The Whole View, Season 3 Ep 16: Can Bad Foods Be Good For Us? with Mya Kwon

Welcome Mya Kwon to the Whole View! This week, Stacy and Mya explore the relationship we have with food and whether or not certain foods can be bad for us. She and Stacy discuss the phenomena around the idea of “bad foods,” intuitive eating, and offer tips for how we can break the cycle.

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Key Takeaways

Introductions

  • Mya Kwon, registered dietitian, and professor! Mya does amazing work to help us ditch diet culture, end food guilt and body shame, and build body respect and self-love!
  • She works with clients at foodbodypeace.com and believes we can heal our relationship with food and our body to thrive in food freedom, body appreciation, and self-love.
  • Not only is she an anti-diet dietician and food and body coach, but she’s also a nutrition professor at Seattle Pacific university. This was not her first career, and nutrition, anti-diet, intuitive eating, etc., were really not in her vocabulary for a long time. She spent about seven years in communications and PR
  • She also had a pretty protected relationship with food growing up where she didn’t grow up in a household where food was talked about in terms of good and bad. All foods were welcomed, and, looking back, that was very helpful to her. 

Are Bad Foods Actually Bad?

  • There is a place for “healthful” foods, of course, but not to the detriment of damaging our relationship with food. Putting too much importance on good vs. bad foods is often at the expense of our emotional, mental, and even physical health.
  • What we diagnose as eating disorders in smaller bodies (restricting foods, spending hours exercising, focusing on cutting things out, etc.) are what we tell people in larger bodies to do. And it creates an even larger host of problems. We need to let go of this built-in societal judgment about fatphobia and how it affects ourselves and the way we talk to ourselves.
  • When life feels chaotic, and out of control, the body becomes the scapegoat. That’s what a lot of eating disorders are about: restricting or controlling food, whether a clinical eating disorder or trying to be healthy. 
  • One of the biggest reasons diets fail is that they’re not sustainable. What distinguishes intuitive eating from dieting is that it’s a process to let our bodies guide us. In a way, it’s also a self-care framework in that it considers what is going on physiologically, emotionally, and mentally.
  • We take signals and cues from our bodies, emotions, and where we are at any point in our lives to know what our bodies need. And from there, we can prioritize caring for ourselves, whether physically, emotionally, or mentally, and then follow that.

Topics discussed

  • Dieting is:
    • Rigid, hard to sustain
    • Damages our relationship with food (fear and control replace joy)
    • This leads to more weight gain. 
    • Severs our connection and trust with our own bodies → the biggest problem 
  • Intuitive Eating: 
    • Is a self-care framework 
    • Preserves our autonomy over our bodies
    • You become the expert of your own body.
    • You’re attuned to your body’s cues (Our lives are dynamic, and our needs change, but when there’s trust and attunement, we can adjust to the changes and still meet our needs)
  • One of IE misconceptions: “Listening to the body means I ONLY eat when I’m hungry” or that “You can’t plan for meals” → Fact: Not having a regular eating pattern is often a barrier to “listening to the body.”
  • Not eating regularly leads to dysregulated/missing hunger cues. This is often seen in life-long dieters or people who unintentionally have chaotic eating schedules. 
  • When we go long hours without eating during the day: in the evening, it often causes “catch-up eating,” which is part of the deprivation cycle. Yes, there’s a reason why we’re super hungry we carve high-carb, high-fat foods! The body can’t tell the difference between a famine and diet.
  • A good place to start: practice building a regular eating pattern. This looks different on everyone: but a general rule of thumb: not going more than 3-4 hour intervals without eating. 
  • Doing this will start to bring back regular hunger signals. You’ll start to learn YOUR optimal eating pattern. Regular fuel will also allow your body to trust that it won’t starve and doesn’t have to “go crazy” over food when there’s a chance.

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Note: Stacy and her guests are not medical professionals. This podcast is for general educational purposes and NOT intended to diagnose, advise, or treat any physical or mental illness. We always recommend you consult a licensed service provider.

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