Are you often sucked into the whirlwind of media stories and celebrity discussions about weight loss or diet routines? Can you protect your mind from the persuasions of the diet industry? Can you train yourself to let go of the prestige of celebrities and make your own way? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks about learning how to find your truth apart from the ED noise.


  • Some voices are louder than others
  • Always think twice and do your research
  • Notice how you hear things about nutrition

Some voices are louder than others

Due to the prevalence of social media and modern society that idolizes people, certain people with certain views often have a huge platform that can reach millions of people. Their words and thoughts might never be checked, or even if they were, those checkers cannot correct everything that was said before someone believes it.
I do wonder if these people even know what kind of power they wield or [if they] even think about what consequences, positive or negative, that their words could have. (Dr. Castagnini)

Always think twice and do your research

There is so much fake news out there, especially because every person in the world can say whatever they want to say and if they are famous or well-known, it is often blindly followed by people that revere them. Whenever you hear something from a famous person, remember that they are first just a regular person like you, before fame.
The problem is that these people are suffering from eating disorders themselves and they just don’t know it … so this content that’s out there is extremely harmful and dangerous for someone who has an eating disorder. (Dr. Castagnini)
Fame shouldn’t give anyone an automatic platform but unfortunately, it does. Therefore, you need to always think twice and do your own research before you take something to heart.

Notice how you hear things about nutrition

Become mindful of how you listen to and understand people’s stories, advice, and ideas about nutrition. If someone shares their eating and exercising habits, do you immediately look at their body and think that you have to try their routine to look like them? Or do you hear lifestyle advice and can see that it is unsustainable and therefore would place you deeper into the diet culture trap?
I think that’s one way to really know that you’re free from your eating disorder: when someone else is talking about what they’re eating or doing on a daily basis and the thought of it sounds really restrictive … and not something you’d ever want to do again? Then that’s a clue. (Dr. Castagnini)
When you’re in your eating disorder, you want to learn more about how to “do” it. When you are healing, you prioritize your mental health with your physical health and you know that life fluctuates and changes, so you can empathize with yourself as your desires and needs shift.



  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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Podcast Transcription

[DR. CRISTINA CASTAGNINI] Behind the Bite Podcast is part of a network of podcasts that are good for the world. Check out podcasts like the Full of Shift podcast, After the First Marriage podcast and Eating Recovery Academy over at Welcome to Behind the Bite Podcast. This podcast is about the real-life struggles women face with food, body image and weight. We're here to help you inspire and create better healthier lives. Welcome. Well, hello everyone. Thank you for being with me here today. So whether you've heard previous shows or you're here for the very first time, I really appreciate you listening and really hope you walk away from today's show with something of value to you. I know each and every one of you out there listening has a lot of choices about how you spend your time, which I know for most if not all of you is precious and limited. So each and every week when I sit and think about what topics or guests I want to have on here, I really try to think about what could be the most interesting and valuable for you, really what could make it worth you taking the time out of your day to listen to this, which is why I love it when you reach out and message me with questions, comments, and ideas for show topics. They really do help me know what you want to hear about and what to discuss on here. After all, as I've said on here before this podcast and the content on it is really for all of you, all of you out there here listening. So let me know, let me know what you want to spend your time listening to on the show and let me know what you think of the show. Rate and review it on Apple Podcast, share it with others who can do the same thing, because without hearing from you, knowing your opinions, I don't, and I won't know what you want. Okay, all that being said, I really did take a long while to think about today's show. I thought about my week and really all the things that impacted me the most and I heard a few comments and read a few blogs and articles that really caught my attention. They were all about the same topic, which I found interesting. It was like something, or someone had just sparked something this week, which I'm going to get into in just a minute here. But what I really got to thinking about was that all of what I heard and read about just confirmed what is already known, that there are just some very fortunate people out there in this world who have a much louder voice than the rest of us. There's those people who have a platform and the opportunity to be heard, and because they have this platform, they have the possibility to have a real impact and influence on an enormous amount of people, not just thousands, but millions of people. And I really wonder what that must be like to have that, to have your words, your message, to have such an impact on so many people. And I do wonder if these people even know what power they yield or even think about what consequences, positive or negative, that their words could have. So as I was thinking about this, this came to mind about what I wanted to talk about this week, so getting back to what I heard this week, these comments, reading these articles, there was a lot of buzz about Gwyneth Paltrow and some was about her court case. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, I'm really not going to get into that here. That's not what I'm talking about. You can Google that and really, this is not the buzz that caught my attention, but I think that her court case going on last week brought what she discussed on a recent podcast more into the limelight. Although I can imagine that even if her court case was not going on, what she said on this podcast would've still gained some media attention so she is just one of those fortunate people that I mentioned earlier. When she speaks, her words are loud, they are heard by millions. I will be honest, I had no idea at the beginning of last week what she was involved in in any court case and I also had no idea she was on a podcast. But after the third or fourth person said something to me about listening to her podcast that she was on and saying things like they were very happy that they were far enough into their eating disorder recovery, that they could not only identify that what she was sharing about on the podcast about her own life, that they could identify that it was eating disorder, they were also happy because they were listening to her and listening to what she was sharing on the podcast and realized that they were also so far into the recovery that they know that if they were into their eating disorder, like at the height of it, that they would've latched onto each and every word that she said and been so quick to try and follow her daily regimen to a t. That they would've probably sat there and written down each and every word of what she said and done exactly what she said she does on a daily basis. That they would've believed that what they were hearing from her was pure gold, that she was just ranting them this access to the magical solution to finally achieving all their goals. That if she, this famous celebrity was following this way of eating and living and saying that it is healthy and discussing it all on this podcast that claims to be all about health and wellness, then certainly her way of doing things must be okay and healthy for everyone else to do too. I mean, that was fascinating to hear people give these comments like I am so far into my recovery that I realized how she was talking was disordered and also realized like, wow, there was a time in my life where I would've been susceptible to hearing what she said and wanting to do what she's doing. Well, okay, so I, like I said, I had no idea what on earth she said on this podcast because they, I didn't even know this podcast existed. So based on what people were saying to me, I started to imagine that what she shared must have been some description about her following some very strict restrictive diet and making claims that it was healthy and she felt great on it. So I decided it would be interesting to go find it and listen to it myself and see what it was all about but before I could even do that, I happened to also come across a few articles and blog posts discussing it. So I was curious and I read them and what I read was not positive, like not at all, and I'm not going to get into great detail, but pretty much each and every one of those articles and blogs, it was very critical and said the same thing that what Gwyneth Paltrow described about her daily diet and exercise on the podcast is very restrictive and that she's presenting a disordered way of eating as being "healthy." So I felt a mix of things after reading these things. On the one hand, I was extremely disturbed that someone, anyone really would go on such a public platform and discuss what is, what to me definitely sounded in these articles at least, as very much promoting severe restriction and eating disorder behaviors. But not only that, that a podcast that claims to be all about health and wellness would allow anyone, celebrity or not, to discuss anything that sounded, again, at least according to what the articles and blogs were saying that went against those things. Now, on the other hand, I felt good that people were writing critical things about what was being said and basically like calling her out for what she said. Like, okay, so after all this, I finally did find and listen to the podcast, it's the Art of Wellbeing podcast and I have to say I was shocked. I found myself wondering how on earth this woman is still alive. In my head, pro-ana kept ringing and ringing and for any of you who don't know what I mean by that, it's pro anorexia or really it's content that is out there that promotes the harmful behaviors and mindset that form anorexia nervosa. The problem with this content is that the people who create it and put it out there say, or at least imply that these behaviors are a lifestyle choice. So most of the time the people who put this content or this information out there are not deliberately trying to hurt people or intentionally trying to promote eating disorders and it's because they truly believe that they are giving great advice for how to live a lifestyle. The problem is these people are suffering from eating disorders themselves and they just don't know it. They just can't see it. So this content that's out there, it's extremely harmful and dangerous for someone who has an eating disorder or who is vulnerable to developing one. Okay, so again, that was bringing through my head but I digressed. I don't want to promote or discuss any eating disorder behaviors on here. So if you've not heard what was said on the podcast and want to go listen to it, by all means, go ahead, but let me just say that basically she's existing on liquids and vegetables and going hours without eating while also exercising an hour a day. What she's doing is really not life sustaining. Like I said, listening to the podcast had my head spinning. So I can definitely see why people told me that if they were not further along in the recovery, that they would've latched onto each and every word she said and gone right out and started eating and doing everything she shared. I thought more in-depth about why people would say that if they were not so far in their eating disorder recovery, that they would've been so susceptible to Gwyneth's diet in daily schedule. Like why does she have such a loud and influential voice? Well, for one, she's a celebrity and she's also someone who has the thin ideal body and appearance that our toxic diet culture constantly tells us is attractive and desirable. So if she has that body and achieved that look, then whatever she's doing must be the key to getting it. So for people who are tired of going from diet to diet and feeling like they keep failing over and over again, I can imagine they would be desperate to hearing what she has to say. Like their ears would be wide open, they would be latching onto her each and every word, and probably be pretty quick to start doing what she described and really why would they question it? She looks how they want to look, she's on a health and wellness podcast and saying what she's doing is healthy. For someone who has an eating disorder and probably doesn't know it yet, I worry that hearing what she said would only further perpetuate the erroneous and a harmful eating disorder thoughts and beliefs that they already have. I can only imagine how much harder it would be after hearing what was on that podcast for someone to even be open to the idea that they have an illness and that their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors about food, body and weight are really just symptoms of deeper, underlying issues that need to be uncovered and healed. So this is concerning to me, but unfortunately this isn't new. It got me thinking about my own path to hell with my eating disorder, like how often I changed my entire schedule, eating habits and essentially my entire life after hearing what celebrity or some expert said they did. There were so many times that I heard some person I didn't know, but whom I changed my entire life for simply because they were "known" and they had the body I was always desperately trying to have that somehow I was never able to achieve. I thought if they achieved my goal, if they look like that, then it was possible. They did it. I just never had, because I kept failing. I could never quite follow things perfectly enough. I always screwed up at some point and mucked it all up. So I would just listen to the next person tell me how they did it, and then I would vow to do exactly what they did so that I too could look like them over and over again. But I cannot tell you how often I blindly believe the words of others like Paltro who in my youth had the eyes and ears of millions. They claimed that what they were doing was so healthy and their words, I'd listen to them. I was convinced that they, what they were saying, they said they never felt or looked better. They said that they, their life changed for the better that they'd never been so happy. So it was a, and I'm listening to all these words and I naively soaked it all in. I mean, who wouldn't want what these people had? Who wouldn't want to look like they looked, have a great, happy, healthy life? And all I had to do was follow what they said. I just had to eat how they ate and do what they said and follow this program. I mean, wow, that seemed easy enough. I mean, the problem was these were all false promises and it came at such a high cost. I'm not talking about money. There was such high cost to trying these things over and over and listening to these messages over and over and over again. I know I've shared on previous shows but for those of you who are new to me or who haven't heard anything about my past, I'm just going to tell you I did some really awful and very unhealthy things and my life sucked. I did, I wanted to look a certain way so that I could finally be happy and my life was pretty miserable and very restrictive. As I was listening to Gwyneth, I had a moment there where I realized that if I went back to some years ago when I was in my eating disorder and I was listening to her, I probably also would've latched onto her words like they were gospel. So I could really relate to the people that talked to me earlier in the week and so I went back and I re-listened to what she said. I tried to imagine actually having a day in the life of her and eating and doing what she does on a daily basis. I felt bad for her because it sounds miserable. It does not sound fun at all. And I think that's one way to really know you're free from your eating disorder. When someone else is talking about what they are eating or doing on a daily basis and the thought of it sounds really restrictive or dare I say like torture and not something you would ever want to do again, then that's a clue. If it's, because when you're in your eating disorder, it's almost like you want to learn more about it and you really start thinking about doing it yourself. That's a clue too. Like if you hear somebody talking about a new diet or a new way to eat and you're just, your ears are all open and you're like, oh gosh, tell me more, I want to learn more, I want to do this, that's a clue too. Because the further you get away from disordered eating or the eating disorder, the more anything like that, the more you hear things like that, the more it sounds like something you would never want to do ever again in your life. It just sounds awful. And look, I don't want to just beat up on Gwyneth here. I do think that what she shared is heard by people who have eating disorders or who are vulnerable to having one. Those words, those messages, they can have very detrimental consequences. So people like her who have such a large platform and a lot of influence, I think they need to be more responsible and think about what messages they're sending out there. And I know you can't be a hundred percent responsible for other people's reactions to things or how people interpret your words and you're not responsible for anyone else's choices or behaviors. But going out there and promoting starvation as a healthy lifestyle, that's just to me, truly irresponsible. I do think, I do wonder too about the host of the podcast, like they're promoting health and wellness. What on earth were they thinking as she's talking about all of this? Like for them to also promote this and encourage her to continue talking about this and then to put it out there on their platform, that says a lot about them too. Like, they got me thinking like, do would I ever want to listen to that podcast again? Like if I know they have guests on there that are speaking about such things, like who would they have on as guests in general? Like what other actual messages? So those were just some of my own thoughts and okay, I know I have a much, much, much smaller platform here. I'm also very curious to know what you guys think about all these things. I'm just speaking off the cuff here. Some of my thoughts from the messages I heard from people the week, over the week, the things I read, listening to the podcast myself. But I would be very curious to know what you all think if you do listen to the, to her podcast or just if you read a blog or know anything about what she said or just any thoughts about any of what I said today. But I also have a hope that as more of us with these smaller platforms like mine start to speak up and start to get our voices and messages out there that collectively together we will start to become louder and have more of an impact and hopefully the right messages and the more "healthy" things'll get out there. Because I know, as I've said before on the podcast, there's a lot of toxic messages out there. Our toxic diet culture really has a negative impact on people and there are a lot of erroneous myths out there about eating disorders. And I'll keep trying to do what I can to dispel those myths, break those myths and get guests on here who will bring you the right information. Hopefully with each show you'll leave with something that's helpful and something that gives you some hope that if you do have an eating disorder or disordered eating or struggling with food and weight and your body image, give you some hope that there is a better future. You can get past this, you can get to recovery. Again, I always say this full recovery is a hundred percent possible. That is one myth that is always out there that you can't fully recover and I just want to say just from the messages I heard from people this week, they have fully recovered and it was because they reached full recovery that they were able to hear that podcast and really realize how far they come and that they were able to hear someone else speak about food and restriction and realize that that person was talking about food and their life in that way. Again, love to hear from you guys. Please DM me or go to the website and there you can go to SpeakPipe and leave me a voice message with questions or comment. Alright, until next time. This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or any other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.