How does unchecked fatphobia in society exacerbate eating disorders? What can you do to find your true community? How can you help the fight against fatphobia in society? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks about uncovering fatphobia in society with Serena Nangia.


Serena Nangia is a long-time advocate for eating disorder recovery, the host of The Body Activism Podcast, and the founder of The Body Activists. Serena has spent close to a decade building expertise on the way body image, media, and eating disorders affect people’s daily lives. She is a frequent public speaker on the issue of fatphobia and actively works to elevate diverse voices of People of Color and Fat people. Serena’s inspiration comes from her sister, Ellen, who struggled with an eating disorder for over a decade and is now in long-term recovery.

Visit Serena's website and The Body Activists. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.


  • Fatphobia and eating disorders
  • Look for your community
  • Share your work
  • The business of body image

Fatphobia and eating disorders

Fatphobia as a systemic issue is related to why a lot of people have eating disorders [because] of the focus on the “ideal” body. (Serena Nangia)
Eating disorders are not only about someone’s physical appearance and can be caused by a range of different factors. However, many people develop eating disorders as a consequence of buying into the societal belief that there is an “ideal” body type and that health only looks a certain way. If society has trained people to think that all fat is unhealthy or bad, then they sometimes develop and internalize fatphobia, leading to fat people being treated poorly.
What, psychologically, have we been taught to believe about what is true about fat people and what is true about not-fat people? Even if it’s not about the body … it might be because they see, underneath all the surface, how fat people are treated [in society]. (Serena Nangia)

Look for your community

Utilize digital platforms to connect with like-minded and supportive people, wherever they may be in the world. Become familiar with different types of content and a diverse group of people.
In my virtual space [I surrounded myself with] people who were at different levels of comfortability with their bodies and weren’t bashing their bodies or making themselves feel bad. (Serena Nangia)
Start by following people who have a similar body to you, and find others who exist in differently sized bodies.

Share your work

Write, draw, perform, or sing about your experience, and share it with your community. Spend time with people who welcome you and protect your safe space alongside you. Share your experience and your interaction with life with other people who can empathize with you.

The business of body image

The body image and diet culture industry are massive. They spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year in promoting certain ideals to lure clients into buying products or weight-loss services that are designed to fail.
I hope to see a world where companies that have so much power don’t harm people unintentionally or intentionally [for profit]. (Serena Nangia)
Be mindful of where you are spending your money. Which companies are you supporting and which dialogues are you a part of?



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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