This week I’m talking with Marcella Raimondo, a psychologist in Oakland, California who has been working in the field of multicultural issues in eating disorders for nearly 25 years. She has recovered herself from anorexia nervosa over 20 years ago.
We have a high energy exchange about living in a world where certain foods, like sugar and dairy, are highly demonized. We chat about how frustrating it is to be around folks who constantly want to talk about how much better they feel now that they’ve eliminated “x” food from their diet. Marcella talks about how often she is the only person in her client’s lives who is telling them that it is ok to do things like eating ice cream in public. We also talk de-stigmatizing eating for emotional reasons and how to deal with diet or “health” talk (which is often a stand-in for diet talk) with friends and family.
Marcella trains in Kajukenbo at Hand to Hand Self Defense Center in Oakland. She holds a first degree black belt and enjoys the exploratory path her training gives her. Her recovery and her martial arts training inspires her dedication to multicultural body nurturance and community celebration.
- The recovery process is about removing layer after layer
- We live in a world that keeps a disordered eating mindset pretty intact
- Letting the fantasy go that one day your body will be smaller leads to liberation and relief, although society will continue to tell you that something is wrong with your body
- “I am addicted to sugar,” is such a common thing she hears
- Even if someone is eating an adequate amount of food, many times there is no enjoyment (it’s still very diet-y, or someone may stick to “safe” foods)
- Your body and mind respond to what feels like deprivation
- Getting curious about how food helps with emotions
- We all eat emotionally and always will
- Colonization made indigenous food “bad” and the colonizer’s food “good”
- Using the word “crap” to describe someone’s food is problematic when that may be what’s accessible, affordable, and familiar to them
- If someone keeps talking about how they good they feel if they’ve cut out a certain food it doesn’t sound like liberation
- When people are depriving themselves of what they really want and need social approval for all the hard work they are doing
- All the negativity and energy behind processed food is classist: for some folks, this is their food
- Putting children on diets sets them up for a lifetime of a problematic relationship to their body
- Thin privilege allowed Marcella to experiment with different foods in her recovery without experiencing backlash from others
- Recognizing her own privilege in recovery which makes the road so much easier