97: Weight Discrimination and Disordered Eating with Jodie Gale

“I have a body but I am also more than my body and you know, there’s this whole other rich world inside of me called the soul.” Jodie Gale’s work surrounding bodies and food began long before her training as a soul-centered psychotherapist, counselor and eating disorder therapist. Jodie’s path stems from her own recovery from bulimia, addiction and childhood interpersonal trauma. These days, Jodie works with women seeking to recover from body image problems, yo-yo dieting, chronic dieting and eating disorders from a soulful and holistic perspective. Jodie holds a BA of Social Work from University of Sydney, an MA in Psychotherapy from Middlesex University, and an Eating Disorder Coach Certification from the Carolyn Costin Insitute. Jodie practices counseling, psychotherapy, clinical supervision and private practice business coaching out of the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia and offers sessions via Skype. This week Jodie and Dr. Viado resume their conversation about disordered eating and recovery specifically through the lens of internal and external weight discrimination. To find more information about Jodie and her work, please see: https://jodiegale.com https://jodiegale.com/soul-sessions/ To listen to Jodie’s previous episode: Episode 9: Disordered Eating: A Search for Wholeness with Jodie Gale In this Podcast, Dr. Viado and Jodie Gale Discuss:
  • Confronting internal weight discrimination
  • Overeating, undereating and when eating is disordered
  • Modeling good food habits for children
  • The Soul Self
Time Stamps: 3:15 – Jodie’s experience with disordered eating 5:30 – Weight discrimination: An external and internal force 11:40 – Confronting internal fat-shaming 13:40 – The Soul Self 15:36 – The challenge of living the life you want right now 18:35 – What does disordered eating look like? 22:42 – Classifying food as good or bad 32:21 – Words on how to initiate recovery 39 – Getting in touch with Jodie Quotes: 5:39 “Weight discrimination is external and internal. We internalize that thin ideal and then we start to weight discriminate against ourselves. But it’s everywhere we go and it’s disguised under this sort of health banner a lot of the time, I mean if you look at what’s out there at the moment in terms of the obesity scaremongering and the ‘Get healthy, get fit’ programs, and it’s the medical and fitness industry that perpetuates all this stuff, there’s this big banner that says ‘In order to be healthy, you have to be at a certain weight,’ and that’s just not true.” 8:43 “Research shows that something like at least 30% of people in diet programs have binge eating disorder, so what’s happening is that they’re told to lose weight but they’re not actually being questioned about whether they have any eating concerns. It’s just assumed that they’re fat, lazy, can’t control their food…But, the minute these people are put on diets, if they do have that underlying eating disorder, there’s a whole other world of problems then start to emerge because they start on that chronic ‘Restrict, binge’ pattern again which actually makes them end up putting on more weight.” 11:42 “Part of the work, in terms of recovering, whether it’s from chronic dieting or orthorexia or disordered eating is around really coming to terms with the fact that you are going to have to live in a world where you’re going to be triggered by this stuff every single day. And part of that is really around, how you begin to in therapy we sort of work to separate out those internalized messages whether it be from family, culture, that which we’re seeing on Instagram and things like the external fat-shaming, you know you see it online all the time, people feel it’s completely okay to fat shame people and how we then start to fat shame ourselves. So it’s really around working with someone to begin to take care of themselves, to focus on their health and to really change up that thinking and really challenging ‘Where does this thought come from? Where does this belief come from?’” 13:20 “I have a body but I am also more than my body and you know, there’s this whole other rich world inside of me called the soul.” 13:45 “You are so much more than a photoshopped image on Instagram. I mean, when you say it like that, it’s kind of crazy really but people are missing this whole inner world of themselves, this deep, rich inner life exactly like the topics you talk about on your podcast, to really turn the focus inward to…the soul-self and to really begin to focus on this aspect of our lives. What does the soul call for? What is the soul really hungry for?” 14:36 “If you think about even focusing on weight loss, I mean, what is this person seeking to actualize and usually it’s to do with worth, success, ‘good enough,’ and what we know is that all these things are an inside job and it doesn’t matter how much weight you lose, what you look like, if you’re not doing that inner work, it won’t match up.” 15:36 “I think people find that too if they have lost a lot of weight if they haven’t done that internal work, they’re still miserable inside. They’re still living a miserable life so in eating psychology, we talk about starting to live the life that you – you know, if I’m thinking ‘If I’m thin, I’ll do this, or I’ll wear this or I’ll get a boyfriend,’ or whatever it is that we’re telling ourselves – start to live that life today without focusing on the weight so ‘How can I bring more of whatever it is that I’m longing for into my life right now?’ and living from that place rather than waiting. I mean, you could be waiting your whole life…and especially people who restrict, binge, restrict, binge, restrict, binge, I mean it’s neverending so why not start to live the life that you want right now?” 18:39 – “An eating disorder doesn’t just develop overnight. You will develop disordered eating absolutely before you get diagnosed with an eating disorder. So, I would call this chronic dieting as disordered eating. People who are always on diets, people who are living under this healthy eating banner but are actually restricting. So people who maybe go to the gym, not because it’s good for their bodies or because they’re doing some self-care – you know, you can go to the gym and say ‘Oh wow, this is a really good part of my self-care routine, I really enjoy this.”…If you start getting to the point where you’re missing out on social experiences because of orthorexia is very big at the moment, and clean eating or because you’re going to the gym so you might say ‘Okay, all my friends are going out on Saturday night but I can’t go there’s nothing there that’s clean for me to eat, they might use fat, they might do this,’ and the gym side of things ‘I’ll miss out on social situations because I can’t miss a day at the gym, if I miss a day, I might get fat,’ so these kinds of things that have crept their way into everyday life, they used to be just in the domain of classic eating disorders but I’m noticing in the last sort of ten years more and more everyday people are getting caught into this stuff.” 20:52 “It’s normal to overeat sometimes, it’s normal to undereat sometimes, it’s normal to have a whole range of eating disorders but once they start to slip into more regular sort of use.” 22:44 “This idea that food is good or bad and it’s like I said to my daughters at school…they said ‘So what’s healthy?’ and I said ‘Well, everything is healthy in moderation but if you only lived on carrots, you would be unhealthy, if you only lived on cheeseburgers, you would be unhealthy, somewhere in the middle is a really good place to be.” 25:50 “We talk about the healthy self, and the soul self, and then the eating disorder self and even in terms of recovering, we don’t get rid of the eating disorder self, we work to integrate that back into our wholeness. We don’t even see that as a bad self, we see it as this is a part of us that has had to use a whole set of behaviors in order to get needs met in some way, obviously, that’s gone haywire and then we work to integrate that back in.” 29:45 “We don’t really start off by trying to get people to eat intuitively, it’s more conscious eating which may involve intuitive eating at some point but when someone’s system is so out of whack and you say to them ‘Right, go and do intuitive eating or mindful eating,’ it’s like ‘What the hell is that? I’m not sure when I’m hungry, not hungry,’ and also if you’ve been restricting, eating half a sandwich is going to feel like fifty sandwiches because your stomach is sort of shrunk and all the stuff going on in your thoughts at the same time, so I guess if you’re struggling with this and you can’t mindful eat, I’m not surprised. You know, it takes a lot of time to get things back on track.” 32:25 “I want to come back to how we see ourselves and really beginning to think about looking at looking ourselves in two directions so I have an ego and a personality and I also have a soul and a spiritual self and to really look inward to that self, it’s kind of like looking back at a baby I guess and thinking ‘Would I look at this baby and call her fat? Would I look at this baby and say you can’t eat that, you’re blah blah blah blah’…or even a child, ‘Would I antagonize a child and tyrannize a child the way I’m tyrannizing myself?’ and of course, you wouldn’t. So it’s looking to that inside part of us and having compassion for ourselves and looking inward to that child and really taking care of that child and part of that would also be self-care. So if I think about how I take care of my children, I make sure they eat regularly, I make sure they have lots of veggies, fruits, we include fun foods, we do go out to McDonald’s occasionally, we go for big long walks. If, for example, you had an overweight child, a lot of people are putting them on diets and trying to get them not to be obese. I would say put your phones down and spend time having family dinners, you know going for long walks together, going for bike rides, and treating ourselves in that way. You want to be healthy but not being so rigid and controlling and really befriending the body so working toward size diversity, so that it’s okay that my body is a different size, bodies come in all different shapes and sizes. It’s not fat shaming other people or being discriminatory so if people are making fat jokes, it’s really standing up to people when they do that and ultimately focusing on health rather than size.” 36:20 “In terms of at home, I would say throwing out the scales. There is absolutely no need to keep scales in your house. My experience is that all they serve to do is make people feel bad, it’s like the external judge, particularly if you have children.” 37:06 “Live a big life, regardless of what kind of body you’re in.” 38:13 “We need to bring more of the feminine in terms of moving the body in ways that you love, nourishing yourself, becoming the nourishing mother to yourself and nourishing yourself with food rather than restricting and being punitive toward yourself.”