Michelle Allison, also known as The Fat Nutritionist, is a registered dietician based in Canada. She helps people work through various dietary and nutrition needs. I started following her years ago because the name “The Fat Nutritionist” caught my eye. Michelle’s work interests me for a number of reasons, and one of the fascinations we share is with death denial and the prevalence with which mortality salience influences our decisions not only with regard to nutrition, but to how we understand ourselves and each other. Topics we cover: mortality salience, fatness, food as poison, food as medicine, the tendency to prescribe individual consumer solutions to systemic, corporate problems. I loved talking with Michelle and hope you enjoy the conversation. I apologize in advance for the audio quality on my end — it seems the Skype recorder did a much better job of recording her end of the conversation and there are moments when it is hard to hear me!
Atlantic article by Michelle Allison: Eating Toward Immortality: Diet culture is just another way of dealing with the fear of death
Mentioned by Michelle, an article detailing a comprehensive dieting study that determined health outcomes with weight loss were not that significant: Is Dieting Worth the Trouble? by diet researchers A. Janet Tomiyama, Britt Ahlstrom, and Traci Mann
Mentioned by Michelle, a book that was formative for her, Losing It: False Hopes and Fat Profits in the Diet Industry by Laura Fraser
Book I mention: Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer by Barbara Ehrenreich
In this conversation with Assistant Professor of English at UT Austin Julie Minich, we discuss categories of disability, how the concept of health affects bodies, especially “irresponsible” or “deviant” ones; citizenship; obesity; flaws in the health care system; health surveillance; the myth of “choosing” your health; the myth of human perfectability; and the collective responsibility of health. Julie is currently working on a book that discusses these issues and more. She is the author of Accessible Citizenships: Disability, Nation, and the Cultural Politics of Greater Mexico (Temple University Press, 2014).
In this episode, I talk with stand-up comedian Kath Barbadoro. We run the gamut of body talk: fatness, childhood, dieting, exposing ourselves to positive images of fatness (expands to other less conventional representations of bodies) in the media, sex, dating, reflecting on our desires, fashion, and our bloody, monthly flows. Kath has great advice for anyone struggling with body image: stop weighing yourself! We also touch on an experience of sexual assault she had at 19 years old, and how she’s tried to process it over the years. We have fun moments, serious ones, and try to speak as directly and raw as we can about these topics. Enjoy!
Kath’s TV Show (coming soon!)
Related to our conversation:
Margaret Atwood voyeur quote from The Robber Bride
Polycystic Ovary Syndrom (PCOS)
Comprehensive list of articles about fatness and health
Fat fashion: eShakti, Eloquii