Satisfaction Factor

#4 - Diet Talk & Boundaries

October 20, 2021 Naomi Katz & Sadie Simpson
Satisfaction Factor
#4 - Diet Talk & Boundaries
Show Notes Transcript

Diet talk is not a neutral act, and it can actually stand in the way of our forming deep connections and community. In this episode, Sadie & Naomi chat all about why diet talk is harmful, the difference between diet talk and diet-culture-talk, specific techniques for navigating these conversations on a personal or professional level, and how having good boundaries can actually help us form stronger relationships. (And don't miss our Whole 30 rant!)

You can stay up to date on all things Satisfaction Factor by following us on IG @satisfactionfactorpod!

And be sure to check out Shame Free Fitness, Sadie's new training program for fitness professionals who strive to be the change within an industry that is centered around diet culture. You can get all the details & register at www.shamefreefitness.com!

Here's where to find us:
Sadie Simpson: www.sadiesimpson.com or IG @thesadiesimpson
Naomi Katz: www.happyshapes.co or IG @happyshapesnaomi

For this episode's transcript, visit: www.satisfactionfactorpod.com

This episode references:
"It's Time for a Culture of Consent Around Body Talk" by Aubrey Gordon

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You can stay up to date on all things Satisfaction Factor by following us on IG @satisfactionfactorpod!

Here's where to find us:
Sadie Simpson: www.sadiesimpson.com or IG @sadiemsimpson
Naomi Katz: www.happyshapes.co or IG @happyshapesnaomi

Naomi Katz:

Welcome to Satisfaction Factor, the podcast where we explore how ditching diet culture makes our lives more satisfying. Hey, y'all! Welcome back to Satisfaction Factor. I'm Naomi Katz, an Intuitive Eating, body image, and self trust coach. I provide anti diet support to free thinking grownups who want to reclaim their autonomy and consent from diet culture.

Sadie Simpson:

I'm Sadie Simpson, an anti diet fitness instructor and Intuitive Eating counselor, and I help other fitness professionals disengage from diet culture, so they can improve program enrollment, engagement, impact, and retention without shame and manipulation.

Naomi Katz:

Hey, Sadie.

Sadie Simpson:

Hey, Naomi. So on today's episode, we are going to talk about setting boundaries, specifically around things like diet and body talk, and we'll be hitting on some other boundary setting topics as well. The theme of our podcast is all about ditching diet culture, and how doing so makes our whole lives more satisfying. And a big part of this is getting clearer on what our boundaries are regarding how we engage in conversations around things like bodies, and food, and size, and weight, and things like that in various capacities- so with our friends, with our family members, or co workers, and even with self talk. Before we get started, I think it'll be important to talk about what does it even mean to have boundaries around diet talk, and why- why is this important?

Naomi Katz:

Yeah. Because I think that boundaries are a thing that we- people talk a lot about- people are like, oh, I'm setting boundaries- like, let's set boundaries- but I think it's often sort of a vague concept. Like, is boundary setting just drawing a hard line in the sand? What does that actually look like? What does it mean? What's the purpose?

Sadie Simpson:

A couple of episodes ago, when we were talking about diet culture, and how diet culture is about more than just diets, we touched on this idea that diet talk isn't a neutral act. Do you want to talk a little bit more about that- how that comes into play whenever we're talking about setting boundaries, and kind of being a little bit more specific, instead of being vague as boundaries tend to be?

Naomi Katz:

There's a difference between being on a diet, which is something that you are just personally doing- and we did talk a little bit about the gray area of how autonomous or not that might be- but the big difference is that talking about our diets is something that impacts the people around us. And that that can have a pretty significant effect, especially depending on where they are in their relationship with their bodies, and with food, and things like that. You know, when we talk about diet talk, that's a lot of things. Sometimes we're talking really specifically about a diet that we're on. Sometimes we're just talking about how bad or how good we are for eating a specific thing. Sometimes we're making commentary about the food, which is like inadvertently commentary about ourselves, but we focus it on the food. So you know, conversations about how some foods are poison, or toxic, or even just calling things junk food. And so, honestly, I tend to get hung up on even just the word healthy has-

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

-and unhealthy- have like pretty serious connotations that can get in people's heads, if they're already sort of struggling with those things. Moralistic talk about food, specifics about your diet, or your eating plan, or your feelings about your own food intake. Like really, all of these things qualify as diet talk. Of course, there's the diet culture talk, which is more when we start talking about bodies- our bodies, other people's bodies, how we feel about our bodies and other people's bodies. And that can be both praise and complaints. When we're complimenting weight loss, that's diet culture talk. When we're complaining about weight gain, that's diet culture talk. And so diet talk sort of encompasses all of these things. It's a big topic, and it's unfortunately something that we participate in so much in our culture. It's just normal.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes. It is normal. And, well we talked about that on another episode, too. It's kind of weird to not talk about, or complain about, or gossip about, or whatever about bodies, and diets, and that sort of thing. So let's kind of hit on a couple of examples of how this body talk, diet talk, diet culture conversations- how we participate in these types of conversations, and common ways of how we give and receive body talk. Because there's- there's kind of two sides to the coin. There's the giving side, and being on the receiving end. And learning how to establish boundaries on both sides of the spectrum of this can be kind of challenging. So whenever I think of body talk, or diet talk, or diet culture based conversations, I immediately think of this happening in a group setting- sometimes in a one on one setting- but a lot of times, I feel like this happens in a group setting. So with a group of friends, or in a family group, or in the work setting- I feel like this is something that happens a lot amongst co workers. And often, it's how people connect to each other. It's a shared experience that members of a group may have. So whether they're talking about a specific diet program, or a specific feeling maybe they have about their body or somebody else's body, it's how people tend to connect to one another, which is really bizarre when you kind of think about it.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah. And I think we've sort of touched on this a little bit in other episodes too, where like, it's- we use it for connection, but it's totally not connection. If anything, we're- especially when we're actively having these conversations- we're almost doing it in the sense of competition.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

And instead, we're making these comments about our diets almost like as a challenge for other people to compare their own diets. Maybe competition isn't the right word. Maybe comparison is actually the right word. That like we're not necessarily competing with people, but we definitely are, like holding our behaviors up against theirs and being like, who's better? And that's not connection.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, well, and even going back to the whole idea of being prescriptive, of saying, well, I'm doing this specific diet, everybody else needs to do this specific diet, too. We've heard that phrase misery loves company. I think that kind of ties into that. If somebody is miserable on whatever diet program or weight loss program they're on, they want everybody else around them to be miserable, too.

Naomi Katz:

Oh, that's interesting. Yeah. I don't know if I've thought about that aspect of it so much. But I think there's something to that, too, where it's almost like we know we're miserable, but like, at least we can feel good about our misery if we're like holding some kind of moral ground in our misery. And if we can take that misery and position ourselves as like an authority with it, almost, to get people to also do it.

Sadie Simpson:

Well, this kind of makes me think about something that has happened. I was in a workplace years ago, and it was when the Whole 30 was really big, and it was January, and somebody in the workplace-

Naomi Katz:

Which is- I feel like we should just call January Whole 30 month.

Sadie Simpson:

Whole 30 month - It was the official Whole 30 month of the year, sponsored by Whole 30, and somebody had the brilliant idea that the, like the group of co workers should do the Whole 30 because they wanted to do the Whole 30. It was kind of like this misery loves company thing, just because this one person wanted to do the Whole 30 they corralled a group of other people to do it with them so they're not doing it alone. So it was almost like this sort of pseudo team unity thing- and going back to the competition aspect that you mentioned earlier- but it was about sticking to the Whole 30. And I just remember everybody's conversation was around, you know, how many days into it you were, and how everybody missed pizza, and cookies, and ice cream, and beer, and how miserable it was, and how they couldn't wait till the end of the Whole 30. The- the talk around it was the misery surrounding the specific foods that they could or could not eat.

Naomi Katz:

First of all, I think we should, at some point, do a whole episode on workplace wellness. So- because I think it's a really big deal, and I think it's really damaging and harmful, and there's just so much to talk about there. So first thing, I'm just gonna put it right out there. Let's do that at some point.

Sadie Simpson:

I will add it to the list right now.

Naomi Katz:

Excellent. Sadie makes lists and it's my favorite thing. Second, this makes me think so much about- I think a lot of times when people create this like quote unquote community, or they seek quote unquote community around dieting, and especially restrictive diets, that they're doing it in this sense of like support, and- a word that I truly despise- accountability. I should rephrase. I don't hate the word accountability for most things. Like I think that there's certainly situations where we need to hold people accountable. But seeking- if our eating habits require us to have somebody else hold us accountable, and like make sure that we quote unquote, stay on track, how is that not the biggest red flag that what we're doing is not sustainable? Like if you literally need somebody to like, keep you in line? That's obviously not- one, how do we ever call that an autonomous choice? And two, how do we ever think that that's sustainable? And three, just the fact that we do things called Whole 30, and we literally count down the days till it's over? And what do we think is going to happen when we're done?

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

Do we think that like, whatever- let's assume that we actually did, like, lose weight, or, you know, have better gut health, or whatever it is that people think that Whole 30 is gonna do for them. Which, by the way, I think a lot of people don't actually know what they think Whole 30 is gonna do for them.

Sadie Simpson:

But everybody else is doing it, so it's okay.

Naomi Katz:

Just throwing that out there- very, very unclear goals when they take that on in the first place. But let's j st assume that they have a g al, let's assume that goal is we ght loss. What exactly is the long term thought process on t is? Like, okay, I'm going to hi that day 30, and I'm going to top doing it. I'm like, why d we think that any change that w may have seen during those 3 days, is going to continue to exist after we stopped doing he thing that created that chan e within those 30 days? Lik , I just don't un

Sadie Simpson:

Especially while during those 30 days, everybody's miserable. Everybody's complaining about the process of it. So it was not anything that's actually even enjoyable.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah. I feel like it took us way off topic with that one, but I just I had to- I had to say it because I can't- I can't with things- like we're counting down to be done with something. That should just send up so many red flags. And it really kind of requires us to think about, like, what happens when that timer runs out.

Sadie Simpson:

I love a good Whole 30 rant. So I'm glad.

Naomi Katz:

I very much appreciate your actual support.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, so again, these conversations happen in groups, they happen with our co workers, with our friends, with our family members. Not only is the problem with it based around this whole concept of misery, and unsustainability, and that type of thing, but this continues to perpetuate diet culture, and minimizing ourselves to just a body, and a body that's never good enough. And that everybody within the group, you know, can have this conversation centered around diets, or weight loss programs, or whatever, for the sole purpose of changing our body, it just digs us deeper into this system that tells us that we're not good enough, and we're never gonna be good enough.

Naomi Katz:

Not only does it dig us deeper into the system, so like it has this systemic consequence of like upholding these systems that are so harmful, but even on a more like, close to home interpersonal level, it does like actual harm to the people around us. So it can be very triggering for folks who maybe are struggling with eating disorders or disordered eating. And so there's that. But there's also- the way we talk about ourselves, the way we talk about other people, tells the people around us what we think of them, essentially. So if we're constantly talking about how we need to lose weight, or how, oh my gosh, I'm gross, I gained weight, or if we're commenting on a celebrity who gained weight, like what does that say to the people around us who are in larger bodies? It tells us that we think that they have something wrong with them, that there's something wrong with their bodies.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes, oh my gosh, and this is something that is super important too whenever there are kids around. If we are talking about our bodies, and saying all these self depreciating comments, and just talking negatively about anybody's body size, or the way anybody's body looks around a child, and then they hear that, and they internalize that as well. And that just kind of sets them up, you know, starting with childhood having all these feelings and thoughts about their bodies. Whenever my child is around people and there is diet talk going on, I do not tolerate it. And that is one boundary that I do have. And we'll talk about like setting specific boundaries here in just a little bit. But that's- that reminds me a lot of talking about bodies in front of kids, too, is just.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah

Sadie Simpson:

You gotta tread lightly, y'all.

Naomi Katz:

And I- if I can just share like a little bit of a personal experience. So my body has gotten larger over the course of COVID, and things like that, just shifts and whatever. And to the point where I would say that I now identify more as small fat than straight size. And I have noticed that how I feel around certain people is different because of the way that those people have historically talked about bodies, and how I've heard them talk about their own bodies, and things like that. And so, fortunately, I have done a lot of work around this, and so it's not as damaging to me as maybe it would be for somebody who had not, and might still be so immersed in diet culture, and feeling- and really feeling like their bodies are wrong, especially if they've changed, and things like that. But even with all that work, I notice.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

Like I notice who doesn't feel as safe anymore.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

And of course, that's something that is gonna get exponentially more impactful as people's bodies get larger. So you know, I still hold a ton of privilege, and still notice that. And like, for folks who are in larger bodies than me, that's going to be even more difficult for them to, you know, access people who they feel safe with, and things like that. And so like that's- that's something that's really important to keep in mind when we think we're just idly talking about our own bodie , or celebrity bodies, or whate er.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, it is not idle. This is stuff that that people remember. People hear it, people know it. And it's just really important that we're having this conversation today. So, yeah, thanks for sharing that.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, definitely.

Sadie Simpson:

So have you ever been in a group- whether it's a friend group, or family group, or work group or whoever- where, you know before the group gets together that the topic of conversation is probably going to be about diets? Have you ever been in a situation like that, where you know going into that, like, okay, we're going to talk about weight loss today?

Naomi Katz:

That's an interesting question, because I have been in that, but I feel like I don't find myself in those situations much anymore, probably because of boundaries that I've set over time.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

But I certainly have in the past been in- just known that certain- certain gatherings were going to be like that. Yes.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes. Same here. I was just thinking about that today, how- that it's been a really long time since I've been in one of those situations where going into it knowing that the talk of the- or the topic of conversation is going to be about bodies, or diets, or whatever. And I feel the same way. I feel like it probably has been because boundaries have been established. And I just think it's kind of an interesting thing to point out that in the past, foundations of relationships, for me, whether it's friendships, or with co workers, even with family members, were centered around body talk, and diet talk, and that sort of thing. And how that is just not the case anymore, and I'm super grateful for that. But it's weird to kind of think back on that, and that- that bodies, and diets, and things were the foundation of our friendship, and it just feels so shallow and surface level compared to now, where the conversations are not centered around that at all. And things just feel better, more of a deeper connection, when the topic of bodies is kind of just taken off the table.

Naomi Katz:

Absolutely. It's interesting, because I think this, at least for me, intersects a lot with like the workplace stuff that we talked about. Because I feel like the majority of the people that I would have considered like work friends in the past, were also like diet friends, and body talk friends. And I think part of that is just because in our culture, until we've set boundaries, until we've like peeled back the layers for ourselves, small talk is very often centered around food, and bodies, and exercise, and things like that. In a workplace setting like you often have small talk. But I also think that it's indicative of- like if I hadn't participated in those conversations in a workplace, and like made what I consider to be workplace friends based on those things, would I have made workplace friends based on something that was much more sustainable and more interesting? Maybe.

Sadie Simpson:

One thing we haven't talked about yet is the idea of well meaning casual comments about people's bodies that really aren't well meaning. So specifically thinking about either a solicited or unsolicited comment on somebody's weight loss, or just assuming things about people's bodies, and then commenting on things about people's bodies without their consent. This is really problematic, and it reinforces our societal ideals, and just these beauty standards that aren't typical, or aren't attainable. And it's- it keeps us in this diet culture-y place of always feeling like we have o do something to change our odies. And I mean, I'm thinking pecifically about just casual omments of friends, or family members, or co workers of oh, yo look great, you've lost weight and just associating how lookin great has to be tied into weigh loss

Naomi Katz:

Totally, you know, it's- it's funny, we sort of talked about how like complaining about our bodies, or the bodies of others- like making sort of critiques of bodies can be harmful to people, but it's really important to sort of note that even complimenting- like making what feels like a positive comment about somebody's body, and especially about their body size- is actually something that can be equally harmful. And like, I think that that's a harder thing for people to understand when they first start doing this work, because it feels like- like, oh, but I'm just, you know, I'm complimenting them, like, it's- I just want them to feel good, I want them to know that I've noticed they're working hard, like something like that. But one, it makes it clear that you think that a smaller body size is just inherently better than a larger body size. And two, it sort of overlooks anything that might have been the cause of that change in body size. And three, it sets people up for at some point, when they maybe regain that weight- which we know is the statistical probability, like most people who lose weight in the short term, gain it back and maybe then some in the long term- that then they are going to feel even moreso like, maybe they're not as good then, or like they're being judged, because you thought they looked so good when they were in a smaller body. Ditto for if their body used to be bigger, and it sort of sets people up for feeling like oh, so like I wasn't as good then. It sends a lot of messaging, even when you think you're being supportive by complimenting weight loss.

Sadie Simpson:

Down here in the south, it is just such a common and normal thing for everybody to be complimentary of people in general, like the whole southern hospitality thing or whatever, but specifically, in groups of women, the only compliments that you hear women give each other are based on what their bodies look like, and not based on anything else.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, I do not think that is limited to the south, even remotely. I, you know, I spent the majority of my life in the northeast, and I can say that that is 100% true there as well.

Sadie Simpson:

I like what you said, too, about just making assumptions about somebody's body. And that's just never okay, because we don't know why somebody's body has changed. They may have intentionally sought out weight loss, or if somebody's body changes, they could be sick, or they may have some type of eating disorder, or a health condition that causes their body weight to fluctuate, or whatever the case is. Like, whatever the reason, it's not really our business or our place to comment on somebody's body, whether we assume it to be a compliment, or for whatever other reason, either.

Naomi Katz:

I do think it's helpful to acknowledge that sometimes weight loss is caused by things that we don't want to be complimenting- illness, you know, mental health issues, eating disorders, whatever. And I definitely see how, like with the folks I work with, when they first start dismantling the idea that weight loss is always a good thing, that they find it helpful to remind themselves that they don't know what's going on with anybody. And so, you know, weight loss is not necessarily always a good thing. And it's a sort of like you have that entry point, and then you have to move past the entry point. So I think that's a great entry point. And I think it's really important to get further into that work and realize that like, even if you did know exactly what was going on, that like, there's really never a good reason to compliment weight loss- that it doesn't even matter that we might be complimenting something other than intentional weight loss. Even complimenting intentional weight loss still upholds all of these diet culture systems of oppression that we've talked about before. It almost doesn't matter why somebody lost weight, we still are not doing something positive by complimenting it.

Sadie Simpson:

Unsolicited body comments, in general- this removes autonomy and consent from the other person. So walking around talking about how somebody's body looks, whether it is well meaning or whether it is meant to be malicious, this is a breach of consent for the other person. And I feel like this is really important to talk about, since body comments like this are so commonplace, that sometimes it's even hard to recognize when somebody is kind of breaching this consent, because it's just such a normal thing that's accepted in our society.

Naomi Katz:

Aubrey Gordon, I believe, specifically has an article that we can link to that is about incorporating a culture of consent into diet and body Talk. And I think it's so important. I actually posted on Instagram pretty recently because I- you know, it's like w had talked about, I've sort f created this bubble for mysel , where I very rarely find myse f in situations anymore whe e people are going to talk di t talk at me. Like that's ju t- I've cultivated for mysel a world with boundaries aro nd that stu

Sadie Simpson:

What a lovely world.

Naomi Katz:

Isn't it great? I love it. I love it so much. But it means that when I go other places that are like outside of my bubble, sometimes I am surprised by how prevalent that talk is. So like, towards the beginning of the summer, Ben and I took a vacation to the beach in South Carolina. And like the first thing we did is we walked into like a bar on the beach so I could get a pina colada, because that's my like beach vacation tradition. First thing, before we even checked into the hotel like- or the Airbnb- like, before we do anything, we stop so that we can like sit outside, look at the beach, and drink like a ridiculous frozen drink.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh my god, that sounds so amazing right now.

Naomi Katz:

It's the best. And so we walk in, we sit at the bar, and within five minutes, the bartender is telling me about- wait for it- how she's on Whole 30.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh, Whole 30 shows up again.

Naomi Katz:

And like she can't drink right now because she's on Whole 30. And I was like, literally five minutes into my sitting down at the bar. Towards the end of the summer, we took another trip. Again, we're at a bar. We're like waiting. We're just grabbing a drink. We'r - we're like, again at the beac basically. I don't know if th beach is the common theme here but I'm pretty sure it' actually not. But we're sittin at the bar, bartender comes up o- and starts talking to us. Aga n, within five minutes, she sta ts talking about how she's gett ng married, and she's trying to lose weight, and she can't she wishes the staff would stop givin

Sadie Simpson:

Oh my god.

Naomi Katz:

And I'm like, what is going on? This is not the world I live in. But it is.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes, it is really jarring to hear that sort of stuff whenever you've kind of been immersed, like you said, in a bubble of where that just doesn't exist. I can remember whenever I first went back to teaching group exercise, when things started opening back up again- and I don't know why I didn't expect this to happen, because I should have expected it to happen- but like some of the first comments out of the participants' mouths, of people who come to my class, were about how they needed to get back into class or get back to the gym so they could lose their quarantine weight- the quarantine 15 or whatever, you know, whatever the thing is. It shocked me, surprisingly enough. It should not have shocked me at all because this is fall of 2020, that's what everybody was talking about was quarantine weight, COVID weight, all that sort of stuff. It just kind of made me- like it kind of took me back to hear those types of conversations because I just hadn't been immersed in that environment in a while.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, it's just- it's so amazing to- when you have those reminders of like, oh, this is what most people experience in the world on a regular basis. And it's just so jarring- jarring is a perfect word for it. I feel like this is the kind of thing that impacts people- I'm sure it's something that impacts people who are maybe in gender nonconforming bodies and like, you know, get comments on their bodies. I have seen it affect pregnant women, for sure. I don't know if that's something that you have experience with- that, like, or anything like that.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh yeah. I think there's not a pregnant person in the world that hasn't experienced unsolicited comments, or even weirder, unsolicited like touching of

Naomi Katz:

Unsolicited touching blows my mind. On what planet is he stomach of a pregnant erson. It is- that okay?

Sadie Simpson:

Yes. It is very uncomfortable to be a pregnant person in general. But then with all of these comments, and people wanting to like touch your baby bump, like it's- it's bizarre. It's very bizarre. But I can remember one time, I was kind of closer to the end of my pregnancy, I feel like, but it was- it was- one day I was at work, which was in a gym, and somebody came up to me, and just out of nowhere, they were like, wow, you're huge. You're about to pop. And then not five minutes later, somebody else came along, wow, how far along are you, you're barely showing. So even like this contrast of comments from people that I did not ask their opinion on what I looked like, or my size, or anything like that. It was another thing that was kind of jarring. But by that point in my pregnancy, I was used to getting comments anyway. And I mentioned this on the, I think the first episode, that by the time I was pregnant, I was grateful to have already started kind of doing some of the work of disengaging from diet culture. And I was at a place where I could, for the most part, ignore the comments people were making, or just change the subject. And I would just- like if somebody would say, you look great, or you look, whatever, like they would make a comment about my body, I'll usually just respond with well, I feel good, or I feel like shit, or I feel tired, or whatever. I would usually just kind of change the subject in that situation, because I just did not have the energy to engage in a bigger conversation, which is what I did most of the time. But there were a few times though, when I was just fed up enough with it that I would just tell people that I don't appreciate them telling me what I look like or commenting on my body. And looking back on it, I wish I would have done that more. But you know-

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, I am- first of all, I love- and I know we're going to talk more about like techniques for boundary setting and for handling these kind of kinds of comments- but I love the the technique of like responding to a you look comment with an I feel comment.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes.

Naomi Katz:

I think that that's like a really effective way to handle that, when you're not just telling them to leave you alone, because that's also valid. You know, I also think that you sort of like inadvertently touched on one of the reasons why consent is so important in this, which is that where we're at in our own work around our bodies, and how we feel about our own bodies, is going to very much affect the extent to which we have the mental capacity to handle comments like that. And like we talked about last time, how we feel about our bodies changes from day to day, which means the capacity we have to handle those conversations is going to change from day to day. So for instance, I walk into this bar, and the bartender starts talking to me about her diet. And it's like, okay, on a day where I'm feeling really grounded, and like I have lots of mental space, and whatever, I can be like change the subject, or ignore, or even like have a conversation about what's going on, or something like that. On a day where maybe I'm not feeling so hot about things, maybe it triggers me to make changes to how I eat, which is then going to have a significant impact on my life. And, you know, by the same token, as professionals who do this stuff, we make the choice to have these conversations with people on a regular basis, and that means that maybe we have limited capacity to have those conversations outside of the context of our like professional engagements, and stuff like that. And so it's just- there's like so many reasons why if you really, really, really need to talk to somebody about food, diet, whatever, just ask. Do you mind if I share something with you about how I'm feeling about my body? Or about how I'm eating? Or about something like that? That's all it takes.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh my gosh, yes, asking permission. That is such a simple thing that we just don't do enough of in this situation, but also in general. And I think, going back to the whole pregnancy thing, it's important to recognize that for me, I was a pregnant person with thin privilege. And the comments that I received were 100% unsolicited every single time, and they were never mean or malicious, or they never made me feel like I was doing pregnancy wrong, which I think is also important to recognize, because that's vastly different than the experience of somebody who might be pregnant in a fat body. So whenever we're starting to define our personal boundaries regarding body talk, I feel like it's beneficial to consider, what do we tolerate? And where do we draw the line? That's a great kind of first place to start is even maybe get out a piece of paper and kind of divide it in half. Like, what do I tolerate? What will I personally tolerate in regards to having conversations about bodies, and diet, and weight loss, and that sort of thing? Where do I shut it down? And where does this stop? And I feel like this is something that can be fluid, and that can and will change over time. And likely doing this type of work, and through learning more about disengaging from diet culture, our boundaries tend to get a lot more defined. That comes at a different pace for different people. And I think that's okay.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, I think that's definitely true. And I also think that- so I think, especially initially, when we're going down this road, we're trying to set these boundaries for the first time with people, it's really helpful to be very, very clear and very, very specific and to like, literally have a conversation with people about the boundary. I think that as we start to get deeper and deeper in this work ourselves, a couple of things happen. The first is that we start talking about it more. We start being more vocal about what our values are, and what we believe, and what we're doing, and what we, you know, see in the world. And so sort of just by doing that, people will start to understand what's okay to talk about around us and what's not. There's probably always going to be a need to clearly state and define boundaries. And I think there are people who, as we start to get more grounded in this work are going to understand what we don't accept anymore. Without us really like specifically stating it.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh, yeah.

Naomi Katz:

I've definitely noticed that, in like my friend groups and stuff, is that I think people just know that this is not a topic that they can bring up around me.

Sadie Simpson:

Same here. So there's different ways we can establish boundaries around body talk based on our own capacity, and comfort, and willingness to engage in a deeper conversation. And I think it'll be helpful to go through this framework that you and I tend to use whenever we're talking to people about how to navigate conversations around bodies, with either their family members, or their co workers, or clients, or whoever. Filtering how we want to begin to establish boundaries around body talk can be done through a deflect, educate, engage type of framework. And as always, if you're more of a visual type of learner, on our @satisfactionfactorpod Instagram page, we'll put up a little graphic about this, if that's helpful for you.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, so the deflect, educate, engage framework is something that Sadie and I have talked about before on our own personal social media, and that we've even done some like, trainings on for professionals and stuff, but it really does apply to folks, even in their personal lives. The idea was that we wanted to offer folks different ways to engage with boundary setting based on things like their capacity, and their comfort, and their willingness to engage. Because those things are going to shift. We're not always going to be able to have like a full conversation with somebody about boundaries, whether because of time, or because of our relationship to them, or just like our own mental capacity on that given day. And so it's important to be able to come into boundary setting, or at least like these kinds of conversations, in a way that honors your own state, essentially, while also making sure not to perpetuate any of the harmful things that we've mentioned diet talk, and food talk, and these kinds of things can perpetuate. So that first level, that deflect level, really is meant to just move past the comment without contributing to harm. I've mentioned this one before, and people on social media have mentioned that, like, it feels kind of dismissive to them. And it's meant to be dismissive. That is literally the point of it. It's totally okay to not respond to these kinds of comments directly at all times. When that might come in handy would be a group exercise- like if you're a professional, and you're leading a group exercise class. Like you're not actually going to stop class to have a boundary conversation about this most of the time. And if it's particularly egregious, maybe you would, but kind of just have to keep the class moving, and so you want to shut it down, and then keep moving. And there's, I'm sure, other contexts where lack of time would come up as well, lack of energy- so maybe you're having a hard day, and like, you're just burnt out, and you just, for whatever reason, it doesn't even have to be anything like deep, like maybe you're just tired, so you don't want to have this high level, like engaged conversation, that's cool, too. And then lack of safety is a big thing- maybe you just have a relationship with whatever person you're dealing with that is just not one where open communication is a thing, maybe you have fears for your physical safety. And you know, maybe that's because of marginalization or whatever. And maybe if you're a professional, you have fears for your job security having these conversations- like that's valid, we live in a capitalist society where we got to pay the bills, and so job security is important, and sometimes we have to just do what we have to do to get by. And so that deflect level of response is really just to move on, essentially, without contributing to harm. And so that's things like just changing the subject. Or, if possible, leaving the situation. You know, maybe you are in the break room at your office, and somebody is making- is like just going on and on with diet talk, or maybe multiple people are engaging in diet talk, and you just don't have it in you to like educate everyone. In that moment, you can leave the break room and go back later. You know, there's- there's lots of ways that you can just move past it without actually participating in these kinds of harmful conversations. I will also say the thing about that deflect level is- like, I've seen with folks that I work with, where they're just starting to do this work themselves, and setting clear boundaries and having specific conversations feels very vulnerable. So like, basically, coming right out and saying, I'm not focusing on diet and exercise anymore, feels like something that, in and of itself, they're going to be judged for, and they're not quite ready- they don't have the sense of security in this work yet to be able to handle all of that. And so that deflect level really comes in handy to protect your own sense of wellbeing while also not opening yourself up to being too vulnerable.

Sadie Simpson:

It can be really hard to go to the next level in this framework, when you're just initially kind of learning to do some of this work for yourself, that can be a really big challenge. And I'm glad you acknowledged that. So the next level up would be to educate. So whenever you might have the capacity, or the comfort, or the knowledge to have a little bit of a bigger conversation- maybe you're dealing with somebody who you know a little bit better, maybe have a better relationship with, or you know, you're talking to somebody who may be open to learning. This is where you might have the opportunity to not only establish a boundary of what you are okay with and what you are not okay with talking about, but you can also begin to talk a little bit about why. So say somebody is trying to come up and talk to you about the new Whole 30 that they're starting this month, and they're trying to get you to participate in the Whole 30 with them, this can be a good opportunity to say, whoa, I don't want to start this Whole 30 with you, and here's why. So just beginning to kind of initiate a little bit of a boundary setting piece, and also a little bit of a here's why I don't want to talk about this piece too.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, I like that educate level because maybe you're opening the door for somebody to learn something that they didn't know before. So like in that Whole 30 example, you know, they want to start a Whole 30, and maybe this is your opportunity to say something like, you know, I don't do that stuff anymore because it turns out that like, statistically, people only lose weight in the short term, gain it back and then some later, and like that just doesn't seem worth all of the misery and restriction that goes into that. Or maybe actually like say the words Intuitive Eating. You know, like, oh actually I've been practicing Intuitive Eating, it's this non diet framework that does this, that, and the other thing. On a professional level, you can also point them towards resources where they can learn more. But in- like in just a personal level, sometimes it's just like dropping little nuggets of education in there. It also is a little bit less vulnerable. It's more vulnerable than that deflect option, but it's a little less vulnerable than the engage one, because you're just pulling in data, general education, instead of really sharing your own experience.

Sadie Simpson:

Then we have our engage level, which is our highest level of capacity, or comfort, or safety, or ability to have a much more in depth conversation about these topics with somebody who is open to engaging. So this might be where you can include more detailed stories of your experience is a really good way to kind of connect and engage with somebody but also is a way to kind o further educate the other perso on this boundary, and why you' e established it, and just kind of have a little bit of a dee er two way conversation versus j st a you educating the ot er person.

Naomi Katz:

This level benefits a lot from I statements. Like instead of saying, oh, statistically diets don't work, or something like that, sharing, you know, in my experience, I have noticed that when I do these kinds of diets, it makes me miserable in the short term, and it doesn't really have any results in the long term. Or, you know, I have noticed that since I stopped having body conversations, I actually feel a lot better about my own body. Things of that nature to really sort of make a connection. Of course, that definitely requires like an environment of trust and consent to have those kinds of conversations. So like you're talking to somebody that you trust and who- they trust you. And you're both open to having this conversation- like, do you mind if I share my experience with you? Would you like to have a deeper conversation about this? And really making sure that both you and this other person are capable and interested in having this conversation, so that everybody is in a safe environment.

Sadie Simpson:

So I think it'll be helpful just to share a couple of quick examples of how we can filter some of our conversations around bodies, and diets, and things like that through this deflect, educate, engage framework, to kind of give people just an idea of really some words that they may find helpful to use when they're faced with situations like this. And just to kind of get us thinking a little bit more of how we can begin to set some boundaries around these conversations.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, I think that's a great idea.

Sadie Simpson:

Teaching group exercise and being like actively in the fitness industry, this type of situation occurs pretty regularly, when people are wanting to talk about bodies, and weight loss, and that type of thing. And one thing that I've found to be super helpful is to preemptively educate within my class setting. So within the announcements, or during class, or before and after class, it has been very beneficial to plant seeds, and kind of sprinkle in some education, and say things like, we're here to build strength and improve flexibility, increase endurance, celebrate movement, and have fun, and not to shame ourselves or others, so please refrain from body bashing or weight loss talk during class. So that's something that I've said a lot of times like before or at the end of my class, which is an interesting thing for people to hear in an exercise setting because they're so accustomed to hearing things like burning calories, or toning, or burning fat, or whatever. And one little- I like to do like rhymes, and alliteration, and things like that, because I'm kind of cheesy, but lately I've been saying to my class we're here to move and groove, not here to burn and earn, so let's just not talk about any of that other stuff right now.

Naomi Katz:

Oh my god, I love that so much. And can we please like make posters that people can put up in their like fitness rooms and stuff that say that?

Sadie Simpson:

You might have just established our first ever Satisfaction Factor pod merch.

Naomi Katz:

Stay tuned for details.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, but I like kind of preemptively doing this in my classes because it's a very low stakes entry point to kind of educate my class on- on sort of what my boundaries are as the instructor, but also, again, to kind of plant some seeds. And every single time I say something like this in class, at the end of class, somebody- at least one person, if not multiple people- come up to me after class and want to engage in a deeper one on one conversation about what I said. It happens every time. And I don't always make these types of announcements in my class. I try to do it the majority of the time, but again, there's- there's some situations when I have to kind of revert back to deflect, when there's not a lot of time, or there's a lot of new people and I need to talk one on one to the new people versus the greater class as a whole, or if I'm subbing for another instructor's class, which is really awkward and weird because you don't know those people generally the way you know the people in your own classes. So it's- it's interesting to see how this kind of filters through all three- deflect, educate, engage- kind of in a natural way, like starting off almost with educate, but then reverting back to deflect if I need to, and then using that educate to engage. And if there are any fitness instructors, personal trainers, or other people who work in the fitness industry out there listening who are interested in having more in depth conversations around this- specifically around how to handle these types of conversations in a fitness setting- early enrollment is officially open for Shame Free Fitness, which is a brand new collaborative education community of fitness professionals who value serving your clients and classes in a way that's free of guilt, and shame, and manipulation, and weight loss centered messaging. And one of the topics we'll cover within Shame Free Fitness is how to navigate tricky conversations, how to respond if a participant brings up a topic such as dieting, or weight loss, or burning calories, recognizing some- some low level recognitions of things like disordered eating, body image concerns, and more of how just to be in the fitness industry without contributing to diet culture. So we'll talk a lot about setting boundaries to uphold your value system, and to protect other participants from damaging diet culture conversations, more in depth within Shame Free Fitness, but this is really specifically focused in on fitness professionals. If that's something you're interested in, we'll put the link to Shame Free Fitness in the show notes, so you can check it out.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, that's gonna be a such an amazing program. I'm so psyched that you're doing this.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, thanks. I'm excited, too.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah. And so the thing is, you know, this is the kind of thing- like we've talked sort of a lot about how this stuff comes up in a professional setting- but this is the kind of thing that comes up in personal settings a lot too. And so I also want to sort of open up sort of two options for responding that are not on in that deflect, educate, engage framework. And one of those is anger.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh, yeah.

Naomi Katz:

Right. So like, especially if you are a person in a marginalized body, if you are somebody who is like, heavily impacted by diet culture and the systems that diet culture upholds, like, maybe you don't feel like you want to educate or engage with somebody who is making these kind of kinds of comments. And maybe you are- you don't just want to let them pass, either, and just like deflect. It's really important to recognize like when- you know, we've- we've talked about diet culture as a system of oppression, and what that means- like, what that necessarily means is that diet talk is the language of oppression. Right? And we do not own niceness, or education, or

Sadie Simpson:

Oh yeah. Oh my gosh, yes. engagement, or compassion, or like any of those things, when we're the people who are being directly impacted by oppression. And I'm just going to sort of shout out Kelly Cutchin, who was the first person to sort of bring this, like- because I had overlooked this at some point earlier in some content that I had put out on Instagram, and she very kindly sent me a message and sort of brought that to my attention, and I've been very careful to include that ever since because it is so important.

Naomi Katz:

PS, Kelly, we're hoping will be a guest on a future podcast too-

Sadie Simpson:

Oh yeah.

Naomi Katz:

-because she's amazing. But, so there's that. And then the other one is just- I don't know, maybe this actually falls into deflect- but I like- like a sarcasm or snark kind of a response. But I don't want to necessarily lump it in with deflect because I think that it actually is kind of a form of engagement, because it is specifically saying something that directly addresses the comment. So like I know in my own like personal life, where people have maybe made comments about other people's bodies, where my response tends to be- because I am- I tend to be kind of a snarky, sarcastic person- and so I tend to respond with something like, or maybe we just don't comment on people's bodies at all, how about that.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes.

Naomi Katz:

And it sets the boundary, and like it does address the comments sort of head on. And like, yes, if somebody wanted to engage further, or like, ask why, or anything like that, I would happily go down that path. But usually what it does is it sets the boundary and just stops the conversation in its tracks. But it's a little bit different from deflect. It's like- I feel like it's somewhere between deflect and anger. I don't know.

Sadie Simpson:

Well, it's very- it feels very true to you, you know what I mean? Like, you can tailor this to how it works for you, and your tendencies, and your personality style, and- and all of that stuff. I really like that.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, oh, my god, that's such a good point, too. Which is that, like all of this stuff- you know, we've talked frameworks, and we've talked examples, and what this could look like- but the most important thing when setting boundaries is to do it in a way that feels true to you, and that you can feel comfortable with. Because- and I think this goes very much into like the concept of self trust- which is that it's real hard to like, be confident and trust ourselves, when we are acting out of alignment with ourselves. And that can be out of alignment with our values and our priorities, but it can also just be out of alignment with our personality, and like, you know, just how we move through the world. And so finding our own words, and our own way to do this stuff is really important.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh my gosh, yes. And even thinking about introverts versus extroverts, it can be very hard for somebody who is really introverted to speak out, or to set clear verbal boundaries with another person. So for somebody who kind of falls into- to that side of the pendulum- or whatever kind of scale its on, I don't know- to revert back to the deflect more often than not.

Naomi Katz:

So one kind of situation that we haven't really touched on yet is the- because we've talked a lot about unsolicited diet, and body, and whatever comments- but like, one thing that we haven't really touched on that can be confusing for folks in terms of like how to respond is what about solicited comments, or like when somebody-

Sadie Simpson:

Oh yeah.

Naomi Katz:

Right? Where somebody is actually like asking you how they look, essentially- somebody who's very proud of the work that they're doing. And I should preface this with, if somebody brings this up to you, that's still unsolicited to you. And so you may be able to set a boundary around that. But even let's say that that person has fully like asked for your consent to talk to you about it, like- oh, let's say this person is honoring your boundaries, and says, I know you don't really like to talk about diets, and bodies, and stuff, but do you mind if we like just have a quick conversation about something that's working for me, or how I'm feeling right now, or something like that. And you have the space and the capacity for it, so you say, sure, go ahead. And then they tell you about the weight they lost, or the diet that they're on, and the weight they lost, or whatever. And it's clear that what they want is for you to complement their weight loss and their diet. What do you do? Like, is it okay, to compliment the weight loss in that context? I'm going to go ahead and say- and people, obviously, can have different opinions on this- but personally, I think that that's still not an okay time to compliment weight loss. I think that even when it's solicited, giving the compliment about weight loss still upholds all kinds of systems about weight loss being a good thing, about smaller bodies being better, and that there's just no time, solicited or otherwise, when we want to uphold those body hierarchies.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh, my god. Yes. I think what it goes back to is really being clear on what your values are. Do you value upholding diet culture? Or do you value being a part of dismantling this diet culture and all the other systems that it upholds? And we really have to get clear on those values, especially whenever we're in a situation like this, where we just kind of passively compliment somebody on weight loss if they are soliciting this from us, and assuming that it's not a problem, because it still is a problem. It still perpetuates diet culture.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah. And so I think in that situation, it's very much worth remembering that in general, when people seek weight loss, and especially when they talk about their bodies in relation to body size, most of the time, what they're actually seeking is a feeling of connection, of love, of worthiness, and things like that. They're looking to be just reassured and cared for, essentially. And so I think in those situations, what we can do is give compliments about things that don't have to do with their body size, but are still part of their experience. You know, maybe we can compliment their personality traits that they might feel that they're demonstrating in the situation. So things like tenacity, perseverance, determination. Or we can give them compliments about things like how happy they seem, or you know- how- like you just love their energy right now, or something like that, that is not so visible and so based on the appearance of their bodies, because-

Sadie Simpson:

That sounds so awesome. I think that's very concrete advice that people will really take a lot from. That's a really good thing. Thank you.

Naomi Katz:

Thank you. I think the- the other thing- and I think we'll probably, you know- we want to talk a little bit about how this kind of boundary setting translates outside of the context of food and body too. But one thing to sort of just overall remember about boundaries is that it's rarely a one and done situation. Like it's very, very rare that we set a boundary, and then that boundary is just honored forever and ever. Most of the time, we set the boundary, and then we have to remind about the boundary, and we sometimes have to remind about the boundary multiple times. It's- it's very similar to like training a puppy, or something like that. Your puppy pees on your carpet one time, you say don't do that, and then that's it, you never have to- you never have to teach them that again. You have to train people on your boundaries. And that means you have to repeat them, and you have to be willing to enforce the boundaries. It's not- it's not just a I said it, now I'm done, kind of situation.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes, that's so important. And it's- it's hard. This is not an easy thing to do at all. It can be very uncomfortable. And over time, it does get easier. I feel like it- like whenever we're in the practice of setting boundaries, and then re-establishing, it's something that gets easier over time. But it is, it's a lot of work.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, it's a lot of work, and, like we talked about, it's vulnerable. And so it's important to assess our own capacity, not just for setting the boundary the one time, but for reinforcing the boundary over time.

Sadie Simpson:

And you kind of alluded to this a minute ago, but whenever we set boundaries around these conversations around foods, and bodies, and things like that, that is a really important way to lay the groundwork for getting really clear on what we tolerate. And where we draw the line with pretty much everything else. So this is a good jumping off point or a good entry point of setting boundaries that can really be impactful in when we're establishing relationships, and friendships, and even working relationships with other with co workers, and supervisors, and things like that, of what we tolerate and where we draw the line. So I'm thinking of things like conversations around race, and gender, and ability, and disability.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, and that's the thing is, this is sort of- we're sort of training boundaries for everybody about everything when we do this stuff. I think boundaries in general- people tend to shy away from setting boundaries. And I'm going to go ahead and include myself in this- boundaries are something that I have struggled with a ton, and that I- that continues- boundaries are a work in progress for me, I'm going to be very transparent about that. And so I can- I'm speaking from experience. The thing about boundaries is that they help us to build better relationships. So you know, we've talked a number of times now about how, you know, in diet culture, what we think is community, and what we think are, you know, relationships are more surface level and more comparison- that they're not really deep, significant relationships, necessarily. I think boundaries- contrary to the belief that I think a lot of us hold, and the fear of a lot of us hold that they're going to interfere with our relationships- I think boundaries are actually a way that we strengthen our relationships by telling people what we need, by telling people what our values are, by telling people what we believe in, and by basically showing them how we want to be treated, and helping them to honor our needs.

Sadie Simpson:

Mic drop. The end. We're done. That's it. That's the end of the episode. We didn't need the whole hour before this, we just needed that part.

Naomi Katz:

So I think we've talked before- sort of to add on to that even- about how dismantling diet culture, divesting from diet culture, things like practicing Intuitive Eating, and seeing things through an anti diet lens, like how so much of that work is about getting our needs met. And so it's sort of interesting, if we look at boundaries through the lens of helping people to meet our needs, then we can sort of see how setting boundaries is such an important part of anti diet work. So I feel like that's like a whole lot of conversation about boundaries, both in terms of like actual food, and body, and diet stuff, and also in terms of how that affects us outside of the context of food, and diet, and body stuff. Moving- moving on, since that was all real heavy. Sadie, what's satisfying you this week?

Sadie Simpson:

I've been very surprised, and satisfied, and excited about the feedback we're getting about this podcast. We have put a lot of love and a lot of work into this, and it's just very satisfying to know that people, one, are actually listening to it- which is kind of cool, people are listening to what we have to say - but they're really resonating with what we're saying. So that's really exciting.

Naomi Katz:

Oh my god, I was going to say the exact same thing. Two weeks in a row.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh, next week, what we need to do is write a sticky note, and then we'll show it to each other to see if it's the same thing.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, we're gonna do this in like the Newlywed Game version. I totally just dated myself. Like there's definitely people who probably have no idea what the Newlywed Game is. I love that that's two weeks in a row that what's satisfying us is exactly the same. No, but I totally feel the same way. I feel like it's so awesome to see the support coming in and to see how people are being impacted by this. Because, you know, we've mentioned before, we've had these conversations amongst the two of us for like a year now. And it- it's certainly been really helpful to me within that context. I think to both of us, we've- we've found it helpful. And so it's really nice to see hat impact on other people

Sadie Simpson:

Yes, we are so appreciative of every single comment, and every message o Instagram, or every rating r review on Apple podcast, every we see everything. And every time either Naomi gets a message or I get a message, or somethin comes to our @satisfactionfact rpod Instagram page inbox, we both get really excited about i and immediately have to sha e it with each other. So we- we' e just very grateful to ha e this platform, and to have you, our people, out there ju t hanging out with us every week So thank you for being h

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, thanks, everybody. re.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, so if you enjoyed this podcast, we would love to connect with you over on our Instagram page @satisfactionfactorpod. Come on over and comment, let us know what you think about this episode. Whenever you subscribe, rate, and review in Apple podcasts, or any other streaming service that has a rate and review section, that helps us reach more people, and is a simple way that you can support us if you want to do that.

Naomi Katz:

We definitely appreciate it. Thank you so much, everybody, and we will tal to you next week