things like slinkies, wearing neon ALL THE TIME, and using a ton of mousse until my hair was literally crunchy. 

Here's a picture of me at 17 for reference. I believed in carrying a giant zebra print purse filled with things like slinkies, wearing neon ALL THE TIME, and using a ton of mousse until my hair was literally crunchy. 

The prompt was simply to write what we believed in. I loved this prompt so much, I remember having the best time writing it. Although I've managed to misplace the original, I thought it would be fun to revisit nearly ten years later.

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I Believe: 2018 Edition

I believe in rest. and naps. and bedtimes. 

Unless I can't put my book down

I believe in joyful intentions

I believe in daydreaming... and then chasing those dreams

I believe in soul food

I believe in keeping an open mind 

I believe in love

I believe that laughter is the best medicine 

But not if it's at the expense of others

I believe in dancing in the kitchen while baking cookies every chance you get

I believe in eating dinner at the table together most of the time

However, I believe that takeout Thai food tastes best re-watching episodes of Big Bang Theory

I believe in being just and fair and kind as often as possible

I believe in science

I believe in setting aside time for the things you enjoy and the people you love

I believe there is never one way to do, see or think anything. Except for toilet paper rolls. ALWAYS  OVER.

I believe in compassion and empathy and expressing gratitude

I believe in continuous learning

I believe in play - this can be movement or getting creative or literal play, in ways that fuel you

I believe in a lot of self care and self compassion and attempts at self love for ever and ever

I believe in standing up for others and yourself and for what is right

I believe in myself

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Thanks for reading along-I had so much fun writing this and reflecting on how much things have changed in the past ten years. I would love to hear some of the things you believe in down below!

Health At Every Size

Recently, Health At Every Size by Linda Bacon got some extra publicity when Matt McGorry shared that he read the book and personally endorsed it. Linda Bacon posted on social media that she has seen a surge in purchase of the book on Amazon. I must admit that while I am very excited this space is getting the notice and attention that it definitely deserves, I know how hefty this book is and how easy it is to be resistant to the information or misuse and abuse it if in the wrong mindset. In spite of the extensive research she lays out and myths she debunks at the beginning of the book, I was not open to it when I first picked it up a few years ago. However, I came around and now consider myself a Health at Every Size (HAES) practitioner. 

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I'm assuming at this point, many of you may be wondering, what is "Health at Every Size"? 

Health at Every Size is not only a book by Linda Bacon, but a social justice movement and approach used by a growing number of practitioners who believe that health is so much more and has very little to do with how much you weigh or where you fall on the BMI curve. Everyone of every size has a right to pursue health for themselves and they do not have to diet or even pursue weight loss to do so.

There are five main HAES principles, which the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) lay out on their website:

  1. Weight Inclusivity
  2. Health Enhancement
  3. Respectful Care
  4. Eating for Well Being
  5. Life Enhancing Movement

Over the next couple of months, I want to deep dive into these principles as well as other HAES concepts, and discuss what they imply, some of the research behind them, and how to apply it to your own lives. 

If you have any particular questions, comments or concerns about HAES, I would love to hear from you in the comments below or through email!

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Hatin' on the Hustle

So I hate the hustle. 

Not the '70s dance. 

I know it's an unpopular opinion, but I am talking about the use and abuse of the "hurry up and hustle" lifestyle. You know the one I'm talking about. You've probably fallen in line with it at some point.

Me too. I hustled through college and internships and grad school. I hustled right into my career. I hustled until I couldn't hustle any more.

Now don't get me wrong, a good work ethic is commendable. Hard work is a necessary part of life. But hustling ourselves right into our grave is not only ridiculous but unnecessary. 

For the sake of research, I looked up the definition of hustle... 

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It's just a word that applauds the aggressive way we go about our goals, and take our need for rest and self care-not to just be put it on the back burner, but taken right off the stove and have all four burners on high heat with really complicated dishes occupying each one.

Believe me. I feel the pull sometimes-in fact just this week I felt a pull to try to keep an arbitrary schedule for the sake of who knows what.We feel if we do more and say yes to everything we'll get more gratification and all the good feels. But honestly, we just end up tired and burned out.

There is no heart in the hustle because the hustle drains you.

So if we say no to the hustle, what then?

Nothing. I passed up on grinding my gears to get a post up Wednesday and instead spent a much needed Tuesday afternoon with my sister and niece. And guess what, the world still turns.

Now don't get me wrong. We can still be  go-getters. We can still have a strong work ethic. We can still have hopes and dreams and goals and chase the heck out of them.

We just don't have to do all the things and we certainly don't have to do them all right now.

Are you hooked on the hustle? What would happen if you let go of something that is no longer fueling you? I'd love to hear your thoughts below!

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Shrimp Pasta

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I'll be completely honest. I'm terrible at measuring things out when cooking. 

While I like getting creative in the kitchen I often times just eyeball everything. So obviously when  I could give you my eyeballed measurements and make my recipes virtually useless to you (because when I was a beginner cook the terms I use would now would have driven me insane then) or I could slow my roll and measure everything out.

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Also not moving on until I snap a picture, man this process will be a test of my patience. But I probably need that. Also-this will make it a lot easier to remake those recipes we end up loving!

So without further adieu, the main reason your here is this shrimp pasta that turned out delicious for the second time around with just a few more dishes to clean! (Which is not really a problem for me, that's Matt's chore)

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I momentarily contemplated naming it "Best Damn Shrimp Pasta" but I haven't had all the shrimp pastas yet. But it's really good and is in fact, the best damn shrimp pasta I've ever made.

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Just a few tips:

  • I used canned diced tomatoes the first round and it turned out great! I just happened to have some Roma Tomatoes that were looking a little rough that I needed to use up 
  • If you don't want to use wine (or don't have any on hand) you can use stock instead
  • You can put this on top of whatever you please, you don't have to stick with pasta. You can do rice, quinoa, potatoes, bread, veggies-the possibilities are endless!
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S'moreo Brownies

Finally, I'm getting to the good stuff. A recipe. Something you can really take away from here and use in your own life.

"But wait... You're a dietitian and the first recipe you share is dessert? Is there some secret ingredient like black beans or kale or are they only xxx calories so I can 'justify' eating them?" you may be thinking.

NOPE. Also, we should talk about why you need to justify eating something delicious.

I made black bean brownies once in my life. I won't do that again. They weren't brownies. They were overly sweetened black beans with pumpkin puree. And I didn't enjoy them. 

Now don't get me wrong. I like beans. I like pumpkin. Heck, I love corner brownies. But the three just don't jive well.

"But then these can't be healthy." You all cry in unison. 

YOU HAVE SO MUCH TO LEARN AND I CAN'T WAIT TO SHARE EVERYTHING WITH YOU. But that's for another post (actually, probably multiple posts). For now you'll have to settle for the fact that my grandfather considers all desserts health foods and you DO NOT want to mess with him.

Matt and I decided that we wouldn't get each other gifts for our anniversary this year, so in lieu of a gift I made him a dessert that combined three desserts he loves. That I just so happen could enjoy too. Call me selfish.

Yeah, a version of this recipe has probably been done before, but I flew by the seat of my pants and they turned out amazing, so I feel obligated to share the recipe with you here and now.

These brownies were super simple to make-I personally used a box mix (Ghirardelli's Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix to be exact) to make it even more simple! (Side note: Brownies are on my food bucket list to make from scratch because aside from the black bean brownies-which as previously established, do not count-I've always turned to a box mix! Side note, to the side note: There's nothing wrong with brownies from a box-I just like to challenge myself in the kitchen and try new things)

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By putting the marshmallows in the middle they melted into the brownie dough and it was a magical combination. So magical, I enjoyed these bad boys with a glass of milk pre-hoosier heights the next morning. 

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THAT'S RIGHT I ATE BROWNIES FOR BREAKFAST AND AGAIN FOR DESSERT LATER IN THE DAY. And here I am living to tell the tale. You guys I have so much to say and I'm just so excited to have a space to say it. I hope you'll stick around while I break all the food rules and maybe influence you to do so too.

What are some food rules you're still living by?

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Celebrating Two Years

Matt (the husband) and I just celebrated our two year anniversary. I figured, since I'm just beginning this blog a little back story would be good (also, it's fun to reminisce!)

Two years ago, Matt and I decided to elope. 

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I'm an introvert through and through, the thought of planning and putting on a wedding made me panic and stress, and Matt was voted most likely to be late to his own wedding back in high school, so eloping made a lot of sense.

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We found Tiny Weddings in Red River Gorge, Kentucky and they made the whole getting married thing a breeze. We decided on April fools day, because our relationship began with post it noting and seran wrapping each others cars in 2009... and the rest is history.

So this past weekend we celebrated two years of (mostly blissful, sometimes chaotic, always imperfect) marriage. 

We started the celebration early with a dinner on Saturday night at Uptown-a Bloomington staple with cajun/creole influenced fare. I lived in Louisiana for a bit, and while what I have tried here doesn't seem 100% authentic, I can definitely see the inspiration, and it's very good, which is even more important to me.

It was Matt's first visit here and to mark something off my food bucket list we started with the Calamari/Shrimp platter and for our entree (because we don't share well) we both ordered the Louisiana Hot Chicken-which while I feel hot is a bit of an overstatement, it was still delicious.

After dinner we got his and her dessert (again, we don't share well). For me, one of my favorite cookies from Blu Boy Chocolate (they sprinkle their chocolate chip cookies with cinnamon. Y-U-M) and Red Velvet Ice Cream from Chocolate Moose for him.

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On Sunday, we hadn't planned too much since our actual anniversary fell on Easter and we assumed most places would be closed. However, I noticed a post on Facebook that Hoosier Heights was open so we made our way over for some rock climbing. I feel like this is one of those things we love to do but always forget about having a gym nearby!

After climbing until we couldn't anymore, we finally came home to our corgbabe-and since there was an unusual lull in the spring rains, we took her for a walk and relaxed with her for the rest of the afternoon. One little walk and our nugget is wiped.

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On our wedding day we brought Oreos for celebrating and stopped at Miguels in Red River Gorge for Pizza. In the interest of keeping a tradition alive, we wrapped up our anniversary with Mother Bears Pizza (arguably the best pizza in Indiana).

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And because it wouldn't be a celebration without dessert-I made S'moreo brownies, that I personally paired with Jeni's peanut butter ice cream with chocolate flecks. And year two was in the books.

Do you have any fun anniversary traditions? I'd love to hear about them below!

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Not a Good Time

Hello!

Thanks for dropping by for my first "official" blog post. As I mentioned earlier on instagram, this has been a long time coming!

I first considered starting a blog in my senior year of college... but the timing seemed wrong because I was applying for internships, and "oh my lanta, the GRE, moving to who knows where, THEN the internship itself or possibly graduate school, will I even have the time to do a blog too? No, no not a good time. Maybe after I'm done."
Then I finished with the internship and grad school, and as I made another blog, I was overwhelmed  with more racing questions, "I don't even know what I'm doing with my career, how can I possibly write a blog if I don't know what I'm doing? No not a good time, maybe later once I'm more set in my career path."
Then this past year, I fully embraced intuitive eating and health at every size but... "there are so many amazing and inspiring non-diet dietitians and practitioners doing their thing so well, how can I ever compare? What will I even contribute? Now is definitely not a good time." 

No matter when we dive into what it is we want to do, we will always be able to come up with a reason that it's not a good time. A reason we're inadequate. Find someone who we can compare ourselves to. Because if you're looking for a way out, you will find it. Thinking back, I wish I had started in college. Or at the beginning of my career. Or last summer. But all I have is right now. 

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So I'm starting now. My timing may not be perfect. There may be others who are preaching the same thing-but honestly, can there be too many non-diet dietitians spreading the news and information about health at every size, intuitive eating, and improving body image? I don't think so.

I promise to bring a whole lotta heart and a sprinkle of sarcasm-because that's just who I am-to my posts about nutrition and food, body image, life and some things in between. I look forward to looking back on this post in a year or two or ten, and reminiscing on finally doing this thing that at one time scared the bagesus out of me. I hope you'll join me on the ride!

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Coming soon!

The Wholehearted Nutrition Blog is coming soon! This blog will document many adventures, both in and out of the kitchen; a mix of personal and professional; some educational and informational, some inspirational, some entertaining, and some just for my personal reflection that I would like to share, and I hope you will follow along.

If you have any particular topics you would like to see here, feel free to contact me and I will do my best to accommodate!