Elimination Diets, Disordered Eating + Food Fear w/ MaryCatherine McDonald, PhD
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Elimination diets can be therapeutic tools to support your health. But they also have the power to trigger disordered eating patterns + food fear. Except for a few instances, elimination diets aren't meant to be long-term health solutions — even when it comes to chronic skin problems like eczema or psoriasis or any of the other skin conditions I talk about here. Health books + wellness influencers who declare otherwise have unfortunately helped perpetuate a state of deep confusion, fear, anxiety + even cult-like thinking that doesn't necessarily serve your relationship with food. As a result, people are more confused than ever about what's “good or bad”, “safe or unsafe”, healthy vs unhealthy… I have a deep concern as a clinical nutritionist about the way elimination diets have been glorified. Especially when you become so afraid to eat based on what you've read in a book or online (especially in facebook groups) that it seems like everything is poison. We have research proving the damage that elimination diets can cause (especially in those with chronic skin conditions). And one issue worth raising is that the disordered eating patterns + food fear can be triggered by the trauma caused as a result of doing excessive elimination diets (especially for an extended period of time). My guest today guest deeply understands this because of her own personal journey working with trauma as well as experiencing serious health challenges. That's why I'm welcoming back MaryCatherine McDonald, PhD to the show! She's a research professor and life coach who specializes in the psychology of trauma, stress, and resilience. She has been researching, lecturing, and publishing on the neuroscience, psychology, and lived experience of trauma and stress since beginning her PhD in 2009. She is passionate about destigmatizing trauma, stress, and mental health issues in general, as well as reframing our understanding of trauma to better understand and treat it. She's the author of Unbroken: The Trauma Response Is Never Wrong: And Other Things You Need to Know to Take Back Your Life — which I've personally read + give five stars on! Have you experienced food fear or struggle with what foods are “safe” or “good” to eat because of elimination diets or things you've read online (or maybe were told by a practitioner)? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments! In this episode: Understanding the relationship of trauma, elimination diets + food fear How food fear manipulates your body to experience physical symptoms Dangers of labeling food “good or bad” How disordered eating is related to control Thoughts on wellness influencers, cult-like behaviors + disordered eating Tips to soothe fear + anxiety (that don't involve elimination diets) Quotes “A lot of the reason that people go on elimination diets is because there's some sort of thing going on with them that doesn't make sense, and that can be experienced as a body betrayal. I'm trying to eat; I'm trying to do this very normal thing, and my body is betraying me- and that is potentially traumatic.” [03:24] “You're creating a fear response. You're conditioning a fear into the system. You're labeling sometimes an entire food group as “bad, evil, problematic, or dangerous”, and your system is listening.” [11:22] “There's different theories about where eating disorders come from and how they crop up, but there's at least one theory that says that it's a way to gain control over a world that feels outside of your control.” [22:01] Links Find Dr. McDonald online | Instagram | TikTok Get her book — Unbroken: The Trauma Response Is Never Wrong: And Other Things You Need to Know to Take Back Your Life Healthy Skin Show ep. 305: Eliminations Diets, Food Fear + Healing Skin Rashes {NEW RESEARCH} Healthy Skin Show ep. 087: Skin Picking Triggered By Chronic Skin Rashes Healthy Skin Show 297: Deconstructing Trauma + Chronic Skin Pr
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