We are thrilled to have the opportunity to hear from author and psychologist, Dr. Stacey Rosenfeld in our latest edition of Body Trust Insights. We encourage you to check out her book, Does Every Woman Have an Eating Disorder? Challenging Our Nation’s Fixation with Food and Weight. Elyse Resch, co-author of Intuive Eating, praised it with, “Finally, a book that offers hope to the myriad women feeling all alone in their negative obsession with food and body. These women, victims of our culturally thin ideal, can stop blaming themselves and plant the seeds of healing that will lead them toward self-love and acceptance.” Thank you for taking the time with us, Stacey!
Dr. Rosenfeld is a clinical psychologist committed to helping people develop healthier relationships with food and their bodies. She also works with patients who have substance use issues, anxiety and mood disorders, and relationship difficulties. She lectures around the country on her “Lose the Diet. Love Your Body. Eat in Peace” philosophy, and is a frequent resource for the media. She has been interviews by Today, ABC News, Dr. Oz, The New York Times, Associated Press, Woman’s Day, Fitness Magazine, O Magazine, and dozens of other outlets.
A certified group psychotherapist, Dr. Rosenfeld has worked at treatment centers and universities around the U.S., including at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. She is active in the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, where she founded and chairs the Eating Disorder Special Interest Group. She is also certified as a personal trainer and indoor cycling instructor and previously served as the chief psychologist of the New York City Triathlon. Dr. Rosenfeld is a member of the Academy for Eating Disorders; International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals; and National Eating Disorders Association. She lives and practices in southern CA, and is licensed to practice in NY.
Her book Does Every Woman Have an Eating Disorder? Challenging Our Nation’s Fixation with Food and Weight was inspired by her acclaimed blog Does every Woman Have an Eating Disorder?, named on Healthline’s list of Best Eating Disorder Blogs, and on Eating Disorder Hope’s list of Top 25 Eating Disorder Blogs. More at: www.staceyrosenfeld.com, on Facebook, and Twitter.
My work is a big motivation. It’s hard to encourage my clients to do this work if I’m not committed to it myself.
1. What led you to Health at Every Size® and Intuitive Eating?
Books – I started by reading Overcoming Overeating, Fat is a Feminist Issue, and Intuitive Eating. Then I read The Diet Myth, followed by Big Fat Lies. It’s hard to read these pieces and not be influenced to adopt these approaches. There’s science behind them, plus they just make sense.
2. What has surprised you the most as you have learned to accept yourself?
I think acceptance is a process, not something that happens overnight. Some people think you can just magically love your body (or yourself), but it takes work and often vigilance in our current cultural climate. Most of the world isn’t self-accepting, so it’s interesting to be working on that in a context that’s so opposed. When others start body bashing, it’s sometimes a challenge not to chime in.
3. What are three aspects you feel are the most important to remember when moving toward radical self-acceptance?
- As I said, acceptance is a process. It’s okay to have days that are less than self-accepting.
- We’ve all been brainwashed to accept the thin ideal. The ideal body is a sociocultural construction, and we need to remember (and challenge) that.
- Self-acceptance shouldn’t have to be so radical. It’s important that in addition to working on ourselves, we work on the world around us. Self-acceptance is so challenging because we’re constantly being told to be anything but accepting – by the diet and fitness industries, Madison Avenue, etc. We need to get stronger and louder if we want to make this process less difficult for ourselves and future generations.
4. What is your favorite part of your body? How do you celebrate it?
I like my legs – for form and function. I love that they are strong and on a more basic level, I’m grateful that I’m able-bodied and can participate in the physical activities I enjoy with relative ease.
5. What is your favorite food and how do you like to enjoy it?
I love bread and cheese and any combination of the two (particularly if found overseas). I also enjoy any creative preparation of vegetables.
6. What inspires and renews your dedication to your process when you need it the most?
My work is a big motivation. It’s hard to encourage my clients to do this work if I’m not committed to it myself. The online body image/acceptance community that I’ve recently connected with is inspirational, too – I enjoy the social-media mingling of like minds.
7. Radical self-acceptance means…
Practicing self-care, honoring your internal wisdom, saying yes to yourself even when you’ve been socialized to say no…
8. What books, music, or websites inspire you right now?
I’m most inspired by music, particularly strong female voices. I love the song “Brave” by Sara Bareilles, and Joss Stone’s “Free Me” from 2009. I’m also a big fan of Tristan Prettyman and the more upbeat works of Michael Franti and Pink. One of my favorite things about being a group fitness instructor has always been composing a class playlist – music is a powerful motivator and emotional tool.
9. Favorite quote or poem?
It’s hard to narrow it down, but this one seems to work here:
“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.”