Hi friends! I’m really excited about Episode 8 of the Grapefruit & Granola Podcast! I had the pleasure of chatting with Rebecca Scritchfield about her book, Body Kindness: Transform Your Health from the Inside Out and Never Say Diet Again. If you’ve never read this book, it is a MUST READ for every woman out there.
Funny story: this was the very first interview I ever recorded for the podcast. I didn’t even really have a concrete ideal audience yet, but I knew I wanted to promote nutrition and wellness in a balanced, non-diet way. Rebecca was on my “she’s probably too busy to respond but I’ll contact her anyway!” list. She immediately said yes when I reached out to her for the podcast. I’m so thankful for her interview, and for all of the awesome dietitians I’ve been able to chat with!
Show Notes for Episode 8 of The Grapefruit & Granola Podcast: Body Kindness with Rebecca Scritchfield
“I really believe that health is about being good to yourself. It’s so much more than the meal plan or how many push-ups you can do” – Rebecca Scritchfield
All day long we hear “this is how we’re screwing up, this is what we’re doing wrong”. This feeds into diet culture. Rebecca’s book and nutrition philosophy is based on positive, empowering messages about health and wellness.
“Lose weight! Feel great!” These are actual harmful messages that don’t help people create a better life.
Advice for dietitians
How should a weight-neutral, non-diet dietitian respond when a potential client reaches our for weight loss counseling? Rebecca has some great advice for this complicated scenario. She recommends trying to meet a client where they’re at if they want to lose weight:
- Ask an open-ended question: “tell me about how you’re interested in this?” and “how do you think this will create a better life?”
- Talk to the client with compassion, not shame
- Lead with empathy
She recommends utilizing motivational interviewing techniques, and also points out that the number of pounds they want to lose is not as important as it is the reasoning behind the desire for weight loss.
Resources that Rebecca mentions in this interview
“Look Ahead Study” – A study to see if intensive lifestyle change resulted in weight loss. They had to stop the study after 8 years due to futility. By year 8, the people had regained the weight.
“Secrets from the Eating Lab” by Traci Mann. She found that 87% of diets fail.
Biggest Loser Study by Kevin Hall found that we have metabolic adaptation.
In the long-term after big weight loss, you regain the weight because you build a leptin resistance (always feel hungry). You have a metabolic adaptation and the metabolism doesn’t quite catch up to what was before the diet.
It’s just not the message we want to hear because our culture has been taught to uphold
Information about Intuitive Eating
Rebecca attended Green Mountain at Fox Run which is a women’s wellness retreat. She said this was one step that helped her move past dieting and embrace intuitive eating.
What is intuitive eating?
Teaching you to trust your body to understand signs of hunger, fullness and even satisfaction. We seek pleasure, and intuitive eating also helps us understand that sometimes meals will be satisfying and sometimes they won’t be, and that’s OK. Intuitive eating helps you learn how to eat without counting calories and depriving yourself of foods you love and food groups. It encompasses honoring your health with gentle nutrition.
Intuitive eating is NOT about losing weight.
Rebecca’s thoughts on gentle nutrition
She likes to compare her meals to 3-legged stool:
1- be hungry
2- balance your plate
3- savor your meal
Nutrition and weight
Rebecca talks a bit about weight stigma and weight oppression. She gives the example of a client who had a large body, and Rebecca found that she actually was not eating enough… she was actually restricting and then eating more due to emotional eating.
Rebecca encourages us to think about your own stigma. If you see someone in a large body working out at the gym, do you make judgments about them? Do you assume they are working out to lose weight? Do you want to congratulate them? These are micro aggressions that may make a person in a large body less likely to continue exercising, because they feel judged and they feel lesser than.
Judging people based on their weight is actually MORE unhealthy for them than having extra fat cells.
Rebecca mention the book Things No One Tells Fat Girls, and says that you can’t fight diet culture unless you’re working to erase that judgement. We should be trying to support overall well-being and let people work on themselves in a way that works for them.
How to handle other people commenting on your body
We also should not be commenting on other people’s bodies. I share an experience where someone complimented me, saying that I looked like I had lost weight. I was training for a half marathon at the time. I saw this person every day at work yet she had never complimented me on anything that had to do with my character, work ethic, etc. We should all ask ourselves why we do not comment on what’s on the inside but feel it’s okay to comment on appearances and weight.
How to handle body comments:
Thank the person and then pivot to give a response that changes focus to something internal. Examples:
- I’m really focusing on taking care of myself and how I feel
- I’ve been more flexible with my eating and it’s great
Rebecca’s 3 core body kindness pillars:
#1- Make choices from a place of self-love
Love is a supreme emotion, and many other emotions fall under love. Your choices should come from a place of wanting to take care of yourself. Here are some examples Rebecca gives:
- Turning off the TV at night because you really need to get more sleep
- Hitting the snooze button and missing a morning workout because you really didn’t sleep well that night
- Taking a walk at lunch because you need to clear your mind and feel more energized, even if you feel a little tired
Connect to your body to give it what it needs. Sense what you think you need and make the best choice for yourself in that moment. (Taking a walk at lunch because you need to clear your mind and feel more energized, even if you feel a little tired is a good example)
Maintain a full commitment to taking care of yourself. You don’t have to be perfect. Focused on your well-being and know that you don’t have to do it all. Find what is truly a balance in your life so that you don’t have to freak out at a birthday part or kill yourself on the treadmill. Give yourself TIME to create positive change. Change takes time and it also takes self compassion. Also understand that some people will lose weight but that’s because we have a healthy set point range. That is because of genetics. Some people will not lose any weight and that’s completely normal. Surround yourself with people who have positive body image.
About Rebecca Scritchfield:
Rebecca Scritchfield is a registered dietitian nutritionist, certified exercise physiologist and author of the book, Body Kindness, which was lauded by the New York Times Book Review as “simple and true” and called “a rousing guide to better health” by Publisher’s Weekly. Through her weight-neutral mindfulness-based counseling practice, she helps people make peace with food, find the joy in exercise, and create a better life with workable goals that fit individual interests. Rebecca aims to develop self-compassion in place of shame, by rejecting the rules of diet culture and the pervasive myth that to achieve good health one must achieve thinness.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/
Instagram Handle: RebeccaScritchfield
Twitter Handle: ScritchfieldRD