In our continuing series of interviews of people we admire for their work to help women who struggle with eating, exercise and body image, I’m happy to continue our conversation with Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN — a well-being coach, registered dietitian nutritionist, certified health and fitness specialist, and author of Body Kindness.
Welcome back to A Weight Lifted. Our readers loved our last conversation so much that we wanted to bring you back for a second e-interview. We covered a lot during our last conversation; specifically, how life-changing habits result from making choices out of self-love, connecting to your body, and making a commitment to self-care.
Let’s dig into this a little more. Tell us, what are some of the unexpected challenges of taking a weight-neutral approach in a culture obsessed with dieting and the “thin ideal”?
I think the whole idea of rejecting diet culture is a challenge and we need to be ready to face it with determination and optimism.
One common challenge that frustrates me is the assumption that larger bodies are somehow automatically unhealthy. That’s so tough to break through because of media headlines and our cultural bias.
We (society) tend to ignore the evidence that diets don’t work because it goes against our beliefs. “Of course fat is bad and weight loss is good.” And then we stop right there. Rarely, do we challenge where these beliefs come from and the strength of the evidence.
We also don’t acknowledge the role genetics plays in health and disease risk. Bob Harper’s recent heart attack was an eye-opening example of that.
How has your personal experience and your experience as a mother fueled your career?
In every way you can imagine.
I did not just fall into this space. This work chose me. I have made so many mistakes with myself growing up, a decade as a personal trainer and fitness specialist, and even my first year as a dietitian!
I hit a diet rock bottom myself when I went to Green Mountain and did a week program. I learned that my challenges with emotional eating were related to two things I didn’t know before – my emotions did not need food to work, and my food rules set me up to crave overeating.
I want my girls to know about nutrition and fitness without it being a moral virtue. I hope to teach them, like I do with my clients, that there are more important things to do with your life than fret over your appearance.
You can appreciate your body for all the wonderful things it let’s you experience in life and choose to take care of it in a way that works for you. Most important, it’s OK to struggle with self-care, and it’s also OK to get better.
How has your work evolved and changed, over the years? Are you noticing any trends in the “industry” of food, health, and exercise?
I work a lot with the media on health-related stories and it’s important work. Even though these magazines caused me trouble as a teen and today they STILL contain mostly shaming, unhelpful information, I feel obligated to share my knowledge and passion with anyone willing to listen!
For example, Shape published an article on “the anti-diet” and how it’s the best thing. Of course, I jumped at the chance. We need more headlines like this if we’re going to erase diet culture.
Unfortunately, most food and fitness trends are still very much about taking your money, keeping you afraid, and fueling the $55 billion a year diet industry.
Body positivity is definitely a trend I can get behind, but I want to be clear about something. In my opinion, you can be body positive and still want to lose weight. You can’t control your feelings. “Wanting” is a feeling that can be very complicated. You can still do the work of saying “I care more about changing my habits and I’m willing to weigh what my body needs,” while you sit with the desire to lose weight.
This is significant because so many people don’t feel worthy of Body Kindness because of a poor body image that has been years in the making…but their body image can improve with Body Kindness so it’s important to get started even if you hope to lose weight.
Another point of clarification is that you can be body positive and change your eating habits. Some people are afraid that if they improve their eating habits and exercise and then lose weight that it’s somehow “bad” or not body positive. This makes no sense to me. It’s your body and you have a right to learn and grow throughout your life. It’s an amazing gift!
The key is to not celebrate weight loss like that’s the important thing.
Reframe changes to how you feel, mind and body and that’s body positive. Understand that some people can make the exact changes you do and they won’t lose weight. This may hurt their feelings because of nasty diet culture. We should be aware that the process and outcomes are individual.
Are you looking forward to #BeHerNow Body Kindness Weekend as much as we are?
Absolutely, maybe more! #BeHerNow Body Kindness Weekend is going to be a powerful, transformative experience. Participants will learn to practice the principles of Body Kindness to develop a self-care routine they can take home. And the early bird discount ends on May 15th, so register now to get 10% off. Join us!
I would love it if you can join for the whole week, and if you do you’ll get some extra one one one time with me, plus I’ll be doing the program with you. Whether you come for the week or weekend, you’ll get a Body Kindness book made out to you or someone else you care about!
Ready for Body Kindness?
Join Rebecca at Green Mountain at Fox Run for #BeHerNow Body Kindness Weekend.
Practice the principles of Rebecca’s Body Kindness philosophy and learn about Green Mountain’s 43-year old healthy living program. And HAVE FUN with Rebecca and other women who are ready to stop waiting and start living!
Want more than just a weekend? Great! You can arrive on May 27th to join us for a full week!