Welcome back to BeREAL! This week, Diana and Ednesha are joined by Dana Barron and Bridget Shannon of Wellness Lately to discuss diet culture and its impacts on mental health.
Bridget Shannon and Dana Barron are the Founders of Wellness Lately. They help women stop binge eating and obsessing about food every day. Their mission is to reclaim wellness from diet culture. And their work is rooted in body liberation and food freedom, helping women all over the world escape the painful diet-binge cycle and embrace true well-being. Through their coaching programs, events and community they teach the principles of Intuitive Eating, Health at Every Size, Body Neutrality and Holistic Wellness.
Ednesha begins the episode by sharing a little history on her experience with dieting. She is what you may call a “chronic dieter” and has tried quite a few diet variations. Diana shares about her partner’s new intermittent fasting diet and how it has affected her life as someone who does not diet. Bridget and Dana jump in to discuss how they realized that in their past jobs within the wellness field, they were promoting the concept of an “ideal body.” Now, however, with their work at Wellness Lately, the women look to heal people’s relationship with eating and body image.
Dana and Bridget continue by defining the beliefs of their practice. They discuss intuitive eating and what it means to eat in response to your body and not your brain. They also define Intuitive eating (capital “I”) as the framework used to train women to connect with their bodies. These two concepts are utilized to teach how one can eat and still enjoy life without fear of weight gain. They go on to explain where the fear of weight gain originates in society. There are overarching messages instilled in business and advertising that weight loss is a good thing, but many people also have personal experiences that may have amplified a fear of weight gain. Ednesha ties the conversation back to her experiences as a Black woman. Beauty standards in America are all Euro-centric and along with thinness they also promote whiteness.
After a short break, the women return to discuss eating disorders. Diet culture has only worsened eating disorders and it can have numerous other negative effects on mental health. Part of this trend originates from orthorexia. Orthorexia is an obsession with healthy eating and such an obsession is not healthy within itself.
To finish off the episode, the women discuss why it is so hard to separate weight and health in American society. They talk about how consumer culture has shaped these two into one and some ways to untether them in your mind. Dana and Bridget also emphasize how the coronavirus pandemic has amplified diet culture. Fears of food scarcity and constant self-viewing on Zoom have altered eating habits and body image.
Thank you for tuning into BeREAL this week. Be on the lookout for a new episode next Tuesday. In the meantime, check out last week’s episode with Melanie from GiRLiFE on empowering women to empower girls.
For more information on Dana, Bridget, and Wellness Lately, visit the links below:
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/wellnesslately
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