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Author Archives: Dr. Alexis Conason


Should We Focus on a Women’s Weight During Pregnancy?

As any woman who has ever been pregnant knows, there is an intense focus on weight throughout pregnancy. From the first visit with your OB when you step on the scale and are given a prescription for how much weight to gain, all the way through the postpartum period when your body is scrutinized for …


The Hidden Faces of Eating Disorders

What is the face of an eating disorder? Often, we envision a young thin white woman. However, research indicates that people at higher weights—fat people—are at increased risk for eating disorders. And their symptoms typically go unnoticed. A recent study (Lipson & Sonneville, 2017) examined 9713 students from 12 different colleges and found that body …


No More Diets… and Other AAP Recommendations

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has just released new guidelines for the prevention of obesity and eating disorders in adolescents. These guidelines are a departure from the previous 2007 weight-focused guidelines, which encouraged physicians to use the term “obese” (despite awareness of increased stigmatization) and suggested interventions including commercial weight loss programs, weight loss …


Has Obesity Prevention Led to a New Epidemic?

We have spent the last 20 years fighting a war against obesity. While we are still searching for a “cure” to obesity, we have witnessed the rise of a different epidemic: widespread body dissatisfaction and disordered eating. It is estimated that 1/2 of all teenage girls and 1/4 of all teenage boys are dissatisfied with …

no diet 2016

Why NOT to Diet in 2016

As we enter the start of 2016, millions of people will think not of the wonderful accomplishments of the past year, but of the improvements they hope to make in the year to come. Rather than gratitude and appreciation for all that we have, we see the New Year as a time to “start fresh” …

Oprah Quote

Dear Oprah,

“Inside every overweight woman is the woman she knows she can become” This is what Oprah Winfrey tells us in her new commercial for Weight Watchers. I find it enraging. It implies that every overweight woman is just waiting to become someone else because who she is now is unacceptable. Weight Watchers is a company …


Step Away From the Scale (And Never Get Back On)

Scales are ubiquitous in American households. They are expected objects in a bathroom landscape. Few people think twice when they happen upon one. You may even have one in your own bathroom. However, when we actually step onto the scale, this innocuous-looking object becomes something far more sinister. In our culture, where thinner is always …


5 Tips to Manage Your Eating Around the Holidays

The holidays can be a time of stress and turmoil, especially when it comes to our eating. Some people cope by battening down the hatches on their diet plan while others give themselves permission to go off course. Neither of these strategies are particularly effective and they can even contribute to patterns of disordered eating. …


Do People Replace Food with Sex?

The diet made him do it. This was the argument that Jared Fogel’s attorney made in court to defend his having sex with minors. Forensic psychiatrist John Bradford testified that Fogel’s rapid weight loss and restricted diet led to hyperactive sexual drives that resulted in his “mild pedophilia.” First of all, I never knew that …


Are Healthy Living Blogs Dangerous to Your Health?

It is hard to toss a stone into cyberspace without hitting a healthy living blog. Topics range from reviews of low calorie snacks to bloggers documenting their fitness journeys. Just about anyone with internet access can start a blog and become a healthy living “expert.” But often these experts aren’t really experts at all and …

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Is Facebook Making Us Hate Our Bodies?

It is estimated that Facebook had nearly 1.3 billion users in 2013. That translates to 1/6 of the world population. In North America, just under half of the population is on Facebook and 71% of adults who are online are on Facebook. A 2010 study revealed that teens spend more than 7 ½ hours per …


Does Thinking You are Fatter Make You Fatter

Adolescence is a vulnerable period for the onset of body image dissatisfaction and eating disorders. Many adolescents misperceive their body size; it is not uncommon for normal weight* adolescents to categorize themselves as overweight. What is the effect of this misperception of body size? Compared with normal weight teens who accurately perceive their weight, those …


Skinny Shaming: The Goldilocks Complex

Sometimes I feel like I’m living in the Goldilocks fable. This one is too fat…that one is too thin…is anyone just right? “Just right” is a narrowly defined precarious space in which women teeter on the brink of falling into “too fat” or “dangerously thin” territory. For celebrities, it barely takes an indulgence at In-N-Out …


Is My Doctor Fat Phobic?

Just like the rest of Americans, healthcare providers carry weight biases. That means that your physician, nurse, dietician, psychologist, and fitness professional may hold discriminatory attitudes about fat people. Studies consistently document weight bias in healthcare providers, including the tendency to view obese* patients as lazy, lacking in self-control, undisciplined, and noncompliant with treatment. Furthermore, …


Is Your Self Worth Up for Sale?

Over the past few months, we have been interviewing experts on the topics of fat shame and body acceptance. Throughout these interviews there has been another topic that has come up again and again. That topic is industry–the food and diet industries to be exact. In our interview with fat shame expert Amy Farrell, she …



When we think of diabetes, eating disorders are not usually the first associations to pop into mind. However, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) estimates that eating disorders are three times more common in people with diabetes than without. Have you heard of diabulimia? Although clinicians have documented accounts of diabulimia for the past …


Meditate Your Way to Better Sex

As Valentine’s Day approaches–along with the much anticipated release of the steamy 50 Shades of Grey film– sex is on the forefront of our cultural psyche. What is the magic to having better sex? We try exotic herbs, provocative lingerie, expensive meals out, and even prescription medications in our quest for a rocking sex life. …


Why NOT to diet in 2015

As we countdown the final moments of 2014, millions of people will think not of the wonderful accomplishments of the past year, but of the improvements they hope to make in the year to come. Rather than gratitude and appreciation for all that we have, we see the New Year as a time to “start …


Strong is the New Skinny

Has fitness become the new face of eating disorders? I was at the gym the other week when I noticed one of the trainers wearing a shirt stating, “Strong is the New Skinny.” The trainer seemed to wear the shirt as a message of empowerment, but I read it with fear. Has strong become the …


Eating Disorders in Boys and Young Men: The Importance of Muscularity

It is widely believed that eating disorders primarily affect young women. Most research in eating disorders is conducted with female participants and most interventions are developed with women in mind. Even most professionals who specialize in the treatment of eating disorders are women. Women are far more likely to be diagnosed with anorexia nervosa or …


The Body Image Revolution: Our Interview with Stella Boonshoft

Two years ago, Stella Boonshoft posted a photograph online that started a national conversation about body image. In the third installment of our Fat Shame series, Kim Buesser sat down with Stella to see what she’s been up to since a picture in her underwear made her an overnight celebrity. Read on for Stella’s thoughts …


Pickles and Ice Cream!

Food cravings are common, especially for women during pregnancy. It is estimated that 50-90% of women in the U.S. experience cravings for specific foods during pregnancy. In the U.S., chocolate is the most commonly craved food and women are twice as likely to crave chocolate as men. Despite the ubiquity of food cravings during pregnancy, …


Is Fat the New F-Word?

Speaking the unspeakable about our bodies. I recently received a concerned call from a colleague: “Some people were offended by your most recent email,” she delicately told me, referring to an email that I had posted to a listserv that I participate in. Yikes, I thought to myself, urgently checking through my sent mail to …


Fat Shame

Lose 1-2 pounds per day! Burn fat fast! Unwanted love handles? Cleanse them away! We are constantly bombarded with media telling us that we must rid ourselves of fat. We can burn it off, shake it off, starve it off—if only we have the proper willpower and motivation. In our culture, fat has become synonymous …


Fat Shame: Interview with Dr. Amy Farrell

In the first post of our Fat Shame series, Kim Buesser talks with Dr. Amy Farrell, a professor of American Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania and author of Fat Shame, a book which demystifies fat stigma in America by following its history across the globe. Below is a transcript of Kim’s conversation with …


The Evidence for Intuitive Eating

Traditional weight loss dieting programs are typically ineffective in producing consistent long-term weight loss and maintenance. In addition to being ineffective, dieting often results in psychological distress and disordered eating behaviors. Are mindful and intuitive eating non-dieting approaches more effective?


Challenging the Thin Ideal

Approximately 50-70% of adolescent girls report feeling dissatisfied with their body. Media representations of the thin-ideal of beauty have emerged as a cause of body dissatisfaction. This post explores a recent research study which investigated an intervention aimed at helping young girls improve body image