Do you still connect what you eat with how much you think you need to exercise? Would you call yourself someone who doesn’t “like” exercise? Which physical activities make you feel good in your body? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks about how to feel good in your body with Amanda Brabec.


Amanda Brabec is a Boston-based spin instructor, personal trainer, and body image & mindset coach. She also hosts a weekly podcast, The Build with Brabec podcast, which explores the female experience through an anti-diet & body confident lens. She hopes through her work both 1-on-1 with clients, in a group or class setting, and through her podcast that she can help other women ditch diet culture and work to heal their relationships with food, exercise, and their bodies. Visit Build with Brabec, and connect on Instagram and Youtube.


  • Cut through the BS
  • Be mindful of people who promise changes
  • Exercise for health

Cut through the BS

We all know what diet culture is and what it does and now we’re seeing this shift into “wellness” culture which is kind of the same thing, just more in disguise … which is the pattern [of diets]. (Amanda Brabec)
There is so much noise about diet culture within advertising and society’s media. Some of it is noticeable, but a lot of it can be subtle and insidious. Cut straight through the BS of diet culture by learning to notice it whenever and wherever it crops up and shutting it down. Diet culture lies in:
  • False promises and offering “quick fixes”
  • Emotive, “cash-grab” language
  • Playing on your insecurities

Be mindful of people who promise changes

When you are looking for information or following fitness influencers or anyone who is promoting recipes, meal plans, or exercise routines, be careful of false promises. These people have had their own experiences, but that doesn’t qualify them to dish out that information with the same results guaranteed to others.
I know the risks that are involved with stepping beyond your scope of practice and using these different measures to gain business because it is such a slippery slope. (Amanda Brabec)

Exercise for health

Depending on where you are on your ED recovery journey, or what you believe “health” constitutes, you can read this sentence in many different ways. In this conversation, health is not body-specific or image-driven.
I would challenge you to think about [exercise in a new way] … reflect on your childhood, can you think about times when you had so much fun or you felt connected to your body? (Amanda Brabec)
Which physical activities did you enjoy? Or rather, which activities did you enjoy that just happened to be physical, like dancing, walking, and even swimming? Can you challenge yourself to reconnect with the passion and joy behind the activity instead of overthinking it?



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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