How can research shift our perspectives around weight and health? What are some of the ways to identify toxic diet culture? What's causing the Ozempic crisis? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini interviews Christy Harrison about diets, health, "the wellness trap", and ozempic.


Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, CEDS is a journalist, registered dietitian, and certified intuitive eating counselor. She’s a multiple-book author, and hosts two podcasts, Rethinking Wellness and Food Psych, which have helped tens of thousands of listeners around the world think critically about diet and wellness culture and develop more peaceful relationships with food.

In addition to her media work, Christy offers online courses and private intuitive eating coaching to help people all over the world make peace with food and their bodies. Visit Christy's website and connect on Facebook and Instagram.


  • Research Informed Perspectives on Health
  • Changing the weight loss narrative
  • How to Identify Toxic Diet Culture
  • Addressing the Ozempic Crisis

Research Informed Perspectives on Health

For a while, Christy held unhealthy misconceptions about food, spurred on by societal beliefs. She started to shift her perspective by exposing herself to different ways of thinking and getting involved in the science underpinning nutrition. 
I’ve always been pretty science minded. I’m a journalist, so I have this lens of we need to look at evidence and do some solid reporting. (Christy Harrison)
Christy critically engaged with research and nutrition studies, and through that process, she realized that the relationship between weight and health is tenuous.  In addition, Christy was exposed to evidence-based research, where she learned about doctors prioritizing what worked for their patients over what theory says should work. 
The way that we need to approach weight and health in general is in this weight inclusive way.  And weight inclusive means not looking at weight loss, or not looking at weight itself as a determinant of health, but looking at other health promoting approaches that people can do that are independent of weight. (Christy Harrison)
Rather than using weight as a metric of good health, Christy recommends using a variety of other measures, such as building happiness and confidence and growing a positive relationship with food and exercise. 

Changing the weight loss narrative

Currently, the dominant paradigm within the medical industry is that weight is the cause of poor health outcomes.  Christy has been pushing back against this framework to give people a compassionate, open space to question toxic diet culture and to feel that there are alternative ways of thinking about weight. 
The evidence is definitely there to say that the things that get blamed on weight itself could definitely have other explanations. There is some evidence that weight cycling for example could account for all the excess risk in a couple of studies that have done that comparison. (Christy Harrison)
In addition, there is evidence to support the idea that weight stigma is stressful to the body and is consequently unhealthy. Therefore, Christy is encouraging people to rethink how they approach health and to stop using weight alone as an indicator of poor health outcomes. 

How to Identify Toxic Diet Culture

Diet culture has shape-shifted over time, however, it can still be identified by several components. 
  1. Often, diet culture disguises itself as “healthy”, and it is a big proponent of fitness, equating it to a moral virtue. 
  2. It promotes weight loss as a means of achieving a higher social status 
  3. It demonizes some food groups whilst elevating others 
  4. It oppresses people who don’t subscribe to its supposed picture of health
“So when people are further away from the “ideal body”, or whatever that is by BMI standards or by cultural standards that are impossibly thin for the vast majority of people, … people, [they] feel internal shame and they may also experience external stigma.” (Christy Harrison)
Part of what makes these unhealthy perspectives so difficult to change is that so many industries profit off them, and have a vested interest in promoting these harmful ideologies. 

Addressing the Ozempic Crisis

Christy recognises that much of the reason that people are taking Ozempic to reduce weight is because of societal pressure. This is especially prevalent among people who are in the public eye. 
“It’s understandable that there’s a market for these drugs. The promise of being able to escape weight stigma is very seductive.” 
Part of the problem is that ozempic has been falsely associated with health, because of its ability to cause weight loss. Unfortunately, the discourse around Ozempic has become like a kind of propaganda, where the negative health consequences are downplayed in favour of its benefits. 
“There’s a huge hype-machine around these drugs and I think it comes largely from at the top. It’s these drug companies that make the drugs.” (Christy Harrison)


BOOK | Christy Harrison - The Emotional Eating, Chronic Dieting, Binge Eating & Body Image Workbook BOOK | Christy Harrison - Anti-Diet BOOK | Christy Harrison - The Wellness Trap Visit Christy's website and connect on Facebook and Instagram. Visit and submit your comment via voice message! Sign up for the free Behind The Bite Course Practice of the Practice Network Email Dr. Cristina Castagnini:


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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