Many wonder if men struggle with food and body image. We often hear clients ask “do you have any good Instagram accounts for men who struggle with food?” In today’s episode Registered Dietitian Nutritionists Dalina Soto and Melissa Landry interview fellow Dietitian Aaron Flores, RDN for his perspective on “bro culture”, the danger of assuming all men’s experiences with body image are the same (they’re not), and how diet culture hurts all genders.
In today’s episode we discuss:
- do men worry about dieting and body image as much as women? what unique pressures are men facing from diet culture?
- how do we help boys and men experience positive body image? Is it different from other gender expressions?
- partner dynamics across all genders: what do you do if your partner doesn’t get why your ditching diets? what if one person wants weight loss surgery and the other believes in intuitive eating? How can you be more sensitive to your partner’s experience around food and body image, especially if you are in a smaller body than they are and don’t face the same societal pressure to lose weight?
- Follow Aaron Flores, RDN on Instagram: @aaronfloresrdn or visit his website: http://www.smashtheweightriarchy.com/
- Join the Break the Diet Cycle Podcast Community on Instagram: @break.the.diet.pod
- Connect with Melissa on Instagram: @no.more.guilt
- Connect with Dalina on Instagram: @your.latina.nutritionist
- Subscribe to Break the Diet Cycle on Apple Podcasts
This episode was sponsored by No More Guilt with Melissa Landry. Reminder that though we are dietitians, we’re not *YOUR* dietitian. Podcasts don’t constitute treatment. If you have concerns about your dieting behaviors, seek out guidance from a medical or mental health professional. And if you’re looking for the process, support, and focus you need to live life without food guilt apply for a coaching program from today’s sponsor. No More Guilt with Melissa Landry is currently enrolling clients into 1:1 programs, group programs, and, recently added a do-it-yourself learning format: the Ex-Dieter’s Guide to No More Guilt.
Do Men Struggle with Food and Body Image? Episode Transcript
Dalina Soto 0:01
Hola Hola Chulas!
Melissa Landry 0:02
Hi there everyone. Today we have Aaron Flores, fellow Registered Dietitian here to talk about how diet culture impacts male body image. And then we’re going to zoom out and talk about how diet culture impacts partner dynamics in general. Aaron, we’re thrilled to have you here. Why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself and let everyone know more about you?
Aaron Flores 0:25
Yeah, well, thanks to each of you for having me on. I’m super excited to talk to your audience about all of this stuff. I I’ve been a dietitian for Lordy. It’s coming up on 14 years, which is hard to say out loud. This is my career change. I used to work in internet game development back in the like, com boom of the 90s and hated it and went back to school to become a dietitian. I started this career trajectory from a very different perspective than where I am now. I started really coming at this from a weight loss perspective and learning about intuitive eating and Health at Every Size and body trust forced me to radically change and first look at my own relationship with food and body and then, you know, bring that out as a professional to and help make some radical changes. So I have a private practice in Calabasas, California. It’s all virtual right now, obviously, with COVID. And I also work for center for discovery and I am their senior coordinator for inclusive care. So trying to help that that organization, make sure treatment centers are inclusive around body diversity. I I also have a podcast called dietitians unplugged, we’re not doing any any news recordings right now. But
Unknown Speaker 1:51
they need to go back. I love that podcast.
Aaron Flores 1:57
About 80 episodes, just hang out and listen to right now. And I’m yeah, I’m a dietitian and a certified body trust provider. And I’m a father I wins who were 13 almost 13 and a half now. partner. Yeah, my partner and I are here in Southern California. Trying to do this fight. Yeah. And and just, yeah, it’s a lot a lot of ups and downs.
Melissa Landry 2:27
Yeah. Well, I admire your story. Aaron, I think for all of us, dieticians, in private practice, who do individual work? There’s always that pull on that thread of like, Okay, how do we help people who are struggling at an individual level? And how do we impact the structures that are causing the individual pain in the first place? So I love that you kind of have one foot in each space with your work, thank you for what you do. It’s awesome. I guess today, you know, coming from your perspective, now remind me Do you work exclusively with male clients or your approach?
Aaron Flores 3:01
Now my practice is my practice is open to anyone who wants to work with me. That’s the way I sort of see it, I see it, you know, I’m, I see this as very, I think about a lot I think about consent a lot with my in my practice, and I practice in a very specific way. And that way, includes a lot of compassion, a lot of curiosity and non judgment. And I might have a lot of discussions with my clients that might feel very different than what they might have traditionally done with past dieticians. I’m not the only dietitian doing it this way. Let me just say that also, it’s not like I’m a unicorn. It’s more that you know, in my, in my work, it’s really about like, we’re gonna get to some deep conversations around food and body. Like he said, mentioning structures that are oppressive to bodies. And, and so, yeah, we’re going to talk about food, probably less than you think. But we’re also going to zoom out and think about how these structures of oppression affect your, your lived experience in your body. So yes, I see a lot of diverse folks in my in my practice. And it’s, you know, again, I work with anyone who wants to work with
Melissa Landry 4:20
what I think’s important that you do is that there is some signaling you know, being a man with lived experience as a man to men who don’t really see themselves depicted, I think in this space a lot. I have had people reach out Can you help me with my dad? Where should we go? My male partner, my brother, it I think for a man struggling with body image concerns and food struggles, it’s hard to know where to go. So I’m just curious for you, especially since you kind of came from this from a weight loss perspective in the beginning, what has been your experience some of the messages that men get and and how that might be different or the same? For women,
Aaron Flores 5:01
yeah. Yeah, it’s it’s a really good question. And and I think one, you know why I’m always happy to have this conversation is because it’s not happening nearly as often enough as as it needs to. The the one layer that I’m just going to sort of add to is that, as someone, I identify as fat, and so also being a fat dietitian, and male. Again, it’s like, I think it leads into exactly what we were saying, right that like no one See, no one gets to work with anyone that looks like them. And so that is a poll for folks as well. And so just just naming body size in that as well. When it comes down to this discussion around how body image is affecting men, and what are the struggles that that I’m seeing in my clients, I want to make sure that as I answer that, right, that it can feel very, like, Oh, this must be what it is. Right. And I just want to say like, I have just my perspective on this. And, and in reality, the male experience and the male identified experience, a body image is hugely diverse. And, and it is just as diverse as the experience of female identified folks and their body image. There are just many more voices about it. So we see all the nuances and the perspectives. What I’m hoping is, as we do this, right, and why I love having this conversation is that we bring more male identified voices to the table to share their experience, because I can share, I’m happy to share, like, what happens with the clients I see. But I can’t extrapolate that to everyone, right and make assumptions to the general population of male folks. Because I’m missing stuff, like I will just inherently Miss stuff. And I want to stop doing that. So what I see, number one is folks are struggling. Period, like they eat folks are really struggling in their body. And that’s it doesn’t matter about body size, right? I mean, yes, there folks in smaller bodies are struggling and folks and larger bodies are struggling. what’s what’s really important to think about is, I think about a few things. One is how masculinity, I’m calling it bro culture, right? are just so harmful in in how we think about bodies. It’s like, you have to fit into this very strict guideline, similar to females and females, those who identify as female, like, here’s the guideline, right? But because it’s like, so much more subtle, in some ways, that when you butt up against it, or you try to say something, like, hey, that doesn’t like I’m struggling, that doesn’t work for me, like I, I’m not gonna have ABS like that no matter how many crunches I do. And no matter how many CrossFit expeditions I make, I’m not going to have a Chris Evans abs, right? just not gonna happen. And then you say that and someone’s like, bro, dude, you’re just not hacking enough? Like, you know, have you tried this? Have you tried like, you know, going down on the number of grams of protein. I’m like, oh, Lord, like that’s really our answer to this question. Is it like you’re not biohacking enough. Instead of my second point, compassion, like, no one is sitting together and saying, like, yeah, this sucks, like, I feel so much pressure to, to be perfect in my body. And, you know, I just want to acknowledge it as as in this as we talk about zooming out right systems of oppression.
Males, Sis, males, especially have a much wider range of what is an acceptable body. Right, it’s not as narrow as as, as female identified, folks. Right? So we do have more latitude in that sense. But anything outside of that latitude is, is really unacceptable. And so I just see, I see so much like fat phobia that is veiled as humor. Right? I watch the office and like, I just have to, like turn off sometimes. And I love the office and I’m like, oh, like, couldn’t the writers room have just been a little bit smarter. And like, instead of going for cheap laughs over like body size, and poor Stanley and Kevin, like, you know, all the assumptions about their health and like, that becomes the comedic plaus. So, basically, in a long winded answer, what I’m saying is, it’s really there. It’s significant. No one’s talking about it. And what we’re really struggling with as males is compassion around this
Melissa Landry 10:08
man is blown away. It’s like little lights are flying right now, one thing that you just mentioned is how there’s more latitude and what is, quote acceptable for men. And I think what can happen between men and women is there’s a loss of compassion because of that. So what I mean by this is, well, your waist doesn’t need to look like this, your butt doesn’t need to look like this dadbod became cool, What is all this? What about me? And what happens is we’re starting to like, even between how you identify and gender come against each other, rather than saying this whole frickin system is bananas. Why is there any definition at all, which maybe further isolates men in some ways where they’re not getting some compassion even further? Because it’s not as bad quote, yeah, they’re men.
Aaron Flores 10:54
Yeah, yeah, you know it, as I think about that, I think about the application, right? And yes, Dad bonds are acceptable. But as soon as dad with the dad bod goes to the beach and takes the shirt off. Right, as we’ve seen by like, celebrities who have dadbod they’re ridiculed. Right? So it’s sort of like, acceptable ish. But not really. Right, you know, to a certain point, and so like, you know, it’s so like, again, that experience of like, you know, there’s still gonna be ridicule, like, it’s acceptable, right. And, and, and especially around standards of beauty. Like it’s acceptable. And yet, they’re still ribbing. Like, they’re still like, like, sort of this. This really stupidly in, like, locker room perception of like, oh, but I’m allowed to joke about it. And and inherently, when that happens, that’s where we see the fatphobia. Right? You’re saying it’s acceptable, but there’s also this underlying weight stigma and fat phobia. That’s telling me it’s really not. Right. Right, and that there’s hierarchy around bodies? Absolutely. And this is how patriarchy affects men also.
Unknown Speaker 12:08
Yeah, it’s funny, you talked about the office, because Melissa and I have often talked about New Girl, which is one of our favorite shows. And that is like the storyline around Schmidt is also all about his weight, and his transformation. And the joke, the joke, just like, sometimes, like you said, I would have to, like, turn it off, or like walk away or, like, turn around and look at Brian and be like, why
Aaron Flores 12:34
did they say that? Yeah, yeah. No, totally. And, you know, it’s one of those my son loves the office, and just, it’s on repeat on his phone. Like he just watches all day. These Oh, yeah. And, and so like, the, the important part of that, right is as we, as we see, it, is sometimes I don’t turn it off. And I say like, that’s, that’s fucked up. Right out loud. Right? Like, whoa, that’s like really shaming? Well, I’m wondering, I’m wondering why they do that. Right. So that, that now we can have a conversation as a family about that phobia?
Melissa Landry 13:12
I love that question. I wonder why they do that. Right. So kind of letting letting our kids kind of even say the wrong thing, draw the wrong conclusion work back and forth off that, because they are taking these things in and there are like implicit messages that you don’t have to say, yeah, people learn. I love that question. One of our audience members asked about raising teenage sons in particular, like, how would you sort of approach that conversation? Knowing you know, kids tend to have that repulsion of any kind of real talk to like, me with this?
Aaron Flores 13:44
Melissa Landry 13:44
What would you say would be helpful to raise boys who are resilient through this?
Aaron Flores 13:50
Yeah. I mean, I, I think it’s the same skills that we would do for our teenage daughters. And that is, having a safe home is a safe space. Home is the space where, you know, we can unpack all those feelings, and we are here to listen to you and we are here to help you, you know, yield those feelings. Right? When when you might spend a lot of time either now online or in person or whatever with, with your friends or in, in a classroom or at camp, and it and you feel that you can’t show those feelings that you’re just going to sort of step them down or hold on to them. Home is a safe space where we can talk about them and it’s okay to be angry and sad. And grieve and grieve that we don’t have the body that someone else does. But home is the place where we get to have these conversations when you’re ready, and then that we’re always here to listen, you know, and that it we’re not going to force it, right. It’s not like oh, it’s body image, talk time at you know, 4pm on Thursday, let’s all sit down on the couch and crack open. Some fruity pebbles. And how’s everyone feeling about their body image? No, I think I just I think it has to be organic. Like, it has to just be like, you know, I came home and like, this is what’s going on. Okay. Yeah, that sounds really horrible. If you want to talk about it, I’m here to listen, you know, and what I’m finding is as, as my, again, my, my house of my study of this house, right? I can’t I don’t know if I can extrapolate out. But as our kids are getting older is that those conversations are harder to have. Right? They want to be more autonomous, which I want to build. And I’m thankful for the foundation we laid early in childhood, that we talk about things in this house, right, that things are communicated in this house, and that we come together as a family and we we share hard feelings, and we can share anger, and and all of those ones that might feel uncomfortable. And I think that foundation has taught our kids that. Yeah, it might not be the right time. But there is, but when I’m ready, there is time, where, where it’s okay to talk about these things.
Melissa Landry 16:08
Never too late. Nice to start early on that. Yeah,
Aaron Flores 16:11
right. Exactly. Yeah. And listen, I think if you are starting late, it’s I think there’s transparency. He’s like, Hey, this is something I think, would be helpful that I’m trying to learn, right. And I’d love to see how we can do this together. You know, and so I think, being transparent, saying like, yeah, I didn’t know how to do this before because of my own struggles. You know, Oh,
Melissa Landry 16:34
don’t you wish sometimes there’s my parents that are taking their arm around me and said, Hey, I’m perfect. Yeah, assuming that I was perfect. I will hearken our listeners back to the episode with Jay bomb. We talked about raising intuitive eaters, and they’re really similar message that you know, it’s okay, that you’re learning. That’s the gift of being a human like,
Aaron Flores 16:57
Melissa Landry 16:58
always be. That’s a good thing. Let your kids in on that. It’s, it’s a beautiful thing to be able to do that. And it
Unknown Speaker 17:08
is back. Sorry, Aaron. No, go ahead, please. takes us back to perfectionism. Like we feel like we need to be perfect parents. And it’s like, This shit is messy.
Unknown Speaker 17:16
Melissa Landry 17:18
Not perfect. You’re not gonna say the right things.
Unknown Speaker 17:21
Every single time and right. I think what Jay said and kind of like what I’ve always said on this podcast, the way that I pair it is that when I make a mistake, I tell them like mommy yells and she was sorry, before? Yeah, like, I mean, my kids are a lot smaller than yours. But letting them know, like, it wasn’t right that I yelled, and I’m sorry, I got angry. But now, you know, I’m expressing to you that you can still come to me. And talk to me even though I made a mistake, because it’s okay that I made a mistake. We all
Aaron Flores 17:53
in our house. Yeah, we call it the circle back. Right. Like, I’m gonna circle back. And
Unknown Speaker 17:58
I like that.
Aaron Flores 17:59
Let me circle back. And I got it. I got to apologize. Yeah.
Melissa Landry 18:03
From your corporate culture, I think that that’s a that’s like a biz kind of,
Aaron Flores 18:09
listen, there’s so much synergy in our house. Like we are constantly taking things offline. Great. Networking. Oh, yeah. No.
Melissa Landry 18:17
Family networking is king. Yeah,
Aaron Flores 18:20
we did have a corporate takeover a little while ago. So Oh, wow. I want to talk about it. Yeah.
Melissa Landry 18:27
Amazing. Amazing. Well, I really appreciate this discussion. This is just scratching the surface. But, um, you know, for anyone who maybe is a male listener, or nosy male listener, I would encourage you to share this podcast and let them know that you know, it’s okay to investigate what’s going on with you. It’s probably not abnormal. And I just only wish and hope that more representation starts to happen. So the conversation can continue. Yeah,
Aaron Flores 18:55
Melissa Landry 18:56
Well, I’d love to switch gears just slightly here. We want to talk a little bit about partner dynamics. Yeah. So the reason for this is Glenn and I have been noticing both on our Instagram pages and in sessions, not always are both partners on the same page at the same time when it comes to intuitive eating. So I collected a few different questions, I think represent the kind of different scenarios that can occur. So we’re gonna just kind of kick these off one at a time. See if we can get through here. You guys ready? Yeah. All right. So the first one is my partner doesn’t get why I don’t want to focus on losing weight. So this makes me feel like one person is starting an IV journey. One person is maybe confused or resistant of that. What are y’all seeing in your practice? how that plays out and how someone might approach something like this?
Aaron Flores 19:49
I mean, I, I find it very common. I think this is a really common experience to see and I think about Honestly, I think about my own experience that I shared a little bit earlier is that I picked up intuitive eating, you know, when I was in school, and like, I think I got, I don’t know, not very far into it and put it down. Because I was like, this doesn’t seem like something I want to do. Or it seems important, or I didn’t believe it, whatever it was, I couldn’t get through it. But I came back to it later. And it it resonated more, right. It just happened at the right time. And as we move out of diet culture, some of us are ready at different times. And thinking about what helps, what helped us move the dial, that pride is very different approach. And what that unlearning looks like. And the hard part is that we can’t force that. Yeah, yeah, we can model it, we can show what is how it’s helpful to us, you know, share things that helped us move into this space and why this other way of doing things was no longer viable. And in the end, I believe in informed consent, someone’s going to make their own choices someone’s going to either buy into this or not, and it’s not. One of the things I’ve resigned to is, I’m sort of done debating. You know, I’m not a good debater period. And I don’t need to convince everyone that this is the way right, the Mandalorian reference there, for those that are big fans. Yeah. My, you know, I just want to present that, you know, this is what’s working for that there’s research that shows this works. First off, but more importantly, it’s what, like, aligns with my values and my clients values. And, and I think that’s really important. So when someone is holding on to that, like, still, I want to lose weight, and and I don’t get why you don’t either. It can be one of those places where, you know, maybe for right now there needs to be a boundary, like, Hey, I respect that. That’s what you are questioning. And, you know, it’s, it’s a heart, you can’t put intuitive eating Health at Every Size and body trust into a 32nd. soundbite. It’s a nuanced discussion. And so what I found is, you know, I couldn’t even really articulate it well, for a long time. So maybe the boundary is okay. But this is what I feel like is working right now. So can we just like this is a conversation of weight, and body size, let’s just not have like, I don’t want to have that conversation right now. Because I’m working through it. And maybe another time, we can sort of approach it. But I think it’s okay, boundaries with people and the people we love to aid in our own healing.
Melissa Landry 22:55
Sonya Renee Taylor’s book, the body is an apology centers on this whole idea of like, How comfortable are we with our own with difference? Yeah, here raised that way. I was like, Oh, yes, that is right. Being different makes me feel some kind of way. It makes you feel some kind of way, because we all want to belong, and more than anything a partner. Like, yes, that’s the biggest level of belonging we want in our lives. And so yeah, it makes so much sense to me that that belonging gets threatened, but it doesn’t have to, if you can respect the difference. So I love this, right? This thing that you’re saying, like, hey, it’s okay, you’re not where I’m at. And I need to not discuss this at the same time. That can be a great starting point until if ever, your partner is going to come around to this as something that meets their needs. Yeah, I mean, scary stuff, though,
Aaron Flores 23:48
can be very scary. Super, because because I think that the the next sentence that comes like, but they’re not gonna find me attractive body changes. And that’s, that’s real. I mean, like, that is a real, you know, that’s, that’s the space as dietitians, right? In my, like, relationship counseling class, right. You guys had like, what? Three or four classes on that right? relationship counseling?
Melissa Landry 24:16
No, we did not have that. Like zero. Maybe I’m
Aaron Flores 24:20
the only one.
Yeah, maybe I’m the only one who got you know, no, I got zero. Also. My point is like, that’s a space we need to hold though, for our clients. Is that Yeah, as soon as we start talking about this, the ripple effect is its area. And, you know, and yes, hopefully they have a therapist and are talking about it there. But like, it’s gonna ruin body image and like, standards, and we just need to be able to hold space for that’s a real fear. I can understand that. And what that means, and you know, and we can hold space for for that beer.
Melissa Landry 24:53
Yeah. And that’s sometimes what it means for us to be coaching from our lens like you’re driving. We’re in the seat. Next year we’re here. And, and it’s okay to feel and fear these things. It’s important to name it as a roadblock in your own journey. And you know what’s to come is up to you. But yeah, that’s, that’s honest, for sure seeing that. No, it’s a great response. And thank you for that. So I want to move to this next one, which is a little bit isn’t even more nuanced form of this question. So my partner’s considering waiting surgery. I’m in the evangelist phase of intuitive eating right now. And I want to tell her what I’m feeling. We’re both in larger bodies, but I’m smaller, I recognize my size privilege, how do I honor their journey and mine at the same time without going nuts as the person preparing our food, so similar vibe, but I liked the mention of privilege here and I just wanted to see if we could kind of layer a response in on that level.
Aaron Flores 25:55
is a big mistake is like, this is upper division work here. Yeah, this is this is this is a hard one. And the really hard is because like I said, I believe in informed consent and body autonomy, right? That every person gets to choose what they want to body. It’s not my agenda, right? That should tell us choosing to get surgery. That’s their choice. And hopefully they’ve really good to make that informed consent choice. That like if I the partner, who was there is having this is the I it’s been added to like, honor.
Melissa Landry 27:06
Can you hear me? Can you believe you’re on mute, but I’ll edit this part out so
Unknown Speaker 27:15
so I can’t hear Aaron either. Can Can you say something here? Let’s see if we can hear you. No, no, nothing’s coming is
Melissa Landry 27:24
it did sound like Internet jumble, though. I don’t know that. Microphone. Um. Oh, no, that was such a response. He’s a tech guy though. He’s got this.
Aaron Flores 27:36
Yeah. There you go. You can hear me now.
Melissa Landry 27:39
Yeah, we can.
Aaron Flores 27:42
Audio is gonna be a big part. But the audio is gonna be different cuz I just unplugged my mic, because this mic is sort of wonky.
Melissa Landry 27:48
Okay. No, we are so low on wearing
Aaron Flores 27:53
as long as I was worried about you earlier that like you’re gonna get taken over in the house. So
Unknown Speaker 28:00
I was like, I need to get out of this room.
Aaron Flores 28:04
Do a safety check later, but just making sure you’re good.
Melissa Landry 28:06
I’m good. This is my life. Okay, all right. This is gonna survive this. Okay, so for future Melissa editing what I’m going to do? I think I might just restate the question. Yeah. Some wild editing. Thank you. Yeah. All right. We’re gonna start now. Alright, so our next question, Aaron is a little bit deeper dive on the one we just covered. And it brings up some nuances that I think are helpful for people to consider. So this person’s asking about their partner who’s considering weight loss surgery. They say they’re an evangelist of IE right now. And they want to tell them what they’re feeling. They’re both in larger bodies, but the person asked him the question is smaller. She says, I recognize my size privilege, how do I honor their journey and mine at the same time without going nuts as the person preparing the food?
Aaron Flores 29:01
This is like, like, upper division work? Right? This is a really hard question. And the reason is, you know, I think as as someone’s having that weight loss surgery, we want our honor, right there, their choice, their body autonomy, but also knowing that it’s going to affect us, right, and that, and that’s seeing maybe how they eat differently now. Their body might change and how that could show up for us. So I think the heart of the question, right is, is, as I hear it is vital, I step into this brave conversation with my partner to say, I respect your choice. And because we’re partners, it’s going to affect me this way. How can we just be really open and talk about it? You know, and noticing that like, hey, like in a in both, like maybe What? I don’t want there to be an emotional change because of a physical one. Yeah, right. Like, like, what, what, what we are here for right? And we’re the reason we’re together hope, you know, hopefully, is that deep emotional connection? Yeah, you know, and I think because body this body image or like or body discussions, I don’t like the word image there because body discussions are so hard. I think we tend to just shy away from them. I think we just say like, Oh, this is gonna get really tricky. And and it can get tricky. Absolutely, especially in this case. But I think if there’s a lot of like, really open dialogue and and support on both sides, right, that a partnership can weather that, you know, you know, and I think again, it comes back to body autonomy like this is their, their journey, right? And my journey is gonna feel a little bit different. But together, we’re partners. Yeah,
Melissa Landry 31:01
you have to be a little bit improvisational, sometimes in a partnership. We’re like, totally, this little factor came in, none of us saw how, through that together, and I and I almost got the sense from this question that the person was almost wanting to, like, fix it in secret and not kind of talk about how it’s impacting them. And I think that’s usually something that backfires for folks. And a form of poor boundary setting in and of itself, right, when you are not communicating your boundary or your non without letting people know, that can be really challenging, so difficult, not impossible. And using that, that it’s your choice body autonomy. Yeah.
Aaron Flores 31:42
No. And also with validating dieticians, we’re not really this is not in our wheelhouse, right. I mean, this is this is a really hard space to hold also. And, and, you know, just, I would say, zooming out right to thinking about the folks who are the clinical folks who are working to this other dieticians is, this is why supervision is like, a must, as you’re doing this, right is like who’s supporting you as you’re having these holding space and having these conversations with your clients?
Melissa Landry 32:12
Right, and not having a ton of skill or power to to fix fix, you know, and some more people through these types of things. Yeah, great question. I appreciate the attention to size privilege this person is talking about that is a thing that’s going to make weight loss surgery feel more urgent for some than others, given the way that the world is set up. Yeah. Last one, we’re gonna kind of take this quickly. So this person is noticing that their partner is a natural, intuitive eater. And they’re feeling a little bit like they don’t get it. Like all the struggle in thought around food. Ah, I struggle with this one with clients sometimes. Because how do you explain something they’ve never gone through? What’s your thoughts on this? Well, one person like, the other one feels like they’re struggling.
Aaron Flores 33:03
I’m, like, so thankful those people exist those natural intuitive eaters, you know, no, it’s Yeah, it is, right. I mean, it’s like, I’m, like, you know, like, just the amount of energy that they have not spent their lives around food is just unlike a you’ve got to focus on so many other things wrapped up in food. You know, I, I think it there’s something to why love Bernie Brown, and empathy. Right? his perspective taking, and, and compassion, that’s where self compassion stuff is, right? Being able to sort of see the perspective of the other individual, right. And I think when we really provide empathy for folks, it doesn’t mean we have to have the exact same experience. Right, but that I can identify, maybe not around food, but around other places where I might have that kind of anxiety or fear or preoccupation, right? That is, you know, I didn’t commit energy here. But it was over here. And sort of just saying, like, you know, I, I’m empathy is to me, again, I said it before is being able to hold space for that person. Right? And to say, like, you know, I’m not here to fix it, right. And so, like, in sharing, right, one of the things that my partner and I did is we went to like this, you know, pre marriage like course, that university of Judaism put out here and we we went there and the therapists there told us like sometimes you just need to signpost for your partner and signposting saying like I’m going to tell you the story. And at the end of it, all I need you to say is, Wow, that sounds horrible. Right? So glad you told me and sometimes
Melissa Landry 34:58
Aaron Flores 35:00
Right. So so you know, and sometimes partners really want to fix it. We don’t want to see anyone we love in distress. But if you can sort of say like, Hey, I’m really struggling with food, right? Like I sort of try to challenge my food rolls around Oreos. And you know, it’s just really hard right now. And I want Oreos in the house, but I don’t want them in the house. And I should get more, but I don’t want more. And I’m just gonna, I need to tell you, right, I don’t need you to come up with a plan for me. I just need you to know that like this is in my head. And that you’re willing to listen?
Melissa Landry 35:34
Yeah, that’s really wonderful model.
Aaron Flores 35:37
How to. So yeah.
Melissa Landry 35:41
to finding communities of people who do get it takes burden off your partnership. Oh, yeah. That particular need. So you know, this idea that your partner is going to be all the checkboxes puts a lot of pressure on the partnership. And so that’s why I find my clients who have found community who I had a client the other day, who shared a body image story, she says, I’ve never had a couple people tell me, I get it without me having to explain it or having to feel like I have to be like, Oh, it’s not that bad. You know, she just set it. They gave her support and idea. She moved on and shouldn’t have to take that to her partner. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 36:18
Yeah. Yeah. It’s,
Aaron Flores 36:21
I think that community piece is so important. You know? That’s what we need so much more.
Unknown Speaker 36:25
Yeah. And yeah, I mean, I’m constantly talking to my clients about how we live in such an individualistic society. And we feel like we have to take it all on ourselves. And sometimes our partners are the only people that we’re talking to, and they take it on themselves. And then it’s just like, the two of you against the world. It doesn’t have to be that way. Right? Yeah, we are. And that’s why I love Rene Brown, too. Like we’re supposed to have community as human beings. We weren’t meant to do all of this alone. So finding your community is so important.
Aaron Flores 36:58
Yeah. And that’s why COVID is just so yes. Because our community just without was taken away from us in so many ways.
Melissa Landry 37:07
Yeah. And ways that we maybe didn’t appreciate or know exactly,
Aaron Flores 37:11
Melissa Landry 37:13
Well, this was a very educational and nourishing conversation today. I am so excited to have been able to spend time with you, Aaron. Before we close, I’d love for you to let know, let people know where to find you. Anything you want to share with us.
Aaron Flores 37:28
Yeah. First of all, I want that to be my tagline. Aaron, incredibly informative and nourishing.
Yeah, well, my website is smash the patriarchy.com. And you can find me there. And I’m on Instagram. I will be honest, I post probably once a month if that. And I don’t, I don’t. My self care is I’m really hopping off social media in a lot of ways and have to take a step back. But But I do post up there occasionally. My podcast dieticians unplugged, you can definitely check out past episodes. And I also host, I run two different groups. I run a men’s group, a body trust men support group, and it runs in six week cycles. So if you’re interested in that, you can definitely email me at Aaron fluorous, rd firstname.lastname@example.org. And other group I run with Dr. Rachel Milner is a support group or providers who are struggling with their own body image or eating disorder. And so it’s a it’s a really confidential space where providers can feel safe to explore their own issues and get support.
Melissa Landry 38:48
We appreciate love or at work.
Aaron Flores 38:51
Yeah, thank you.
Melissa Landry 38:51
I am wishing you so much fun enjoy the rest of this quarantine you at a conference or something someday when life returns. So whenever that happens,
Aaron Flores 39:05
right? I really hope so we can we can we can really share a meal and I’d love to chat.
Melissa Landry 39:12
I just want people around me again. Even want them around them back then like I want them back.
Aaron Flores 39:18
Yeah, I hear ya.
Melissa Landry 39:20
Thanks again, Aaron. Bye bye.