The Unpacking Weight Science Podcast has two parts: the audio podcast, and the supporting materials files.
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Episode 1: Stuck in a Weight-Centric Operating System
Why is it that everyone seems to be pushing a weight-centric agenda? Weight centrism is a cultural norm, medical behemoth, and capitalist bonanza. This podcast delves into the forces that bind us externally and internally, to weight centrism. Listen here for free.
The supporting materials for this episode are free to download so you can see what you get - find them in the single episode section below.
Episode 2: Demystifying Definitions, De-myth-defying Assumptions
This episode discusses the two main myths that perpetuate weight loss encouragement as well as the terms, weight centric, weight neutral, lifestyle intervention and concern troll. Listen here for free.
Episode 3: How We Got Here: BMI Meets Death
A history of the development of the BMI (including how 'obesity' ended up on child growth charts), how we discovered there was a relationship with weight and death, and how a few powerful men gifted us the weight-centrism we have today. Listen here for free.
Episode 4: Weight Bias, Stigma and Discrimination
This episode is an introduction and defines the terms, discusses their impact on healthcare, society and the lives of the people who are impacted by weight-centrism. Listen here for free.
Episode 5: The Anatomy of a Weight Loss Paper
A research paper is a piece of persuasive writing. This episode breaks down how all the pieces fit together, the expected rhetoric of weight loss research, common research methods that guarantee statistical significance at the cost of clinical practicalities, how to spot hyperbole, and how the way we usually read research papers leaves us at the mercy of the authors biases. Listen here for free.
Episode 6: The Science of Self-Compassion
In this podcast I take you through the research and academic operationalisation of self compassion, some of it’s associations and effects on individuals and their self care as well as on health practitioners with compassion fatigue and burnout. I talk about how to weave language that models a self compassionate attitude into your counselling and encounters with others and yourself. These supplementary materials contain exercises shown in experimental studies to induce self compassion. Listen here by subscribing.
Episode 7: Weight-Neutral, Health-Enhancing Habits
This episode looks at behaviours associated with longevity, delay and avoidance of disease, as well as behaviours which enhance health outcomes at any weight and health status. Key research papers are discussed as well as strategies for how to use them in your work. Listen here by subscribing.
Episode 8: Theoretical vs Actual Weight Change: Industrialised Wishful Thinking
In this podcast I compare and contrast what our mathematical formulas about energy requirements and weight loss say should be possible (ie the theoretical) versus what actually happens in real life. I also talk about the history of this energy requirement belief system, who continues to use it and why. Listen here by subscribing.
Episode 9: Morality vs Ethics: why Fat is Fraught
This episode delves into theories of human morality and medical ethics and their role in fat-phobia. I unpick the concepts and meaning of fatness through these two lenses in order for you to be able to identify which meaning system is at play in those who force their weight-centrism upon others, and select a line of discussion that is more likely to hit its mark. Listen here by subscribing.
Episode 10: The Non-Diet Approach Model
This episode explains the development process, underlying theoretical framework and principles of the Non-Diet Approach, a clinical model that I’ve developed during my PhD research. This model is a weight-neutral, size inclusive, body acceptance practice framework for clinicians who work one-on-one but can be adapted for working with groups and populations too. Listen here by subscribing.
Episode 11: Unboxing Wellness Marketing
This episode I take you through some components of the science of human persuasion with ‘unboxing wellness marketing’. As my following on Instagram grew I started getting approached by ‘health and wellness’ brands to spruik their products, and one lot even sent me some samples of their product (apple cider vinegar!) to try – without asking if I wanted them! They came with a lovely letter and some product information, filled to the brim with reasons why their product should be in every home across the country. So I’m going to dissect their arguments for your listening pleasure and highlight the tricks used in wellness-food marketing to persuade us to open our wallets and our mouths for just about anything. Listen here by subscribing.
Episode 12: What the 5percent?!? Type 2 diabetes and weight loss recommendations
We continually hear this magical 5% weight loss goal for people with type 2 diabetes, that losing 5% of your body weight is going to result in protecting you from all sorts of terrible diabetes related things…. So in this episode I talk about where this figure has come from, why it misconstrues its own science, and weight neutral ways to manage diabetes and the diabetes healthcare environment. Listen here by subscribing.
Episode 13: HAES and Diffusion of Innovations Theory
One of my favourite theories of social science is the Diffusion of Innovations theory. It so beautifully explains how new ideas spread through social groups and populations. The adoption of Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size by individuals and by health and counselling professionals has followed the predictable patterns laid out in this theory. This episode I’ll be running through these characteristics and importantly, showing you how you can recognise where someone is on their path towards HAES adoption and how you can most effectively nudge them towards decision-making. Listen here by subscribing.
Episode 14: Measuring Intuitive Eating: Why, How and When
This episode covers the development of the Intuitive Eating Scale, and it’s follow-up, the Intuitive eating Scale 2. I talk about the different aspects of eating behaviour that it captures, research that it’s been used in and how you might like to use it in your clinical practice or research. Listen here by subscribing.
Episode 15: When is a diet not a diet? Health at Every Size and Medical Nutrition Therapy
Dietitians and nutrition professionals can feel like the ‘nutrition baby’ is being thrown out with the ‘diet bathwater’ when learning about the Non-Diet Approach, HAES and Intuitive Eating. Many wonder, if I can’t tell people what to eat, what is left? Is there any point to dietitians? Do I just forget all my medical nutrition therapy knowledge? This existential crisis is a consequence of nutrition-related professions identifying with their key expertise being in weight management. This episode sorts the ‘therapeutic wheat’ from the ‘fatphobic chaff’ to offer an alternative perspective on your professional identity. Listen here by subscribing.
Episode 16: Diet Quality: Measurement, Magnitude and Meaning
In recent years nutrition research has moved from a focus on nutrients to a focus on foods and eating patterns. Dietary quality broadly refers to the variety of foods in someone’s usual eating habits. In this episode I’ll be bringing you up to date on the current state of play with this kind of research, how impactful dietary quality is on health outcomes, and how you can use it and measure it in your practice. Listen here by subscribing.
Episode 17: Dieting, Illness and Malnutrition at Every Size
Malnutrition is a condition that has both short-term and long lasting consequences. In this episode I unpack the science of malnutrition, it’s signs and symptoms and as always, how our intentional weight loss focus results in dangerous malnutrition invisibility. Listen here by subscribing.
Episode 18: 'Obesity': Unpacking 'risk' vs 'disease'
This episode delves into the definition(s) of 'disease' and 'risk factor' and how body size has come to be understood by various 'body size stakeholders'. At its core, the question is, is being fat the same as being sick? And can telling someone that they’re sick, even when they’re not, actually make them sick? Listen here by subscribing.
Episode 19: Defining Diet Culture
Diet culture is something that we talk about as toxic a lot in the eating disorder treatment and Health at Every Size worlds, but what is it? In this episode I unpack what constitutes body and diet culture, what we can do to dismantle it and how it contrasts with the subculture of the fat acceptance movement. Listen here by subscribing.
Episode 20: Evidence Based Practice: more than just a literature search!
The reliance on PICO and GRADE frameworks to make clinical decisions has meant that we now seamlessly step from ‘what does the evidence say’ to clinical recommendations without stopping to consider the other critical components of evidence based practice – hint: the client and clinician are involved too! Listen here by subscribing.
Episode 21: Dodgy Definitions: Overeating', 'Cravings' and 'Bingeing
The pathologization of body weight and eating behaviours spills out into well-known, often-used but ultimately meaningless terms. This episode takes you on a trip into the research involving and shaky ground of ‘overeating’, ‘cravings’ and bingeing’. Listen here by subscribing.
Episode 22: Deep dive into the Look AHEAD Study: face-saving through shifting goalposts
The Look AHEAD study included over 5000 people with diabetes and aimed to see whether intentional weight loss resulted in reduced chance of death. After 9 years they found it didn’t but that hasn’t stopped them singing the praises of weight loss. This episode unpacks why. Listen here by subscribing.
Episode 23: HAES Intervention Research Update
This episode looks at the components and outcomes of interventions for individuals based on the Health at Every Size principles. I take a look at the randomised controlled trials by Bacon, Mensinger and Ulian in order to highlight intervention themes and outcomes as well as describe the characteristics and usage of quantitative and qualitative research in this field. Listen here by subscribing.
Episode 24: Starving in the Intensive Care Unit
People of all sizes end up in intensive care, with their life hanging in the balance. Without modern medicine they’d be dead already. Despite this cutting edge of science setting, larger patients are often arbitrarily underfed. This episode discusses why this is, what the implications for larger patients are, and what we can do about it. Listen here by subscribing.
Episode 25: Weight Loss is Not a Fertility Time Machine
In this episode I take a look at weight loss recommendations for fertility, the research they’re based on, and the gaping holes in it, to find what’s real and what isn’t when it comes to weight and fertility. Listen here by subscribing.