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Break Up With the Scale

As a dietitian that believes in the Health at Every Size principles, I choose to practice something I like to call weight inclusive wellness. I respect size diversity and believe that people of various weights can have healthy behaviors and habits, and also have a positive relationship with food.

I had a really great conversation with a client last week about why I hate the scale. I cannot take credit for the following analogy but I love it! Dieting for weight loss is like playing the slot machines at Atlantic City. You see everyone around you winning (ding ding ding!!) and go into gambling thinking that YOU will hit the jackpot. But remember, we all know casinos get your money and statistics show we will not win. This is why weighing yourself does more harm than good: We all think we’re going to see a number we like (aka hitting the jackpot) but statistics show we will not win. The scale will probably creep back up over time and lead to negative feelings about food and body image. The good news is that there is a solution in weight inclusive wellness. You can be happy and healthy without focusing on the scale.

why scales harm

5 Ways to Measure “Success” Without Using the Scale:

Instead of focusing on the scale to measure progress, try to ask yourself these insightful questions:

1. How are you feeling about overall body image?

2. Are you responding to different emotions in a way that works for you?

3. What can you do to increase your self-care?

4. Can you try to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full and mentally satisfied?

5. Can you move your body in a respectful, joyful way?

These questions can help guide you to a plan of action to feel happy and healthy about food and body image.

Resources For Eating Disorders And Intuitive Eating

I find myself suggesting resources all the time to clients and healthcare professionals to help everyone learn more about eating disorders, intuitive eating, and health at every size. I figured it’s time to share these valuable books/podcasts/e-courses with all of you.  It doesn’t matter if you are a client, family member, or healthcare professional- we ALL have a lot to learn.

Top Resources for Eating Disorders

International Federation of Eating Disorder Dietitians www.eddietitians.com/

International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals www.iaedp.com/

National Eating Disorder Association www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/


Life Without Ed, by Jenni Schaefer

8 Keys to Recover from an Eating Disorder, by Carolyn Costin

Overcoming Binge Eating, by Christopher Fairburn

Almost Anorexic, by Jennifer Thomas

(Find these in your podcast app or itunes!)

The Recovery Warrior Show

The Eating Disorder Recovery Podcast

Resources for Health at Every Size and Intuitive Eating

Registered Dietitians for Body Confidence www.rd4bc.com

The Health at Every Size Community www.haescommunity.org/

The Association for Size Diversity and Health www.sizediversityandhealth.org/

Intuitive Eating Community http://www.intuitiveeating.org/


Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch

Intuitive Eating Workbook

Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon

Body Respect by Linda BaconBody Kindness by Rebecca Scritchfield

Savvy Girl, A Guide to Eating by Sumner Brooks and Brittany Deal

(Find these in your podcasts app or itunes!)

Love, Food

Body Kindness

Food Psych

Dietitians Unplugged

Life, Unrestricted

The Body Love Project


EDRDPro Symposium:15 experts (myself included!!) presenting on eating disorders, HAES, and intuitive eating! The symposium begins April 28th.

Kylie Mitchell’s IMMAEATTHAT “How to Eat” Course 

Christy Harrison’s Intuitive Eating Fundamentals Course

Top 3 Tips for Improving Body Image

What is Body Image?
Body image is how you see yourself when you look in the mirror or when you picture yourself in your mind. It encompasses:

  • What you believe about your own appearance (including your memories, assumptions, and generalizations).
  • How you feel about your body, including your height, shape, and weight.
  • How you sense and control your body as you move.  How you feel in your body, not just about your body.

Negative Body Image

  • A distorted perception of your shape–you perceive parts of your body unlike they really are.
  • You are convinced that only other people are attractive and that your body size or shape is a sign of personal failure.
  • You feel ashamed, self-conscious, and anxious about your body.
  • You feel uncomfortable and awkward in your body.

Positive Body Image

  • A clear, true perception of your shape–you see the various parts of your body as they really are.
  • You celebrate and appreciate your natural body shape and you understand that a person’s physical appearance says very little about their character and value as a person.
  • You feel proud and accepting of your unique body and refuse to spend an unreasonable amount of time worrying about food, weight, and calories.
  • You feel comfortable and confident in your body.

(Taken from NEDA: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/what-body-image)

Top 3 Tips to Improve Body Image

1. Focus on Body Neutrality First
It’s impossible to go from hating a body to loving a body right away.  Practice the thought of body neutrality, meaning that you can see your body for what it is (a body!!).

2. Respect Your Body
Appreciate what your body can do for you: walk, stand, sit, stretch! Treat your body with respect by giving it fuel, movement, sleep, and relaxation time.

3. Practice Body Self-Care
Wear clothes that fit you well and make you feel comfortable.  Do something everyday that makes you feel good.

Favorite body image resources: 

1. NEDA’s 10 Steps to a Positive Body Image:  http://bit.ly/1hDqGjC
2. The book “Body Respect” by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor, On Amazon here: http://amzn.to/29iCjRQ
3. The Body Image Workbook by Thomas Cash, on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/29fQuXg
4. CSAB Body Image webinar by Marissa Sappho: http://icpnyc.org/csab/2015-2016-webinar-series/ (#13 for the recording)

5.  Rebecca Scritchfield’s Body Kindness Podcast: http://www.rebeccascritchfield.com/podcast/

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Follow @jennifermcgurkrdn

"I was officially the heaviest woman to complete a marathon. This title will serve as an example to the plus-size community that there is no such thing as a limitation. I'm often asked if I think everyone should run a marathon. The answer is no. Running -- and sports in general -- isn't for everyone, and that's cool. What I do think, and the reason that I'm on a journey to complete an Ironman, is that whether you want to run a marathon, or knit the world's largest tea cozy, if there's an achievement that captivates you, go after it. The bigger or more ridiculous, the better!" I just love what @ragenchastain  is doing for the plus-size community!! I hope you all read her story in @espnw  about how she decided to go for this Guinness World Record!!
#eatwithknowledge #haes #bodypositive #healthateverysize #healthyliving #bodypositivity #endED #allfoodsfit #edrecovery #balancednotclean #nourishnotpunish #eatingdisorderrecovery #eatingdisorderdietitian #HAESdietitian #RD #HAESRD #intuitiveeating #bodykindness #bopo #effyourbeautystandards #antidiet #selfcare #foodisfuelforthebody #ragenchastain #marathon #plussizefitness #bigfitgirl
Happy Valentine's Day!! Wishing you all a beautiful day filled with #selflove and #selfcare. Go out and do something loving for yourself!! #linkinbio to last year's valentine's day post all about self-care practices for Valentine's Day.
#eatwithknowledge #pursuingprivatepractice #eatingdisorders #endED #eatingdisorderdietitian #dietitian #healthateverysize #HAES #haesdietitian #healthyliving #soulfie #dietitian #rd2be #antidiet #allfoodsfit #bodypositivity #edrecovery #eatingdisorderdietitian #selfcare #bodykindness #bodypositivity #foodisfuel
Yep!! It’s happening again!! Thursday at 8pm #Repost @balancedtx with @get_repost
Ready for Take 2 of the Twitter Takeover?! Join us Thursday night @ 8PM to make our voices heard with force. Keep the conversation going from now until then, spread the word & let’s remind @weightwatchers we won’t be silent! #WakeUpWeightWatchers 💥👊💥💪 (link in our profile for details!) #edrecovery #bodypositive
This. Is. Everything. @streetsmart.rd with @get_repost
If you've been following along with me you know it struck a chord when @weightwatchers announced free memberships for teens 13-17. These years (pictured here, horrible fashion and hair styles galore) are the time when teens should be allowed to grow - without attempts to subtly or openly shame their bodies, police their food choices, and initiate them into diet culture. My friends & fellow RDs have been sharing photos of themselves during these (painfully) awkward years to remind us bodies are meant to change. Here are some fast facts:
☝🏼️Children gain an average of 40 pounds during the years before, during & after puberty. It is normal for some kids to gain weight before they grow taller. But there is no wrong way to grow and restricting nutrition or limiting food choices can also limit critical nutrients needed for a lifetime of good health
☝🏼️Teens are among the highest risk populations for developing issues with body image. The average age of onset for an eating disorder falls during the years in which WW is offering a free membership
☝🏼️Diets do not work. If you look at the success rate (meaning, someone reaches and maintains a "healthy" body weight or normal BMI and maintains it for 5 years) it's embarrassingly low. WW in particular cites ~6% success rate and many of those people started at a BMI around 27. Meaning they didn't have a significant amount of weight to lose (on average, ~10 pounds)
☝🏼️ Dieting is the top predictor of future weight gain & weight cycling. That's what we used to call yo-yo dieting, where someone loses X number of pounds only to gain it all back plus some. Weight cycling is more harmful than simply existing at a higher weight and never engaging in dieting behaviors. Fatness isn't the problem. Fatphobia and misinformation about health is the problem
☝🏼️ Taking dieting behaviors like counting points, compensating with exercise, assigning morality to food, and letting the scale determine your worth and happiness and calling it "not a diet" doesn't mean it's not a diet. It's a way to capitalize on the high failure rates of diets
As an eating disorders dietitian, I need to to do all that I can to prevent disordered eating. By allowing teens to have free access to the weight watchers program (aka dieting) it sets them up for weight cycling and negative body image for the rest of their life. But guys weight watchers knows what they’re doing. They’re capturing an audience young to get them to “diet “lose a bunch of weight” only to have it come back on, and therefore thinking Weight watchers is the only way to go. So many weight watchers have been weight watchers for so long. Let’s end the ups and downs and teach teens positive body image and a healthy relationship with food. Join me on Twitter tomorrow!!!! JenmcgurkRDN see you there!! #repost @balancedtx with @get_repost
Want to make your voice heard? Join us & many other #eatingdisorder, #HAES & #bodypositive professionals and advocates tomorrow afternoon for a Twitter Takeover to let @WeightWatchers know what we think of their free teen program! 💥 Get all the details via the link in our profile 💥#WakeUpWeightWatchers
Another great quote from a @recovrywarriors article about how yoga can be a part of eating disorder recovery. Obviously not everyone is going to like yoga. It can be useful for some people to learn how to get through difficult emotions and learn to be in their body in ways that may not have been possible before. Plus learning to be grateful for your body can be really useful tool of recovery. It can help to move away from body hate to a body neutral and/or body appreciation space.
#eatwithknowledge #haes #bodypositive #healthateverysize #healthyliving #bodypositivity #endED #allfoodsfit #edrecovery #balancednotclean #nourishnotpunish #eatingdisorderrecovery #eatingdisorderdietitian #HAESdietitian #RD #HAESRD #intuitiveeating #bodykindness #bopo #effyourbeautystandards #antidiet #selfcare #foodisfuelforthebody
I found this quote in an article by @recovrywarriors and I think it is sooo important to remember! Recovery from an eating disorder doesn't only include physical recovery, but mental recovery too. Changing the thoughts that ED can bring is usually harder than stopping eating disorder behaviors. Thoughts can be overwhelming, and it can be easy to dwell on them. They key is to learn how to either fight back, distract, or (perhaps the hardest thing) just be a human being in the moment of uncomfortable feelings. I want you to remember that you aren't broken or failing!! It's all part of the recovery journey. Keep going because it’s worth it 💜
#eatwithknowledge #haes #bodypositive #healthateverysize #healthyliving #bodypositivity #endED #allfoodsfit #edrecovery #balancednotclean #nourishnotpunish #eatingdisorderrecovery #eatingdisorderdietitian #HAESdietitian #RD #HAESRD #intuitiveeating #bodykindness #bopo #effyourbeautystandards #antidiet #selfcare #foodisfuelforthebody
I love this quote from @marcird who was featured in the January issue of Today's Dietitian! Focusing on weight loss is not the way to reduce weight stigma. The problem with weight stigma is a societal problem, and not something that should be put on individuals to solve by treating their bodies as a never ending project. And really weight stigma effects all of us, not just those at higher weights. It's time to let go of fixing ourselves and concentrate on decreasing weight stigma within our society as a whole. Articles like this really help move our profession (and society) forward. We have a long way to go!!!
#eatwithknowledge #haes #bodypositive #healthateverysize #healthyliving #bodypositivity #endED #allfoodsfit #edrecovery #balancednotclean #nourishnotpunish #eatingdisorderrecovery #eatingdisorderdietitian #HAESdietitian #RD #HAESRD #intuitiveeating #bodykindness #bopo #effyourbeautystandards #antidiet #selfcare #foodisfuelforthebody #weightstigma #endweightstigma #weightinclusivehealthcare #weightneutralselfcare
Time is almost running out!!!! Sign up for @foodpeacedietitian PCOS course before enrollment closes!!! Also as a dietitian wanting to learn more about PCOS, Julie has taught me so much!!! I credit her for a lot of my nutrition knowledge and am so thankful 🤓. If you are a dietitian wanting to learn more about PCOS this course is for you!!! And continuing education credits are coming this spring, what better combo of learning and crossing off CEU’s!!! #Repost @foodpeacedietitian (@get_repost)
The Step-By-Step Guide to PCOS + Food Peace course is an investment + not for everyone. Wonder if it is right for you? I want to help! Here's who I designed it for:
**The Recovery Warrior: 
If you experience PCOS + trying to recover from an eating disorder this course is for you. It is laid out to help you make steps toward health w/o triggering relapse. You have worked SO VERY HARD to recover + you can continue to do so wPCOS.
**The Chronic Dieter:
So you're at diet rock bottom, huh?! I totally get it. We know diets don't work because you have tried them a million times. This course will NOT be million + 1. This is a new path to reclaiming health + diets are not included.
**The Determined Newbie:
Did you just get word you have PCOS? Don't get sucked into Google's dark hole of confusing PCOS information. This course will help direct you to accurate research based info gathered over 20 yrs of working in nutrition + avoid the common rookie mistakes.
**The Wanna Be Mama:
Has your PCOS lead to infertility? I am so very sorry. This course will give you access to non-diet approaches to enhance your body image (because infertility will tear it apart!) + promote healthy ovulation.
**The Dedicated Diabetic:
Are you concerned you will never find a non-diet way to treat your PCOS because you have Pre-Diabetes or Diabetes?? I appreciate diabetes is a scary diagnosis + the course has you covered. You CAN make peace w food too + there's even a special BONUS designed just for you.
THIS COURSE IS NOT FOR those w/o PCOS or unsure if they have it. It is not for you if you are only looking to lose weight. This is not a quick fix rather a long term way to promote health. 
Are you still wond
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