Food & Nutrition

Interview With Intuitive Eating Book Authors Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch

Evelyn: Just to add to what Elyse is saying, that was actually really humbling to go back and be wincing, saying, ‘Oh my god we wrote that? How did that get through?’ But you know, we’ve also really decided to be transparent about this—that we all evolve and grow and change.

I think ultimately with where we’re at in today’s world, we need to have more humility. We need cultural humility, we need intellectual humility, we need lived experience humility. And now looking at the intersection of racism and diet culture, that’s really profound. We touched on it, but we didn’t really unpack it in this edition. So, I still see a fifth one coming out!

[Both laugh]

Resch: Oh, Evelyn!

Tribole: Well I’m just saying! Really [doing] a deep dive, and then looking at our own internalized racism. Doing unlearning, doing learning, and then looking at and analyzing our model in terms of how we can do better. Because if we don’t address racism, I don’t think we’re ever really going to effectively address fatphobia and weight stigma. So we have a lot of work to do.

A lot of us are doing a lot of learning and unlearning right now, so I think it’s important for people to have examples of humility and learning.

Resch: We promote so much self-compassion throughout the book and with everyone we talk to. And self-compassion includes having this humility and not being angry at ourselves. As I said before, we can only know what we know when we know it. And then it’s what we do with that once we are awakened to that new understanding… We need to be learning everyday, and we need to be speaking up everyday.

Tribole: When we start looking at diet culture being rooted in racism—I’m happy to say, we cite Sabrina Stringers’ book, Fearing the Black Body: The Racist Origins of Fatphobia. And one of the things we say in this edition is that [today we have not only] the fitness industry, the weight loss industry, [but] we have medical care and health care being part of [diet culture]. Which is really, really frustrating. Because now we have patients coming in with this pressure to change their body not just from culture, but from health care.

And [this is happening] even though we have a profound body of research showing that the act of dieting, the act of cutting your food intake for the purpose of shrinking your body—not only does it not work, it actually causes harm, biological harm, psychological harm. It increases the risk of eating disorders and weight stigma. When you look at the fact that eating disorders rates have doubled… it’s really a travesty. I think it is in part because diet culture has become so normalized. You know, people didn’t used to go bragging about keto or the latest fast they were on. And it’s like, “Wow, we have a lot of work to do, Elyse!”

Resch: We also have to spend a lot of time also educating the medical community because there’s a whole belief system on weight and the dangers of what they consider “excess weight,” so we have a lot of work to do.

Why do you think intuitive eating has really caught fire recently?

Resch: So I’m a feminist from the second wave of feminism back in the ‘70s. And I think we have gotten to a point where we do not want to be told how we should look, how we should eat…a point where we really need to take back the pleasure of eating, the satisfaction in eating, and make decisions for ourselves in an autonomous way.

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