Louise is by nature a mild mannered clinical psychologist, but her alter ego – a FIERCE and fearless anti-diet crusader – is taking over! Louise specialises in helping people recover from disordered eating, and she’s COMPLETELY OVER trying to help people when the culture we live in is utterly sick, toxic, and screwed up when it comes to food, exercise, health, and body size.

Louise cannot for a second longer take the rampant injustice of a society obsessed with thinness and health. She can’t STAND how fat people are being treated like second class citizens. She is LIVID about the way weight science is being sold to make a buck off human misery.

And she’s SO OVER the diet bulls**t that she’s shelved her own introversion and started a podcast!

So welcome to All Fired Up!, where Louise delves deeply into diet culture and blows it the hell up! Each week we’ll meet brave and fascinating anti-diet warriors who are also fighting for equality, justice, and freedom. Join us, and get All Fired Up! about building a better world!

Click below to listen to our episodes, and make sure you subscribe on iTunes (or your favourite podcasting app), to make sure you don’t miss a minute!

  • Why Social Media Sucks

    This week I get into the nitty gritty of how social media affects our body image and eating behaviour with social justice warrior and pole dancer Hilary Smith. Hilary wants to HURL THINGS when she sees Fitspo or other ‘inspirational’ crap on social media, because she KNOWS that it’s doing harm. She even took her passionate disgust to the next level by doing the research! Don’t miss this fascinating discussion as Hilary discusses how social media is having an impact on Australian women. Spoiler alert: it’s not good. Hope alert: it CAN be good for us, if we know what to follow! HAES anyone?!

    View show notes
    • This week my guest is Hilary Smith, who is doing her Master of Health Promotion and wanted to come on the show to rant about social media!
    • Fitspo SERIOUSLY makes Hilary want to spit-spo, and she should know!
    • Hilary took her rage at diet culture and turned it into knowledge – talk about don’t get mad, get even!
    • Hilary is a pole dancer, passionate about the sport. There’s a lot that happens in the pole community that is empowering and inclusive of bodies and sexuality – there are many uses of the pole!
    • It’s interesting to be in a community which celebrates bodies so much, but is also an aesthetic sport.
    • Pole dancing started in strip clubs with strippers who began experimenting with their poles, and is now increasingly seen in exercise studios. Pole has gained popularity in social media!
    • Social media is great to share ideas – for example, about the new tricks people can do – but inevitably when people post about their pole achievements, people comment on the body of the dancer (Oh my god I wish I had your abs).
    • It’s at least as much about the body’s appearance as it is about the movements people are doing.
    • There’s a lot of room to discuss things like joyful movement in pole.
    • But there’s a lot of talk about people’s body concerns.
    • What can I do vs how do I look.
    • This is what got Hilary interested in the research – that and the fact that people seemed to be following very dodgy health and nutrition advice on social media! There’s a lot of woo out there.
    • In Hilary’s thesis, she wanted to know – what was happening to our food relationships and our body relationships in a post-fact world?
    • This idea that “abs are greater than credentials”¦.anecdotes are law! These ideas are rampant on social media.
    • Social media sells people the dream, but Science sometimes doesn’t sell the dream!
    • People can get turned off by science and academic language, and turned on by people with white teeth, a great marketing strategy, and wild promises!
    • Hilary’s Masters of Health Promotion thesis – we do know that body image relates directly to eating behaviour. So, if you have body image concerns you’re much more likely to diet or try to restrict your food. We do know that body image and social media have a relationship. But we didn’t have any research (until Hilary’s thesis) that joined the dots between what a person sees on social media and how that moves through the prism of body image and then impacts on eating behaviour.
    • Most research so far stops short at looking at how social media can be an effective way to give people health information. But you can’t expect to just educate people and expect health behaviour change to happen. You need to understand the context – such as our post-fact world for example.
    • Health education is part of health promotion but health promotion is so much bigger than that!
    • How are people going to act on any information when there is so much contradictory stuff out there?
    • There is such awful information out there on social media but people still follow it! We aren’t skilled at dissecting what information is real and what isn’t.
    • We also didn’t know what was happening to women between the ages of around 25-44 – there’s not a lot out there. Although Hilary did find some research to say that women of that age probably weren’t that worried about their body image, because they have a lot of other stuff on their minds. This should be the case – but it’s not! This is when all the shit’s going on! Women are hugely concerned!
    • Hilary found that whether women were 25 or 44, they were exactly as concerned about their body image.
    • They used a measure called the social media scale created by the amazing Lily O’Hara. On this, people can score between 8 and 40. She found very few women scoring 8 and quite a few women scoring between 36 and 40. The average score was 25.3 – beyond the halfway point of concern.
    • Hilary also used the Eating Competence Scale, which has a cut off of 32.
    • Hilary looked at 963 women across Australia between 25 and 44.
    • Australian women are definitely concerned about social media use!
    • Eating Competence measures how well a person relates to food and eating – how they manage their hunger, fullness, and energy needs, and how they feel in various eating situations.
    • Eating competence is not about eating healthy! It’s about attunement.
    • I deliberately didn’t want to assess health or nutrition knowledge.  I was much more interested in the psychology of nutrition not the reductive carbs vs protein vs fats side of nutrition.
    • If you don’t teach kids about nutrition and you just expose kids to a wide variety of food for a couple of months, what will happen? Will the kids only eat the one type of food? Or will they figure out for themselves what foods taste like, and then figure out what they feel like eating at various times. The answer is – they do the latter.
    • This sounds ‘wrong’ – that we need to know about macros etc – but we don’t!
    • If we just tune into our bodies we naturally gravitate towards a large variety of food. We take care of our health without being told to.
    • Humans are fascinating animals in particular are great at meeting their dietary requirements without being told!
    • Diet culture massively messes with our ability to tune in to our bodies.
    • Eating competence promotes health not nutrition knowledge!
    • Look up Ellen Satter who created the eating competence scale.
    • Hilary found a lot in her results. Across her sample, the average eating competence score was 29.4 – below the eating competence cutoff. 45% were above the cutoff, 55% of the sample were below the cutoff.
    • This sample is a pretty good picture of women who are in Australia, who aren’t sick.
    • I found an inverse correlation between eating competence and social media related body image concerns. The more concerned you were about body image, the less ok you are with food.
    • People who were very concerned about looking thin in social media, feeling insecure about my body in contrast to others bodies, and needing to think about other people’s opinions before I post a picture of my body on social media, and feeling pressure from social media to lose weight women who scored highly on these were less likely to score highly on eating competence.
    • I think it’s awful to have this thing on your phone that makes you feel like you need to lose weight
    • Just living as a woman in the world it doesn’t seem weird to find that the more worried you are about your body, the less likely you are to tune into your body.
    • If you’re concerned about your body, you’ll opt out of your body and opt in to diet culture.
    • Women were asked to tell about their search terms they used on social media which gave us interesting data.
    • This is why Fitspo makes us want to spitspo!
    • If women were looking for Fitspo, Thinspo, or before or after photos – we called them “Inspo” – anyone who was looking for Inspo were lower on eating competence and higher body image concern than average. So Inspo is actively doing harm!!
    • I am looking at Fitspo, I am extremely body concerned, and I am not eating competent.
    • This finding goes against the popular view of Fitspo as “˜inspirational”.
    • Fitspo is definitely not inspiring anyone. We’re seeing a huge increase in eating disorder rates!
    • Search terms associated with specifically changing your body – such as weight loss, flat belly – anything about specific body parts or shrinking the body – everyone who really wanted to change their body and be smaller – were a full 10 points LESS eating competent than the rest of the sample. And their body image concern was the highest in the sample too.
    • It’s a horrifying and sad picture. And when we consider that our ‘weight loss methods’ are doomed to failure – it’s just depressing!
    • Hilary found that her sample were pretty good at sorting through the social media shit when it comes to eating, but less adept at trawling through the shit when it comes to body image.
    • People scored higher on eating competence when they used HAES search terms!
    • HAES is awesome! People are concerned about coming to HAES because they think it’s “giving up”- but really it’s about developing eating competence, which is really about enhancing physical and psychosocial health.
    • It’s good for mental health, gut health, cardiovascular health. Good for the planet! Bad for the weight loss industry.
    • Eating competence is a skill that you can learn and it can show up quickly in your life.
    • Diet culture sucks us away from our bodies – but we can come back in!
    • Women who looked up recipes on social media were more likely to be eating competent.
    • Recipes can help us introduce novel and different foods to our diet encourages ongoing curiosity about food.
    • Learning intuitive eating creates food adventures!
    • These positive findings held regardless of socioeconomic status
    • Curating your feed was also protective – people who make sure they only follow pages that they trust. People who were actively managing the information that came across their feed scored higher in eating competence – across all ages and socioeconomic positions.
    • Social media can be used for good or for evil
    • Taking control and using your critical thinking is important.
    • In Hilary’s research there were no socioeconomic gradients – the impacts were the same regardless of whether people were rich or poor.
    • This is empowering-“ we can do something about this. It’s about wisdom
    • We’ve got to stop pretending that Fitspo is a good thing.
    • Taking control of what you see on social media will protect eating competence, but not body image concerns.
    • Hilary thinks that people in the sample were pretty good at assessing for “woo” and rejecting it, but all of the ads include images of idealised bodies, and it might be harder for us to reject messages when they’re primarily visual.
    • Images do have a powerful impact on us.
    • As a therapist, Louise finds that eating competence change happens often first, but letting go of the thin ideal is much harder and takes much longer.
    • Body image work needs a ‘deep dive’.
    • Even if we ‘ protect ourselves further, we can prevent further harm by unfollowing Fitspo!
    • Do no further harm to yourself and your beautiful body!
    • As practitioners and health promoters we need to be thinking outside the box. We need to teach people to curate their feed. We need to step back and put a critical eye on diet culture. This is an important part of the pie and without it we’ll be permanently susceptible to the weight loss wolves.
    • We also need to represent diversity better. There’s too many thin white people in health promotion. We need to increase the representation to emphasise that health can look any way.
    • Imagine health promotion pummelled us with diversity – then social media would stick out and look odd in its one dimensionality.
    • Check out Hilary’s research on Facebook, and we can’t wait for it to be published!


    Checkout Hilary’s research here

    The study by Clara Davis on kids being given free reign with food

    You can email Hilary at:, and she’s on Insta @thepoledancingfoodie


  • Self-Compassion Is Not A Diet

    This week I chat with Dr Kiera Buchanan, anti-diet clinical and health psychologist, who is calming ME down as I am TOTALLY not ok with diet culture stealing the incredibly gentle and lovely practice of self-compassion and using as a frigging weight loss product! The rage is real as we chat about the horrendous concept of ‘the self-compassion diet.’ We discuss what self-compassion is actually all about – befriending yourself in difficult times – and how this skill is incredibly foundational to the non-diet approach, and to recovery from eating and weight concerns. Something that’s meant to help CURE you from diet culture SHOULD NOT BE USED TO SELL YOU A SMALLER BODY!

    This week I chat with Dr Kiera Buchanan, anti-diet clinical and health psychologist, who is calming ME down as I am TOTALLY not ok with diet culture stealing the incredibly gentle and lovely practice of self-compassion and using as a frigging weight loss product! The rage is real as we chat about the horrendous concept of ‘the self-compassion diet.’ We discuss what self-compassion is actually all about – befriending yourself in difficult times – and how this skill is incredibly foundational to the non-diet approach, and to recovery from eating and weight concerns. Something that’s meant to help CURE you from diet culture SHOULD NOT BE USED TO SELL YOU A SMALLER BODY!Â


    This week I chat with Dr Kiera Buchanan, anti-diet clinical and health psychologist, who is calming ME down as I am TOTALLY not ok with diet culture stealing the incredibly gentle and lovely practice of self-compassion and using as a frigging weight loss product! The rage is real as we chat about the horrendous concept of ‘the self-compassion diet.’ We discuss what self-compassion is actually all about – befriending yourself in difficult times – and how this skill is incredibly foundational to the non-diet approach, and to recovery from eating and weight concerns. Something that’s meant to help CURE you from diet culture SHOULD NOT BE USED TO SELL YOU A SMALLER BODY!Â
    View show notes

    Show Notes

    • Louise is completely fired up about self compassion being used as a weight loss tool, and Dr Kiera Buchanan is here to help sort her out. Dr Kiera is a clinical and health psychologist who specialises in HAES approaches. She’s also very passionate about self compassion.
    • Self-compassion is like a foundation for the non-diet approach and HAES. And I get fired up when I see something as beautiful as self-compassion being used as a weight loss tool!
    • Dieting is not what’s best for ourselves, it’s not what’s good for us physically, or emotionally or even socially. It flies in the face of the premise of self-compassion and compassion focused therapy.
    • Self compassion is a wonderful tool of healing that’s being used to promote further harm.
    • There is so much rage about this book called “The Self Compassion Diet” by Jean Fain
    • There’s this assumption that everyone is in a bigger body because they don’t like themselves and if they practiced self-compassion they would suddenly be granted this thinner body.
    • That’s so insulting. It blames the individual which is the very opposite of what self-compassion is supposed to be.
    • Paul Gilbert talks about the 3 systems of emotional regulation: These motivational systems are hardwired and can be triggered by various things. The three systems are: Drive (achieve), threat (self protect), and the soothing & contentment (self-compassion).
    • Blame and shame is never useful for ourselves.
    • When the threat system (fight or flight) gets triggered, this can trigger our drive system which is all about chasing pleasure or success.
    • Trying to diet all the time is being stuck in the drive system. It’s of course inevitable that we hit a point of diet failure, because we are up against out body, but then that triggers off all the shame, blame and criticism again and before we know it we are back in the threat system.
    • We are bouncing between feeling bad about ourselves and pursuing weight loss and feeling bad about ourselves and pursuing weight loss and it’s this perpetuating cycle.
    • When we are unhappy with our bodies we try to solve it with a solution (dieting) that is guaranteed to fail.
    • We are not actually problems to be solved. In those times of distress we can soothe, comfort and nurture not go out and achieve.
    • Self-compassion is NOT. A. Weight Loss Tool.
    • There is literally no research that self-compassion overrides the natural biological systems of weight regain.
    • Self-compassion is about bringing compassion to ourselves during times of suffering.
    • The weight loss industry divides us, others us. While self-compassion is meant to bring us together.
    • We can do the cognitive therapies that allow us to think more rationally but we don’t necessarily feel any better. Compassion-focused therapy works with the physical sensations and working with our emotions as well.
    • Outcome research is pretty terrible for self-esteem. Self esteem is a global evaluation of ourselves. It’s all about performance and comparison. It’s an us and them, constantly comparing. It’s conditional. Self esteem means we judge ourselves nicely if we perform well, and harshly when we fail. Your judgement is conditional on your performance. So the only way to feel better in a self esteem model is to ‘perfect’ things.Self-esteem is like building a house on sand.
    • Self-compassion is like building your house on rock. It doesn’t really matter what hits you in life, you’re there for you.
    • Kirsten Neff says self-esteem is great when things are going well, but when things go bad, self-esteem is the first to pack its bag and abandons you in your time of need.
    • Self-Esteem is the biggest frenemy ever.
    • Compassion based therapy is about developing this compassionate, wise self that’s able to be our best friend that’s able to comfort and nurture and guide us, particularly in times of struggle.
    • Compassion focused groups are health promoting not health depleting like the weight loss industry.
    • With self-compassion added, people get better quicker.
    • All of the judgements and assumptions about bodies. None of us get away from judgements, you lose weight, you gain weight, there’s an assumption around who you are and what you’re doing. And instead we can all have compassion for ourselves in the face of those judgements – instead of feeling like we need to do something to escape those judgments.
    • It’s absolutely harder for people in larger bodies because they don’t get respite.
    • Even within that broad community doing research and so much great stuff but there is still weight stigma.
    • E.g Brene Brown presenting her talk about inclusion and vulnerability and then ‘othering’ fat participants. Addressing weight stigma and internalised weight stigma needs to be addressed in the field of self-compassion.
    • Discussion around distress being not your fault but it is your responsibility to alleviate your suffering.
    • This assumption that weight is suffering?? Let’s question that and unpack that.
    • The idea of individual responsibility ignores a whole world full of injustice and prejudice and stigma and oppression and things that are really badly wrong. And that all needs to be brought into this discussion. So I would like a social justice aware model of self compassion.
    • Paul Gilbert talks a lot about the needing to wake up which is what mindfulness is all about. It’s to wake up to the realities of life and then in that waking up is suffering and realisation. And then compassion is to bring compassion and soothing to that suffering.
    • Kirsten Neff talks about the difference between self-esteem and self-compassion being what is good about me versus what is good for me.
    • Noticing our distress and labelling it as distress rather than labelling it as failure.
    • Self compassion is a lovely, lovely, lovely tool to use to protect you from this world going hyper with this stuff.
    • Kristen Neff’s self compassion break. Noticing, responding with kindness and our shared common humanity.
    • Common humanity means to not minimise your struggle and to not isolate yourself.
    • Using compassion to bring us all together to understand rather than weight loss dividing us.
    • Just start by practising those three steps in the self compassion break. Or even easier just asking “what would I say to my best friend if they were going through this”?


    Find out more about Dr Kiera and her wonderful self compassion groups 

    More about Paul Gilbert here

    More about Kristen Neff here

    Open letter to Bree Brown

    The self-compassion break exercise:


  • Weight Loss Surgery

    My guest this week is the awesome Lisa Du Breuil, a social worker specialising in helping people who have developed issues after weight loss surgery. Lisa is also across the issue of weight bias and how this impacts everything: people’s likelihood of getting surgery, the types of research questions we’re asking, and even the conclusions we’re drawing from research. Lisa is totally incensed about the research on weight loss surgery – because most of the research is piss poor quality. And a LOT of information is being left out. Lisa’s also pretty pissed about the level of information people tend to get before surgery (spoiler alert – most people are not informed about all of the risks before they have the operation). In this episode, Lisa & I dissect the long term research on weight loss surgery outcomes, and discuss what we do know…and what we don’t yet know. We also talk through some of the often overlooked but serious issues people can develop after the weight loss honeymoon is over. If you or someone you love is considering this surgery, please listen to this episode first!

    My guest this week is the incredible Lisa Du Breuil, a social worker who specialises in helping people who have developed addictions and eating disorders following weight loss surgery. Lisa is also very across the issue of weight bias and how this impacts everything: people’s likelihood of getting surgery, the types of research questions we’re asking, and even the conclusions we’re drawing from research. Lisa is totally incensed about the research on weight loss surgery – because most of the research is piss poor quality. And a LOT of information is being left out. We know that many people get into trouble after their surgery, but their voices are missing from the scientific journals. Lisa’s also pretty pissed about the level of information people tend to get before surgery (spoiler alert – most people are not informed about all of the risks before they have the operation). In this episode, Lisa & I dissect the long term research on weight loss surgery outcomes, and discuss what we do know…and what we don’t yet know. We also talk through some of the often overlooked but serious issues people can develop after the weight loss honeymoon is over. If you or someone you love is considering this surgery, please listen to this episode first!
    View show notes


      • My guest this week is the incredible Lisa Du Breuil, a social worker who specialises in helping people who have developed addictions and eating disorders following weight loss surgery. Lisa is an incredible advocate for all bodies, a HAES warrior, and an all round beautiful person.
      • Lisa is totally incensed about the research on weight loss surgery – specifically, the things that get left out of most research papers. She’s also pretty pissed about the level of information people tend to get before surgery (spoiler alert – most people are not informed about all of the risks before they have the operation).
      • We like to think of research being evidence based and objective, but this isn’t the case especially in weight science- where weight bias is brought into the area of study.
      • We talked about a JAMA review article on weight loss surgery which reviewed all of the research on bariatric surgery from 1946 to 2014 to look at bariatric surgery outcomes.
      • The first interesting thing is they found over 7000 studies but only included 29 – because they were looking for well done studies (less than 1% were decent quality!). They looked at studies with at least a 2 year follow up and that had kept up with at least 80% of study participants. This is good as so much research is short term – which tells us bugger all. We really need to look at what is happening to people when the honeymoon is over.
      • When we look at research which claims to be ‘long term’ we really need to know how long term is defined – it might mean as little as a 1 year follow up. The ‘gold standard’ in the non-diet approach is to look at outcomes of 5 and 10 years out, as this is where we really see that most weight loss approaches lead to weight regain and a whole host of complications. But very little research actually tracks that pattern.
      • The JAMA review looked at remission of diabetes, weight loss, other comorbid conditions. They found that it was hard to draw a lot of conclusions because between all of the studies there was no agreement or standardisation of what “success” means.
      • For example – what does weight loss mean? Many bariatric studies are not straight up about weight loss – they use something called “% weight loss” – whereby they might say about someone, ok, this person ‘should’ weigh about 150 (pounds), but they weigh 210, so they have 60 pounds of what is called ”excess weight”.. The weight loss studies then tell us what % of that excess weight is lost from performing the surgery.
      • Definitions like this are confusing, and from the outset it’s hard to see what you are looking at. And even if this idea of excess weight loss is common in bariatric research papers, there’s other ideas like what “significant” means, what “remission” means. We can’t compare studies to other studies because there’s so much variation in definitions. So the JAMA article says that we need to standardise definitions in order to make sense of what’s actually happening following bariatric surgery.
      • Is this confusion happening on purpose!?
      • There are some recommendations for standardising definitions but they are not mandatory.
      • If things were standardised and easy to understand, maybe we’d start to see more clearly that these surgeries are not as effective as they’re made out to be.
      • Actual quote – “substantial risks exist for arriving at overly optimistic conclusions regarding the effect of a weight loss intervention when follow up is incomplete. Because of incomplete follow up most bariatric surgery studies may report overly optimistic estimates for these operations effects”.
      • Incomplete follow up means people who don’t come back. Drop outs are huge in this area – we see these people!
      • And when people get in trouble post surgery, they feel they’ve failed or done something wrong. And it’s heart breaking. There’s so much pressure to be a success story after surgery and if you’re not in a good place it would be very hard to go back and say it’s not working for me because people get blamed.


    • We are trained by diet culture to assume that we mess up.


    • Across all bariatric surgery it is recognised that weight regain is “COMMON”. But of course people are blamed.
    • Another study – weight regain following sleeve surgery – “weight regain following a variety of bariatric procedures is well recognised but poorly reported.”
    • We know it happens, but we don’t really know why it happens, a few reasons are thrown around and the idea that it’s the person’s fault is always mentioned. “maladaptive lifestyle behaviours’ – that’s their way of saying it’s their fault!
    • This sounds SO familiar to any dieter – we are so used to being told if only we did it right we’d be successful. And we know from research this isn’t true – we regain the weight even if we keep dieting. We really need to stop blaming people. But this blame is showing no signs of stopping.
    • The weight regain following sleeve surgery shows that – as time from surgery increases, weight is regained.
    • In the sleeve surgery review paper, only one of the research groups reported year on year data of weight regain. But here’s what they found: at one year, 0% had regained weight. At 2 years, 1%, at 3 years 11.6%, 4 years 19.2%, at 5 years nearly 30%. That shows the trajectory – and we never read this! And this is just 5 years. What happens after decades?
    • It seems to be standard that the weight comes back. This information needs to be given to people so they can make an informed decision.
    • When Lisa sees people post surgery who have regained the weight, they always think they are the only ones going through it – they’re the screw up. Often people are surprised and very relieved to know they’re not alone.
    • This mirrors the diet experience where people also feel like they’re alone. But science says they are not alone.
    • In Australia, the sleeve is the most popular operation right now. I (Louise) give clients the sleeve article if they are considering the operation. It’s our job as HAES professionals not to judge but to make sure people are very well informed.
    • Here in Australia a lot of the information evenings about surgery can seem very sales pitchy and won’t focus on the downsides and side effects.
    • Different bariatric centres will do better or worse at giving information.
    • But even if we’re given all of the information we can fall into thinking “that won’t be me”.
    • A couple of afternoons at an information evening isn’t a lot of time. This is a huge and potentially irreversible operation.
    • Rather than thinking ˜that won’t happen to me’, maybe a way of thinking is ˜well if that did happen to me would I be ok with that? would I be able to live with it?”
    • It might be! But – it might not be.
    • The research shows that most larger people who pursue these surgeries have a lot of internalised weight stigma. They have internalised the messages about how bad fatness is, and have significant levels of depression and anxiety. This needs attention and care!
    • We worry that internalised weight stigma is being overlooked in bariatric surgery preparation.
    • People believe that the surgery will fix the stigma. Then they go to a surgeon who has high levels of internalised stigma against larger people. No-one is seeing it for what it is!
    • No-one in the surgery will even see it as a problem.
    • Lisa sees that our medical providers have similar rates of weight stigma to the general population. The very people that you turn to for help might actually reinforce this stigma that you believe in.
    • Surgery doesn’t fix stigma!
    • Weight loss does not improve body image. This sounds counter intuitive – we are told to just change our body. But we know in the research that weight loss does not remove internalised weight stigma.
    • If there’s one thing that you could look at before you decide to have surgery it would be this idea of internalised weight stigma. Work on this for a while with a therapist who is aware of the issues. Then when you’ve stepped away from that stigma, then decide if you still want the surgery. But don’t do it with all the bias still there inside you.
    • We can shift internalised weight stigma, without weight loss. You’ll be in a much better place with surgery if you address this stigma stuff first. You’ll be much better able to look after yourself post surgery if you are no longer holding onto weight bias.
    • It’ll also help you navigate the world of weight biased bariatric surgery in a very different way!
    • The big JAMA review did make some conclusions about bariatric surgery. Most studies are on bypass (11 studies) and bands (14 studies), only 2 on sleeves. So the JAMA article didn’t make any conclusions about sleeves because there wasn’t enough information.
    • So they concluded: people who had a band or bypass and had 50% or more of excess weight loss, this happened to 31% of bands and 65% of bypass people.
    • So it’s not a lot – for the band people! The Centre for Obesity Research (CORE) in Australia – their website literally promises the world. But what this shows is that you’re not going to lose 100% of your so called excess weight with a band. And two thirds of people don’t even lose half of their excess weight.
    • The stats on bypass are higher, but still a third of people did not hit that threshold of 50% excess weight loss. These are numbers to keep in mind. Remember that these numbers are taken at the highest point – the 2 year mark
    • The long term – 5, 10 years out – is literally largely unknown. What they call long term is really just a couple of years in.
    • For diabetes remission – for bypass 66% and bands 28% – very similar to the “excess weight loss” stats.
    • Lisa stresses that the longer we study people out from the surgery, the fewer people are still in remission from diabetes.
    • The band research in Australia – when they investigated diabetes – they recruited people for their trials  who had only been diagnosed with diabetes in the last couple of year. Because they know that these people are more likely to experience diabetes reversal than people who have had it for longer. So sneaky! Pick the ones who are likely to win anyway!
    • It’s so important to know !
    • It might be more realistic with diabetes impact to say it might help it in the short term, if you haven’t had it for very long.
    • Hypertension – bypass 38% and band 17% – these rates aren’t as high as the stats for diabetes.
    • Cholesterol – 60% for bypass and 22% for the band.
    • So we’re not looking at a huge wonderful shiny everyone’s much better!
    • And then in the JAMA review with regards to cholesterol – they mention that most studies didn’t even mention medication usage. So they don’t know if people were using cholesterol drugs. So any improvement in cholesterol that’s being reported here could actually just be because the people were taking meds and have nothing to do with the surgery.
    • The truth is: the research is pretty crappy. The truth is: we just don’t know – we just don’t know so much! We don’t even have definitions ! How can we conclude anything significant?
    • The only conclusion we can confidently come to is that weight loss surgery is big business.
    • We are looking at biased samples.
    • I’d love to see a study of a giant group of people who have dropped out of weight loss surgeries and hear their stories, because these voices are largely absent
    • Bariatric surgeons are not doing this research but other mental health professionals who are doing qualitative research are publishing them. But we won’t see them in JAMA. In mainstream articles we only see a focus on weight loss and not the broader experience of people post surgery.
    • It might be in a sociological journal, not obesity journals.
    • There are some articles which track issues post surgery. One is a study that was in JAMA in 2016 looking at self harm emergencies post surgery.
    • They found that the risk of a self harm incident was 50% higher after bariatric surgery.
    • This was a Canadian study of people who needed ambulances and people who showed up in emergency. So these are serious cases – it is likely that the real figure is even higher than this.
    • This data doesn’t include people who succeeded in ending their lives.
    • The researchers made some conclusions about why this is happening. One was alcohol. The other was increased levels of stress and anxiety post surgery. And the other is the impact of surgery on neuro hormones.
    • The direct effect of surgery on neuro hormones might be mediators of behaviours – they are saying perhaps people become more impulsive after surgery?
    • What isn’t mentioned in the article – people have had the surgery, life isn’t great, this was their last ditch…so then what?
    • Everyone that they tracked had a history of major depression pre surgery. What kind of care and preparation are people getting?
    • If you are in a larger body, and you live in diet culture which is fat phobic, of course you’ll get depressed.
    • Lisa speaks about how being a HAES practitioner has helped her to inoculate her against the harms of diet culture.
    • Instead of using a HAES approach and making this the forefront we are cutting people up. It’s a mess.
    • The intense drive to escape the stigma is so understandable. It’s kind of like wanting to get off the Titanic! And it’s our job to help people think it through and really be ready so they can have the best possible outcome. It’s about going in eyes open and holding hands with other people who will help you in a weight inclusive way.
    • Anything we do with our bodies we need to know what is likely to happen, and to be ok with that.
    • There is another alcohol study – from JAMA in 2015 – it’s a research letter about how gastric bypass surgery in effect makes 2 alcoholic drinks effectively 4. The surgery reduces our ability to metabolise alcohol, so we are much more likely to become drunk very quickly and also much more likely to experience addiction.
    • After surgery, almost none of the alcohol we drink is metabolised before it hits our bloodstream. Alcohol is dumped into the blood stream. The post surgery experience of drinking is more like cocaine – much more addictive.
    • This is not in the brochure!
    • There is research to show that there is an increase in substance abuse disorders in people who have had surgery.
    • When our relationship with food is so severely restricted, alcohol can become even more tempting. Because our brains want pleasure.
    • And the onset for these types of problems might be 2-3 years post surgery.
    • People might see this as a ˜substitute addiction” but people don’t wait 2-3 years to have a substitute addiction.
    • It’s possible that this happens when the weight loss surgery honeymoon is over. It’s not working the way they thought it would. So it’s so important  that we must do long term good quality research. We owe it to people. And we need to do this without the weight bias hat on – without this very narrow focus.
    • Are there nutritional changes 2-3 years out? We know that malabsorption becomes an issue post bypass. there is so much we don’t know or understand.
    • This impact of alcohol doesn’t ever go away. So surgeons are recommending abstinence from alcohol for at least a year. But really – it needs to be permanent. So this is another factor to think about.
    • Do everything you can to get in contact with people who have had the surgery 5 or 10 years ago and make sure you have a really good picture. Talk to people not just with the shiny experiences but the tough ones. Information gathering is so important.
    • Don’t get seduced by people who are just still in the honeymoon period.



    The JAMA review article  on long term follow up after bariatric surgery

    The article on weight regain following gastric sleeve surgery

    An article by Lisa Du Breil on weight stigma and weight loss surgery

    The Current State of the Evidence for Weight Loss Surgery

    Impact of weight loss surgery on alcohol metabolism

    Self harm and suicide attempts after weight loss surgery

    A Facebook support group for people who are experiencing difficulty following gastric surgery :


  • Diet Culture Is An Abusive Relationship

    My guest this week is the phenomenal Kerry Beake from HAES Health, anti-diet health coach, nutritionist and HAES warrior. After reading about the “signs of an abusive relationship” online, Kerry made the uncomfortable realisation that diet culture itself is an abusive relationship! In this incredible episode, Kerry & I discuss how the manipulative dynamics of an abusive relationship are utterly mirrored in diet culture. We give you the 9 signs to look out for, so that you can protect yourself not only from abusive people in your life, but from an abusive, oppressive culture that constantly tries to trick, deceive, bamboozle and love bomb you so that you’re always plagued with self doubt and totally under its control. If you want to get your life back and stop being controlled, listen to this episode! Knowledge is power!

    View show notes
    • My guest today is the incredible Kerry Beake, HAES Coach, nutritionist, and social justice warrior. Kerry came across a list of “Signs of an abusive relationship,” and was horrified to recognise that in every single point, she was seeing DIET CULTURE ITSELF.
    • Once we looked at the list together, it became blindingly obvious that the parallels are there. And it was very confronting to see it all written down like that. But it’s so important to get this message out there as clearly as possible. Diet culture isn’t harmless. It’s incredibly harmful, and it’s abuse.
    • So we went through a couple of lists that we came across on the topic of abusive relationships, and we came up with 9 points, or 9 ways to know when someone is abusing you. And Kerry & I tied each of these points to the ways in which diet culture is abusing us.
    • This was a confronting and triggering exercise for me & Kerry to do, because as women, we’ve both endured abusive relationships in our past. The current climate, with things like the “me too” campaign, is also reflective of a growing recognition of the extent of abuse of women (and men), of how systemic it is, and how covered up. This is an important conversation, but it is a really difficult one.
    • This is an important conversation to have. If we can’t see the parallels between diet culture and an abusive relationship, then we’re at risk of both!
    • Non-diet work is all about getting away from oppression. We need to open our eyes and see this for what it is.
    • We have created this list of the 9 signs of when you’re in an abusive relationship, it’s here in our show notes for you to access, and please, share it everywhere.
    • Because knowledge is power.
    • Sign #1: Abusers do a great job of promising you a great future & then delivers you a nightmare! Abusive partners don’t introduce themselves as abusers. They’re often very charismatic, shiny, sweep you off your feet type people. When a person comes along who seems a bit too good to be true….we don’t want to look at that! We just want it to be true.
    • Diet culture is exactly like the charismatic abuser.Diet culture sells us every single dream when it’s selling us weight loss. It tells us that everything great is going to happen if we get involved with it.
    • But far from the outlandish promises, the reality is that for many, diet culture delivers us a nightmare. We end up in food prison, body prison, exercise prison. Stuck in destructive cycles with food.
    • And when we find it tough, diet culture blames US for the nightmare.
    • Dieting delivers us a nightmare: they have very high failure rates, and they cause disordered eating!
    • People die from bariatric surgery, not just from complications, but from suicide. And we know that in abusive relationships, things escalate, and people die. Far from the dream, there are people dying. Dying for the dream that isn’t real in the first place.
    • During our discussion Kerry & I both experienced high levels of emotions wrapped up in this topic. It’s just so personal.
    • It’s good to name it. We need to name the enormity of this. We are so used to being in diet culture, in this abuse, that we can disconnect from its impact. We don’t see the deep trauma that happens when we buy this.
    • Point #2: Gaslighting. This is when an abusive partner does something, then denies doing it, and insists that you’re crazy.Gaslighting is a real hallmark of an abusive relationship. It’s all about psychological manipulation.
    • It’s about sewing seeds of doubt in your own belief system. So in your mind you know what’s true, but the abuser will throw so much at you that your head spins, and you’re not sure anymore.
    • The ultimate in gaslighting is not knowing anymore what’s real and what’s not.
    • Kerry shared her experiences within her family of being gaslighted, and how hard this was for her. But she ended up going to university so she could figure out what was real and what she was capable of – what an amazing woman!
    • People who find the non-diet approach often feel like for the first time in their lives, they’re not being gaslighted! They’re being supported in their own experiences, rather than being told that their experience is wrong.
    • Diet culture gaslights us by saying ‘this isn’t a diet’. They also do the “Love your body, but here’s how to change it”. That’s gaslighting.
    • Because the sum impact of it is you feel self doubt and confused. Is this a diet? Can I love my body and still lose weight?
    • If you feel confused a lot of the time, you’re probably being gaslighted.
    • You can get gaslighted by a whole group in diet culture! Collective gaslighting!
    • Gaslighting is insidious and effective! But if we can name it, we can gain power.
    • “What you’re telling me doesn’t match what I know in my own experience. And rather than not trust my own experience, I’m not going to trust YOU!”
    • This is the voice in our head which will protect us.
    • Point #3: Abusers love to accuse you of doing things that you’re not doing, or accusing you of doing things that they’re doing. Narcissists have a deep sense of unworthiness.
    • They project that onto their partners. They inflict their own “not good enough’ onto their child. So the kids of narcissists feel deeply not ok.
    • You can learn to look out for projection – if someone is throwing something at you that seems odd, notice it.
    • It’s in the abuser’s interest to capitalise on any self doubt or insecurity you might have.
    • And grow it like a plant. They want it big so you don’t go anywhere.
    • In diet culture, we get blamed when diets don’t work! We KNOW that it’s not people’s fault when diets don’t work. Our body is so good defending against weight loss.
    • Diet culture tells us we’re lying! Often health professionals accuse larger people of lying about how they treat their bodies. That is projection.
    • Weight bias is so ingrained in diet culture and this bias is constantly projected to people in larger bodies.
    • “You’ll feel better if you lose weight” Often means “I’ll feel better if you lose weight”. This is just weight bias!
    • So many other factors impact on our health, beyond weight. Poverty, loneliness, and isolation are also important.
    • Point #4: Abusers are pathological liars, and if they are caught they’ll never take responsibility for it, they twist it back onto you. The weight loss industry specialises in this – we are told lie after lie and never taking responsibility. It promises health but sell us fear.
    • Kerry learned in advertising that in order for ads to work, basically you create a problem and then sell a solution to fix it.
    • So diet culture creates the body hatred, and then sells us the temporary dream of a solution via a smaller body.
    • The weight loss industry profits from constantly changing the rules and making us so confused.
    • There’s always new things they are selling us.
    • It’s a huge and profitable business which undermines its consumers all the time.
    • Point #5: abusers manipulate our emotions to get their needs met. You are not important, they are the only ones who are important. By playing on your insecurities, you are surrounded by a forest of insecurities.
    • Diet culture deliberately plays up our insecurities.
    • Public health campaigns love to use GUILT – eg the grabbable gut. Even though we know that weight stigma doesn’t help health care.
    • They use charm – the Instagram people, they use their beauty!
    • They use hope – like Oprah with her ‘thin person inside’
    • They use confusion – the woo people like David Avocado Wolfe or Paleo Pete, capitalising on confusion.
    • They use pseudoscience! Stuff that looks plausible, but only on the surface.
    • Point #6 – abusers love to provoke, cause arguments, agitate. And they love drama and extreme thinking, and tend to be unstable or dramatic. Diet culture is totally the same – it uses black and white thinking. Diet culture loves a good dramatic headline.
    • Hysterical language buys into weight bias.
    • Point #7 – abusers cannot feel empathy for others. This is true of psychopaths and narcissists. Privilege can impact on someone’s ability to empathise.
    • Lack of empathy or remorse we see in diet culture gurus like Belle Gibson or Pete Evans.
    • Point #8 – abusers punish you with verbal and physical abuse if you speak up. Abuse tends to escalate over time. Diet culture is highly abusive. Look at any comments section.
    • Abuse, verbal and in person, is experienced on a daily basis in our culture against those in larger bodies.
    • The point of abuse in an abusive relationship is to get someone under their control. It is not an empowering process. It’s divisive and unkind, narrow and does not help people to look after themselves.
    • Point #9 – It’s really hard to get out of an abusive relationship. It takes a long time to see what is happening, to realise it won’t change, and to get out safely.
    • Letting go of hope is very hard. Because when it’s good, it’s good. The love bombing, the dream. Diet culture love bombs us all the time. We really want to believe that’s true.
    • When we do decide to leave, we can get doubt thrown at us by other people who believe the abuser! And it can take a few attempts to get out – we can keep going back.
    • It can be hard when there’s no ready alternative to go to instead of diet culture. The non-diet approach is a much smaller community!
    • The non-diet approach is about building the most fabulous relationship with yourself possible, about as far away as you can get from diet culture!
    • Find community – because it’s hard to recover from abuse on your own.


    The original facebook post

    Why Diet Culture is An Abusive Relationship – the pdf. Please download this and share it everywhere!

    Find out more about the incredible Kerry Beake

  • Yoga is Not A Weight Loss Tool

    This week I speak to Janet Lowndes, anti-diet psychologist and yoga teacher. I completely ruined her Zen by sending her an article titled “the best yoga poses for weight loss.” But here’s the thing: YOGA IS NOTHING TO DO WITH WEIGHT LOSS! Janet is FURIOUS to witness the oppressive, appearance obsessed diet industry muscling into the beautiful, peaceful world of yoga. As we discuss, yoga is about learning to live in union with yourself, right now, WITHOUT trying to change anything. Cheapening yoga by making it a weight loss method or a way of getting ‘bikini ready’ is literally antithetical to the entire wisdom. Tune in for an INCREDIBLE discussion about what yoga truly is, and how it can be used as the most powerful way to truly transform yourself – not by changing your body, but by becoming more connected to exactly who you are :}

    View show notes
    • This week my guest is Janet Lowndes, psychologist & yoga teacher from Mind Body Well
    • Janet put on her yoga ranty pants because she’s pissed off with how yoga is being sold as a way to attain a ‘beautiful body,’ and that only people with thin ideal bodies are practicing it.
    • In order to be a yogi you have to look a certain way, and that you use yoga for weight loss. that one of the core reasons for doing yoga is for weight loss – which it’s not!
    • Annoyed about the hijacking of this beautiful world of yoga by the weight loss and diet industry (janet)
    • Louise may have deliberately lit a fire underneath Janet by sending her an article called “24 best yoga poses to lose weight quickly and easily. ” It annoyed Louise, and she knew Janet would be infuruated!
    • And of course underneath this irritating title is a picture of a typically Instagram-perfect thin ideal woman doing a strategically flattering yoga pose.
    • The woman who wrote this article is waxing lyrical about how awesome yoga has been in helping her to “lose tonnes of weight,” and then presumably to become her business as well (selling yoga for weight loss to others).
    • Then her first yoga pose was one which apparently helps you to lose ‘fat from your face’ – are you serious!
    • Yoga poses are NOT ABOUT WEIGHT LOSS. The ancient teachings in the yoga sutras do not talk about changing your body shape!
    • The purpose of all of the physical practices of yoga are to help us learn how to live in good company with the mind and body reunified. So that the mind & body can work together so we can live more peacefully. Not ways to look better in a bikini.
    • They’re ways to learn how to live in peace and harmony in relationship with ourselves.
    • There’s so much beauty, richness and depth in yoga teachings. It really annoys Janet to see people limiting or reducing yoga to being yet another way to obsess about our appearance.
    • Using yoga poses to reduce body fat you at war with your body, which is against the philosophy of yoga.
    • Yoga isn’t about your body image. It’s about your sense of embodiment.
    • It’s about introception – how it feels to live in your body. Lots of stuff in yoga helps you to feel more at home, more comfortable and strong and more of a sense of vitality in your body. That’s from the inside out, not from the outside in!
    • As a non-diet psychologist Janet uses yoga to help people make peace with their bodies.
    • It’s totally annoying to see that something she uses to help people heal from diet culture being used to perpetuate it!
    • I feel like this dieting world has snuck into yoga and is messing it up! It’s putting a layer of confusion and wrong message in yoga.
    • Things like the yoga selfie, and the idea that you can tell a yogie by their “look”
    • The pressure is real, and our clients are telling us that on Instagram, everyone who’s doing yoga has a thin ideal body! We see supermodels and gymnasts doing asana practice!
    • It’s very hard to find diverse images of yogis in your social media.
    • Yoga is very hard to photograph. So people take photos of the body shapes. Yoga means union. We’re in a state of yoga when we’re in a state of union – between mind and body for example.
    • Yoga means to yoke, or bring together. Bringing together things that were never separate. This might mean the mind and the body, or something more like consciousness.
    • Our mind and our body are not separate things but we live as if they are! We ignore our bodies, or we hate them and see them as an enemy to fight against.
    • In psychotherapy, Janet uses yoga in very individualised ways. Everyone is different!
    • Yoga yoga – people who are teaching in a truly yogic way, as opposed to people who are only scratching the surface. Or co-opted yoga, or diet culture yoga!
    • Yoga is about the 8 limbs. A whole broad approach to being human – not just a set of exercises.
    • Yoga has seen a huge upsurge of interest in the West in the last 10 years.
    • Janet talks about an Indian prophet who talked about the West caretaking Yoga while India went through a massive cultural change, and that the West would then give Yoga back to India.
    • The more we can educate people about what yoga actually is…we’ll see there’s a whole lot more out there than just stretching!
    • The poses are the tip of the iceberg. The entry point for a lot of people, but hopefully not the end point!
    • Meditation and yoga are very helpful in therapy. It’s very important that we don’t lose the meaning along the way.
    • It’s vital that we stop perpetuating the idea that there is such a thing as a yoga body.
    • You can’t see yoga from the outside.
    • There are some amazing teachers. The integrity of yoga is strong.
    • We need to keep very high standards in the teaching of yoga.
    • We’ll create a list of great yoga teachers and put it in the resources! One of course is the revolutionary Sarah Harry, her work in Fat Yoga makes a clear statement that yoga is for ALL bodies.
    • In ashrams in India, the whole lifespan is in these classes! People of different shapes, sizes, ages, and abilities, all in there together, doing what’s right for them.
    • Not wearing lycra!
    • The 8 limbs of yoga – the yoga sutras of Patanjali are where the deep wisdom of yoga is written down. Where Janet realised that yoga is a psychology – how we relate to our thoughts, bodies, behaviours, and to each other.
    • The first 2 limbs of yoga are the Yama and Niyama – which refer to the ethics of yoga. Ahimsa – non violence and compassion. Compassion is really “in” in psychology right now!
    • The language of self compassion comes straight from the world of Buddhism and yoga.
    • If we don’t start with this attitude of kindness..we can’t get deep!
    • So many people are kind to others but not to themselves.
    • If you’re going to yoga with a mindset of self hatred or self aggression – that’s not yogic!
    • It’s also very human in western culture – to undertake any new project with an internalised sense of self hatred.
    • Yoga ‘transformation’ – is a term we hear a lot in our media. But in the Sutras, transformation isn’t about trying to become someone else. It’s about helping us become more of who we already are! Such a core message. Recognising that there’s a beautiful soul inside which we cover up. How can I remove these obstacles to be more authentically me?
    • The idea of perfection in yoga – is confusing at first. But in yoga perfection is about recognising that we are already complete. We’re already perfect. We just let things get in the way.
    • In a scientific sense perfect means ‘without flaw’. But humans are flawed! We’re not perfect in a scientific sense but in yoga we are already perfect because our flaws are our wholeness, our completion.
    • So transformation in yoga isn’t about changing a body!
    • It’s about being more authentically at home with ourselves.
    • All of our flaws are part of our humanness
    • The more Janet & I talked, the more obvious it became that the woman who wrote the article hasn’t got a clue what yoga is really all about!
    • Some people in the yoga world are selling out. But there’s so much good in the world of yoga, who stick to the authentic teaching.
    • It’s differentiating – who’s safe/gets it vs those who are using it to further your sense of inadequacy!
    • How do you tell? If you go and you feel ‘not good enough’ or there’s some kind of outcome to strive for – it’s a good idea to go somewhere else!
    • It’s not supposed to be competitive!
    • Injuries in yoga are increasing, which is antithetical to genuine yoga practice!
    • Outward focused practices (hard, fast, focused on how you look) are not what it’s about.
    • 5 Yamas – refer to our relationships to ourselves and the world around us.
    • The Niyamas talk about our the internal relationship of how we live our lives – our self care. These are the foundations of yoga.
    • The Asanas the physical postures come from there. They were designed by the ancient yogis to help us be able to sit quietly in our bodies in preparation for meditation.
    • To help us sit in our own skin.
    • As simple and as difficult as that (Michael Leunig)! It sounds simple. But it’s actually difficult in our world!
    • Sitting comfortably in our own skin – embodiment – is so difficult! It’s hard to meet an adult human female who hasn’t been disembodied.
    • We’re trained to fight against our bodies, to ignore it, and diet culture perpetuates this.
    • At the core of yoga it’s about coming back to more at home in ourselves.
    • The next layers or limbs are about moving more deeply into an internal experience
    • The next is Pranayama – which is working with conscious breath.
    • These limbs are not separate – we do the breath and postures at the same time. The octopus.
    • The other 4 limbs are deepening layers of the meditative experience. They go from Pratyahara – noticing and paying attention to the senses – some people might be aware of this from mindfulness meditation – what can you smell, hear, see, touch, taste?
    • If we’re in a yoga studio where the focus is all on the mirror/poses, it encourages us away from our internal, sensory experience and takes us into surveillance/objectification mode. This is not yogic!
    • Yoga says – turn inward. To the felt sense of your experience
    • The last 3 layers are deepening states of meditation. To focus attention – one point of focus – to deepen our ability to just be there with our focus, and the last one is Samadhi – about freedom and bliss!
    • Resting in your true nature. Janet thinks of this as setting up a hammock inside your heart, and just chilling out.
    • For others it might be floating on a raft. That feeling of just absolutely settling back to be comfortable and at home within myself.
    • I (Louise) don’t always experience it, but bliss!
    • It’s the total opposite to the diet culture idea of finding bliss which must be delayed until we ‘perfect’ our body.
    • Bliss is about just being totally relaxed and at home – right now!
    • How weird that we need to re-learn how to come home to our bodies!
    • Children who haven’t yet been taught to disembody can totally bliss out in their own bodies. It’s terribly sad that we lose that ability because of diet culture.
    • Practices such as yoga and self compassion can be the path back in.
    • It’s hard to come back to our bodies with talk therapy alone. The CBT style of therapy that we as psychologists were taught were helpful, but didn’t help us or our clients come home to our bodies. But these practices DO, in a powerful sense.
    • When we added the body stuff it changed everything for us as women, humans, and therapists.
    • We have a way of connecting with ourselves in a mind body way.
    • Janet was recently at a ‘body image’ conference, and has a problem with the whole concept.
    • Are we just all supposed to love how we look? How boring! Let’s get over appearance!! The preoccupation with appearance is the real issue.
    • The alternative to body image is not about what I look like! Embodiment and introception are about feeling the experience of living in our bodies from the inside out. Not constantly thinking about what I look like or think I look like.
    • CBT training in body image isn’t that helpful! Because to like how you look is a bit surfacy. It’s like thinking about what your children look like – it doesn’t matter!
    • Less external focus and much more of a lived experience is what we need.
    • So if yoga is concerned with what people look like….we’re missing the point in a big way.
    • You can’t actually ‘see’ yoga.
    • So how do we communicate what yoga is through visual mediums like Instagram! Everything is so visual! Janet really struggled with what image to use in a recent workshop brochure! So she used someone lying in a field of flowers….because that’s as close as she got to a hammock in her heart!
    • Showy pictures of yoga postures – we cannot tell if they’re in a yogic state. Are they breathing? Are they in a place of calm within themselves?
    • Contorting our bodies and pushing them too hard….is literally paying too much attention to one limb and ignoring the rest!
    • This is not about anything we can see from the outside. Yoga is about using the postures to help you have a more mindful embodied sense of yourself in the moment. Finding peace with yourself.
    • Grasping/attachment – aparigraha means non grasping. Not attaching to wanting something. Not identifying our sense of self with things/objects/appearance. Which is clearly not what this woman is saying in this article, she’s grasping to have a body!
    • Maybe lots of people will start with this surface idea….but hopefully through this process of learning – they will get deeper.
    • Even if you’re starting yoga with appearance focus, perhaps it can be like a gateway to self acceptance!
    • Donna Farhi has a saying – “pain is often the thing that brings them to yoga, and joy is the thing that keeps them coming back.”
    • There’s something more out there and I want to explore more deeply. Don’t give up – keep going, keep digging for a great teacher. Keep shopping and find the teacher that fits!
    • We’re so close to India where yoga comes from. We have loads of great yoga wisdom in Australia.
    • Look for teachers who are registered with Yoga Australia – all of these teachers are highly qualified.
    • Yoga is an act of defiance against body hatred. To keep returning to that place in me, which is there anytime. Stubbornly refuse to leave your body…and just be there.
    • Who I am is much more than my external form!


    The shitty article on how yoga is good for weight loss

    8 limbs of yoga explained

    The fabulous Yoga & Body Image Coalition

    Janet’s professional yoga psychology training

    Janet’s “Yoga For Your Mood” workshops

    Yoga Australia – here you can find a range of fabulous yoga teachers. Janet wanted to refer you guys here rather than list specific teachers (apart from the gorgeous Sarah Harry, of course!)

    Find out more about Janet here

    Great Books:

    Donna Farhi’s Bringing Yoga To Life

    Yoga and Body Image