What made you get involved in the body positive movement?

I eventually hit a breaking point. My boyfriend had moved in with me and I could no longer keep up my strict routine of exercising (because you know, I wanted to spend time with him!) and I also couldn’t heavily monitor my food intake because we were sharing meals together. My weight started to creep up and I got scared, so I doubled-down. I became obsessive about weighing myself every day, and any time my weight went up my day was ruined. I would come home from work and if dinner wasn’t ready I’d lose it (because I was ravenously hungry!) I started to see what a negative effect it was having on my life and I just wanted to be happy.

I remember doing a Google search on “how not to emotionally eat” and came across Isabel Foxen Duke who is a proponent of Intuitive Eating. One thing leads to another and I found out about Health at Every Size and the Body Positive movement. I devoured everything I could get my hands on relating to this. It was then that I learned that diet culture existed, and I learned the truth (or more accurately the many myths) about weight and health. Once I was exposed to all this information I knew there was no going back, and I began a journey to heal my relationship to food, my body, and unlearn all the myths I had been taught about fat as it relates to body image and health.

 Did you always want to be a coach? Or did that come later?

Before I started my body acceptance journey I was regularly practising The Work of Byron Katie. It was life-changing for me to see that my experience could change for the better by questioning my stressful thoughts. It had a really positive impact on my life and I knew that I wanted to be able to help others do the same, so it was then that I decided I would train to become a Life Coach. It was actually at the beginning of my life coach training that I hit my diet breaking point, so I was simultaneously training to be a life coach while my own body acceptance work. As I moved through my recovery from disordered eating (which is what I later learned I was struggling with), it became so clear to me the negative impact diet culture was having on so many people’s lives, that I knew I wanted to focus on life coaching on body acceptance.

You have a degree in Health Studies and Sociology, what made you peruse that as your interest of study?

I found Sociology so interesting, studying the organizations and social groups that make up our culture, and the impact it has on our lives. So I when I was studying this in university I heard of a new, complementary program that was offered called Health Studies – which looked at the social determinants of health, and I was hooked.

In our culture, we most often place individual responsibility on people for the condition of their health, yet much greater social factors have a much bigger impact – such as someone’s economic status, the state of their relationships, environmental factors, housing conditions, connection to the community etc. These factors play such a huge role in our well-being, and yet

Do you think the word fat is an insult?

I think it’s used as an insult, but in and of itself the word “fat” isn’t derogatory. “Fat” has been layered with negative meaning, when in reality fat is neutral. It isn’t bad, it’s only what we believe about it. Just like “thin” isn’t inherently positive or a “compliment” – it’s the meaning we layer onto it. If we lived in a culture that thought the opposite and decided that thinness was ugly, thin would be tossed around as an insult. So by people reclaiming the word fat and using it in neutral or positive ways, it helps to re-shape the meaning we’ve given the word.

What do you think is the most common reason behind fatphobia?

I believe that it’s a combination of a fear of rejection/not feeling good enough and fear of poor health. Fat is so vilified in our culture and we are taught since birth to see fat as bad, that people are scared to gain weight and hence be seen as bad, and rejected by others. Then there is also this very strong belief that its weight that causes poor health (despite no evidence of causation), so people have a fear of getting sick and dying early if they are fat.

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10 thoughts on “Interview with Body Acceptance Coach Kristina Bruce

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Cheryl! And yes, this post is so informative for anyone of any size. Kristina Bruce is s such a good resource for people wanting to know more about accepting their body.

    1. Thanks Jodie! And yes, I’m so glad that society as a whole is slowly starting to change when it comes to body acceptance.

  1. Gigi, this is such a great post! How great that she sat down with you for an interview! The thing with body positive is that it goes both ways as well. There are many women on the other side of the spectrum who struggle to keep weight on and are told they are too thin…or even worse are idolized for being unhealthily thin when they are struggling to get to a healthy weight. We all need to embrace the bodies we were given and enjoy life in those bodies! Such a wonderful message.

    Shelbee
    http://www.shelbeeontheedge.com

    1. Yes, fatphobia and body negativity does goes way. I think the idolization of being super skinny is a problem that the media and the fashion industry are to blame. We need to reality that there is not just one ideal body type and that health can not be simply determined just by body type.

    1. Thank you for hosting the link up, Emma! And yes, for the most part, I’m so glad that movement is becoming more and more mainstream.

  2. Wow, Gigi. This was one of the best blog posts I’ve ever read, probably ever. Firstly, I really loved the way you phrased all of the questions. And of course, everything Kristina had to say was very, very eye-opening. Some of the things she mentioned could apply to me as well, especially the aspect about intuitive eating. This is something that SO many people struggle with because they’re eating according to the stigmas on dieting, and according to what other non-professionals are telling them to eat in order to look a certain way that society deems “healthy”. This is something I struggle with (intuitive eating) as I tend to overindulge a lot and focus on my emotions when it comes to eating. I’m also glad she brought some awareness to the myths regarding general health and the incomplete information out there surrounding us and what we think is healthy. It’s so important to not get swept up in so much junk and so, so important to inspire, motivate and support those who are going through something like this. As Kristina mentioned, “When I needed it, it was helpful for him to tell me how beautiful I am and just be generally supportive on those days I was feeling down.” Surrounding yourself with positive people who love you and support you through the ups and downs is the most important thing you can do, and even more so, letting go of those who don’t serve you or your goals…especially if they believe so many of these myths regarding health!

    Thank you for sharing, and thank Kristina for such wonderful information and advice.

    1. Yes, Martina, everything Kristina said is right on point. And one of the reasons I wanted to interview her because Kristina is a professional and as someone who has not professionally studied fat health and body acceptance my word can only go so far. Yet, Kristina’s advice is applicable to anyone of any shape. Also, I feel you about eating your emotions. I struggle with depression and anxiety and I tend to self-medicate with food. It’s totally a problem that not just you faces on a daily basis.

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