Product Showcase: Building Your Anti-Dieting Community

  • posted by Marci Evans
  • Friday, February 05, 2016


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In this Product Showcase I provide you with four resources to build your anti-diet community. And if you are trying to get off the dieting train, you know it takes fortitutde and a lot of positive reinforcement in this toxic and obsessed culture we live in. I review the book "The Gluten Lie" by Alan Levinovitz as well as 3 new podcasts. Check out my video blog below where I review each of these products in detail. At the end of this post I will also provide links to the podcasts.

Good luck as you develop your own go-to resources to help you stay sane in the often stressful world of food, nutrition, exercise, and body image!

 

Below are the list of podcasts I think are pretty awesome! They are by Registered Dietitian Nutritionists who believe in Intuitive Eating, Health At Every Size, and breaking out of dietland. 


 

Food Psych - A Podcast about Nutrition, Eating Disorders & Food Psychology

By Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, CDN - Certified Nutritionist and Intuitive Eating Counselor


 

 

The Love, Food Podcast: Peace from emotional eating, binge eating, eating disorders, and negative body image

By Julie Duffy Dillon: Registered Dietitian, Food Behavior Expert, Body Image Guru


 

Body Kindness Podcast

By Rebecca Scritchfield Registered Dietitian and Health & Happiness Expert
 

 

Marci's Top 5 Tips for Detoxing in 2016

  • posted by Marci Evans
  • Wednesday, December 30, 2015

      

As we get ready to ring in the New Year, I wanted to share with you my top 5 tips for detoxing in 2016. I’m going to do this David Letterman style so starting backwards with:

5.) Detox your closet by ditching clothes you can only fit into when starving and overexercising your body, suffering from a severe case of the flu, or battling a bout of significant depression. These clothes should not be a part of your life. If you can’t totally part with them yet, put them in a bin and then out of sight. Many people believe that keeping their “skinny clothes” inspires them. But if those clothes only fit as a result unhealthy behaviors or practices, you should never aspire to wear them again. Ever.

4. Detox the way you assess your body’s acceptability. I highly recommend tossing the scale or any other standard of measure that determines if your body is good enough. Checking on your weight may be done occasionally like any other health measure- periodically and to assess a global picture of health. Depending on your relationship to your weight and personal history, you might decide to take an extended break from the scale. I support this.

3. Detox all of the media in your life. Yes, social media, TV, and books. What are you bringing in to your mind, spirit, and body? Be selective because you are precious. And you might not realize that you are also deeply affected by what you consume. We passively take in all kinds of crap by virtue of being a human in the modern world. So we better take extra care with what we intentionally ingest in our media diet.

2. Detox relationships that do not support your best self. Get choosey! Not everyone is worthy of your time and attention. Holding boundaries in your relational life will spill over to other aspects of your health. I promise. You will be astounded at how much less you need food for managing your emotional landscape when your relationships are in line with your core values.

1. Detox your food vocabulary. Words are POWERFUL influencers of how we experience food. Calling food bad, toxic or dirty may increase your feelings of guilt and shame. This is incredibly unproductive as it clouds your capacity to listen to your inner gauge of food preferences, satiety, hunger, and fullness. Yes, some foods are healthy and some foods are not healthy. But imparting judgment actually worsens health. Ironically, dropping the negativity may actually create a healthier pattern of eating!

I hope my top 5 list for detoxing in 2016 inspires you! I’m eager to hear your feedback. What else needs detoxing in your life in the coming year?

 

Big Butts, Burgers, & Weight Stigma

  • posted by Marci Evans
  • Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Are you interested in hearing my take on weight stigma? Check out my video below! In honor of weight stigma awareness week I tackle some tough topics and share with you some important research. But in addition to this video, there are some absolutely amazing blog posts I'd encourage you to read. I have been blown away by the content that the Binge Eating Disorder Association has gathered and organized for this year's event. They share research, personal stories, and lessons on advocacy on a wide range of issues. So dive in and share what you learn with those around you. Let's keep this conversation going!

 

TBM: My Own Body Image Journey

  • posted by Marci Evans
  • Monday, June 22, 2015

Is Thowback Monday a thing? I'm making it a thing with a republishing of this blog post I originally wrote in the summer of 2011. I think you'll enjoy it.


A client asked me a question recently. It was a semi-personal question and I felt that it was something worthy of sharing here. To be quite honest, this is a bit unusual for me as I don’t talk in a personal way very often on this blog. I hesitate to do so for a number of reasons, but her question and my response might be helpful to others.

Question: Marci, can I ask you a slightly personal question?

Marci: Sure, I might not answer it but you can ask.

Question: Well, it’s not that personal. I’m just wondering how you deal with your own body image stuff. I mean, are you just immune to it all? Does society’s unrealistic expectations ever affect you? Like, do you ever have a bad body image day?

Great question, huh? I thought it was. And here’s the gist of what I said in response.
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Yes, of course I have days that I feel unattractive, bloated, and downright uncomfortable in my body. But I’ve learned some things over the years that have helped put it all in perspective.

1. Physical Appearance- less important than it used to be
It’s normal to have moments where you don’t feel so grand about yourself. Given our culture and the constant expectation for perfection, it’s gonna’ happen! BUT, when your physical appearance isn’t the most important thing in your life, it’s not THAT big of a deal to have those moments. Imagine a pie chart divided into sections. And imagine each section representing the various parts in your life that are important to you (work, relationships, physical appearance, hobbies, physical spiritual and emotional health, education, etc). Now think about what percentage each piece takes up in your life. I’ve learned that if I place too much value on my physical self, bad hair days and jeans that feel too tight are much more upsetting. But if it’s a small part of what makes me, me, I can shrug it off and know that bad body days happen.

2. Acceptance
Part of finding peace about my physical appearance has required acceptance about what I'm genetically meant to look like. Growing up with very fair skin in Arizona felt like a curse. As a teenager I'd burn my skin to a crisp and coat myself with stinky tanning cream to try to fit in. It was painful, expensive, and ineffective. Now that I'm older and wiser, I could care less about my white legs and put on a skirt or pair of shorts without thinking twice. I'm not meant to be tan and I never will be. Gotta' move on! Similarly, my size 7 feet would feel awful if I tried to squeeze them into a 5, just as it would feel awful to starve and over-exercise my body into a pair of jeans that were too small.

3. Focus on self-care
I am CONVINCED that if we continually ask ourselves- “what would be the most nurturing and caring thing I could do for myself” our bodies will find a healthy place on their own. Sometimes the best, most healthy thing is getting some exercise. Sometimes it’s saying no to a second helping because your stomach is full. But sometimes you need rest rather than a run. And sometimes you need a chocolate chip cookie because a craving hits. Learning your own boundaries for self-care is essential and takes time.

4. Limit media exposure
Please know that I am not saying that my approach to limiting media is the best or only approach. It’s the way I naturally live my life. I simply have too much going on for a lot of media intake. Due to a busy schedule, I’m pretty selective about what I read and watch. I want to fill my mind and spirit with things that encourage, excite, and uplift me. As a consequence, I'm exposed less frequently to all of the self-esteem zapping messages and articles that are out there.

So no, I am not immune to the litany of negative and unrealistic expectations placed upon me. But by putting my physical appearance in perspective, accepting who I am and what I’m meant to be, focusing on self-care, and filling my life with positive stuff, I’m A LOT better off.

I hope this is helpful. I’m curious to know- what works for you in your journey for peace and self-love?

The Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act

  • posted by Marci Evans
  • Monday, April 13, 2015

Hey Readers,

It's not often that I talk politics on this blog. But after hearing Lizabeth speak at the MEDA conference a couple of weeks ago, I realized that I needed to have her write about this very important issue. Please, please take the time to read this. And if you have experience with this issue personally or know someone who does, consider following through on the call to action at the very end. Thanks for taking the time! The remainder of this post is written Lizabeth Wesely-Casella, Founder of BingeBehavior.com.


The Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act (PEWPA), Senate bill 620, is bad legislation that reduces employee protections and promotes discrimination within the workplace.  Though the title is deceptively innocuous, this bill allows corporations to invade personal privacy, cherry pick which employees get insurance coverage, and it allows corporations to penalize employees who find themselves unable to comply with arbitrary metrics potentially unrelated to health.

Front and center in this legislation is the fact that employee protections will be rolled back almost entirely.  The protections provided in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) will not be available to those who challenge an Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliant wellness program because this bill strips those protections.  Practices that are currently prohibited by antidiscrimination legislation such as asking for genetic information from family members of employees and asking for mental health histories, will be allowed during program screenings should this bill pass.  Additionally, obesity related protections under the ADA are in jeopardy; protections that need to be strengthened, not repealed.  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will no longer be the guiding source for rules and regulations in these matters because this act is intended to supersede the Commission’s oversight.  

Additionally, allowing corporations to cherry pick which employees they will insure, using intrusive screening and arbitrary guidelines, the act undermines the ACA, which mandates that preexisting conditions be covered by insurance.

The driving force behind this legislation is the reality that corporate wellness programs are by definition a ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer to the question, ‘How can corporations contain health care costs across the board’?  Certainly there are some well crafted programs that address the overall health of workers, programs that cover prevention, chronic disease, mental health and are designed by treatment teams rather than human resources departments, however these programs are the exception rather than the rule.  It’s quite common that workplace wellness programs are designed and managed by human resources departments and consulting groups who benefit financially from reducing the insurance costs customarily born by the employer; also called “cost shifting”.

The ACA was originally designed to encourage voluntary wellness programs, however, S 620 distorts the spirit of the “voluntary” language by giving corporations the power to pursue cost shifting through punitive fines for noncompliance, some as costly as $4,000. These fines are a subterfuge for shifting health insurance costs onto people with chronic diseases.  For corporations, this bill is a windfall; for employees, this bill is a disaster.

For many groups of people, compliance with an employee wellness program is impossible; it is the opposite of supporting wellness.

For example, it’s estimated that nearly 15 million people in America suffer from eating disorders.  As we know, people who suffer from eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes, from frail to large bodied.  The person in the large body with binge eating disorder (BED) may not fit into the BMI guidelines of an employee wellness program and therefor be encouraged, incentivized or threatened with punitive fines if they don’t reduce their weight and size.  Eating disorders are a mental health condition so beyond the fact that being weighed and measured for compliance and being given health advice by anyone other than a medical professional or treatment team is inappropriate, these activities are likely to cause distress and have dangerous, unintended consequences.

Other examples include people who carry significant weight due to medications, health conditions or genetic predisposition.  The point being, weight metrics based health programs, influenced and administered by people without medical expertise are no supportive of health and overall wellbeing.  When implemented, programs using this model target people in large bodies and cause discrimination through fines, fees, loss of insurance, and possibly loss of employment.

Language exists within the ACA that allows employees to seek a “reasonable alternative health standard” if the wellness program goals are contraindicated for their personal health, however, research by the Obesity Action Coalition shows that a majority of employees are unaware of this language and therefore would not invoke the remedies were they needed.  S 620 scales this protection back, allowing employers to require employees seeking alternate accommodation to complete all medical requirements and request processing within 180 days, which for many people is impossible for a variety of reasons including geography, resources, expense, time off work and bureaucracy.

The bottom line is S 620 is a dangerous piece of legislation that strips employee protections, encourages weight discrimination and completely dismisses the importance of employee engagement.  If we want robust health in our workplaces, we must address how programs are designed and demand that they support job security, personal choice and individual needs.  

Call to Action

We are asking for letters describing negative experiences and outcomes related to corporate wellness programs and people with EDs of any type.

Stories of:
Discrimination,
Triggering
Failure to inform or provide "Reasonable Alternative Standard” policies
Relapse
Any other harms
These stories will be aggregated and submitted to the Administration and/or the EEOC to help inform and strengthen the employee protections that are currently in jeopard due to Senate bill 620, the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act. This bill proposes changes to existing employee protections that would allow employers to ask invasive medical history questions including those about mental health and genetics. Also, it would allow businesses to penalize employees who choose not to participate in the programs with fines up to $4,000.

We need your help in flooding the EEOC and humanizing the reasons why invasive questioning, wellness programs based on weight metrics, Biggest Loser style competitions and punitive fines are direct discrimination to the 15 million Americans with EDs – many of which are part of America’s workforce.

Please send your stories, or stories of how your practice has been impacted by these programs directly to Lizabeth Wesely-Casella at admin@bingebehaivior.com at your earliest possible convenience – time is of the essence.

Thank you for your prompt attention and support in this activism. Your stories matter!