The Whole View, Season 3 Ep 18: Fat Positivity & Body Grief w/ Bri Campos

Welcome certified LPC, Body Image Coach, and Educator Bri Campos to the Whole View! This week, Stacy and Bri dive into the stigma of obesity, fat discrimination, fat positivity, and the journey to not just tolerance but acceptance. Bri brings her lifetime of experience living in a bigger body and her background in counseling and mental health to the forefront as she battles the stigma around “fat” and health. No matter what size body you are in, in this episode, you will find so much insight into how to stop listening to what society tells you, have compassion, and let go of health dogma.

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Key Takeaways

Introductions

  • Bri is a Licensed Professional Counselor in New Jersey. She’s worked in Eating Disorder Recovery for 6+ years and specializes in body image. Bri has also taught Introduction to Eating Disorders as an adjunct professor.
  • Bri helps other providers become confident in their work with body image so more people can have the help they need in making peace with their bodies. She also uses the Health at Every Size (HAES) paradigm to help her clients find freedom with food and peace with their current bodies.
  • A lot of Bri’s work came from the combination of existing in a larger body.

Fat Positivity & Body Grief

  • The Greek translation of the word “obese” literally means “to eat one’s self to death.” That is the translation of the word obese, and yet, it’s the pathologized and medicalized word that we use to describe body size.
  • Essentially, cognitive dissonance is when your thoughts and actions don’t align. Bri would sit with girls and say, “it doesn’t matter what your body looks like. And you have permission to eat all foods.” But she would be striving to lose weight herself. 
  • Bri has been able to move through fatphobia for herself by recognizing how the values of society and diet culture had hoodwinked her. What she’d been brainwashed to believe didn’t actually align with her values as a human being or as a mental health counselor. She attributes a lot of her journey to existing in a larger body. 
  • When we ask ourselves, “why can’t I lose weight?” when we should really be asking, why does it matter so much that we can’t? Bri believes every body-grief hurdle comes down to one of three things: people’s concern for health, distress with discomfort, and fear of judgment by others.
  • If you are in a fat body and have an eating disorder, you’re considered atypical when the majority of eating disorders exist in people in larger bodies. In fact, when you’re fat, restrictive and disordered eating is encouraged and praised by society. 
  • It’s so sneaky because not only does it not work, it’s somehow our fault when it doesn’t. That plummeted Bri’s self-esteem and her client’s self-esteem as well. Once they realize they’ve been fighting this uphill battle they were never going to win, they realize they don’t actually have control or “willpower” over it.

Topics discussed

  • Research shows us repeatedly that weight is not a predictor of health. BMI is actually wrong more often than it is correct in predicting health.
  • The stigma, phobia, and discrimination that come with weight are shown to have a greater negative impact on health than the actual weight itself.
  • Stacy has focused so much of recent shows on expanding our definition of “health” to be inside and out because of the mental health element. Self-compassion and creating positivity in life and behaviors are critical for our health.
  • Bri mentions needing to “unlearn” to truly recover from her own body grief and share some of those actions listeners may be able to implement.
  • In a world where the medical terms for larger bodies include associating us with death – of being Morbidly Obese – culturally, we have created permission for people to literally hate fat people. 
  • What fat positivity means.

Want More? Have Questions?

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Sources

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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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