Do you often find yourself saying, “I’ll be happy when …”? Will you make the time and space to get to know yourself and your body from a place of loving health? Have you ever thought that what you say about your body and food is what you are teaching your kids about theirs? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks about the true meaning of happiness at every size with "Doughnut Diaries" author Rachel Lavin.


Rachel Lavin is the author of The Doughnut Diaries, a Professional Speaker, Body Love Educator, Certified Health Coach, and a Certified Personal Trainer. In 2000, she began her career as an ACE-certified group fitness instructor teaching many classes such as Aqua Aerobics, Bootcamp, Jazzercise, Dance Aerobics, Stretch and Chair classes. In 2007 she was certified as an ACE Personal Trainer working at big box gyms in NYC and becoming an independent trainer in 2012. Rachel wanted to take her passion for helping people to the next level and became an ACE-certified Health Coach in 2018.

In 2020 Rachel wrote her first book "The Doughnut Diaries" about her own struggles with her weight and restrictive diets which lasted for over thirty years. Writing her book was her way of sharing her message to women that you are not alone! Now using her book Rachel wants to help people who have had or are still experiencing negative body image. Visit Rachel's website and connect on Facebook and Instagram.


  • Overcoming the “I’ll be happy when …” mindset
  • Letting go of what no longer works for you
  • Health looks different
  • Diet culture can be passed down from mother to daughter
  • Be open to hearing something new

Overcoming the “I’ll be happy when …” mindset

When you constantly put your life off by saying, “I’ll be happy when …” you will notice that nothing will ever be good enough. You feel as if you could always lose a bit more weight, you could always try harder, and that it is never enough. By holding out on living your life based on an arbitrary set of circumstances, you will end up wasting months, if not years, of your life. Rachel, like many women, kept thinking that she would be happier “when” she had achieved a certain goal or body type. However, this mindset is built on nothing ever being enough, and before you know it, you’ll be stuck never being happy because you never allow yourself to be.
As I was turning 40, I had a very real, very visceral emotional meltdown, breakdown if you will, and I was like, “I want to be happy. How do I get there? How do I stop worrying about my body? How do I stay happy and healthy and active, and all of the things without having to think about myself [and my body] all day, every day? (Rachel Lavin)
Rachel had enough and knew that something needed to change because years of her life were passing her by and she felt nowhere nearer to feeling fulfilled or happy with herself.
It was always waiting for the weight to come off before anything good could happen to me and it’s just such a waste of our gift which we’ve been given, which is our life, and at 40 years old I didn’t want to do that anymore. (Rachel Lavin)

Letting go of what no longer works for you

Once you see the fault in the diet culture mindset, it becomes increasingly difficult to ignore. You now know that it’s wrong, and you know that you are causing yourself immense suffering for no reason! Now comes the next part where you need to let go of these ideas so that you can truly get to know yourself, who you are, and what you want for your life - outside of the diet culture industry and the narratives it tries to persuade you of.
I decided that it was really time to get to know me and who I am and let go of all of the things I thought I had to be, and just be. As simple as that sounds, at that moment it was the scariest, hardest thing I’ve ever done. I really had to look inside and deal with my trauma … deal with my relationship with my mother, deal with my relationship with men, all of the things that I was looking outward for to make me whole, and I had to realize that only I, only Rachel could make Rachel whole. (Rachel Lavin)
It took years, but when Rachel had decided that she would focus on herself, it didn’t matter how long it took, but it just mattered that it was happening. While she was rebuilding her life, she also started to enjoy being present in life.

Health looks different

Something that everyone needs to be reminded of is that health looks different in every person. If every person ate a certain way and exercised a certain amount, their bodies would still be different. Your body will react differently to foods and exercise because your genetics vary. So, instead of wanting to look a certain way, strive instead to fully care for and love your body, because health will look different for each person. Not only that, but your body changes as you age, and that is a good thing, and it is a natural part of life.

Diet culture can be passed down from mother to daughter

Mommy’s on a diet, grandma’s been on a diet. You know, “Women only eat this, they don’t eat that,”  So we were almost born with this mindset, unfortunately, and then our mothers and the women in our family … only just made that worse because they were always on a diet, and it gets trickled down into every single generation. (Rachel Lavin)
Mothers have to be careful about how they talk about food in front of their children, and they have to be careful about how they talk about their bodies in front of their children as well. Kids copy their parents because that is how they first learn about and make sense of the world. If you hate your body and restrict yourself and you have young children, you are teaching them those same values, even if it’s not your intention, because children notice more than you think.

Be open to hearing something new

Don’t let it take a crash-and-burn scenario for you to start your healing journey. Be open to looking into the struggle and being proactive to make your life work instead of hiding away and continuing with dangerous habits, even though you know they are harming you. You have to want to recover for it to work, because no one and nothing can save you if you are not committed to saving yourself.
I do believe that you hear something a thousand times, and then on that thousand-and-one time you’re like, “Oh yeah”, and it hits you. You have to be ready, and that’s why I don’t get angry … because I would’ve given up a year ago if I had a different mindset. I think that you have to be ready, I think that you have to want it, I think you have to want to think and feel differently. (Rachel Lavin)



  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!


Did you enjoy this podcast? Feel free to comment below and share this podcast on social media! You can also leave a review of Behind The Bite on Apple Podcasts (previously) iTunes and subscribe!