Cassie Willnauer is a licensed therapist serving the Kansas City area. She specializes in working with clients on issues of body image, sex, and sexuality. She's done training in perinatal mental health and practices from the Health at Every Size Model. She's currently working towards a PhD in Clinical Sexology where she will become a Certified Sex Therapist & contribute to the field by investigating the intersection of fatphobia and sexuality. She's the co-host of the Sex at Every Size podcast where she and her sister, a registered dietitian, explore these concepts as well.
What We Talked About
Body image, eating disorders, and sex! I have Cassie Willnauer, licensed therapist in the Kansas City area and host of the podcast Sex At Every Size, on the show this week.
How do you think the diet industry impacts our ability to trust when we feel things in our bodies like pleasure?
Cassie says, “The entire premise of diet culture is that we can’t trust the innate queues that our body gives us.”
When you’re eating restrictively, you put your body into a state of stress. No one feels like having sex when they’re in survival mode like that. Really, we need to show ourselves some erotic empathy by nourishing our bodies properly.
It’s also hard when you’re breaking up with diet culture but your partner is not.
What are you feeding your mind with through social media? The diet industry feeds your brain, through images, the message that you are not enough. (That’s a lie, btw.)
How can people change their social media feed to help break from the clutches of the diet industry?
Y’all, body changes, especially at the time of major life transitions, are normal! Pregnancy and birth, leaving home to go off to college, whatever it may be, it is all ok and we shouldn’t expect our bodies to constantly conform to any kind of standard that media is throwing at you. Your body is going to change and sex is going to look different over your lifetime. It’s ok! Please, get used to talking about it!
Therapists: Never, ever, suggest a diet program to your clients. Do not do it (unless you’re also a registered dietician).
What could someone do if they are not being heard by a health care provider?
Privilege has a lot of influence in what kind of care people have access to. Find a care provider that listens to what you have to say. Advocate for yourself, and please recognize that you don’t deserve poor healthcare just because you’re “fat”. You can say, “I’m not interested in talking about my weight,” or “Let’s focus on the reason why I’m here.”
How can someone start challenging how they see their bodies and issues with food?
One of the best ways to fight the influence of the diet industry: If you have a body that you’re insecure about, go to social media and find clips of people dancing around in underwear or swimsuits, that have bodies that look just like yours, so you can at least see a body like yours experiencing joy.
Take a moment by yourself and get used to looking at all the body parts that you have negative feelings about and just allow yourself to view them from a more neutral space.
How can someone meet themselves, and their body, where they are and start challenging their negative associations with their body?
Exercise can help you complete the stress response cycle. Challenging how you think about the goal of exercise can help you create the internal self-love that we all need.
How to find Cassie