Rebecca Scritchfield is a registered dietitian nutritionist, certified exercise physiologist, author of the book Body Kindness, and host of the Body Kindness podcast. Through her weight-inclusive counseling practice, she helps people make peace with food, find the joy in exercise, and create a better life with workable goals that fit individual interests. Central to all her work, Rebecca aims to develop self-compassion in place of shame by rejecting the rules of diet culture and the pervasive myth that to achieve better health one must lose weight.
Using her Body Kindness philosophy, Rebecca mentors registered dietitians and supports women from around the world in collaborative, online learning spaces free from unhelpful diet chatter and negative body talk.
Rebecca has influenced millions through her writing, podcast, and appearances in over 100 media outlets including NBC Nightly News, CNN, the TODAY show, the Washington Post, O Magazine, Self, Real Simple, Health, Yoga Journal, and many others. She lives in Washington, D.C., where she was recently recognized as one of ten “Supermom” entrepreneurs in the Nation’s Capital. Her website is RebeccaScritchfield.com
Mathea Ford: [00:00:26] Hi there! It’s Mathea. Welcome back to a Nutrition Experts Podcast. The podcast featuring nutrition experts who are leading the way using foods starts today right now with our next guests. It’s great to have Rebecca Scritchfield on the show today. Rebecca welcome to Nutrition Experts. I’m excited to have you on the show and share your expertise with my tribe.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:00:48] Well thank you so much for having me. It’s great to be here today.
Mathea Ford: [00:00:50] Rebecca I am excited to have you because you have a great book Body Kindness and we’re going to talk about body kindness today. But will you tell my listeners a little more about you and what you do.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:01:03] Absolutely! I am a registered dietitian and nutritionist and a certified exercise physiologist. And I’ve had my private practice based in Washington D.C. since 2007. And so I see people in D.C. in person. I see a variety of ages so I work with families and usually with kids around time of puberty where there are some you know growth and body changes and the pediatricians might refer them to well-being grounded behavioral counseling around nutrition and movement and self care.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:01:40] I also work with a fair number of college students who might be performing in their sport and wanting to optimize their nutrition. And sometimes they are dealing with body image or weight concerns related to their sports performance. I also work with people who are struggling with disordered eating and eating disorders and that could be you know anytime in their life if it was a history of eating disorder or currently we’re discovering that there is an eating disorder and we might need to make a decision about is outpatient the right place for them to get recovery support or do we work with a higher level of care and then come to an outpatient setting. And I have a lot of women also who are at some stage in their pregnancy or postpartum. So anywhere from trying to conceive, throughout pregnancy or the first couple of years postpartum which is a real important point part of life for body kindess especially and it’s so interesting is actually wrote the book when I was I had a 6 month old and a 1 and a half year old so it was almost like writing to myself exactly what I needed to hear when all of a sudden you know my life was changing and you know body changes and trying to get a new handle on the mother thing and I had no self compassion. And my husband said like “Think, think about your clients and what would you say to clients.” And that’s ultimately how body kindness came to be. But one of the things that I also find really important is that since body kindness has come out it got the attention of university research lab.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:03:10] And they are interested in studying body kindness as a philosophy and improving body image and postpartum women. So, we’re actually doing a survey right now that people can participate in and that be happy to share more information about it. The point of it is just to get insights as to how we can help women enhance their body image as their body changes especially in the pregnancy and postpartum period so that they have a better well-being and that there they have a strong caregiving foundation taking care of themselves without feeling body shame or that is about getting that baby body back or whatever we might hear about in the media to kind of reframe their mindset more toward enhancing their well-being and self care.
Mathea Ford: [00:03:53] That’s amazing. I have a friend who reminds me when you say something bad about yourself like “I’m not very good or I can’t remember to do this” or whatever they say “would you say that to another person? Don’t insult my favorite person because this is so…” But we do have a lot of those scripts or whatever you’d call them in your head. So can you give.. You’ve mentioned body kindness a couple times. Can you give kind of an overview of what body kindness is?
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:04:21] Sure it is a philosophy about being good to yourself. It actually is quite simple. It’s about how you can create a better life by focusing on your wellbeing enhancements. And so there are three pillars. The first pillar is love and it’s the guide is to make choices from a place of love.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:04:43] So this could be when you have work that you need to do or want to do whether it’s you feels negative stress energy about the bosses on your back or you’re actually really excited about the work project. But the reality is it’s later in the day you need to get going on dinner maybe even you need to rest after dinner and go to bed instead of burning the midnight oil. So making a choice from a [00:05:07] place 11 knot standpoint [1.3] would be choosing to go to sleep even though there’s other things that you should do or you want to do but you also value your sleep and you know that’s important. So you choose to get in bed on time so that you can get the rest your body needs so that the next day’s energy is refueled. It’s just one simple example about making a choice from a place of love. The second principle is connect to your body. The foundation in the book, the connection is about connecting directly to your body so it was… It could be anything from intuitive eating to mindfulness practices to connecting to your emotions. So I talk in a book about how all emotions are good even negative emotions and one of our key problems is we think that if we’re feeling a negative emotion that we’re not supposed to be feeling mad, sad or angry and so the tendency you know we begin to habituate things like avoidance or numbing whether that’s for food or alcohol or even punishing exercise could be a way of numbing ourselves so it’s really trying to get in there to say you know your body is wise and there is a caregiver there that wants to compassionately help you through life.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:06:13] Focus on your wellbeing but we’ve got to tune in and connect to that caregiver and in many many ways dieting actually severes that connection, it just creates all this friction throughout our life. You know nothing’s ever good enough and perfectionism that it’s kind of like spraying a rope and it just weakens this connection. It’s a body kind of says really about restrengthening that. In the third pillar is called care and it’s about staying fully committed to taking good care of yourself. You know we’re humans, we are going to evolve through life. We are going to make mistakes. We’re going to get a disease or condition. And how do we take that information and process our feelings and emotions and still no matter what maintain our commitment to ourselves you know that this is about our well-being and joy in having a better life. It’s not going to be a pain free life. It’s not going to be a disease free life. What we can do is we can grow our resilience and shift our mindset by always remaining fully committed to taking good care of ourselves no matter what even through difficulties.
Mathea Ford: [00:07:16] So, Rebecca you know when we graduate from our internships as dieticians we’ve learned a whole lot of stuff about a little bit of stuff about a lot of different topics. And you know we kind of choose our path and so can you talk to me about how you went from your internship learning and kind of being fresh to changing to more of a health versus weight approach because I wouldn’t say that’s necessarily, I’ve been a dietician 21 years that’s not necessarily how I was taught as a dietitian. And that’s not necessarily what I’ve seen as the prevailing advice from dietitians. So, how did you move from that type of training mentality whatever you learned in your internship to the healthy mind body weight approach?
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:08:02] Sure. So and thank you so much for asking this as a very very important question and I will just share right away that it also was not how I was trained you know. Dietitians are trained and await normative paradigm. And it’s out of the medical model which is also weight normative which focuses on weight loss as a beneficial outcome something to be monitored and pursued in whatever type cases right. Usually the BMI is used but and there may be other factors that are looked at. At the end of the day a weight normative would say give prescriptive weight loss because weight loss is going to improve health and well-being. So, how did I get to a weight inclusive place? In a weight inclusive place is the idea of weight isn’t a behavior. You can’t control your weight. There are many factors that influence weight even outside of genetics things like socioeconomic status really can have an impact on weight, financial resources, time to practice self care behaviors, money for the food or the exercise equipment or the fitness classes whatever they are. There are systemic issues at play. So an intersectional issue of how does a higher weight black female receive and have access to certain amounts of medical care compared to a lower weight white female. So it’s a big topic I identify and support the Health at Every Size paradigm which is grounded around looking at health from a weight inclusive lens and a social justice lens.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:09:44] And there are principles that are really about respecting individuals’ needs and interests and care and I find in my opinion that it does intersect well with medical nutrition therapy and hopefully we will be able to discuss that. But what I want to say for any listener who maybe is new to hearing the words Health at Every Size or who is just like what do you mean? You know weight normative versus weight inclusive I don’t understand because it absolutely is not the way that I was trained, is not like some you know switch was flicked an overnight all of a sudden I knew everything and I was confident and everything. But what really happened was I made enough mistakes in my life that impacted my openness and mindset to want to look at it a different way. And I paused and gave myself time to listen and read and learn and grow. And that really was what was key for me personally. Briefly, mistake wise I started dieting when I was nine. I hated my body. I beat myself up for it in my mind. And what is interesting is I actually come from the socioeconomic disadvantaged background and geographic disadvantaged. So I was a beneficiary of Wick. We had food security concerns and it could have always been worse. But at the end of the day that did not make me immune to comparing my body to friends so I’d get into exercise and like it didn’t matter for me if I restricted food or over exercise because my body didn’t respond like you would expect a body to respond like losing a lot of weight. So people would often congratulate me like oh you’re so committed and you look so good.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:11:23] And inside my head I was actually really suffering with the strong inner critic. So that went on really from nine all the way through college. And what was interesting was I really thought I was pursuing health in aerobics instructor, it helped put me through college and I swear like in my mind I really did care about health but when I’m in the front of a group fitness class and I’m like “it’s bikini season everybody tighten those buns.” Like it would take me a while to learn that I was participating in a diet culture that said you should always focus on your appearance. Therein lies the problem is that health and weight got conflated and diet culture which is the whole system. That’s a $60 billion plus weight loss industry which these days it even says oh this isn’t a diet this is a lifestyle. It promises weight loss. It is still a diet. So you want to be really mindful of those diets in the skies. But basically you know there was a lot of reading. Reading The Beauty Myth really reading the book by Linda Bacon called Health at Every Size. There is a newer very thin and I highly recommend this book be read it’s called Body Respect also by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor. And it talks about the science and also some of these systemic issues and it just tries to separate weight in shape and appearance and health so that we don’t exclude people at higher weights for pursuing a positive well-being in mind body connection. We don’t make assumptions about them based on their weight shape and appearance.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:12:56] And we also don’t assume that people lower weights they must be free from health and disease. And so it’s really about inclusivity and respect. And honestly the data research can be is full of bias in and of itself. I mean there is bias everywhere but you can actually find the data. I think the best study I would point to is Tracy Meehan’s research about Medicare’s Search for Successful Weight Loss and she had certain criteria for how long the studies needed to be and basically found that 85 percent of dieters will regain their weight if not more. And so there are people who will lose weight and they’re called statistical unicorns. So it’s not about whether or not a person can lose weight. It’s about what is best for the person’s health and well-being overall given their socioeconomic status and financial circumstances. But it was a very very big evolution for me not just in my own experiences in realizing this isn’t going to work for me so I had my health scare that really woke me up was I was actually I was going for my I think is my second marathon second or third so marathon right? Young Dietitian second marathon and I collapsed between mile 25 and 26 and runner saved my life. They carried me to an ice bath my temperature was 107. I was told by Doctor the E.R. doctor that I almost died that if weren’t for the runners I surely would have. And I was raised saying having being on South Beach which makes no sense because you actually cut carbs.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:14:26] And I was doing it because I wanted to try to get a time to prove myself that I was a worthy dietician and sports dietician. And it was because I needed to look a certain way and I was like you know why you know why am I craving strawberries and not eating them but I’m eating the whole giant thing of ricotta cheese. I was like I knew it wasn’t right. But it was mistakes that I was making because what all went back to weight and worthiness and appearance that was reinforced even by my training was reinforced about weight management for running and everything like that. So, in addition to that experience I also had several big failures with clients things like I monitor them with these armbands before they were fit bits and I count their sleep and count their calories with them and I’d have someone who is at a higher weight who would do like run, walk even marathon distance and then she’d cry because she caved and had pizza on a Friday night and that was the reason why she only lost a half a pound that week. And I’m sitting here going like this doesn’t seem right. Like and I couldn’t name that it was the weight stigma but that’s exactly what it was. I mean it’s like I was letting her under fuel right? Because clearly she had weight to lose I could look at her and I could see clearly you have weight lose and I was supporting all this stuff. It was like she’s not having a good life if she’s crying because she’s eating pizza on you know with her husband. It was things it was things like that. And then also I had a family health scare too which I do talk about a little bit in body kindness, it has to do with my mom and she was a big chronic dieter. We did a lot of stuff together and she also had a lot of stress and had an eating disorder and depression. And you know what I realized as we went through her health scares and that it probably was the smoking and it probably was the genetics but it also probably was the dieting. And I just decided that I was like I can’t, I cannot keep doing this. And I have to find a better way. And then that ultimately led to studying supervision under Evelyn Tribole for Intuitive Eating. I went to Green Mountain at Fox Run and learned so much about eating and selfcare for me. Like I went as a participant and it helped me and my practice too and then years later Body Kindness the book would come to me.
Mathea Ford: [00:16:46] That’s just a lot of things that you just said.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:16:52] And here’s the thing. This is not. This might be my story but I’m telling you everyone has a story. Anyone who goes into nutrition has a food story, has a body story like you cannot separate the mind and body from human beings. Ellie Krieger right? James Beard Award winning chef and former Food Network TV host and very accomplished dietitian when she was on my podcast a year and a half or so ago she talked me about in her modeling career. How she faced body bashing in weight stigma type messages you know and that impacted her and impacted her as a mom. She didn’t want to pass things on on to her kids.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:17:29] So it’s a culturally pervasive message but when we’re trained dietitians under the medical model it is really hard to think about how do I help people without centering weight loss as in the thing of it is it is an issue of control which we can talk about. But it’s about being open to a bigger picture of how do I help this person have a better day today. And how do I help them improve their self care habits from a place of love and wellbeing enhancement not a place of shame and deprivation and self loathing. And that goes across whether it’s a body image and weight concern or it’s a weight concern that’s connected to a disease diagnosis. It really is applicable across the board.
Mathea Ford: [00:18:14] It really hits some for me a little bit because my husband and I are both overweight but yet our children are at healthy weights. So I always attribute that to the fact that I made an effort as a dietitian knowing that I’m not supposed to make them clean their plate. Eat the food I offer you. You know we’re going to have healthy snacks in the house and they’re not obsessed with food or their weight but yet they’re at you know that quote unquote healthy weight which at least for me is a positive thing because I know that if you start young like you said start young dieting it kind of becomes that thing that you can’t get away from because you do always gain back that weight or not. I know you said the unicorns but most the time you hear me the way out.
Mathea Ford: [00:19:03] So I’m trying to figure out a little bit of just thinking like you mentioned body kindness and how it’s love and connect and care. But it is that. How is someone healthy, I’m going to say this from the normal medical model. How is somebody healthy if they’re obese or overweight?
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:19:27] I think the first thing that I would say like speaking from the Health at Every Size paradigm it is Health at Every Size not healthy at every size. So, really what it’s about is about helping a person pursue health and well-being in personally meaningful ways. And there is absolute acknowledgement that people can be healthy and unhealthy at a wide variety of weights. Right? And where the studies show, when the statistics show is it had the extreme high ends of weight and the extreme low ends of weight tend to be the highest risk factors for early death and chronic diseases. Right? But there is a big range of weights that go outside the BMI which we know. I mean I called the B.S. measurement in the book. You know I think you and I at least know right that BMI made for white men for insurance company is not science but yet still used. There is a wide variety of ranges where people can be healthy and also health is dynamic like some of the best articles I’ve read on in the past couple of years talk about how wellness culture is really upheld by human beings death anxiety. Right? So like we think we can live forever and we want to live forever and we don’t even deal with death right in our culture.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:20:46] And so it becomes this is the this is the magic tonic and the potion and this is the thing that you need to do. And if you mess up you might get pre-diabetes or you might get diabetes and then personal responsibility right? Shame, blame, judgment, stigma which actually gets in the way of somebody being open and feeling hope and confidence about behavioral changes that they could make that can improve their health. So, you know health is not a moral obligation. If it were that is pushing healthism and that’s the whole idea that the most important thing we could all be doing with our time is pursuing health. Now I am a health expert and I love like I have a “why do I have water next to me and not a giant 64 ounce soda?” Because I love water and I am not the kind of person who drinks soda. I like sugar and I like sweets but I like them in certain ways. Get it? Right? And I can feel good about things I do for self care and well-being. And my view of health improvement right? But my forty five year old body is more crickety than my 35 year old body. Right? And running is different and things are different. And so just this whole idea that we have to put all our efforts into holding on to every ounce of health. What that does is it creates so much stigma and shame for people when they do get a diagnosis. And you know warnings from the doctors and especially some likes to stop diabetes.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:22:14] It’s largely a genetic component. To also further invite conversation into this question, supposed someone is at the higher ends of the obesity ranges that is correlated with an increased risk for chronic condition or earlier death. What is it that you would do for that person at a higher weight? You know so, weight inclusively does not say any amount of weight loss is bad. It says that what would you do to pursue weight loss and is that good for the well-being. So you have a higher weight person who now has a new diabetes diagnosis that has a history of an eating disorder. As you are getting an eating disorder at any size you can have anorexia any size. It’s restrictive and you don’t necessarily waste away to nothing some bodies don’t respond the way you think they do but is telling somebody who has a new diabetes diagnosis you must lose weight or you’re going to have a heart attack any day now. Is that really helpful? What if they have an eating disorder history? What if the information evokes fear and they say “fine, I’m not going to monitor my blood sugars, I’m not going to make any food changes.” You know somebody who makes it to an older age at a higher weight they’ve been told that their body is wrong for a really long time. It’s not that they haven’t tried. It’s not that they don’t care. It’s how their body responds. And we see data that came out of that through the Biggest Loser study which again small sample size because it was from people who are on season six from the show.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:23:46] But what that was really interesting about that study is it showed that. Why do most of the people regain their weight that with their weight loss, there were two big problems they had leptin resistance which did not restore as weight regained. So you know leptin being the hormone that says “I’m full. I don’t need to keep eating.” They had that problem. And they had the promise of metabolic adaptation and that they did not get the expected increases in metabolism with weight gain and what they concluded was that either you were better off never going on the show and having done what they did you know with you know “here’s your calorie counts, here’s your exercise plans.” Like they were better off never going on because of the way the body’s responded and the body has. Sandra Aamodt is my favorite person for talking about. She’s a neurobiologist and talks about the body’s defended weight range. She has a great TED talk about why you won’t usually lose weight on a diet. And she talks about the body’s way for survival and defending a weight range and if anything what it looks like is happening is the more times you diet the higher your body mass index is likely to climb. And like you were just saying with you and your kids. You knew it sounds like you were doing Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility right? Trust around food, trust your appetite. I’m going to decide what comes in the house. I’m going to offer balanced plates. I’m not going to get no food fights with you. You know I want you to take care of your body. That’s exactly what you should be doing.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:25:11] And wherever their weight ends up, it ends up because it started from a place of self care. If that means that through. Maybe I don’t know you could tell me. But like I said, is it guidance that you gave that you wish you would have had or whatever it was right? That you’re helping your kids grow into a weight that their body can easily maintain. And then besides weight, their sleep, their exercise, their attitudes about food, their attitudes about their bodies. All these are the really important things. You’re giving them you know a proper foundation that all kids deserve to have access to. Even kids who trend higher on that BMI curve because there have always been higher weight kids and there always will be. And look I believe we have issues with the food system and food access a hundred percent. I’m not denying any of that. But you have to take a look at like how long it takes to improve systemic issues and how do you acknowledge those without adding to body shame and weight stigma. So when you have your higher weight person, how do you help them mind and body frame all this traumatic assault that dieting has put on them in their life and how do you help them frame “I want to take this from a place a well-being and self care and how do I make choices that I think will work for me” right? Versus external controls? You have to do this or else you know it’s gonna push a rebellion and people or shame in avoidance.
Mathea Ford: [00:26:32] Yeah I would say mine came from being that lower income, food restricted as a child and then kind of the rebound of “well, I never have this.” Now I get the money I can eat things and knowing that Ellyn Satter mentality but it also was just very evident to me at the table when we would eat with my family and my mother-in-law and my mom and my dad that cleaning the plate mentality and making a happy plate and happy plate is a clean plate. And I just immediately said “Okay, no that’s a happy plate. What makes a happy plate is you’re finished eating, you’re full, you’re not going to go get a snack in five minutes.” But I also am reminded when I asked that question about healthy weight is, I was in the military for five years I was in the Army as a dietitian and one of your jobs is to counsel people who are quote unquote overweight and overweight based on a taped test. It was always frustrating to me as a dietitian that in the military your value was based on your ability to pass a PT test and to be a certain weight. And I know that there were very intelligent people who did their job extremely well and maybe didn’t weigh the quote unquote special weight. So they were ostracized. And basically it ended up focusing intently on that until they could get their weight back down through whatever means honestly. That was always something that was very frustrating to me and I understood the concept of why we need people to be healthy and strong and capable of completing their jobs. And you know as a large system they needed a way to determine what that meant. So…
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:28:22] Right! And I would hope that and again it’s like I think if our training were better as dietitians if our culture were better. Right? Like that we had more support for things like acceptance and commitment therapies or cognitive behavioral therapies that dietitians could be aware of and know when help apply. So it’s like “Okay, is there alcohol consumption you know going on that is unnecessary right?” Does this you know does this person have PTSD that is actually at the root of the problem right? Does this person also have struggles around food that are part of it or is this person genetically just higher and larger and can we have some other ways of valuing them outside of their weights? And it might mean there might be certain roles that they just cannot do. You know that is part of the military. But I do think you’re right. I mean it does make you feel stuck and it sounds like you had a fair bit of empathy for the people as you were counseling them because it was like it wasn’t that they didn’t know or didn’t try but it was just like their bodies would hit a resistance well.
Mathea Ford: [00:29:31] You know like you said as a young dietitian, you exercise and you have very much that mental picture of what you think your clients expect to come see. In my mind, I would always say “if they come see a fat dietitian, how am I going to help them lose weight?” You know they’re thinking “you can’t even do it yourself Lady!” Which is one of those things that goes in your head.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:29:56] Right? But that is why we need more fat dietitians. Seriously, I mean this is I mean I’m telling you so. If listeners don’t know yet about Diversified Dietetics need to look that up because that is a non-profit that is aimed to bring in diversity to our field, in race and gender, in size and abilities. It’s all very very very important because we should have a profession that is more representative of the people we serve and we are all from different backgrounds and different genders and sexual identities. I mean all of it. And you know dietetics skews highly you know thin, white, high socioeconomic status female. Right? But imagine how many more people we can help? If we had more higher weight dietitians. Right? Who through personal experience would have a lot of empathy and a lot of understanding about weight bias and stigma but also because if somebody isn’t a larger body, they you know would be a great dietitian. To learn the material, they’d be smart, they’d counsel well. Like why are we excluding them? And I think I’ve heard a few stories from people who’ve reached out to me when I talk about this what it seems like is that even at the education level they face bias. You know they hear microaggressions. May say about why they shouldn’t be in the program and it just hurts and they end up dropping out. So it’s one of the reasons why I’m supporting diversified diet headaches as well and like helping to coach and mentor more people through the program because our whole profession will do better and we will do more to reduce weight stigma when we have more diversity and more inclusively in our fields.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:31:40] And I’m just I feel sorry that you know you can have all this skill and caring and love in the world but yet live in a world where you’re being judged based on the way you look. Your worth is being judged. That is not right. That is the problem.
Mathea Ford: [00:31:52] When you think about this program not program is probably not the right word but…
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:31:59] Philosophy?
Mathea Ford: [00:32:00] That’s a great word and I wonder why you knew that. Okay. So, when you’re thinking about it in that way. So it’s self care. It’s making better choices it’s being more mindful. And then I get struck and we talked about a few minutes ago. Then I get slapped in the face. Okay you have diabetes and got to go see a dietitian. And we have MNT guidelines that say what as a dietitian we should look out for insurance reimbursement. If I’m a dietitian who believes in this who wants to encourage people and do the Health at Every Size how does it work for somebody who then gets a chronic illness like diabetes or kidney disease or something else?
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:32:47] So, the first thing I would say is that this is another place where we need to take the sword that’s pointing at individuals and turn the sword and pointed at the system. Ultimately, it’s a systemic problem that’s based in bias. The fact that in order to get reimbursed by insurance which is important for the dietitian and the role. It’s Important for the person have access to good medical care right? That there is a weight requirement and we should be questioning that.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:33:13] We should be researching that. We should be challenging that, right? Now, on a day to day basis like what can you do today as a listener. What you do is it starts with embracing and accepting that weight isn’t something that you control. That it doesn’t mean that there is no work to do. Right? You can allow and not only can this is a very important thing for dietitians to do. We need to allow for weight concerns to exist in the room. So I’m in private practice. I’m out of network for insurance. I mean privilege privilege privilege right? Somebody walk can walk in my door, make an appointment walk in my door. They see you know “hey, do you have concerns I do non-diet focus this and that” right? I try in all the marketing. They’ll still not come in sit down say “ah got to do something about this weight here.” You know I’m like “literally!” So you do not do a bait and switch. “Oh you want to lose weight come see me. Hey! Health at every size!” That is wrong and unethical. So you market yourself in ethical ways but you are still going to get people with weight concerns and why wouldn’t you? Their doctor told them to lose weight, culture told them that they should lose weight. A blog they’ve read like that all the messages point to that. So don’t expect your clients are going to no longer have weight concerns are going to even understand or get health at every size.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:34:30] It’s not necessarily your job in that counseling role to be world’s strongest advocate for why your client must reject weight stigma. Right? Like they’re there because they need you to help them. You know and trust what you know does work right? So respecting their past experiences with dieting. Ask them “So, tell me what kind of diets you’ve been on and tell me what your experience was like? You know like what works for you when you had a structure before? You know like how are you feeling with this new diagnosis?” So you’re asking open ended questions and doing motivational interviewing to get a sense for the emotional and physical, mental health right then and there. “So tell me what you’re doing right now?” And you’re looking for things behavioral things that they can do that they have an agency over and you’re looking to grow their hope and confidence to take meaningful action toward those changes. So, in a counseling session and it is in the book but I actually designed these Body Kindness blueprints for people. It takes very simple drawings like infographics right? And like their name is in the center. So, right put Katie in the middle. And Katie’s talking you about movement is like “well, you know I know I heard that movement is import for diabetes. You know I’m not sure why. I don’t really do a lot.” “Oh! I have some information about that. Can I share it with you?” Sure! Well, actually movement is good because it helps you use up blood sugar and when you have these high blood sugars movement is something you could do to move them up. “Oh I understand but you know I like I don’t have an hour to do a workout everyday.”
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:36:00] Do you have any amount of time? Sure. Maybe about 10 minutes. Okay. What do you think of the idea of breaking down your exercise into 10 minutes? Well, I don’t know what I would do. Well let’s talk about options. What are you interested and what have you try before? You see how you get that conversation going where your not saying the person walks in “here’s your reduced calorie cut meal plan” right? You’re trying to help them look at the big picture, different things that matter to diabetes around movement sleep, we know impacts blood sugar levels. They probably don’t know that. Right? Do they sleep well or not. Are they up late because of stress? How do you help them manage stress through mindfulness? How to help them respect an internal boundary to go to bed by a certain time so their blood sugars operate better the next day? So they might get that movement in. Even talking to them about the timing of when they might do movement. They might be open to buying those 10 dollar resistance bands and keeping them at work. So they have you know a lunch that they both find interesting and delicious that does not have to be low carb. We know that as dietitians but consistent carb. Right? And maybe they make a simple swap where what things they gotten a sandwich at they did start bring in a salad with with some beans in it for the carbohydrate and they try that out. They really liked it. Right? You can help them make up a modification but it’s connecting food to taste and pleasure and joy. And when they do want a sandwich. How do you help them make a decision that doesn’t feel like oh I’ve just ruined it right? Cause I’ve got this giant 12 inch sub plus chips plus a cookie. So how would you help them make that modification? Tell me about foods that you feel like you’re going to miss that you can’t have any more? “Oh we can never do spaghetti again.” Let’s talk about that! You’re trying to help grow hope and confidence without being this like meany food cop. So, there’s so many things you could do and you build that blueprint you know and so your client day one decides “I’m in a walk for you know like I’m going to walk for 10 minutes you know every single day and three days a week I’m going to go and swim because I like that” and they start there and they think about buying that resistance band right? And you get them on this idea that even dancing you know they ate dinner put on some songs you like and dance and do the dishes and fold the laundry before bed. That is movement and that movement counts and if they’re monitoring their blood sugars and they see that, that is motivation, that is reward. You might be listening to this and be like why I don’t get that because that’s that is stuff I would do. But it’s not rooted in shame. It’s rooted in self care and well-being because with that person you don’t know if they’re going to lose weight. You can’t control that. That is not your job.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:38:40] With respect to insurance and reimbursement. I mean you get the visits you get and you get them to improve their labs the best you can through positive motivating, listening skills, kindness. You know like behavior change and it’s just it’s without the shame and the stigma. They’re going to have to deal with other barriers like “I don’t like to sweat. I don’t like to be seen in a larger body because when I’ve tried exercise before somebody called me “…..” Sorry, if i swear you are to beat that out but like that that’s a real thing right? And so why would they have a negative attitude about exercise? So what we need is more empathy about their lived experience. We need to listen to our patients. And we can absolutely integrate any medical nutrition therapy with health at every size and body kindness type approach that’s focused on wellbeing enhancement. Some clients will lose weight. Some clients will not lose any weight. Some clients will lose a lot of weight. Some clients will their diabetes will progress and they’ll be on medications and guess what? That’s okay that’s what medicines are for, we need to drop the stigma about disease. That goes back to what I said in the very beginning that we’ve got to stop feeling like every bite of food we take is either going to add to our health or take away from it. And that is a line pulled right from the whole 30 diet. You know we’ve got to stop believing that crap. And we got to really help people. That is why we went into nutrition to help people.
Mathea Ford: [00:40:06] I see that where you’re working on those small changes. I know we want instant gratification like somebody wants you to hand them a fifteen hundred calorie diet or an 18,000 calorie diet and they’ll go to their doctor in a month and their blood sugar will be perfect. But then what happens next? So, it’s great that you can do that for a few weeks but I did notice in your book you talk a little bit about small steps and the spiraling process in kindness. Can you talk about that a little bit about the small steps in and spiraling up?
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:40:40] Sure. Well, let me to spiral up first because I absolutely love it and this is not a metaphor that I created. It actually comes from positive psychology which is that which is it’s a newer field of psychology but it’s been around at least since the 80s and it’s very well researched. There’s a researcher names Barbara Fredrickson. She got great books out. I love all, I love all her stuff she has a great book called Love 2.0 which is about all the different ways we experience love in life and how this positivity resonates, helps literally strengthen our vagal tone which as we know is our vagus nerve runs from her head down to our gut and the strength of our vagal tone is a sign of the strength of her health and well-being and our resilience. It’s fascinating stuff and it’s rooted in the loving kindness meditation which is one of my favorite meditations.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:41:28] She came up with a theory called Broadened in Built and tested this theory and got evidence behind it and the idea was this idea of an upward spiral and that the more positive emotions we experience. Like joy, like fleeting positive emotions when we “Oh I got ten minutes to myself with my cup of coffee before my kids came charging in the room.” I’m going to savor that. Ten minutes is good enough right? Or like the sun is shining and it’s such a nice day. I’m so grateful for this lovely day. That micro moment of joy. When we can stop you know it’s not pollyanna you know but it’s to look at the bright side of something, to look for the optimistic view in any situation we could stop and notice these things a little bit more. The letter carrier comes and you happened to be home. “Hi! Thank you for bringing my mail. I really appreciate that.” You know, those micro moments of connection and joy broadened and build our positive emotions. So, one positive emotion begets more positive emotions and it opens you up like this idea of an upward spiral that is broad and connected not only to your own mind and body but to your community and to the world. There is a positive emotion that we don’t experience often called awe. If you’ve been to Alaska and stepped on a glacier that was awe you know. So, you know I went to Machu Picchu that was awe and says “I did them” and you know we can’t go to Machu Picchu every day. Right?
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:43:00] But in a day to day basis we can choose to look at these positive connections and that positive motions broaden and build and we get more and the more positive emotions you like so positive emotions are negatively correlated with depression and loneliness and anxiety. And we know what those things can facilitate in mind and body health right? So what I did is I took her broaden and build theory and I looked at other research and I was like you know if one small self care choice. Right? Like “oh I didn’t get a lot it was a bad night of sleep last night. You know I’m stressed to work out this morning you know what? I’m not going to workout today I’ll figure it out but instead I’m going to have like a nice care every morning and a breakfast. I’m going to read a little bit. That’s what I’m going to do in my 45 minutes whereas I am going to do my workout.” If if that one small selfcare choice, you notice something’s going on, you notice what you need. And that one self curch ways create a positive emotion and cannot does that positive emotion lead to more positive self care choices. And what I found out was that yes it does. And so I took her concept of broaden and build and applied it to spiraling up in health and well-being so that through a two minute connection to your body you could notice a downward spiral even if it’s toward the end of the day is like “Oh I’ve been downward spiraling all day long.” You can notice and say “what’s one little thing I can do for myself that feels good, that feels like a hug?” It doesn’t have to change the sort of negative icky feeling or this bad thing that’s happening but it can neutralize these negative emotions. Right?
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:44:29] What happens is when you feel negative emotions and you’re having difficulty with regulating then you know you’re upset because of a work stress and instead of going to get that workout that would be a stress relief. You might drive through, drive through, eat in the car on the way home. So it’s not about I chose fast food today. Right? It’s about I chose fast food to numb as opposed to “you know what? I think my caregiver would say let’s do this workout. If you still want fast food no big deal we’ll go get whatever you want” and a caregiver might get you to think about those choice options and do that energizing workout which you actually felt better about could take out some anger toward your boss right? You know like “Ok feel better. Now, what do I feel like eating?” And you know look you know in a body kind of if you felt like going to get that fast food you would maybe would eat it at the fast food place or you bring it home and eat it at a table and really savor it. Right? Not the numbing, not the emotional avoidance. And so that is how I apply spiraling up and down as just said it’s not you know you’re going to feel negative emotions but is that maladaptive coping that we do where when we say I can’t handle this or screw this and we stop making self-aware choices because we don’t want to feel our pain. So what I hope people do is spiraling up it’s feel your pain. Your pain is real, you’re allowed to feel.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:45:42] You’re allowed to be stressed about work or angry at a boss situation or you know upset that somebody made a dig at your appearance. That you could pause and take a deep breath and say “What do I know right now that matters?” And not next small choice can be a spiral up for you.
Mathea Ford: [00:45:57] I think it’s important that we do make those small choices and like you said kind of instead of falling off that wagon and just stay off the wagon like “hey! I made a step sideways. What is my next choice that’s going to be good for me? So that’s an awesome way to think about it. You also mention a little bit about journaling in a Body kindness journey. How does that help someone work through the emotions of “I’m trying really hard to be healthy and not focus on the weight loss?”
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:46:31] I really love self compassion because it’s the voice of your caregiver. It’s that it’s Okay it’s okay to be here right now like it is your caregiver voices always telling you it’s okay. Like even if it’s bad it’s Okay. You know it’s a very important because it makes space for the thing to exist. So I spent a lot of time helping clients grieve the thin ideal you know but again instead of pointing the sword inward like “I’m the problem, I suck” to look at culture is the problem. Right? And a person doesn’t let go of their desire to change their weight, shape and appearance on their own terms. And who knows that’s not up to us as their counselor to decide for them. We can listen, we can empathize, we can help them think through because they have an inner wisdom.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:47:14] But I know part of what helps clients is a kind of get angry at the system will practice like yelling at a pillow you know punching sometimes you know but like anger is valid and it’s real. And that can sometimes help people really process like past pains and then get to a point to where it’s like yeah you know like so this thing that like my mind and shopping is like labeling what is whole 30 approved some avoiding healthy foods but I don’t want to avoid eating healthy. So it’s like wait how do you help them reconcile that where they can reframe positive food choices even if they hear this thought “oh it’s whole 30 approved. You know that’s no longer helpful for me because I’m not following a diet but I also know I actually like the taste of broccoli and tuna and beans and it’s an easy convenient meal to put together something like that. Right? And so it’s learning how to reframe your thoughts that are unhelpful that don’t help you create a better life and letting somebody hold onto weight concerns or desire to lose weight for as long as they need to because every day they are reminded that larger bodies are not good bodies and so they don’t need to let go of a desire to lose weight in order to make progress in body kindness. Anyone who comes in says “I need a health at every size dietitian.” I am so excited. I pull out my pen I’m like “Let’s go girl!” You know but that doesn’t happen every day. So you need to make space for all the fields and all the wants. You have a client right now is going through.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:48:38] She had a prolapse, a uterine prolapse in pregnancy and she was a runner before pregnancy should never run again. She is in therapy and she’s new with me and she is avoiding and has been avoiding all forms of movement. She’s been numbing with food and she’s getting better about the numbing with food part. And she’s grieving running. She’s grieving the body that she used to have before her baby. And really what? We’ve only had a few sessions but what we’re coming to is that she is avoiding like for example her doctor said she could try cycling and the stationary bike that she has at home that she’s willing to do and she is she knows when she’s feeling prolapse pain and needs to stop. So we literally worked out a plan for five minutes and then give it a rest day and then five minutes and give it a rest day and then the week 2 try for 10 minutes. She’s been avoiding it because what it came down to it is she’s afraid. So first of all, she hasn’t she never really recognized what her body went through as a trauma and it is a trauma. You know to lose your identity as a runner is a trauma. And so any and so her mind goes through compares five minutes of cycling compared to running is like “oh this success isn’t worth it. This isn’t good.” So it’s all pessimism and not having permission to recognize that as a trauma and a loss in her life has caused avoidance.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:50:05] So by talking about this and acknowledge thing this, we have now a planned so she’ll approach movement and how to deal with her voice when it says it’s not good enough and this sucks or that sucks. And so that she can face her fears and feel her fears but take meaningful action anyway because she knows she wants to exercise and she wants to manage her mood with exercise and she has a weak concern she’s hoping she will lose weight with our work together. I have to make her mission for that to be in the room so I can have space to help her get to the root issues. But what I’m not going to do is say “just dig deep lady and here’s your low calorie meal plan you know. Let’s do Keto baby you know! Let’s do macros girl!” That’s not her root issue. She’s had chronic dieting she’s an expert in dieting. She is able to let go of the bingeing because she’s able to process the emotional pain of the trauma through great work and therapy and through nutritional support by me. But there is a lot of important things that need to happen. It’s not my job to control when she is willing to accept her body as it is. I need to be careful not to add to the stigma and shame by saying “You’re worthy worthier when you lose weight” and all these other things but I can sit with her while she sits with the pain of feeling like her body has betrayed her.
Mathea Ford: [00:51:24] You know you mentioned go into a store this whole 30 approved, this diet mentality? But isn’t it true that there are some foods that are healthy and some that are not so healthy or to use a dietitian mentality nutrient dense versus calorie dense? Is there any value to paying attention to that?
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:51:48] Yeah I mean and this is where I would say you know this is why I love working on an individual level because it’s such an individual answer. I learned from Dana Sturtevant. She is one of the dietitians with Being Nourished and she was on one of my podcast episodes and she talks about nutrition being a young science and it was really truly eye opening when she talked about that and we do want to be mindful of nutritionism right? As like this is gluten free and this free and that free. Even when we are mindful of all of that ignore all those thing, to me it’s an issue of developing moral equivalency of food. Right? So morally, carrot cake equals carrots. You know from a moral standpoint I am not a bad person because I like carrot cake. There’s lots of other things we value right? Like I value good digestion so I want to get my fiber and have really good poops. I love a good poop right? I knew dietitians are going to talk about poop eventually. So, one of the reasons why I eat carrots more frequently than I eat carrot cake is because of how I feel you know when I eat carrots with hummus and as an energizing snack and how it contributes to my fiber and my poops.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:52:54] But that doesn’t mean that I have to you know White-knuckle it through the 30 days of whole 30 and not touch a drop of sugar. I can still take my coffee with the French Vanilla I like. That is not the sugar that is going to kill me you know. So it’s things like that. I am really careful about broadly labeling foods as individually good or bad or healthy or not healthy. I mean yeah if I’m holding a kiwi fruit in my hand and I’m going to be like I appreciate this has a vitamin C and fiber and taste delicious. And yes like I’m going to be like this is a healthy food right? But healthy living and healthy eating is patterns right? I can eat kiwi fruit cut in half. I can dip it in chocolate and freeze it and eat it. I can eat Haagen-Dazs the amount that I want you know to feel satisfied and good like. So it’s this idea of unconditional permission eat moral equivalency of foods and thinking about my personal why. I have a family history of diabetes so I go to my doctor. I get during my physicals, my fasting blood sugars and so far so good. And I exercise and I generally eat balanced. You know when my husband and I had a rare opportunity to go for a meal without kids and it was 1:30 we were out for Mexican were like Margarita’s day drinking on a Sunday. You know and it was and we had some chips and you know what it was like I chose to eat things that I thought felt good. It was I noticed it was warm. I didn’t feel like hot food. I got ceviche. I wasn’t sitting there with my calorie counter and saying “well, if you get the Margarita then you can’t have this or that.”
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:54:34] There is a certain feel good balance that I trust now. I trust my body and there’s a feel good balance that I trust and I also value wanting to feel good before during and after that meal. And I did. I came home and had a nap because I’m not used to alcohol at 3:00 you know but again we were without kids. It was a Sunday I had the ability to do these things. There were a lot of factors. But if you say I was a person who had diabetes and really needed to watch and track my blood sugars and or if I was a person where alcohol wasn’t good for me because I was pregnant or for any other reason, I would have a different set of values to frame up those decisions. Right? And so that’s why it’s so so so so personal. But really what we should be teaching as dietitians is trust for our bodies, connection to our bodies. Right? And including making changes to eating habits like “yes, it fits. Right? Because of course if somebody needs help with meal planning you help them with meal planning you don’t say “I’m a health at every size dietitian. I don’t help you change Jack” No. There is so much to help people change but it’s in the why. And it’s the “Is this about shame and like you know like my life’s not going to be good unless I get into that size” whatever address or is it “I don’t want to spend all this money not having a structure around food and ordering out a lot” you know.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:55:52] I want to save money I want to do what I can to eat more balanced and for some people when it’s pizza night it might mean veggie toppings and they add a couple carrots on their plate you know. But they still get eat as much pizza as feel satisfying. But those swaps might go down from you know through mindfulness and mindful eating might have taken you down from you know four or five pieces down to two or three. I mean again I don’t know it’s individual but like there are things that you can do that would influence changes that you feel personally good about. But if you have someone whose history of chronic dieting and eating disorder the first thing you say is “yes, for your whole 30 don’t eat dairy pizza” That’s probably not going to be the most helpful thing for them and they’re probably not going to learn how to make choices when they’re done with you. So, you really have to understand the whole person, understand how you can be the most helpful even and listening and being supportive. But there is no shame in wanting to improve your eating patterns. But there’s a big difference between “Okay let’s do Keto, let’s do paleo, let’s do whole 30” right? “Or whatever that thing is let’s do this calorie cutting thing.” There’s a big difference between that and helping them, meeting them where they’re at and helping them with the amount of meal planning and support they need. I will say that that means sometimes that they are for asking for things that it’s like you realize as more structure than you want them to have.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:57:11] But also in the short term like week one, you also understand that structure is helpful. So if somebody comes in you know like I wouldn’t give them end stage intuitive eating on day one. I might talk to them about working on their attunement in eating on a schedule. Because they don’t eat until 2:00 p.m. or 1:00 or whatever it is. So I might talk to them about “Okay, I have information about why it’s important within two hours of waking up would you like to hear it?” “Yes.” “Okay. Here it is.” Right? And you’re helping them eat on a structure because you’re helping them build attunement to hunger and fullness. They don’t know how to do what you’d be asking them to do with end stage intuitive eating on day one. So, we really have to know the tools, learn the tools, and know how they work in a counseling setting to really do our jobs better. And again like we said beginning “we didn’t get it in school!” We’re students all over again!
Mathea Ford: [00:58:01] I have found that I have learned so much just digging in, paying attention and seeing how things evolved but I’m thinking I want to know what you think is next for this field of health at every size and body kindness and how is it going to affect health care? What changes do you see it making?
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:58:30] I think the next thing we really need to look at is from a social justice lens. So, like for example this year’s [00:58:37] PENC [0.1] there’s going to be a it’s set up as a debate right? And it’s like a debate on weight management versus health at every size. Righ? As if this is a boxing match.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [00:58:50] It’s stuff like that really concerns me to be honest. It really concerns me that if that’s what they think health at every size as it’s misguided your health at every size is really about social justice. And you know like like I look at the world today and I look at like what makes someone like Emma Gonzales right? Like you know and how she is speaking out about gun control. You know a young bold person who is able to be resilient against adversity and use her voice for good. And I look at Black Lives Matter. I look at me two times up. It is a different ballgame and social justice is becoming more and more in the narrative about you know how do we really change the system with respect to understanding intersectionality? What are the disparities that people face based on race gender or socioeconomic status. And I think medicine needs to fund research in areas around weight stigma and social justice issues because we need the data that’s going to support and influence insurance companies. And I also think frankly, we just need to remember our common humanity. I love Desmond Tutu. My favorite quote of his is my humanity is bound in yours for we can only be human together.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [01:00:16] And I just think it’s a human rights issue and it’s an issue we’ve got to challenge our own privileges and our own bias and it’s hard difficult, arduous work especially when you’re working in the system that is set up to be weight normative you know but I think some of the most powerful people are people who are employed in a medical practice and who might be able to do an in-service about these issues. Righ? Like in private practice “I call the shots! I get to control it all” so a lot of ways it’s easy for me right? It’s easier than other people but it’s like I want people to feel empowered as an individual. Open up your mind, listen to podcasts, read books, educate yourself, try something different. But like from a from a systemwide standpoint we have to continue to look at the ways and it could take a long time to help eradicate weight stigma. But I believe we can do it, I believe we can reduce body oppression. I believe that we can look at the way that diet culture is funded by billions of dollars a year – 60 billion plus dollars a year. And I believe that we can help people improve their health and well-being and not get rid of that money. I think we can shift that that money will still be there but it’s to help support people you know to improve their health. I think we could really blow dietitian reimbursements out of the water if focused on health and well-being. You know not weight loss outcomes. I mean the data just doesn’t support it. So there is there’s a lot that can be done systemically and also individually. I think our voices are the most powerful thing we can use and it is bold and brave to open up our minds and to say “you know what I don’t agree. I read this paper. Read it.” You know. It’s it Brene Brown one of my favorites.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [01:02:00] I love all of her books that in her latest Braving The Wilderness she talks about when you go one step in the wilderness and it’s dark and lonely you feel all alone but keep walking and keep braving because you will find other people your people braving the wilderness too. And to me it was an amazing metaphor for how I fell like back in 2007 in day one shown up a Green Mountain and be like “hey I’m a dietitian just here to learn some things” and really like getting help for myself you know admitting that I needed help around food even though I was a dietitian that was hard and then kind of lurking and learning and growing and then speaking and just everything. And it was not that’s what I would say it was it was not that I knew all these things but I had the interest to take one step in to keep going. And so for anyone listening you’ve got the benefit of of listening to this. Getting the show notes, take one step and then keep going. Information spreads. I got to say younger dietitians are not playing around. The younger dietitians are some of the strongest and most vocal supporters of non diet and intuitive eating and body kindness that I have seen and I’m loving it so much so that I’m going to be offering stuff for students because I was like “oh you’re open to this. Let’s go! Let’s do this!” And I also think this worked diversified dietitics is essential and crucial we have to our field needs to represent the people we serve. We need diversity across the board.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [01:03:36] And we’ve talked about that before but that that with more diversity we’ll have the diverse voices and the representation and we will reduce our oppressions as well.
Mathea Ford: [01:03:45] Well you kind of answered my next question which was how do our users, how do our listeners use this in their daily life? You know like you said just kind of buying something and taking one step. Anything else with that?
Rebecca Scritchfield: [01:04:00] Oh yes. Two big things – tons of self compassion. That “it’s okay” phrase and I would say the best phrase you’re going to know is it’s okay to make mistakes you know. The fact I mean and this is it’s a flaw of dietitians right? Perfectionists we are. It is you’re learning and growing and you’re putting your neck out there it is okay to make mistakes. Number two good self care because braving this wilderness is hard and it’s challenging and it is. I’ve faced my own micro aggressions you know from my peers and just maybe trying to understand and maybe trying to just reject my philosophy. I don’t know. But it hurts that makes you want to cry you know.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [01:04:44] And so you’re going to see a lot of wrongs that need to be right and a lot of things that you could do but you can’t do it all because you need your sleep you know secure your oxygen mask for help and others right? You need your sleep, you need your job, you need your families. I’m going to quote Deborah Gaarde who’s one of the founding members of ASDAH Association for Size Diversity and Health that created the Health at Every Size principles and I do this when I speak a lot too because she’s told me she says and she is a therapist and she said “Rebecca, dietitians have been there from the beginning. Dietitians have been it from the getting of Health at Every Size and every time you talk I want you to make sure we know that because there’s space for dietitians here and they’ve been there from the get go. But when you do it you’re going to get tired, you’re going to see a lot of work that needs to get done and you need to take care yourself, you need to pause you need to still live your life and have a good good good good life because you need to reenergize and that is a role that you’ll see in any people who are doing social justice work and fighting weight stigma is a social justice act.”
Mathea Ford: [01:05:50] So my kind of off topic question for you that I try to ask everybody is what is your favorite food? So tell us about your favorite food.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [01:05:59] Ahh! Well, you’ve already heard me mention pizza a million times. I’m going to go oh gosh I’m going to have to go ice cream you know. And I just whenever I think of ice cream I think about being a little girl and I think about my grandma who I lost way too young when I was a freshman in high school. She had cancer. She died shortly after my grandpa died of emphysema. He worked in like coal factories and whatnot. But they had this trailer on the lake in Ohio called Berlin Lake and which actually still on our families when I get to go visit and bring my girls there it’s like I get chills like this is a place.
[01:06:38] It was a place where I started dieting for the first time. It’s a place where I went back years later to apologize to my body for all the wrongs. It’s a place now where I take my kids and you know I waterski all silly and they laugh at their mom you know. So it’s kind of like this place of mixed emotion for me that as a child when my favorite things to do was we’d stopping at this homemade ice cream we got this flavor called Blue Moon and my grandma would let me order any size I wanted. And of course I could never finish because I was one of the big one. But just licking on this like double cone of Blue Moon ice cream and just feeling the love and you know the cold on my tongue and just that connection of my grandma, that connection to the lake it’s like that is what it makes me love ice cream so much. And it’s rare when I actually get to enjoy Blue Moon ice cream. I found a recipe and so I’ll make it at home with my girls. But every seen on the menu I would get it but it doesn’t have to be that flavor when I have it. I stop and think about the happiness and what it means to me. And yeah I have ice cream a lot and it’s not all that fireworks on the Fourth of July Amazing Blue Moon flavor. But I can still cultivate the meaning in it. And that’s what I try to focus on.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [01:07:52] And so you know and I think most people who would answer you know or who are listening and thinking of their favorite. I guarantee you what it brings up is some type of positive, joyful memory you’ve had. And that’s what food is supposed to be. And if we can just remember that as dietitians and as we you know when we have to talk about decisions around food, remember cultural you know differences, remember experiences that also matter that also contribute to our health and well-being.
Mathea Ford: [01:08:23] Yeah food can have such emotional value and you’re right when we can make it positive. Slow down enjoy it. You know fill that love that we do love having some. All right Rebecca thank you so much for being on the podcast today. It was a pleasure to have you on the show. I know my listeners learned a lot about Body Kindness and Health at Every Size and just changing that paradigm a little bit to be more weight inclusive or health inclusive I can’t remember is it weight inclusive. Okay.
Rebecca Scritchfield: [01:09:02] Ahh Yes. So with respect to weight it’s weight normative versus weight inclusive. But also but also health inclusive right? Like if anyone has any health concerns or you know we’re not going to judge them for that we’re going to help them do the best they can. You know through kindness and connection to their body and still have a good life you know. I’ll hear some people say “Oh what’s the lowest weight you can weigh” and still have a good life is like “Okay really?” Well then what are you helping them pursue to pursue that lowest weight you can weigh and have a good life?
Rebecca Scritchfield: [01:09:31] You know it’s about not you like taking weight away from a behavior thing that you control. You observe any changes that may or may not happen with weight why you stay intentionally focused on well-being and positive choices that fit individual needs and preferences and abilities.
Mathea Ford: [01:09:50] I think if when you let go of that like you said weight outcome and you allow yourself to make those small changes, be kind to yourself and just in general feel better about yourself. You’re going to make people around you feel better about themselves and that happiness and it can be a very positive experience whether it comes out to be some weight loss or not. So Rebecca flusters want to connect with you what’s the best way to do that?
Rebecca Scritchfield: [01:10:21] My website bodykindnessbook.com is the best place and you can get a free body kindness starter kit including a free chapter of the book. If you just click “Get Started” and give your name and email and I’ll check in with you. As you’re reading through the book kind of share a little bit more backstory about my approach and philosophy. There’s a whole other set of tools there- a video. If you’re someone who likes to track things especially those like you know Calorie Counting Trackers and other things you put lots of detail in actually a different way of tracking that’s like “how much sleep did I get and what’s my mood like?”
Rebecca Scritchfield: [01:10:53] And there’s nutritional tracking around balance on your plate and stuff but not that sort of level of detail so that’s helpful for folks who feel attached to tracking but want to let go and kind of start do a better job at connecting to their bodies. So I recommend that and then just in case there’s any listeners who qualify for their research study for pregnancy and postpartum that’s bodykindnessbook.com/research and there are free eBooks available. If you haven’t read Body Kindness yet and you qualify, download the e-book, you read it and then you complete a survey when you’re done reading.
Mathea Ford: [01:11:22] Well you answered my… I was going to ask about participating in the study on body kindness. OK great. Well guys this has been another great episode of the Nutrition Experts Podcast. The podcast that is all about learning more so can do more with nutrition in your life.
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