Maintenance Phase: On Eating Disorders and Larger Bodies

CW: Discussion of larger bodies, the social construction of fatness and eating disorders.

One of my favourite podcasts over the past couple of years has been “You’re wrong about,” a space where the hosts re-examine big (mostly American) cultural moments involving personalities (think, Tonya Harding, OJ Simpson, Vanessa Williams) from an intersectional lens. That pod is a freewheeling, funny and well researched romp through the impact of capitalism, media dynamics, race and sexism, especially how they combine in our cultural construction of young women.

Several months ago, one of the hosts, Michael Hobbes, launched another project, called Maintenance Phase, with co-host Aubrey Gordon, focusing on the diet industry and the cultural construction of bodies. Catherine wrote about their episode on The Biggest Loser a couple of weeks ago. I find both hosts an incredible blend of well-informed, caring and irreverent. In my experience, it’s one of the best spaces examining the complex relationship between individual experience in our bodies and the way that overwhelming culture shapes that experience.

This week’s ep is one of the best yet. Michael and Aubrey interview Erin Nicole Harrop, a researcher (and person with lived experience) in the little-understood zone of eating disorders in people with larger bodies. People who look like they have a “normal BMI” who seek help for disordered eating are very very often misdiagnosed, and frequently either dismissed or even mocked. (“How could someone who looks like you be restricting food?”)

The episode called Eating Disorders, like all of them, is really thoughtful and gentle and left me feeling outraged. And if you’re wondering about your own relationship with food, there might be something helpful in there.

For more depth, here’s a link to Erin’s research: list of articles.

And if you haven’t listened to You’re Wrong About yet, you have a world of great listening ahead.

Fieldpoppy is Cate Creede, who revels in a good podcast.

2 thoughts on “Maintenance Phase: On Eating Disorders and Larger Bodies

  1. Thanks for the shout out and also thanks for directing me to “You’re Wrong About”, which I didn’t know about at all! It will be a treat to listen during some outside walks.

    And yes, that episode on Maintenance Phase is good and important. I’m sure that others will find it so as well.

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