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[REPOST] #113: How to Cultivate Radical Body Love & Social Justice with Sonya Renee Taylor of The Body is Not An Apology


Welcome to food psych a weekly podcast about intuitive eating health at every size and body liberation. I'm your host Christie Harrison, and I'm a registered dietitian and certified intuitive eating counselor. Join me as I talk with interesting people from all walks of life about their relationships with food and their bodies. Member. Gums pleading evening. It was all about eating. We're not came. And it was all about people. Now, ready the world Makita. Hey there. Welcome to episode one thirteen of food sake. I'm your host Christie Harrison. And today, I'm talking with Sonya. Renee, Taylor amazing activist in this body image space that I've been wanting to talk to you for a long time. She is the founder and radical executive officer of the body is not an apology, a digital media and education company that reaches over one million people each month in one hundred and forty countries with our articles and content focused on intersection of bodies, personal transformation and social Justice. I talked with Sonia about intersection -ality, and what that really means to her. We talked about radical body love versus mainstream body positivity and how the movement has been co opted as it's grown. We also talked about dealing with weight gain and grappling with weight stigma during the intuitive eating process and living in diet culture and learning to navigate this body negative world as anti diet activists and so much more. It's a really rich really wonderful episode and a. Can't we just share with you all in just a moment? I I want to answer this week's listener question. This comes from a listener who writes, hi Christie. How do you know when you're being Arthur wreck or just genuinely caring for yourself? I'm struggling with things -iety and do feel better when I'm eating healthier foods. But I feel that I slip into orthodoxy because of my anxiety and black and white thinking. Yes that is such a good question. And I think this trips many people up especially people who deal with orthodoxy, which is defined as the unhealthy obsession with healthy eating, and I use the term healthy in air quotes, a lot of the time because that's a loaded term right people put a lot on the term healthy and conversely the term unhealthy, right? There's so much moral value that is loaded onto those terms in this culture that we live in which right now, diet culture has taken the form of health ISM and health ISM is the idea that you're only valuable or your moral value comes from being healthy, quote, unquote. And being healthy is defined in a very narrow way. In this society that we're living in right now, she usually ends up meaning some version of thin privileged able to afford things like green, juice and smoothie bowls and Instagram about them. Right. So oftentimes young as well tech savvy educated white, right? So these these sort of oppressive definitions of health that don't actually encompass true holistic health, right? And we've talked on the podcast before about how the term holistic health, quote unquote has gotten used to mean just physical health. Actually, it was Alan the innovates who made that point I in his episode, and we really do live in a time where there is this primacy placed on physical health at the expense of mental and emotional and social health. And so those are the things that I really am aiming to highlight on this podcast is that your mental health your emotional healthier connections with other people your ability to bond with people over food are just as important to your health. If not more. So and in fact, we do have a lot of research showing those things are more important than what you eat, right and socioeconomic status privilege right education race gender. All of those things also factor in to people's physical health outcomes, and those are factors that we can't really control right especially like race and gender and things like that. We don't have any control over those and socioeconomic status is very difficult to disentangle. Right. People are often stuck in a cycle of poverty and can't just bootstrap their way out. And so being in a lower socioeconomic status has been shown in many, many many studies to be associated with worse health outcomes on disease states, like diabetes, heart disease, all kinds of chronic health conditions and also mental health conditions, like depression and anxiety and things like that. So, you know, there's lots of factors beyond our control is my point that influence. Our health. And so it's a real fallacy to think that what we eat has that much of an effect on our health at all, right? And I think that's an important point to consider for anyone who struggles with Arthur Accion anyone who sort of buys into this cultural emphasis on physical health and on what you eat determining your health because that's the myth that were all taught these days. But it just isn't true. What you eat does not have that much impact on your health as Linda bake and put it in her episode. It's a very low amount. I think she says in her book like twenty five percent or less of your physical health has anything to do with behaviors you can control including food or movement the rest of it is all these things outside of your control. And so just putting that in perspective and thinking about the fact that okay, if you're really thinking about your health, and you're doing it from a self care place. A you're not going to be able to influence that much. Just buy your food choices and be if you do find that certain. Foods make you feel better. But your wrestling with yourself, and your your restricting yourself and your falling into that anxiety and black and white thinking that you're talking about. You're actually a lot better off choosing the foods that might be forbidden, quote, unquote, or that you might be having anxiety about and be able to be okay with that Ryan and be able to have fun, and relax and be with your friends and have some relief to that anxiety than you would choosing the foods that you think are quote, unquote, healthier but driving yourself mad trying to achieve that. Right. Because there's so much more to life than food, and they're so much more to your health, then food and then exercise to right. There's so much more that goes into your health. It is much more holistic in the true sense of the term. And so we need to think about our mental emotional and social needs, you know, in meeting those needs because meeting our needs for those things actually leads to better health outcomes overall. So. You find yourself, you know, in a moment of making a food choice, and you're starting to get anxious and fall into that black and white thinking, I would think about what other aspects of your health. Are you ignoring right now, what about your emotional, psychological, social health? Are you may be putting on the back burner as you make this decision, right and say like you're out at a restaurant with friends, celebrating something or you're on a great date, or you know, you want to have a quick meal to go out and do something else. That's really important to you. Right. All of those are great reasons to just go with the flow and eat something that's not quote, unquote, perfect by Arthur, Xia standards, but that actually fits the Bill and help support your life and help support these other very important aspects of your health. I mean, another huge thing. With regard to your mental health is feeling like you're contributing to the world like you're doing something workwise that really matters. Right. That you have some sense of purpose, you know, in being here. Right. Whatever that is whatever job or volunteer activity or hobby are creative pursuit or whatever. You might be taking on you wanna have some fulfillment in that. And so again thinking too much about your food choices can really take away from that. And it's so much better to say like, you know, what this piece of writing that? I'm doing this project that I'm creating is so important to me in a brings me so much fulfillment. Enjoy I'm just gonna eat fast food for lunch because I want to get back to it. Right. Like that actually is a choice that is good for your health in the long run. So thinking about these aspects of health that you might have ignored or not paid enough attention to is super important and one thing that popped into my head as I was reading your question is I don't know if you've ever seen the shining. It's like super scary movie from the seventies very classic. But there's a line in there when Jack Nicholson's character is sort of cracking up from this pressure that he's under. He's like all work and no play makes jackdaw boy, and he keeps repeating it. And it's. Zuber creepy. But that sentiment, right? All work. And no play make us dull people, right or make us not fulfilled, not satisfied, kind of dampen our spark, you know, that's a super important thing to keep in mind too. Because if you're working hard at all aspects of your life, and with or the wreck Zia, it certainly takes the form of working way. Too hard at food working way too hard of being quote, unquote, perfect with food and our bodies that's going to dampen your spark that's gonna take away from your light in other areas of your life. Right. And so, you know, if you find yourself getting into that all work and no play mode, and if you have an opportunity for play with your food, right? If it's like, let me have this. You know, cheeseburger, or whatever it is. You know, this this fun thing that I'm not usually allowing myself or this desert or the snack that I've deemed quote unquote off limits or not quote, unquote, clean enough, right because clean eating is so moralistic about food. At it really does demonize foods that don't fit into the certain paradigm think twice about that think twice about am. I being all work and no play person right now, you know, is all work and no play making me adul- human. And if so what can I do to bring some more play into my relationship with food to help brighten up my life, you know, and brighten up my relationship with food make it less rigid less restrictive, less imprisoning and more free more relaxed sunnier, right brighter. So I hope that helps I hope that gives you some ideas of how to just frame your thinking when you're going about making these choices, and I think trust your intuition too. Because in your question. It sounds like you already have some of the answers in the sense that you fall into exile in black and white thinking, you know, orthodoxy attends to be an issue for you. So I would say trust that, you know, go with that intuition, and let yourself go free a little more. All right. You might need to swing the pendulum back the other way for a while. And I call this the honeymoon phase of intuitive eating many, many people go through it. And it's a phase where you know, people who've been very restricted and being very perfectionist about their food for a long time. Swing back to this other direction of dislike fuck, it all not gonna pay any attention to what quote unquote, healthy foods are supposed to be. I'm just going to eat whatever the hell I want, and that's a totally legitimate. Phase that often is super important to people's trusting that all foods are going to be available. Then they have permission to eat whatever they want whenever they want it. Because as soon as you can really trust in sync into that trust, you will start to feel like your intuition is in charge, and you have a better understanding of. Okay. What am I doing just because it feels good because it's genuine self care. And what is the voice of the diet mentality or the eating disorder telling me as should do something for? Troll reasons, not for self care reasons. Actually. So my little pithy mantra that I'm always saying I've said probably in many of these questions already as self care, not self control. Right. If you're really tuning into self care, what feels good to you. Not just what feels good to your body. Right. But for what feels good to your mind. What feels good to your soul? What feels good in terms of connecting with other people all of those aspects of true holistic health that I was just talking about if you're really tuning into that in terms of self care and making your choices from that place is a whole different ballgame than tuning into the control voice in the rules in your mind that tell you what you quote should be doing. Right. So try to see what flavor those voices have if you can tune into your thoughts when you're making food choices just try to see if you can characterize it as like, this seems like hundred percent uncomplicated self care, or this seems like total self control or this seems like a hybrid of the two and maybe. It's like sixty forty or twenty eighty or whatever, you know, and see how much you can sort of tease apart the control versus the self care aspects of your thinking. So I hope that helps and if anyone listening what's ask a question of their own. You can go to Kristie Harrison dot com slash questions. Submit your question there, that's Christie Harrison dot com slash questions. And if you wanna get a deeper dive into the principles of intuitive eating and had me walk you through all the principals in depth and really troubleshoot the areas people tend to get stuck with intuitive eating plus answer. Tons more questions and get access to a library of hundreds of questions that other people have asked, and I have answered head over to Christi Harrison dot com, slash course. Where you can learn more about my intuitive eating online course and sign up to become part of this great community of people who are on the same journey. You are so come on over to Christi Harrison dot com, slash course. To learn more and sign up today. And finally, if you like the podcast and you want to help us reach. More people who need to hear the health at every size message head over to I tunes and click subscribe. So even if you listened to the podcast on your computer, for example, subscribing on I tunes helps us come up higher in the ratings. So that other people can find us through the health podcast top ratings, and where we've been in the top one hundred at least for the last six months or so and we are often in the top fifty. And that's a really great way that people find out about the podcast. They're actually discovering us through these charts. In fact, you may have come yourself from the podcast charts. So help other people find us and keep us high up in the charts and moving even higher because I would love to drown out some of the very diety voices that are represented in the health podcast charts. And I think it's super cool that this health at every size. Message is getting out there, and is really in the mix of the top podcast in the world that talk about health because this is such an alternative paradigm that not enough people really know about. And so I'm really happy to be bringing this message and spreading. Far and wide all around the world via itunes. Alright. So without any further ado, let's go talk to Sonya Renee Taylor. So tell me about your relationship with food growing up. So I come from a mid west family African American family were from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and food was a very much a part of our culture or way of being in relationship with one another my mother was a phenomenal cook. And certainly not a healthy cook. There is lots of fried. Greasy buttery deliciousness happening in my house. And there wasn't a lot of talk in my family about like, healthy food. There was the lot more conversation about sort of managing size not getting too big like where I come from a family of big women. And so the work was always about not become into big in. So there was a dieting culture in my family, but it was very crash. Diety if his big airy. Oh, now, we're doing the cabbage water diet. And then the next week. We're having a Meatloaf, slathering him crazy. There was there. I wouldn't say that there was a an experience of balance. It was very sort of either. We are eating whatever we eat. However, we eat or dieting he very all or nothing, very all or nothing, very all or nothing. And did you get on the diet train young? Like, did you start dieting with them? Or was it something like, the adults did this dieting thing, and you sort of know when when my grandmother one period, I lived with my grandmother. My mother didn't diet she was pretty small most of my childhood. She didn't gain weight until she got older, but my grandmother was heavier. And so when she dieted dieted because that was what was may get. You know, she was on the cabbage soup week. Log die allows the from the carrots won't. And there was also this idea of like wanting to do it with my grandma, you know, something about the belt to meal and communal about what ultimately was really some disorder of eating. Yeah. And how did that affect your relationship with your body? I guess I think that because my family because my family always had big breasts and big dies. Big hips. We were the current naturally. Curvy women, and in my community that was oak K to appoint was always kind of the like, it was okay. If you were thick, quote, unquote, which can be too thick. And so as a young person when I developed early like, I'm sort of got the Taylor boobs, and but around eleven years old, and so I started. Being relationship with my body as sort of social capital social capital that I needed to manage. You know, they got me attention, and it got me and my friends rides home from the amusement park. Getting you know, like into there is in this way in which I got a lot of attention because my body was looked very adult even though I was a teenager. And there was also very clear need to regulate this commodity him were you conscious of that was sort of a something that you recognize you have the ability to manipulate or was that not until later that you sort of sought out for what it was. No, I think I think I recognized it pretty early because I was not a particularly popular kid in elementary and junior high and then I had a body. And then I was a little bit more popular in the world. And I made the connection quickly that there were. Ways in which a my body was a currency in. And I remember my cousin is passed away. Now, he's a year and a half older than me. And we sort of had this very brother sister relationship once said to me, it's not that people like you because of your face, they only like you because of your body. I think I was like sixteen when he said back, and it's like it was one of those things that I think stuck along time in. Oh, no, there is a way in which my body is my value in so because it's my value leg. There's there are some really particular ways it has to be. And I think that that notion definitely later on in my life serve kept me on yo-yo dieting, and those sorts of things for sure. Yeah. Any sort of sense that you could step out of line and things will fall apart is exactly like fuel for the fire of dieting, the exactly. And we're you yo-yo dieting than throughout your teenage years two or two that not come to later. Probably didn't come until later. Yeah. I don't have a lot of memories in my teenage years of dieting, I was kind of naturally hourglass, and it stayed that way for a while. You know until until my late teams. And then I remember being four food concerned. But still not dieting it wasn't probably until like my early twenties. When was like, oh, you can join Weight Watchers are you enjoying a weight loss or you could join Jenny Craig and actually had a little bit of suppose. Blink from that. I was doing more of that. Yeah. What do you think I made you conscious of your body and wanting to change it? I think that I I mean as I got older I noticed that I was starting to gain weight. And there was this sense of your on the line of being too big. And so you have the monitor that, you know, and also there was a lot of talk. You know, there's always the freshman when you go away the college. And so there's all this kind of don't get too big. And I ended up going to a school where a lot of the girls were very thin. Attractive girls which made me more, hyper aware of my stop is in juxtaposition to them. So I left the community where where my body was commodity and sort of moved to a space where that was less. So and I was really aware of that. Yeah. What was that like for you? I mean college in general was just really difficult. I was putting myself through school in also working full-time and also already not the norm. And in terms of the risk is that I was going to school with. And then I also physically wasn't the norm. So it was a very isolating time. It was a very isolating time. Yeah. It does sound isolating. Like disconnected you from the college experience. Yes. I definitely would say my politics variance was one of survival of the college experience. Whatever we romanticize that to be right. Yeah. That stereotypical kind of extended adolescence or something sounds like you didn't get that. No about so much. Yeah. And so what do you think that was the catalyst then for starting to take dieting more seriously? Like, okay, I'm gonna do this Dieter. Join Weight Watchers or whatever. Yeah. I definitely think there was a lot of pressure either direct or indirect. I also number a boyfriend at the time. I just started like we were Eames my first serious boyfriend outside of adolescents. And we have this period of time where we had a brief break up in. He was dating someone else. And I don't remember the context of the conversation. But I remember him saying that part of his fear of like becoming serious with me is that I would be I would get fat when I got older. Oh, so again, there were these just sort of moments of the way it's solidified the like I needed to not get any bigger or you need to stay at this line as I took this job right out of college. As the wilderness counselor for kids with the motion will behavioral problems where literally moved to the woods and lived in. So manmade tense made out of trees in work. Wow dream, but part of my reasoning when I sort of s in. On like, why am I doing this? And it was like a wanna save money. I want to prove I can do something. I don't know. I can do like go live in the woods. I wanna lose. I wanna lose two pounds counselors definitely part of my reasoning for going to live in the woods. And w another place where that sort of all or nothing way of being in relationship with my body weight and food was really normalized because when we were at work, which is, you know, five days a week twenty four hours a day living on campsite have this exceptionally active life, and there was very, you know, specific amount of calories. They gave the kids every day. That's what you made. And and then on the weekends. When you had your time off, it would be like just over the top decadence in ridiculous, food and drinking. So there was this very sort of swing back and forth that again, just got very normalized. Yeah. It sounds almost like it mimics, the restrict binge cycle of dieting, you know, or the. Yeah. The sort of like the cheap day concept. That's now. So popular in diets, exactly. And that was our Meakin. Like, our weakens the Jeetan begins. Right. Yeah. So did that sort of cycle then continue or did that drive you further into the obsession with dieting and restricting kind of locking down in certainly made me a so I ended up losing pounds downs or something like that. And over the course of the year that worked there, and I remember it being so aware of the difference again in attention. You know with the towns on without? But I've never been. I'm not a particularly disciplined human being. So so so Mia diet, it's never really worked out. Well, because I thought particularly just influenced, you know, even as I notice myself gaining the weight back after I left that job. Like, I I was aware of it and concerned about it. But not doing anything about it. Or maybe maybe I did that to counting points or something like that. Then I would stop night to it again. And so, yeah, it was just very much this sort of it least annual cycle of RA MAC to try to get back on the weight loss train. Right, right. And yes, so common, right. Like people because we're not designed to be able to sustain weight loss for any period of time. So it's so normal for your body to just drive you back to what it wanted to be. And then you feel like it's your problem your fall, and then like up why better do this other diet that are better? This work harder. I've gotta work harder. Yeah. Yeah. It's amazing. How insidious that rhetoric is and how how like, you know. I've heard the argument that if there was another product out there where that had a ninety five percent failure rate rate. Right, right. We would not blame ourselves. We will blame the product there'd be class action lawsuit. The off the market, right? Exactly. Yeah. But somehow we just we come to blame ourselves for diets. Not working. Yeah. It's really insidious. Yeah. So that was like your early twenties s said, yes. So that I would say that the sort of being on the diet train stayed to until my late twenties. And then I think early actually debit early thirties mid-2000s as when I think I stopped right gave Weight Watchers. My last twenty dollars was vanished. You know? And then I still care like I still noticed that I was gaining weight and still had judgment about it. And but I wasn't actively. I think I was starting to get some consciousness of doubt just how much a waste of time. This process was I think I was starting to. He like, but you it never stays off. And you're not really happy doing this. And it isn't working. So are you still doing this? I think those questions started to form in my early thirties. That's when I found performance poetry, go. I ended up in this kind of counter cultural world where it was. Okay. Question. Some of these ideas, and I think that is when I started to divest from is sort of more mature idea of like what wait eats to be. That's interesting was it. What was there? A fat acceptance sort of thread in that community or was it just like generally opening up to questioning everything about life. I think it was generally opening up to questioning everything about life. I know that somewhere in their early on. Maybe I came across Maryland wants book fatso until there were a Louis set is just thinking about these things in a way that I had not gone. About them before. And I remember there was a poet. And she can't remember her name today. But she was fat and she had a beard, and she wrote about her body being her politics. And it was the first time I'd ever heard anybody talk about their body and defying sort of the normative standards as a political action, and I had never had never considered it up until that point. And I still don't think I was fully ready to let in that idea. But I certainly began to mullet November. It was a it was a new limbs to try on. And I think it took some years for to kind of fully bloom. But it definitely I would definitely say that she and that community and the community poetry at large started planting the seeds of my early ideas of body acceptance. Yeah, it's interesting how long it can take sometimes because I had that experience too. Like. I was an editor as a journalist is my first career before I went back to school to be a dietitian and now I do both. But when I was working as a journalist and in school to become a dietitian, I had a friend of mine who worked at an online magazine was assigned to edit this package on childhood obesity. And he was like I can't do this. I'm a health at every size advocate like I it would kill me to deal with this package on childhood obesity. But my boss really wants to do it. So can you edit it for me? Can you be a guest editor like deal with his package? And I was like cool. Sure. Like I'm going to school for nutrition, so childhood obesity is right up. My alley, and you know, but he ended up still working on the package and writing some stories for it and like through conversations with him about health at every size, and like the war on childhood obesity. And why that might be unfounded. I did start to open up to like oh this. There's this other thing there's this other paradigm that is health at every size and that. Maybe can help explain some of the stigma that these kids are facing is causing him so many more health problems than their size. Right. But it didn't quite register until like five years later or something when I started working with eating disorders as a dietitian. And then I was like, oh, that's how the damn sign him out. The pieces are waiting the fall in place. Right. Yeah. And it's like, oh, you got to move this one thing. And when you moved at their position aside Yankee or something else will happen. And then all of a sudden it all sorts of be has kind of like tetris game or something. Setting up things blacks. Yeah. Solely. That's cool. So yeah, what happened? Then when you when you started to like explore those ideas, or when the seed was planted an think that I just got I've always been a person who's question things and always been kind of live, and let live sort of philosophy from very young. And so I think that I started to just question. Why people aren't just allowed to live in their bodies. Like like, why do I why are we? So why do we care so much about what's happening without people's bodies? And I think the just also became clear that like there was this way that the world expected us to be in our bodies that that was keeping people from just being happy or just celebrating themselves as I started sort of league noticing these narratives of shame and noticing the sort of judgments that we live in with and. Just as kind of slow brew awakening that was happening for me about one just making peace of my body, but the larger than that like starting to question the container under which we've been viewing bodies in general. And so I didn't know that those were sort of the heeds or my work with the body is not an apology that definitely was sort of the the early sprouting where these ideas of labor, what is it? It keeps us disconnected from ourselves in disconnected from other people, and what keeps us from affirming ourselves and learning to link our bodies and all of those questions were floating around and then again in that's mental tetris. It happens. I had this selfie in my phone of myself in his black corsair getting ready for an event and I loved the phone. I felt really sexy in powerful in my body. And at the same time was hyper conscious of this counter narrative that was very loud inside of my ear telling me do not share that photo. Like, you're too bad your to black or two that the dot dot dot and since that conflict that conflict it's stuff was creating something because I it just was not aligned I was like, but there's part of me loves this photos of what is this voice telling me not to and I decided to show the photo after several months of being in that sort of tug of war inside of myself decided to show the photo and invited other people to share photos where they felt powerful in their bodies. And then the next day like twenty folks tag me in photos of themselves. And it's just started feeling very clear to me that. Like, oh, we think we are not allowed to celebrate our bodies. However, they look, you know, in those twenty photos were all different sorts of people in all different sorts of bodies in just clear to me that maybe we just needed a space where we were allowed to not just like tolerate our bodies. But like actually love them and speak nicely about them and speak nicely one. Another about them. Celebrate them exactly as they are. And a had this poem called the by these non apology for about eight to ten months that I had been sharing in the world than I was like, oh, maybe I should just make a Facebook page where we can do that thing. Celebrate our bodies and disconnect from this sort of voice of shame that keeps us from celebrating our bodies. And that's how the face of page. The body is not an apology came about. And it sounds like it really struck a chord with people because everybody has these feelings of. Like being ashamed about something to do with their bodies. And the voice that says don't share that. You're not go to Nuff. There's something wrong with you sorta like opened up space for that to give people a place to share and celebrate their bodies. And that was also wasn't that back in like two thousand eleven I think I read so Lega kind of before certainly before this wave of the body positive movement was really happening before body, positively went so mainstream. Definitely. And I think that there was this notion very early on any for me one of the things just got clear. Everybody has a body. If nothing else, we we all have this thing in common, and I don't know anybody who was hundred percent happy with it. So what is that about them? I just started noticing the connection between the messages that we give folks about weight and the messages that it'd be give folks about race in the messages that we have folks about disability of there's there's a narrative that just seems to be sort of cutting through all this the no matter what body you're in. It's not a good enough the Bahati, and that seems absurd to me. He says we all have to have a body literally would not be here. You can't you can't do this particular ride without one. And so there was this kind of chess felt very matter of fact technique by that time, it we were having really fractured relationships with our bodies that it wasn't. It wasn't about one particular way. Our bodies was one. It was about a multitude of ways that our bodies were in my experience of just posting at selfie, and then having other people the next day wake up in post their he's made it evident that part of tackling whatever those sort of crappy narratives about bodies worth was about community housing. Oh lake. I did something that. Belts brave and celebratory and that permission to other people to be brave and celebrate, Tori. So what if we create a community will be to be brave and celebrate Tory about our bodies. And. Yeah, I'm I was I still remain Florida by how obviously necessary that wasn't quickly. It started to grow. Right. Yeah. It really caught on because people needed that space. Yeah. And it sounds like it's it sounds like, you know, the Ali ideas about race and disability and size. Like, that's all, you know, very informed by intersection -ality, right? Like, did you did you have a sense of like intersectional feminism or that sort of thinking before you you stumbled into that? Or did you just kind of feel your way into it intuitively? I definitely think I thought my way into it into it didn't have the language of intersection -ality. And I certainly I didn't know that. I was using language of feminism. I am by major in college was sociale. Angie with an emphasis on race class gender. So those ideas were already there the language of our social world changes. So Elise about the time thousand eleven it common. I finished college in two thousand there was a whole different lexicon. But the ideas that we are living at the crossroads of multiple identities. Like, the idea that that I am black in woman and queer and neuro divergent, the I didn't, you know, like, I don't think I'd to go to school to know, those things can be just our which true for me and my body, right? And so it was a way in which that language was always present. Because that was always present in my life. I grew up living at the intersections of multiple identities group around people living intersection of multiple identities. So always made very clear since to me that there were halted of. Issues to be talking about in van later on the language. Intersection -ality for intersectional feminism showed up, and I was like, oh, I guess that's what we're calling this thing that I. It just feels very intrinsic. You know, that's cool. That's really interesting. So did you with those other identities sort of intersecting identities, you grew up with do you feel like you had to make peace with each of those at a certain point was there ever? Shame around them or feelings of not not enough nece or was that more located in your body size own no definitely at Bank all the multitudes of identities. Had a good healthy dose of stain. And I'm offer that probably a been most impacted as it relates to shame with issues related to my racial identity ambitious related to to being black in in America. And the some internalized racism it is existing. They are that that manifest in community dynamics. And look I got teased a lot is a kid or a dark skin. And I got teased a lot as a kid bribing, Sean. Hair? And it got you know into do. I can see all of those things as manifestations of white supremacists. Notions of beauty. But as a kid, I did know that I just thought I was like the volume black rolling who wanted to that. Which was part of what fueled the notions of my body is currency right again. It was like all these other things that no one is ever gonna find beautiful. So you'd better figure out how you can capitalize is on this once in Eugene average, the body it can be sexualize ramp. And so those areas of identity always had stigma attached to them and healing those back in some ways, I would offer that weight has been one of the easier ones. I mean, and I say that relatively. Bona the easier widens to sort of navigate. Yeah. That's interesting. So, yeah, how did you start to unpack peel back those layers sort of confront recognize the internalized racism or white supremacy. It happened. You know, accomplished self at very accidental activists didn't set out to do any of these things. Are you? But I didn't mean to do any of doing same here xactly. But like I said I was in a poetry community. And a think a lot of my inquiries began to happen in my writing I would start to be asking myself about these ideas through the vehicle of poetry and in two thousand and nine or two thousand ten either two thousand nine hundred thousand ten there was this big sort of brouhaha that happened in the poetry community. Someone was writing a recap of a national poetry events. And I found there. Recap to be really racially biased. Now, I don't have any recollection of thinking really deeply about race before them. But something about that on for sation. And something about the way that the person wrote the review chest really put a spotlight on not only, but I felt was like racial bias in what they were writing. But it also made it very clear to me all of the ways that I had judged things through my own Lynn's of internalized racism, and so I wrote a an essay in response to to this person's essay, and all of a sudden found myself just deeply embroiled in conversations about racial equity, and by supremacy and anti blackness. And I guess I didn't I certainly didn't set out to be the person having those storms. Stations. But those conversations were striking accord in me. And as they did they just sort of translated into the way that I'm starting seeing the world moving through the world. And I started questioning all of my own ideas about things so I find that just started the thread for me is in that something will happen. The catalyze ins an idea or Cadillacs is is something that's been stirring inside of me anyway, urban dormant, and then it becomes the next major piece of something. So I think all of these things were building blocks leading up to the creation of the bodies bonnet apology. But of course, I see them at the time. I didn't know that. I was having these separate conversations in inquiries about all of these different issues about body because I was supposed to go on to create an intersectional digital media, blah. I know that right. But all of those things where being foundation for them. Yeah. That makes so much sense. And and I've read, you know, you've written barely beautifully about how like discrimination and injustice plays into our directly the result of our difficulty accepting bodies, right? Like making peace with with the body is inability to make peace with the body. Right. Exactly. Yes. Thank you. Yet it. But yeah. So you know, I speak a little bit about that. Like how you started to connect the concept of body acceptance and the body with all these social Justice issues. So I didn't when I first started the buddies not apology as the Facebook page, those overlaps were not conscious to me yet. They were there again in that sort of tetris, right? They were there they they had all fallen into place. And what I think was happening was that? I was doing all of these things separately. Right. Like, I was doing racial Justice work over here. And I in doing stuff around until illness over here, and then I'd been doing stuff around HIV over there. And I'd been doing stuff around reproductive rights and Justice and abortion over there doing some disability over there. And I had this age. There was about like loving the body. And I was also at that time, sir. Coming into my own identity is queer about. That was happening. And as I was, you know, posting things in sharing things that were about the body and about like how we love our bodies are how he practice. This idea of Anthony time, I don't think I was using the I had not yet developed language or was calling it radical self love yet. I think I was I was talking about like living on apologetically and later that language dot clearer. But a started to see that it wasn't just our own experiences. Our own personal antidotes that were informing how we saw our bodies or how we saw the people's bodies that there was an entire larger framework. Right. So I was like, well, if we are in this battle at the time one of the things that was big was opposition eight and fleecing people's right to get married. And I was like that's who I married is about the. The way the desire and love happens in my body. That's about my body. And it's about how by body release the other people's bodies, whether or not people think that's normal, quote, unquote, or not normal and police violence, and the sort of targeting of black bodies by the police is about it's about blackness, which is about bodies, you know, like the eraser of disabled, thanks in just in our world in general is about making some bodies invisible because they make us uncomfortable. And so it just started to be very clear to me that the issues of injustice and inequity that we were seeing in the world were very directly related to how we sell about people's bodies. And I think later on would also got clear that even when it isn't necessarily. Directly related to how you feel about people's bodies impact. And outcomes of whatever those beliefs in thinkings are have been on the body. So we have to deal with the site of impact, which is the body. And so that just all kind of became clearer as as I endeavored into the work. And I started seeing the connection between all of these different things that I thought I was doing if felt very different except that. I was like note there actually all about the body. They're all all about how we feel about the body. They're all about whose bodies you decided are normal use bodies V. A as the people body will the closer is imagine a body. It's all about whether or not bodies are in alignment with those rules prescribed. It's not the body. Right. That is such a beautiful explanation of why body positively or body acceptance or how. That every size or whatever you're gonna call it. You know is a social Justice issue, and why we can't divorce body size from other forms of other identities and other ways in which people are oppressed or marginalized, and it's awesome. It's so important. I think at this point in history, especially with what's going on our government right now to like recognize that this is the body positive or body acceptance movement can't just stay silent about other issues. Right. It's like it's about lifting up people of size, but also people of color people, you know, queer folks and trans folks in like people with disabilities and all that like, it's it's not body, positively or body acceptance if we're not making room for all bodies and bodies exactly like I was like if I can't be positive in my blackness, and I can't be positive in my quickness, and I can't eat positive in my neuro divergence, and I can't be there are all these other places around. Without allowed to be positive. It doesn't matter. I totally okay. Being that's all. And so, and I think it's so important for us recognize that as long as any of those systems of injustice stand actually we will ever achieve collective liberation. We're never will never actually totally be free to live in our bodies. As we see it is is there are ways in which somebody's our police and other bodies are not right. That's so well sad. It's like if your body is considered to not measure up in some way. Even if you've got it now, it's all okay over here on the body size front, but you're still being told you're not good enough in all these other ways that's gonna show up in your relationship with your body and in your relationship with yourself, and it's it's not all just going to be rosy. Just because you have your relationship with your size and your your body shape. Can it worked out? Right. Not at all. Because again this. The idea that none of us are living a single issue live, right? May we live at the intersections of these identities in just you know, if you get one fixed scrape who wants to be playing oppression Wackle kinda hey do that. Right. Might want us to create a world that works for everybody. So that everybody has the option to pursue air. Hi selves in their most powerful existence. Absolutely. Yeah. I'm curious to know, your kind of feelings about the current body positive movement as as mainstream as it is now, and it's sort of one color one gender one age group, you know, like how can we improve that or work with that? So I think it's really important to recognize the ways in which movements become a commodity or the larger economic structure. We live under in. So being able to see how capitalism uses ops movements to further its own agenda. And so part of the reason why body positively I think is gone so mainstream because it's a way to to sell it to us. It's like a weekend that was so about and I think as soon as we recognize that the thing we made is now being sold to us a great. It's a great place to be like, maybe something is off here things that I wanna talk about work shop someone whenever I'm in space. Speaking is that like, a great indicator of whether or not the work that redoing is the work of liberation is to look around and see who's not in the room, and it we're looking around the positively movement, and it is white cysts able bodied hourglass shaped size white women. We're not doing the work of freedom. Like, we're not that is a movement that is operating in the same paradigm that has already which means that it's not sustainable and today that we've done that paradigm. It hasn't gotten as free. So we know it doesn't work. So we're there and we find ourselves replicating nut saying paragon. It's a great educator that we are in his face that he's actually going to be productive towards the long-term goal of equality of the ration-. And it's part of the reason why we moved to this language of radical self love because the notion of radical demands that we deal with the interest sections of our social political and economic lives in relationship to our bodies. And so if we are not, you know, like in the body, positively movement isn't changing the way in which all bodies get to live unencumbered and free. His only replicating his. System that exists. It is not radical and radical requires drastic change it requires a change that shifts the systems our society in our world. And it implies it at inherently exists that it is already. It is already there and in us. And so there is an opportunity for us provokes who are in the body, positively movement to continue to to ask who isn't here in. Why aren't they here to ask the best thing that I did for my own self expanding? This work was that to keep pressing the limbs the to keep pressing those sort of outer boundaries of body positivity. Is it okay for me to be positive about my body of pounds? Is it okay? To be positive about my body, if I'm quadriplegic from an accident is it, okay? For me to be positive. About my body as an undocumented Arsim is it like the keep asking. How far does my positively rush? Does that is that is our personal that's personal bias? That's where we get to see. Oh, actually, here's where my own prejudice lives. Right. And then we get to unpack that for ourselves. And I think that we don't collectively ask particularly the the movement of body positively to do that that hard pressing inquiry often enough. Yeah. Absolutely. Because I think that's how you get people. Who are like, oh, well body positivity is great for people who are in up to this weight size and this this range, but you know, above that it's just unhealthy. And there's no, you know, it's like health and every size, but not for all sizes only for sizes up to and it's kind of like what you were saying about growing up. This idea of like, you can't get too big. You know, like you have there's this outer limit like, what is acceptable or something? And I think that's you know, no matter what the limit is. Right. Because like you had this this limit of like, you can't get too big. But acceptance of were big people, and so up to a point like, we're just going to be big, but not past this point, you know, and then and for people in other families or communities, it's like, oh, well, this is the point. There's always a point it's different different point for each person. But there is there are these boundaries on what is supposed to be acceptable. And I mean, I guess I don't want to say boundaries. I like the word boundaries. I feel like boundaries are so important. Summarize Superindent boundaries in terms of keeping yourself safe. But like limits or limitation, you know, feeling on a ceiling on love really what it is. Right. And we think I've been in that century like love, should it have a ceiling. Why love should be Elizabeth expansive and all comp- assaying in. So my love has a ceiling on my own love and a ceiling on my ability to love other people's bodies. What is that about in who put that ceiling there? You know, such an image in place. Yeah. Right. Yeah. And I think that we all kind of have those those ceilings for ourselves that we hold onto in different ways and doing the work of asking yourself, like why am I not expanding pass this point is so helpful. So you're talking about feeling unapologetic in your body and feeling good in your body and love for your body. And I'm curious. This is a question. I'm starting to ask people more and more on the podcast because what comes up sometimes in my work with clients who are working on body acceptance, and you know, I'm a intuitive eating coach. So it's more kind of it's like the body image work as part of it. But it's also helping people connect back with their bodies cues about. Eating. But something that I hear a lot is like, well, you know, I've gained way. A now I'm uncomfortable in my body. Like now, I've physically feel less comfortable and sort of illegi us in this body in this larger body, and as a a small person myself having never experienced living in a larger body. I'm kinda like I don't think it's my story to tell here. My my thing to explain of like what's going on for this person. And I would never wanna like take away. Someone's lived experience of what it's like to be in their body because I don't know. I don't I don't know what it's like to be in anyone else's body. But mine, but there is a sense in which I feel like the idea of being uncomfortable in your body at a larger size. There's a lot of weight stigma and fat phobia wrapped up in that Ryan. So I'm curious to hear like what your your response would be to someone who says I thought I could accept my body. But now, it's bigger and I've just uncomfortable while he does a lot of work about attacking language Ray. But does. What does uncomfortable meet because it's a vague word. It doesn't have a material reality. And so like, what does that mean materially? Well, it means that in my closer tight. So is that because you're willing to go up a size in the clothes that you wear right? Like in if so let's talk about what that is. Does that mean that things are harder to do? And if so what are those things that are hardly do his that a function of lake gain. Or is that a function of wellness in some other way that can be assessed outside of weight and asking people like so one of the examples like I can't walk without a substance, noting tired great. So if you were to build up, your cardiovascular system in such a way that you totally walk of sense without being tired, and you were not to lose one single pound. Would you be comfortable in your body and getting people to grapple with that? Because often I totally agree that a lot of times uncomfortable in my evenings uncomfortable with. This new size and all the conditioning that I have received about what needs to be fun now m so divorced ING wellness from weights and divorcing the sort of ways in which we have married weight and size to notions of comfort, and ease and health and all of these other things really asking people to pull those things apart and deal with the material reality of what are things that. I do that. I've wanted to be able to do cannot do. Now, what are ways that? I moved through the world that are different. And are there ways to navigate those things that are not about weight because at the end of the day, usually it isn't about the ways. There are markers in indicators of wellness, and agility and stamina all of us things that are absolutely independent of weight early. We have them so tied together that when our chase. Just Napalese student that all of those things are a function of weight gain. And that the only way that they can be navigated is by weight loss. And so asking people to separate those dims, but great I want you to be able to walk by steps. Bill. Good to question is if you were to develop that ability that stamina and never lose a pound would that be fine. Yeah. And then when people get no would be fun because or will I don't know because that we know that we're starting to get the run is much more about the weight than it is about an actual material discomfort. Yeah. That's really well said, and I think it's so true that people can have different levels of stamina that have nothing to do with their size. But just like how often do you do this thing? Right. Like often. Are you walking up a flight of stairs? You know? Maybe this is your traveling to a place that has a subway with a bunch of stairs. You're not used to walk. It upstairs. New most of the time or stuff like that. So like getting into the swing of things because the reality is to people of all sizes, you know, people in smaller bodies get winded going upstairs, sometimes if they're not used to it. Or if it right? It's like it's a hot day, and they have not enough water, whatever like there's lots of factors even on an individual level data day that can affect your how you're feeling in your body. So. Yeah. And I think the thing about close feeling tight so interesting too because I always sales the closed job to fit you. It's not your job. And I it's not it doesn't matter. What size? It says, you know. And it's like, it's just closed feel constricting. That's not a fault with your body. That's a fault with the close. Right. And I think that we do often in the realm of weight is they we blame our bodies for the ways in which we stigma and by his baked into the entirety of our society. Right. So they make us. I it was someone on a on our thread on the body is not an apology on Facebook the other day saying in our will. I'm too fat to do that that that that that? And I was thinking I offered that it's unlikely that your to fact to dot dot dot dot dot dot did not consider your body when he created but ever it was created. So. Ends of weight stigma bias erasure of the manufacturer and not a failure of your body. Absolutely. Yeah. The world is not designed with body diversity in mind. Not at all designed for a very narrow subset of the population. Exactly. And our bodies aren't wrong for that. Right. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. No. I think that's so important to keep in mind, and it's also hard. I mean, I definitely have worked with people who are like, you know, I've always been fat, but I've been able to fit in airplane seats, or whatever. And then now I'm crossing the threshold. There's the ceiling again, we're now going to be able to. And it's like, I feel so much empathy for people in that situation too. Because it's really important and helpful to acknowledge like the world is not built for you. And it sucks, but it's quite another to like have to experience that firsthand, especially if you're not used to that, and then sort of jumping into it. It can feel. Like a very scary thing to jump into. Yeah. Definitely the awakening sort of call it like the process of having the blinds open, and it doesn't realize discover that it doesn't matter which sort of area of oppression or bias that you're awakening to awakening to it is an exceptionally painful because it's a wake inning to the fact that the world has decided that something about you is not okay. And it's very jarring and painful and isolating experience. But I think it's so important for us to keep coming back to the that. It's not about you as an individual that is about a largest system that we've all been conditioned to believe in two burying degrees. And the work of dismantling that system is the work of a weakening to it. Right. Yeah. Awakening is a huge part of it because. Yeah. Most of us spent a lot of. Our lives not awake to it. And so then exactly starting to see it as as one big step. And then starting to really live. It is is another think. Yes. Absolutely. I think it's also a dance. It's like you can sort of be awake to these issues and understand that it's a static thing. And it's not something about you personally failing. But then there's those moments in life that just push your buttons. You know, that just take you back to that place of. Oh my God. Maybe it's my fault. People say like the day can go years without dieting or thinking about diets, and then are something that happens. And it's like, oh, maybe I should just try this thing, you know. Doc on this diet. Yeah. You know, like we talk about at the, but he's not an apology to like the work is the work of article. So love is not a destination based work. It's a journey a lifelong journey based work, and it's a lifelong journey base work because we're never living in a world in does still have this biases in it. Right. And so we're constantly countering a message since being given to us every single day. And that's I mean, it's exhausting and some days we'll feel more fortified to fight those messages than others in. I tell people originally s remnant tire organization focused on radical self love is my whole life and job. And there are days I wake up, and I don't let my body and that too is part of the journey. Totally. It's such a an important point that like, none of us are finished works of art in this movement. Like, it's a progressive thing. It's not a not a destination because I feel the same. I definitely have days when I wake up and don't let my. Body or try on outfit. And I'm like oh God. No. You know, it's like, that's that's the reality of living in this world. And then the question is what do you do with that? Can you accept it and move on? And just sort of be like, okay, I'm having a bad day, or, you know, have a tough time with my body right now. But I'm just gonna I'm still gonna feed it Ryan. I'm still gonna give it what it needs. I'm still going to move it or not move it. As my body tells me wants like I'm not gonna punish it for this. Iggy feeling about having about it, which doesn't really come from it in the first place at coming out play or conditioning about it. I was gonna say that. That's the distinction that for me that helps me navigate it. If remembering that what I call the distinction between the inside voice in the outside, boys. Right. The inside voice of radical self love, boys. It's the voice that actually knows by intrinsic, well and Baillieu in the world in the body that I have right now. Right. And then there was the outside voice, which is the voice of inititing abayas discrimination and body shaming. Recall on terrorism at the bodies on the policy, in that voice is the voice that's talking loud and Sundays voices really loud. And then some days unable to turn it down. But knowing that it isn't my voice knowing that that actually been bet aimed at his learning in my ears is an external voice, it has been given to me helps me navigate on those days. And and I talked about like if you have a toddler, and you were good parents came home, and your toddler colored on the walls or Batna flower novel living news coated in flour heard was that the toddler did. It has you frustrated as all get out that particular day, you would still see the job ler. Bill love the toddler. You would still care for the toddler and clean it cleaned the toddler up. And so what if we treated our beliefs ships with our bodies lake toddlers that we're learning the can we are a growing up into is relationship. It is outside of that external voice what if as patient and condom loving gentle with ourselves as we would be with the toddler Weaver frustrated, but I love that that's such a good metaphor. Because it really is. You know, we can have that kind of frustration with our bodies in the throes of body negatively and yet they're still offense in which we have to care for them. And be there for them and show them love and compassion in order to move forward with their lives in order to live again. Like, they can't do this particular ride without it makes sense. It makes sense. Try to make peace totally. Yeah. There's no way anyone's gonna get to be like a disembodied soul floating in a jar somewhere. Like massive that doesn't exist. Yeah. So you got to care for the body. You have. Yeah. Yeah. Well, so lovely talking with you and tell us where people can find out more about the bodies on apology in read some of your work. Absolutely. So the body is about apology runs. A daily digital magazine with content from writers and all kinds of bodies all over the world, and you can read our content on a regular basis at WWW dot the body is about an apology dot com. You can also follow us on all of this also media platforms at the body is not an apology, and you can find out more about my individual at Sonya dash Rene dot com, or he also follow me on Facebook on your Taylor or on Twitter at your age, poet awesome. And we'll put links to all those in the show notes too. So people can find you, right? Yeah. Thank you, so much Sonya a pleasure talking with you. It was an absolute pleasure. Talking to you Kristie. Thanks for having me on absolutely. So that's our show. Thanks again. So much to our guests for being here and to you guys for listening, and we'll be back again next week with another brand new episode. Meanwhile, I'd love to stay in touch and the best way to do that is via Email, so you can go to Kristie Harrison dot com slash Email to sign up for my VIP list. I'll send you info about new episodes of the podcast as they drop as well as exclusive sneak previews of new episodes giveaways and other special deals on the products and services. I offer special tips on how to make peace with food and learn to trust your body and a whole lot more sign up at Christie Harrison dot com slash Email. You can also subscribe via itunes and leave us a nice rating and review which is a great way to get the word out about the podcast and help other people find these important messages, just go to itunes from your computer or your podcast app. Type in food psyched to the search bar click on the result that comes up under podcasts and then click on ratings and reviews, and you can leave a rating and review right there. And I really. Appreciate all the five star reviews and wonderful ratings that we've gotten his it's helped us climb really high right now in the rankings, and that's really cool because we're competing against some of the weight management and body shaming types of messages that I'm trying to fight with this podcast. So we've really started to beat out a lot of the diety voices. And I'd love to continue climbing higher in the rankings to get this message out even further. So please leave us a nice rating and review it's so very much appreciated and thanks to everyone who's left reviews. So far the music. You're hearing behind me now is by a band called a wall and the track is called food used under the creative Commons license. Thanks so much for listening and until next time, stay psyched. Really?

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