Have you ever said; “I’ll only be happy when …”? How can you start to block out the diet culture noise? Are you willing to step into the unknown as an act of self-love? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks about the fact that eating disorders aren't just about food and weight.


  • There is a lot of diet-culture noise
  • “I will only be happy when …”
  • Be willing to step into the unknown
  • There is no such thing as a “good” or “bad” food

There is a lot of diet-culture noise

Once you start to become aware of diet culture, you will see it everywhere, and how it tries to make you believe certain things about yourself or the world so that you will buy different products or services that ultimately benefit the industry and not you.
It takes a lot to start to turn a deaf ear to all of that noise. So, think about it, when the world outside of therapy is promoting crazy behaviors that someone is trying to change and stop engaging in during their treatment … then that can be nothing short of difficult or confusing. (Dr. Castagnini)
People want to get on board with the good changes that are discussed during therapy, but implementing them can be difficult when a lot of the messaging from society is twisted and untrue.
These beliefs [are maintained] and they hold such powerful promises of happiness and they say, “Look, if you do these things, you’re going to look a certain way”, and they’re really not ready to let go of those [false promises]. (Dr. Castagnini)

“I will only be happy when …”

Have you ever told yourself; “I’ll only be happy when I weigh a certain amount?” or “I’ll only be happy when I look like that?”
Therapy challenges these faulty beliefs and it takes people different amounts of time to start to understand that it’s the illness itself that keeps their minds so focused on the need to lose weight [to] be happy … it’s the eating disorder voice. (Dr. Castagnini)
Learning to distinguish when the eating disorder voice is talking can be difficult, but it is vital to do. Do your thoughts sound like this?:
  • The therapist wants you to fail
  • Just try harder
  • It worked before, why shouldn’t it work again?
  • They want you to stay how you are, they don’t want to help you

Be willing to step into the unknown

The eating disorder voice is loud and it doesn’t want people to be in therapy [or] to get better … I get it because therapy – unlike all of those messages out there of toxic diet culture – therapy doesn’t have those lofty promises. Therapy is unknown. Therapy could change them and their bodies in ways that scare them. (Dr. Castagnini)
Often people avoid therapy until their very last straw because it doesn’t guarantee anything. Unlike diet culture and the industry, it doesn’t try to sway you with false promises or empty guarantees. It offers you a place to truly recover and take care of your overall health and well-being, and it invites you to step into that new place without judgment or shame. Even if that sounds good, it can be scary to do if you have been stuck in a cycle of destructive behaviors and shaming for a long time in the past.

There is no such thing as a “good” or “bad” food

All food is simply a source of fuel and nutrition for the body. It keeps us alive. Yes, there are some foods that provide more nutrition for your body than others, just like there are some foods that provide us with more fuel than others. (Dr. Castagnini)
The societal labeling of goods that are “good” or “bad” is often arbitrary and is often made up to either prove or disprove an influencer or diet creator’s content. They give you a false sense of control and success, but that success is hollow and not sustainable. If you want to live a truly happy and fulfilled life, it needs to be sustainable. So, your relationship with food, your body, and your health needs to be centered on compassion, patience, honesty, and love.



  I am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!


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