Dietitians Unplugged Talk Getting Older with Michelle Vina-Baltsas

DU + Michelle VBI have grey hair. Not a lot. Just some right now. There will in all likelihood be more down the road. This aging thing doesn’t go in reverse, Benjamin Button style.

When I was younger, I always thought I’d dye my hair. My grandmother did, until she was very old and couldn’t make it to the hairdresser anymore. My mother did too, until she got sick enough to no longer think about the dreaded roots (amazingly, only the last couple months of her life; and I think she still probably thought about her roots).

I thought there was no other option than to dye your hair because grey hair was simply to ghastly to be allowed to run unchecked on one’s head. If one’s head belonged to a female, at least.

Until one day I figured out there wasn’t just one option, which was to “hide” grey and pretend like it just wasn’t happening. If I no longer believed in societal beauty ideals, there were suddenly multiple options! I could let my hair get grey. I could shave it off. I could dye it not to hide it, but to bring attention to it, in unicorn pink-blue-purple! I could do whatever the fuck I wanted with it. That’s at least four more options right there.

I chose going grey, mostly because I’m lazy, but also because, as it came in, I kind of liked it. I liked it a lot, actually, once I decided that I’d see it as 1. simply another hair color that I was going to get to experience without having to do a lick of work 2. a way to buck patriarchal beauty rules that weren’t providing me with any real power, and 2. a symbol that I wasn’t afraid to get older  — that in fact, I was going to own the hell out of getting older.

It hasn’t always been easy. As I dropped quickly and dramatically out of thin-and-acceptably-young-and-cute and deep into pudgy-grey-and-middle-aged, I noticed how people changed in reaction to me. Because I slipped out of the realm of fuckability in many people’s men’s eyes, it’s gotten harder to have my opinion heard around them. This would be a much bigger problem if I worked in a male-dominated profession, which thankfully I don’t anymore (frankly it was already hard enough to have my opinion heard by male co-workers and managers at any age); but not everyone has this luxury.

Anyway, I’ve thought about this stuff a lot as I’ve witnessed myself going from young-hot-mess (20s) to confused-but-getting-there (30s) to mature-and-on-a-mission (40s at the moment). I like me now better than me then. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still suffer the indignities of aging in a society that is distinctly anti-aging for women.

That’s why we got my friend and fellow middle-ager Michelle Vina-Baltsas on the line to chat with the Dietitians Unplugged. Aging affects our body image in a profound way, and it needs some processing. I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as we enjoyed having it.

Show notes: we referenced this awesome article a few times.

Listen on:

Libsyn
iTunes
Stitcher

Enrollment is now open for Dare to Eat!

Dare to EAT Logo with TextReady to move ahead in your non-diet path to food freedom? My program, Dare to Eat, might be just the thing you need to get you to that blissful place of food peace. Program starts Monday, June 19thCheck out the details here.

On Becoming the Invisible Woman

invisible + DUMy whole life, until very recently, I have felt invisible. I have always been surprised when people I knew, but thought did not know me, say to me, “I remember you from…” (this happened a lot on Facebook back in its early days).

I’m like, Really? You knew who I was?

I am not sure why I felt invisible, but I really didn’t like it. I did a lot of things to ease that invisibility, like wear really flashy clothing, or make my hair crazy big, or wear a lot of make-up.

And yet, I felt I remained essentially invisible. Whether it was real or not, it felt real, and I think there are societal reasons for that.

Once I started getting very visible online and talking about all things Health at Every Size®, anti-diet, intuitive eating, body acceptance, fat positive, I realized my invisible days were well and truly over. They needed to be, because this movement needs more voices, my own included.

And once I joined a female-dominated profession (dietetics) I saw my voice welcomed as equally important to the others around me. This had not been the case when I had worked in the corporate world, I’m sorry to say, and I didn’t flourish in that environment.

So I’ve gotten kind of used to…visibility, lately. Imagine my surprise, then, when I ended up in a situation recently where I felt like I was turning back into the Invisible Woman.

On the set of a video shoot for a wellness mini-documentary by Vice UK, I was rendered irrelevant as I was overlooked, ignored by the males-in-charge around me, and eventually ended up on the cutting room floor (much to my actual relief). I don’t usually go around feeling like this is the case in most situations, so I decided I hadn’t imagined it after all. It was an upsetting reminder that outside my little HAES bubble of acceptance, there is still so much work to do.

If you want to hear the gory, yet hilarious, details of this story, listen to our podcast episode here.  WARNING: wheat grass was wielded as a torture device!

Anyway, I started to think about the many ways in which women experience erasure in our society. This is a real thing. It happens – and requiring women to diet to lose weight is one of the ways it is reinforced.

As a young, chubby woman, I was overlooked frequently as a potential partner for anyone. It was even hard to get a decent job back then. Once I lost weight and better started fitting into the cultural beauty standards du jour, all sort of attention — wanted, but also unwanted — was suddenly directed at me. It’s ironic that getting smaller somehow equated with better visibility, and yet it wasn’t real visibility. I ended up an ornament in so many situations, not a fully realized person with a mind and thoughts and ideas (and there would be so many repercussions for accepting this faux visibility, I later found out). I didn’t even feel visible to myself, and I had problems asking for what I really needed and wanted because of that. I had to fight for that kind of recognition, and although becoming older does not make the job any easier, I’m going to keep fighting for it.

Sarah Silverman had this to say not long ago: “As soon as a woman gets to an age where she has opinions and she’s vital and she’s strong, she’s systematically shamed into hiding under a rock.” Gawd, is that true or what?

We can’t let it continue to be true. We have to make our voices heard. We have to stop being afraid to take up space. We need to yell if we’re not being heard.

This is integral to our survival, to our very well-being, and to all the generations of women that will come after us.

Listen to the full Dietitians Unplugged podcast episode 23 here:

Libsyn
iTunes
Stitcher

Take my FREE mini-course!

I created this free, 3-day mini-course, Kick Diet-Mind to the Curb, to help you understand the rational behind WHY dieting is so damn dangerous to your body, mind and soul. Click here to give diet culture a kick in the crotch. This also gets you on my newsletter list.

Dietitians Unplugged Ep 22: There Will Be Rants

Cover2Aaron and I are kicking it solo (duo?) in this episode of ranty rantings about bad science around weight and health, celebrity weight loss pressure, and why we need our fat positive role models so damn badly. Some of my favorite Dietitians Unplugged podcast episodes are when Aaron and I get to catch each other up with what’s on our minds, and this is one of those times.

Listen on:

Libsyn
iTunes
Stitcher

Let’s Talk

Food got you down? Feel like your eating is out of control? Do you want to get to a place of normal eating but just don’t know how? I can help with all those things. Let’s talk – for free! – for 20 minutes and come up with some strategies for you. Click here to schedule.

Get my Newsletter

I send stuff to my list members that no one else gets: videos, extra blog posts, special offers and early-bird pricing for courses. No spam, not ever. Sign up here.

Dietitians Unplugged Ep 21: Rebecca Scritchfield Teaches us Body Kindness

Cover2I loved this conversation between our fellow dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield and Aaron and I. Rebecca recently published the amazing non-diet self-care manual, Body Kindness (it’s great, please buy ASAP) and she talks about her personal journey of getting to body kindness herself.

Rebecca’s passion for Health at Every Size® is infectious and her no-hold-barred opinions on everything from nutrition education to bringing HAES® to the forefront of the dietetics profession will fire you up.

Listen on: Libsyn, iTunes, Stitcher

Show notes:
Peter Attia’s TED Talk
Body Kindness
RDs for Body Confidence

Wanna hang out?

We have a cool little group going on over at Facebook where we talk about going diet-free, embracing body acceptance, and rejecting diet culture. Want to join? Click here.

Get my Newsletter

I send stuff to my list members that no one else gets: videos, extra blog posts, special offers and early-bird pricing for courses. No spam, not ever. Sign up here.

 

Dietitians Unplugged Ep 20: Help! My Partner Doesn’t Get HAES!

Cover2A little while back, two of our listeners sent us variations on the question, “How do I get my significant other on board with my HAES® journey?” How do you articulate that you are stepping away from the world of diets and body shame and toward something more compassionate? And how do you do it if your partner is still very much in the world of diets? We enlisted our friend, HAES® therapist Hilary Kinavey of Be Nourished to help us answer the question. Take a listen!

 

Listen on: Libsyn, iTunes, Stitcher

 

Want some group support?

We have a cool little group going on over at Facebook where we talk about going diet-free, embracing body acceptance, and rejecting diet culture. Want to join? Click here.

Want some help with your relationship with food and your body?

You have options. Check out my coaching page to see how you’d like me to help.

 

 

Dietitians Unplugged: Melissa Toler Wants to Change the Body Positivity Conversation

Cover2Dietitians Unplugged is back with a new episode! We interviewed Melissa Toler after she sent out a recent newsletter about how she was tired of the mainstream body positivity conversation. Melissa tells us all about her journey from a weight-loss centered body coach to a weight-neutral one, and what she sees missing from the current body positive movement. No punches pulled here!

Listen on:

Libsyn
iTunes
Stitcher

Ready to Stop Dieting and Start Living?

If you’re ready to stop dieting, or already have, and would like some help with your intuitive eating skills, check out my new online course and group coaching program, Stop Dieting, Start Living, which will help you do just that. Class starts February 6! Registration is open until February 2 or until the class is full.

Free Group Coaching Call January 28

I’m hosting a free group coaching call on January 28 at 10 am PST. The topic is “Why can’t I stop eating even when I’m not hungry?!” I’m only sending the call details to people on my newsletter list so sign up here if you want in on the fun.

Join our Facebook group community!

We have a very cool little community going on over at Facebook called The Dare To Not Diet Society. Members give each other support, cheer each other on in their non-diet journey. I’m there too! It’s a body positive, non-diet, non-weight-loss focused community, and we’d love to have you.

Dietitians Unplugged Podcast: Round-up

Cover2Needless to say, I’ve been remiss in posting the last few Dietitians Unplugged podcasts here, on my blog. I’m particular about things being complete, so I’m going to tuck the last few eps into one neat and tidy post for you all to find some day in the future when you’re casting about the internet, looking for some vintage HAES podcasts…

Or if you’re not caught up, now’s your chance!

New-and-super-cool episodes coming soon!

 

Episode 18: Binge Eating Disorder Conference Live Report

Aaron and I had a few minutes during the conference to chat about what we learned. Read more about how the conference went here.

Episode 17: Intuitive Eating and Weight Gain

You asked and we answered! One of our listeners asked us if we felt Intuitive Eating promoted weight gain. Find out what we had to say.

Episode 16: Teaching Kids the Truth: Weight Stigma and Body Image

Aaron and I team up with Carmen Cool, MA, LPC and a very wise teen who schools us on body image and young people and how they are unwittingly reinforced by adults.

As always, you can find us on iTunes, Stitcher and Libsyn.

 

Ready to Stop Dieting and Start Living?

If you’re ready to stop dieting, or already have, and would like some help with your intuitive eating skills, check out my new online course and group coaching program, Stop Dieting, Start Living, which will help you do just that. Class starts February 6! Registration is open until February 2 or until the class is full.

Free Group Coaching Call January 28

I’m hosting a free group coaching call on January 28 at 10 am PST. The topic is “Why can’t I stop eating even when I’m not hungry?!” I’m only sending the call details to people on my newsletter list so sign up here if you want in on the fun.

Join our Facebook group community!

We have a very cool little community going on over at Facebook called The Dare To Not Diet Society. Members give each other support, cheer each other on in their non-diet journey. I’m there too! It’s a body positive, non-diet, non-weight-loss focused community, and we’d love to have you.

 

Dietitians Unplugged: Virgie Tovar is a Fierce Fat Babe

Cover2Aaron and I got to interview one of my fat-activist heroes recently, Virgie Tovar. Virgie drops some serious knowledge on us about fat phobia, sexism, dieting and fighting a toxic culture. Oh and Babecamp! She is way fun and I’m addicted to her laugh.

I hope you enjoy this episode as much as we did making it.

#LoseHateNotWeight

 

 

Listen now:

Libsyn
iTunes
Stitcher

Sign up here for the Dare To Not Diet Insider Newsletter!

Do you crave more non-diet goodness in your life? The DTND Insider Newsletter is crafted monthly to bring you the latest on Health at Every Size® news, podcast updates, blog round-ups, features on the great work of other body positive, non-diet folks, exclusive video content and more! September’s issue coming soon. Click here now to sign up.

Want to Work With Me?

Ready for some coaching to get you to drama-free eating? Go here.

The Dietitians Unplugged Discuss Dani Mathers

Cover2Greetings lovely readers and listeners! I’m on vacation this week so just bringing you our latest Dietitians Unplugged podcast in case you hadn’t heard it yet. In this episode, Aaron and I discuss the Dani Mathers fat-shaming  incident. Was she a lone gun-(wo)man in this crime, or did she have the permission of a fat-phobic society?

This wasn’t an easy episode for me to record. In addition to being really tired, I found the topic personally hard to talk about. Fat-shaming happens to so many people every day, it’s happened to me, it’s nothing new, and it’s deflating and abusive. We’re only now beginning to talk about how wrong this is, and using the correct term for it: bigotry.

Tell me what you think in the comments here or on our Dietitians Unplugged Facebook Page!

Listen now:

Libsyn
iTunes
Stitcher

Sign up here for the Dare To Not Diet Insider Newsletter!

Do you crave more non-diet goodness in your life? The DTND Insider Newsletter is crafted monthly to bring you the latest on Health at Every Size® news, podcast updates, blog round-ups, features on the great work of other body positive, non-diet folks, exclusive video content and more! September’s issue coming soon. Click here now to sign up.

 

Dietitians Unplugged Podcast: Men and Eating Disorders

Cover2Do men get eating disorders too? Long regarded as a disease of girls and women, people sometimes don’t realize that men can also be affected by eating disorders. Aaron and I talked to Andrew Whalen of The Body Image Therapy Center, a treatment center for those with eating disorders, substance abuse issues and self-harm disorders. They also happen to specialize in eating disorders for men, and that’s the subject of this podcast. Andrew shares his personal story of suffering with an eating disorder, body shame and muscle dysmorphia.

Listen now:

Libsyn
iTunes
Stitcher