I started listening to Christy Harrison’s Food Psych podcast when I became “serious” about overcoming my undiagnosed eating disorder. I have only listened to a few episodes because at the time it was very triggering, and honestly, I wasn’t ready to deal with a lot of issues surrounding food and dieting. So, I was not aware she was writing a book. I also was not aware nor prepared for the fact that many of the issues I was/am dealing with as a fat black woman are mentioned in the book– I feel so seen!
I was very flabbergasted that many people were and are having the same frustrations and fights with medical professionals. I actually posted about this on my social media, and found that many of the femme folks I am connected with have similar or the same experiences! This book has opened up a dialogue among people I know that has been unexpected, depressing, yet a great relief!
This book talks about the history of diet culture and dieting, the racism that rose up with it, and how diet culture has transformed itself into the wellness movement while keeping all of the traps and pitfalls. Through all of that, Harrison also speaks about how dieting and the idea of what wellness looks like can have a greater impact on our health outcomes than the actual food we eat. Basically, we all have an idea on what health is, and what it looks like, which can lead us to doing things to our bodies that are not good nor helpful to our overall health.
One of the questions that made me go “Oh…oh…OH!” was when she stated and asked this question (paraphrasing), “For most people, when speaking about wellness they mention things like being able to go up steps without being winded, being able to run a mile, eating more vegetables and fruits, drinking more water, getting better sleep, etc. Would you accept being able to do all those things even if you lost no weight? That's a way to gauge how much of an impact diet culture has.” I asked several friends, colleagues, and family members this, and the reactions were mostly either silent pondering or “yes…but” answers that led to silent pondering.
The book also includes references and resources for readers who are interested in reading further, and doing some research on the subject matter. All in all, I really enjoyed this book! It’s one of the few health books where I actually tried to listen and absorb everything, simply because it brought up issues and concerns that I experienced.