Episode 52: Helping Women Break Free From Diet Culture with Bridget Shannon and Dana Barron

Today’s guests, Bridget Shannon and Dana Barron, are the founders of Wellness Lately, a coaching program designed to help women change their relationships with body image, food and self-worth. For anyone who feels like they’ve hit rock bottom with body image issues or may be struggling with disordered eating, Bridget and Dana have developed a framework to break the cycle perpetuated by diet culture. 

What Causes Body Image Issues?

Many of us have looked in the mirror at some point and not liked the way we look. Maybe we pick apart certain parts of ourselves or have a certain image in mind of what we should look like. Bridget and Dana are working to repair that harmful mindset by re-framing the definition of body positivity. 

Why do we have body image issues? Is it social media? Or maybe our upbringing? According to Bridget and Dana, it’s a combination of factors, outlined in their four-step framework:

  • Cultural criticism: societal norms for how we should look. 
  • Individual beliefs: What beliefs were imprinted on us as children?
  • Body respect: accepting where your body is today, even if you don’t love every part of it.
  • Embracing body neutrality: being thankful for what your body can do, rather than focusing on what it looks like. 

Embracing Body Neutrality

The idea of body neutrality differs from the popular body positivity movement in that it re-frames the mindset around respecting your body. For many women, fully embracing how we look on the outside is a difficult hurdle to jump over. Body neutrality allows you to focus on respect and appreciation for what your body is capable of. Along with this, it allows us to shift toward more intuitive eating, rather than worrying about a number on the scale. 

I’m Strong, Healthy and I Can Eat What I Want!

Bridget and Dana also discuss diet culture and how harmful it can be. Many of their clients are tired and frustrated with counting calories and restrictive eating. Many struggle with binge eating and other disorders. Their program focuses on shifting over to intuitive eating, listening to your body and allowing yourself to enjoy food. 

They also discuss social media and its impact on diet culture. While social media can be positive and helpful in many ways, it also causes us to constantly compare ourselves to others when it comes to appearance, weight and lifestyle. 

If you’re struggling with body image or disordered eating, Bridget and Dana are here to help you. Check out their website to learn more about their coaching programs. Listen to their podcast, “Wellness Lately” and keep up with them on Instagram and Facebook