In this episode, I talk to Chrissy King about how powerlifting changed her life, why she started talking about diversity and inclusion in fitness, and her experiences as a black woman in a predominantly white-washed wellness culture.

Before the interview, I answer a question I received from a Team Truffle Salt member on Patreon. If you are a Team Truffle Salt member, you can ask me any personal question to have answered in my Patreon-only feed within a couple of days.

Listener Question: How to have fitness goals without diet culture

First of all, I just want to say thank you! So much of your content has really changed a lot for me and my relationship with food so far. What I’m currently struggling with is how do I workout while not giving into diet culture? I do have goals in the gym (related to strength and endurance). I want to remain letting my body do it’s thing but I kinda want to have a goal while working out. Is that giving into diet culture? Also let me know if you know of any good trainers on IG or in general who are in tune with intuitive eating and working out! I’d love to look at how they navigate that as well.

Also, I continue to put on a few more pounds each year and see myself changing into something I wasn’t comfortable with (yes fatphobic, UGH I know). Being 23 year and changing drastically so fast also scared me. I’m so happy I found you! I just knew going back into the vicious diet cycle wasn’t best for me. So any advice on how to continue on this journey would be appreciated!

My Answer:

Thank you for the question!

So honestly it’s tough for me to recommend specific trainers and stuff because SO many trainers have taken it upon themselves to give out nutrition advice and promote fatphobia without realizing how harmful it can be. You definitely need to tread lightly in the online fitness world and learn to tune things out or unfollow as soon as someone posts something you feel doesn’t align with what you’re looking for.

In terms of having fitness goals…

NO that is not inherently diet culture, and I’m so proud of you for questioning it and wanting to self-regulate those thoughts. The fact that you are questioning your motivations around working out is such a huge win that I definitely would encourage you to celebrate.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having fitness goals, and I think that one of the traps we fall into when switching to intuitive eating is feeling like we also have to reject diet culture perfectly. This is a trap because there is no perfect rejection of diet culture. There will still be times when you find yourself doing or saying something that feels a little diety, and that’s because of the world we live in. It’s really hard to avoid those messages completely, and we internalize things that we don’t even realize.

Obviously, I can’t know your motivations for working out with one question, but it sounds to me like you’re being really careful about what you engage in so that you don’t fall back down that slippery slope. A huge part of this process is learning to identify where your line is. By that I mean…

  • Ask yourself how you’ll know if working out becomes unhealthy. Some major signs are similar to food – you feel guilty if you miss a workout or you stay at a work out even if you’re tired or hungry. It might be helpful to create a physical list of red flags so that you can be aware of when they start to creep up.
  • Figure out if you might have multiple motivations for working out. Like you can have fitness goals AND have a little part of you that wants to change your body. That’s OKAY but you need to be honest with yourself about it so you can navigate it
  • Get in the habit of checking back in with yourself regularly to make sure that your goals for the gym are goals that YOU have, and not goals that you think you SHOULD have because of something you saw online or whatever. Does that make sense?

I’d also recommend finding new ways to accomplish your goals in addition to going to the gym! Maybe you try a dance class or pilates or yoga or something that feels new and different. This can help you keep experimenting to figure out exactly what works for you.

This process is going to be a lot of trial and error. The point of learning to eat intuitively is learning how to listen and respond to your body in all areas of life. Nobody can tell you what is healthy or unhealthy for you, and nobody is judging your process of figuring this out. You need to do what feels right because this is your life!

You might want to start slow and work up if you’re feeling nervous or insecure about this process. That way you can get your footing under you a bit and take each day one day at a time instead of jumping into these lofty goals.

And finally, in response to your question about your body changing…

That happens. Bodies change, and sometimes they change dramatically. It’s a beautiful part of life and something that I wish more people would celebrate. I know it can feel scary when your body starts to resemble something you’ve been taught to fear, so the best first step is recognizing why you’ve been taught to fear it and seeing if you can unpack some of those beliefs.

Truth is, it’s never about the way your body looks ~really~. Like yes, there are the physical elements of being able to fit places when you’re bigger. But there’s so much more that can be unpacked. It usually has way more to do with our perceptions of feeling like we do or don’t deserve love. It has to do with our images of success or our fears around acceptance.

Dig a little deeper into these things and see if you can come up with some evidence for why they aren’t true. Facing your fears around what your changing body MEANS for your life will go a long way towards helping you navigate it.

Hope this helped!

If you want your question answered, you can become at Team Truffle Salt member on Patreon! 


Interview with Chrissy King about how powerlifting changed her life

Topics covered in this episode:

  • Chrissy’s history with yo-yo dieting and trying to shrink herself
  • How powerlifting changed her life
  • Why she started writing about the intersection of race and feminism in the wellness world
  • Experiences being a black woman in fitness settings that aren’t accepting or inclusive
  • How to start talking about race and oppression online so you can be a better ally
  • How to tell if a fitness space is going to be inclusive and diverse
  • Why people of color can’t be the only people having conversations about diversity
  • Her course Diversity and Inclusion 101
  • How Chrissy describes intuition

To close out the episode, I talk briefly about how to navigate nutrition information on the internet and why it’s important to always check in with yourself to make sure that what you’re doing feels good for your body.

About Chrissy King:

Chrissy King is a writer, speaker, strength coach, and self-proclaimed truth teller with a passion for intersectional feminism and creating a diverse and inclusive wellness industry.  She has been featured in SELF, BuzzFeed, Muscle and Fitness, and Livestrong, among others.

She empowers women to stop shrinking, start taking up space, and use their energy to create their specific magic in the world. When she’s not serving her clients by empowering them to create stress-free and sustainable lifestyles and feel confident and empowered in their skin, she spends her time lifting all the weights, reading, traveling, and hanging with friends and family.

Follow Chrissy: | @IAmChrissyKing | Facebook | Twitter

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