Cultural Double Standards: Food and Body Image with Allen-Michael Lewis, LMFT

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Join us for the season finale of Season 3 on Heal Your Roots Podcast, where Kira Yakubov Ploshansky, LMFT, and Dr. Katie Manganello, host Allen-Michael Lewis, LMFT – one of the newest team members at Heal Your Roots Wellness. Dive deep into the cultural narratives around food, body image, and relationships. Allen-Michael discusses the double standards and societal pressures faced by individuals regarding diet and body image. With a blend of personal anecdotes and professional insights, he highlights the impact of parental and cultural expectations on eating behaviors and mental health.

Episode Highlights:

  • Cultural Perspectives on Food and Relationships (0:00): Allen-Michael explores cultural double standards in food and body image, sharing personal and professional insights into addressing these issues in therapy sessions.
  • OCD, Eating Disorders, and Cultural Differences (8:01): Dr. Katie Manganello discusses the manifestation of OCD in food habits and the pressures leading to eating disorders in children due to parental influence.
  • Societal Double Standards (13:24): Examination of how men and women are differently judged based on their eating habits and body image, with a focus on societal and familial expectations.
  • Body Positivity and Internalized Shame (19:48): Discussion on the importance of mindfulness and body acceptance, particularly among younger generations influenced by social media.
  • Impact of Family and Societal Comments on Body Image (25:41): Insights into how negative comments from family and society can shape one’s self-esteem and body image, with a discussion on the myths around body health and size.
  • Eating Disorders and Sensory Processing Conditions (33:19): Addressing disordered eating and sensory processing issues such as ARFID and pica, and the associated stigma and shame.
  • Psychedelics in Therapy (39:26): Exploring the potential of psychedelics in disrupting harmful mental narratives and creating pathways for healing, compared to traditional therapy methods.

This episode is a thoughtful exploration of how cultural narratives and personal experiences shape our relationships with food, body image, and mental health. Don’t miss out on this engaging conversation!

Tune in now and subscribe to Heal Your Roots Podcast for more insightful episodes on relationships, mental health, and personal growth.

Episode Resources:

Disclaimer: The content is intended for informational and educational purposes only


Cultural Perspectives on Relationships and Food (0:00)

  • Allen-Michael Lewis discusses cultural double standards for food and body image in therapy sessions.
  • He shares personal anecdotes and insights on addressing these issues with clients.
  • Allen-Michael highlights the impact of food on mental health, often quoting jingles from diet culture.
  • Kira Yakubov Ploshansky recommends restaurants to Allen-Michael, sparking a discussion on potential affiliate marketing.
  • Together, they explore how food represents emotional experiences and cultural backgrounds in therapy.

OCD, Eating Disorders, and Cultural Differences in Food Habits (8:01)

  • Dr. Katie Manganello explains how OCD can manifest in food and eating habits.
  • The discussion covers how parental dietary restrictions can lead to perfectionism and eating disorders in children and teenagers.
  • Allen-Michael and Dr. Manganello discuss the pressures on kids to have a “weird relationship with food” and the normalization of this behavior in men.
  • They highlight the double standard in praising male athletes for restrictive diets while criticizing female athletes for the same behavior.

Societal Double Standards Around Food and Body Image (13:24)

  • Kira Yakubov Ploshansky discusses societal double standards in food and eating, noting how men are encouraged to eat more while women are judged for their weight.
  • Allen-Michael talks about cultural beliefs around food as love and appreciation, alongside the judgment and policing of women’s bodies.
  • They explore the stigma surrounding the word “fat” and its impact on society, including how children are taught to view and comment on people’s bodies.

Body Positivity, Societal Beauty Standards, and Internalized Shame (19:48)

  • The conversation includes a discussion on mindfulness and body acceptance, encouraging Gen Z to break away from negative self-talk and comparison on social media.
  • Allen-Michael emphasizes the importance of intergenerational dialogue and support in promoting body positivity and self-acceptance.
  • They discuss societal pressure on body types in relationships and agree that negative comments based on internalized beauty standards are harmful.

Body Image, Eating Disorders, and Food Sensitivities (25:41)

  • Kira Yakubov Ploshansky discusses the impact of negative comments from family members on body image and self-esteem.
  • The speakers address the double standard of society’s beauty standards for women versus men, focusing on Hollywood and media representation.
  • Allen-Michael and Dr. Manganello discuss the myth that bigger bodies are less healthy, citing examples from dance and gym workouts.
  • They touch on eating disorders, with Dr. Manganello sharing her experience with individuals in smaller bodies struggling with self-care and mental health.
  • Allen-Michael shares his struggles with eating certain foods due to sensory issues, and another speaker discusses experiences with autism spectrum disorder and food sensitivities.

Eating Disorders and Sensory Processing Conditions (33:19)

  • Kira Yakubov Ploshansky and Allen-Michael discuss disordered eating and sensory processing, including avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) and pica (eating non-food items).
  • They address the shame and stigma surrounding disordered eating and sensory processing, focusing on promoting acceptance and understanding.
  • The challenges of addressing mental health issues are discussed, emphasizing the need for empathy and understanding.
  • They stress the importance of recognizing that mental health struggles are ingrained habits and patterns that require support and therapy.

Using Psychedelics to Treat Mental Health Issues (39:26)

  • Kira Yakubov Ploshansky discusses the difficulty of forming new habits and the role of default mode networks in shaping beliefs and narratives.
  • Psychedelics can disrupt these default modes, creating new pathways for self-perception and potentially leading to lasting change.
  • Allen-Michael compares narrative therapy to psychedelic-assisted therapy, noting similarities in reframing beliefs and deleting old narratives.
  • Kira highlights promising results from MDMA-assisted therapy for social anxiety and PTSD, with participants no longer qualifying for diagnosis after six months.
  • The importance of addressing food and eating habits in therapy is emphasized, urging clinicians to challenge internalized thoughts about food and support clients in developing a healthy relationship with food.

This episode offers a comprehensive exploration of cultural narratives and personal experiences shaping relationships with food, body image, and mental health. Listen now for an insightful conversation with Allen-Michael Lewis, Kira Yakubov Ploshansky, and Dr. Katie Manganello.

Keywords: cultural perspectives, food, body image, eating disorders, mental health, Allen-Michael Lewis, Heal Your Roots Wellness, mindfulness, body positivity, societal standards, therapy, relationships.

  • Expand for Podcast Transcript

    Cultural Perspectives on Food and Relationships (0:00)

    Allen Michael Lewis 0:00
    For men, it’s like oh, like you said that Oh, you’re growing boy you need this. Like all of that is kind of like heaped on and that in some cultures that I’ve worked with the idea of like food is love, which I think is really great like food as a way of like showing love your appreciation for the person, but then it’s almost like they’re given a if they’re given something then they’re slapped in the face for taking it. It’s like you need to eat you need to eat Oh, but don’t eat too much. Oh, you be in too much now you’re now you’re fat. Now you’re this and it’s oftentimes that double standard for for women in the family. You know, their culture says you need to eat this is how we show our love. But don’t over indulge and don’t become fat because that is the worst thing that can happen.


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 0:43
    Welcome back to Heal Your Roots Podcast. I’m Kira Yakubov Ploshansky. Joining me as guest co host Dr. Katie Manganello, lol and our returning guest, Allen Michael Lewis, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and director of internships at counsel for relationships. Thank you both for coming back on today. Thanks for having me.


    Dr. Katie Manganello 1:02
    So excited to have us through talking today. This will be fun.


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 1:06
    I know. So actually, we realized this after the fact. But Katie and Allen actually know each other outside of the psych world. So this is this is gonna be a fun one. I think we all have pretty good chemistry that we can kind of flow in today’s episode together.


    Allen Michael Lewis 1:22
    It’s funny. I think that I was asking Katie, oh, are you taking new clients? Just like in our passing meeting? And she’s like, Yeah, send them my way. And then you announced that you were going to be your roots. And I’m like, crazy.


    Dr. Katie Manganello 1:37
    I know.


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 1:38
    Small World


    Dr. Katie Manganello 1:39
    really a coincidence. Yeah.


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 1:42
    So Alan, can you I know you’ve been on an episode with us before. But for any listeners who may not have heard that episode, can you share a little bit about yourself and who you work with?


    Allen Michael Lewis 1:50
    Yeah, well, first of all, if you haven’t listened to that episode, How dare you. I’m just kidding. So I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I work at counsel for relationships. I was director of clinical internships. And I just got a promotion to senior director of clinical programs. So pretty still working with the interns, but still working with our programs for child adolescents, older adults, and veterans as well. So exciting things happening over here. But for the clients that I see, usually I am working with folks. communication, relationship dynamics, and one of the things that I’m really passionate about is food in general. But a lot of the work that I do with my clients is talking about and healing their relationship with food. I was talking to somebody recently, just in passing, I think, and I said, you know, there are a lot of us that can quote, the one 899 Jenny, like, from like, Jenny Craig, when we were like little kids. And I was like, if we can quote that. I mean, we need to have a conversation about our relationship with food. Because if we’re little hearing that jingle and thinking like, oh, diet, culture is the way we really need to consider our thoughts about food. So that’s how a lot of what I do with my clients. And it’s surprising how food and their how it impacts themselves, their relationship, their family, comes up a lot of the sessions that I deal with my clients.


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 3:29
    Yeah, absolutely. And I appreciate you sharing that. I know that you have your MF T foodie account, which I love following you’re always in like the best spots and like you have really good photos of all the food that makes it super enticing. I don’t know if you have affiliates with these restaurants, but you totally should for advertising.


    Allen Michael Lewis 3:49
    I don’t yet but if you are a restaurant. Yeah, I just, I like exploring. I do have my go twos. So sometimes it’s a little repetitive. But yeah, if you have any recommendations, let me know. Awesome.


    Dr. Katie Manganello 4:05
    Fun fact, Josh. And I, my fiance and I, we used to have a food page too. And then it just kind of got lazy and stopped posting on it. But yeah, we actually just this week, and we’re talking about bringing it back. Maybe after.


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 4:21
    That’s exciting. Did you guys go to different places as well?


    Dr. Katie Manganello 4:25
    Oh, yeah. Yeah. I mean, we also similarly had our go to places, right, but yeah, we tried. And sometimes we got free food. If we told them, we were like, Oh, we have a food page. And then they’d be like, Oh, here’s a free dessert or something. So that’s fun. You should try that if you have


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 4:43
    that in the back of my head. for future use. Yeah.


    Allen Michael Lewis 4:50
    I don’t know. I feel I feel like sometimes I lead with the fact that I’m a therapist instead. So then it turns into Yeah, you know, there’s a lot going on in my life. And so then we actually ended up talking about like, like, whoever is waiting on their life for their experience rather than like, oh, I have this food page. So maybe I should lead with the fact that I like food for


    Dr. Katie Manganello 5:12
    definitely, definitely the is the other way around. Yeah.


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 5:14
    I can’t tell you how many times if I’m like, at a party or really anywhere, and it’s like, oh, what do you do? I’m a therapist, like, I get like a couple of reactions. One, it’s like, are you judging me right now? And like, I’m not getting? Are you? Are you gonna pay me? Because I’ll do it if you pay me, but. And the other one is like, just all their life story. Just here’s everything. What should I do? I’m like, you can book a section session. Or we can just pretend like we’re normal people. And you don’t have to tell me.


    Allen Michael Lewis 5:42
    I think that that’s something when I’m talking with like the interns or like somebody that’s newer in the field, and I ask, why therapy, what brought you here? And they’re like, Well, you know, I just listened to people and people talk to me, and I’m like, you know, that is like the therapist curse, but also a blessing. You can be at like a party, and you’re like, Oh, I love this potato salad. And somebody’s just like, my sister died in the war. And I’m like, Okay, we were just talking about potato salad. Like, okay, we’re going there. Let me just sit down my plate. And we can talk about this. But I was like, that is the current sound like, people just want to talk to you. So that’s, that’s good.


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 6:17
    We have this way of making people feel comfortable and safe, right.


    Allen Michael Lewis 6:24
    I think one of the things that doesn’t feel safe is when you start challenging some of your like, your familial patterns. So I was talking about this idea of like, diet, culture, and those types of things. And so when you start to challenge some of that speaking, so it’s like, you know, your, your parent says, I just ate so much, I shouldn’t eat anything else. And it’s like, well, actually, that’s restrictive. And let’s talk about you know, and they’re like, Psycho and Analyze Me. And I’m like, Well, no, I’m just talking about the way we view things. And we should probably question why we think that way, but they don’t see me as therapist, they see me as a child, but it


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 7:05
    happens to be a therapist has lots of opinions on things.


    Allen Michael Lewis 7:10
    Yeah, but that’s like usually like number five on the list of things that I am to them. So.


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 7:14
    So I did think that today would actually be a great opportunity for us to talk about cultural perspectives on relationships and food, because I think we all have some background or some overlap, dealing with you know, individuals or with families. I mean, we’re all social beings, we all have relationships, we all have to eat, there’s a pretty big overlap and everybody kind of having to navigate this and having that cultural lens of how different that looks and feels within families I think is really important to kind of discuss or like to, to analyze a little bit together.


    Allen Michael Lewis 7:50
    It came for you I’m wondering like, does it does, like, how does food come up in your sessions? Does it come up at all? Or like, it’s like, it comes up personally, but not like sessions?


    OCD, Eating Disorders, and Cultural Differences (8:01)

    Dr. Katie Manganello 8:01
    No, actually, it comes up a lot. And it can show up for different reasons. So Well, we actually just recorded another episode with one of my colleagues who specializes in OCD as well. But she also specializes in eating disorders. And we were saying how common in how much of an overlap there is with eating disorders and OCD. So it could show up in that sense, it can show up if you were thinking about like body image it can show up with like body dysmorphia. We will see that fairly often. It can show up with perfectionism. It shows up just culturally and just you know how I mean, we just because we’re working on OCD doesn’t mean we don’t talk about those kinds of things. Right? It shows up in terms of actually, really interestingly, I have some people I mean, there’s a lot of people who have emetophobia. So like fear of throwing up, and they’ll avoid certain foods because they don’t, you don’t want it to trigger them having to get sick or throwing up. A lot of people with OCD have a lot of rituals around food actually hand washing before eating, like contamination, those kinds of things. Sometimes we’re doing exposures around sensory related difficulties with food.


    Dr. Katie Manganello 9:24
    Sometimes it’s a behavioral activation homework and people will bake me things and bring them in. So actually, I feel like I talked about food all the time.


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 9:35
    Giving a homework to everyone to make me different kinds of cookies.


    Dr. Katie Manganello 9:41
    Like you don’t have to, but if it’s something you love to do and want to bring them in. I’ll eat that.


    Allen Michael Lewis 9:51
    You just start going you start going through like a cookbook. You’re like let’s go chapter.


    Dr. Katie Manganello 9:57
    Yeah, we’re learning how to cook and so this would be A good thing to learn and to then bring it.


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 10:04
    Katie, how do you see that come off for different cultural backgrounds for people who may have OCD and like struggle with like food? Or how they eat food and having like their families input on it? Because you know, every cultural culture is different a little bit around food and how important it is, are there certain things to eat? Or like the way you eat being full things like that?


    Dr. Katie Manganello 10:26
    Well, I don’t, I don’t think that that I’ve actually seen a lot of diversity, at least where I’m at right now as it relates to cultural differences in food and the way people eat, I would say the most common thing that comes up is parents having diets and you know, kids and teenagers feeling like they need to, you know, a lot of that perfectionism or eating disorders has a feeling like they need to do eat certain things or not eat certain things. Sometimes parents are putting that pressure on their kids. Other times, the parents are not putting pressure on their kids, and they could see their parents just doing these things. So I think that’s been see, I see that kind of across the board. Sometimes with athletes too, that’s another kind of thing too. I mean, they obviously have their own kind of things and, and, you know, using exercises, like a compensatory behavior, so that’s something that shows up sometimes. So, yeah.


    Allen Michael Lewis 11:28
    And I hate the, you know, I’m not an I’m not an athlete, surprise, surprise, or not. But, but I, you know, I like Taylor Swift, I like Phil, you know, that kind of thing. But, you know, I come from a family of athletes, my brother, coaches, professional lacrosse, as you can see from my shirt. But there’s something that is always said of like, you know, it takes determination, it takes this, it takes that and almost like, you having a really weird relationship with food is like, praised, in some ways, especially for like, male athletes, because I think that for men, there’s this idea of like, Oh, I’m cutting weight, and I’m like, You’re seven, what do you mean? Because they don’t want to go up a class or something like that, you know, a, they decide to switch their diet so that they are not eating certain foods, and I’m just like, your body is growing in, you’re getting rid of this food, or this type of, you know, like, you know, car, you’re getting rid of all the carbs, I’m like, well, your body does need some semblance of a carb, especially when you’re growing. But I think that especially for, you know, men, this idea of like, indulging, and it’s like, oh, he just eats everything. Oh, he does that he does that. And I think that sometimes it’s just like, normalized, but you’re not realizing well, what if he has a binge disorder, you know, like, what is what is, is that being assessed for, but oftentimes, it’s almost like, Oh, these things are strictly female, which then puts a different type of pressure. You know, I’m females, and it’s just a horrible dynamic. It’s a horrible system. But oftentimes, this weird relationship with food is praise. And I’m just like, I don’t love this. And I see it as they grow up. And I see it as like, my clients are talking about their childhood. And I’m just like, we really need to stop doing this to our kids.


    Societal Double Standards (13:24)

    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 13:23
    I’m so glad you brought that up. I was actually thinking about that earlier that I feel like it’s so much more common for society and families to put more focus, especially negative focus on females around food and eating versus males, right, like you don’t really think about if men are binge eating, right, it’s like, oh, they’re growing. He’s a growing boy, he’s just putting on weight or like, he’s, you know, eating clean, so he can lose weight, and then he’s bulking up like this constant yo, yo, and it’s seen as like, they’re just working on their body, and it’s normal. But I don’t often hear or see clients, at least for me, having male clients come in talking about their relationship with food or having it be something that is like, like, a conflict or an issue with them. Everyone kind of sees it as like, oh, that’s just a normal thing for men to do. I’m glad you brought that up.


    Allen Michael Lewis 14:16
    Well, and then there’s like the double standard too, because like, for men, it’s like, oh, like you said that Oh, you’re growing boy, you need this. Like all of that is kind of like heaped on and that in some cultures that I’ve worked with the idea of like food is love, which I think is really great like a food as a way of like showing love your appreciation for the person. But then it’s almost like they’re given a if they’re given something and then they’re slapped in the face for taking it. It’s like, oh, you need to eat you need to eat. Oh, but don’t eat too much. Oh, you be in too much. Now you’re now you’re fat. Now you’re this and it’s oftentimes that double standard for for women in the family. You know, their culture says you need to eat. This is how we show our love. But don’t overindulge and don’t become fat because that is the worst thing that can


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 14:58
    happen. I feel like that’s pretty prevalent. across a lot of cultures, because I’m thinking about like, Eastern European like that is constantly right, like showing love through food cooking, and showing that you love them back is eating everything off of your plate, and making sure you tell them how much you loved it and enjoyed it. And if you don’t eat it at all, it’s rude. Like you didn’t like my food, but then at the same time, they judge you for your appearance. And make all these comments like in our culture, it’s like, oh, she looks healthy. If someone says you look healthy means you put on weight. That’s they’re a nice way of saying you put on weight and like, you shouldn’t be eating that much. But also eat everything off your plate to not be rude, but don’t get fat. Like he hears these double standards. Yeah,


    Dr. Katie Manganello 15:39
    yeah. It’s how I’m part Italian. That part of my culture, my upbringing is very much men that have same kind of messages being reinforced. And I think it’s I mean, obviously, as generations are, you know, going down the line things change. But yeah, I would say that’s like, really, it’s it was really common amongst like grandparents saying things like that even some older aunts and uncles like, Yeah, have


    Allen Michael Lewis 16:04
    you? I’m wondering how you both respond. When you hear somebody say like, you know, Hi, my name is so and so. And I’m a fat sis woman. There’s the it’s I think it’s great that folks are like, reclaiming that title of like being fat and like, this is my body. This is what it looks like. But there is this internal like, like this gap. When somebody says I’m, I’m fat it because the immediate response is like, No, you’re not, you’re this, you’re that you know, and so it just is, you know, Katie, you’re talking about, like how things shift. And now this idea of like reclaiming this word as fat, that’s not derogatory. It’s just a way of describing your body. It’s like, I don’t know how you both respond if you’re, if you’ve ever experienced that, but


    Dr. Katie Manganello 16:44
    I’ve never experienced anyone actually present saying that about themselves ever. I’ve heard about it in like trainings and things and how we, you know, the continuing education for us to be aware of that, so I’m aware of it, but I’ve never had anybody come in and be like, um, you know, or like, I identify as a fat woman, like nobody does, or at least nobody that I have seen, not that nobody ever does, but nobody that I have worked with.


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 17:11
    Yeah, similar. I haven’t had anyone, if anything, it’s the opposite. Like, oh, I’m fat. And I say it in a much like, in a very negative way. Or this, how I it’s like very much surrounded by a negative, right, like how people are treating them, how they feel about themselves, when they think they deserve their worth all of it around like this one observation of their body type. But I haven’t had anyone like Katie said, come in to say it in a positive way, or just like a matter of fact, way.


    Allen Michael Lewis 17:38
    And it reminded me of, you know, when I follow because I think it was also a therapist. It was like, I I’m a fat queer therapist, and I’m like, Oh, this is a lot. This is like, I’m, I’m like, I feel like I have to be like, No, that’s okay. You know, but it reminded me of somebody. They were talking, and they said, Oh, yeah, I’m fat. And the person goes, No, you’re beautiful. And they just go, Well, I said, I was fine. I didn’t say that. I wasn’t beautiful. You know. And I was like, that’s important. Because I think a lot of times that you hear somebody say I’m fat, the connotation is like, oh, this person doesn’t think that they’re beautiful. They don’t think that they’re attractive. So now that people are reclaiming this word of fat, it’s like, there is this, this knee jerk reaction of, oh, I have to praise this person, because I feel some type of way when, when in reality, it’s like, do they do they feel that


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 18:26
    way? Yeah, just the assumption or the stigma, the fat phobia. It’s so deeply ingrained in our quote, like, so deep, I’m trying to break it myself. Because I have a daughter. And it’s just so hard, right? Like, logically, cognitively, I can understand this doesn’t mean anything negative, but it’s still emotionally like those thoughts, those beliefs and narratives keep popping up to think about that, like if someone thought I was or I look this way, right? It’s, it’s interesting to think about how deeply it’s weighed into our, like, the fabric of our society that’s like, even when if a child like I remember seeing like little kids, like, You’re fat, and then the mom will go, oh, how dare you say that that’s so rude. When they’re, they’re a kid, they’re just making an observation about somebody.


    Allen Michael Lewis 19:08
    The common thing for kids too, is like, Oh, you have a big belly. And immediately, the parents are like, Oh, my God, and it’s like, you know, I do have a big belly, or they do have a big belly. There are certain things that a child can point out, like, Oh, you have a nice smile, but like, when it’s like factual things, it’s then seen as derogatory or rude. And I’m just like, oh, the kids don’t know. Or like, is this teaching them something? I understand, not commenting on other people’s bodies. But is there a way that we can redirect the behavior without making this connotation of a big belly is bad?


    Body Positivity and Internalized Shame (19:48)

    Dr. Katie Manganello 19:48
    Yeah, it’s a very mindful approach, actually. Because if we’re thinking of the definition of mindfulness, right, like paying attention to the present moment, on purpose without judgment, and like, we can just kind of accept a As a way of defining something for what it is without having like that judgment towards it, it takes everything away from it. It’s the same with any of this other treatment, right? Like, a lot of times people with OCD are judging their thoughts all the time. And that’s when they make these assumptions about, oh, I’m a bad person, because I have these thoughts. Right? Well, really, it’s just a thought your thought, Okay. Same with, okay, my body has fat. Okay. And what’s wrong with that? Right? Yeah,


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 20:30
    I think this generation Gen Z is definitely going to, I think break a lot of that, which I think is great, too, is a lot more body acceptance, and just not feeling so shameful or negative about themselves constantly,


    Dr. Katie Manganello 20:45
    like social media, like on one hand, yes, they are better with some of that, but they also are so impacted by social media and like comparing themselves to other people. Like I have more people that are younger, come in and say things will be like, Oh, she’s a, you know, a body positive, or like accepting queen or something like that. But, but then when they’re also talking about themselves, it’s like, okay, but like, that girl on Instagram looks better than me kind of thing. So it’s tough. It’s a work in progress.


    Allen Michael Lewis 21:20
    It takes time. One thing I do love is that I feel like you see the trickle of this, like, attempt to be body positive, or like, you know, not, you know, go into these like, negative, like, really like diet filled kind of thoughts. You see, it trickled through the other generations. So it’s almost like millennial folks are like, Yeah, I feel confident in myself, right? Gen Z, and they’re like, Yeah, you should, and millennials are like, Yeah, I am, they’re a little bit more confident. And as opposed to being told, You’re ruining the world. And your avocado toast is why you can’t afford a house. You know, like, Gen Z is like, no, here are great. And Millennials are like, great, you know, like whisper.


    Allen Michael Lewis 22:05
    In Katy, you mentioned social media. I think one of the other things, you know, obviously, tick tock, you know, depending upon when this episode airs, rip, tick, tock, I’m just kidding. But, um, you know, there’s a couple on there. I think her name is Alicia. And then her husband’s name is Scott. And Alicia has a bigger body. And then Scott is more physically fit. And the comments that she has to go through, you know, we’ve talked about, you know, family, and we’ve talked about, you know, parent child, but then I’m also thinking about the dynamic of being in a relationship and having to navigate differences about the type, you know, because everybody thinks, oh, Scott could do better Scott could do this guy could do that. When he’s actually saying, like, No, this is my wife, I love this person. I don’t, you know, like, her body is her body, I celebrate her body, I worship her body, like, by all of the comments, even if it’s like, oh, we’re going on a date, there’s gonna be like, Why are you with her? Oh, my God, he’s so much better. And I’m just like, yeah, social media is a place that even if you’re trying to be positive about yourself, you know, there’s somebody waiting in the wings to just, you know, tear you down with these like attacks for no reason, like, what are they going to get out of it,


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 23:21
    I’ve actually think I’ve seen those same couple, where the male was like, really bill and fit, and then his partner is in a bigger body. And I’ve seen those comments. And it’s just so interesting to think about, even like the cultural perspective of like, a heterosexual relationship, like, which partner is more attractive, or they can do better just based on their physical appearance, like, we don’t know anything else about this person’s personality, how they treat them, how they make them feel what they have to offer in a relationship, right? Like, we’re just basing it off of this person looks fit, this one doesn’t. This one should get with someone more attractive, or on their level or something, or that a male who is attractive would date a woman who’s not as attractive versus the other way around, which I think is like seen as more common in our society. So it’s an interesting thing to point out,


    Dr. Katie Manganello 24:08
    right? And if it’s the woman dating a male who’s less attractive, it’s because he has money. Like that’s another one of these like things, it’s like, well, it’s okay, because, you know, she’s doing it for the money,


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 24:21
    or he has a really good job, or there’s something else going on or redeeming quality here.


    Allen Michael Lewis 24:27
    Yeah, there’s always this sense of like, if you are a big well, and also I think that if you’re a larger man, it’s almost like, that’s okay. You know, if you’re, if you are, you know, like bigger, you’re bulkier, up to a point, it’s okay. But when you start looking like flabby or you know, that, you know, oh, you’re eating too much like that’s when it shifts from, oh, you’re in this like standard relationship to, oh, why is she with this person when they don’t take care of themselves? That is the biggest comment Oh, if you’re bigger, you don’t take care of yourself. And I’m just like, you don’t know, you are just making a snap judgment based off of a body type that’s bigger than yours. Or it’s based off of internalized messages that you’ve heard and that you’re projecting those, I see it a lot in the sessions that I have where it’s like, you know, this, you know, I was always told I wasn’t good enough. And it was based off with somebody in their family or in their close circle, who was actually projecting some of those internalized messages themselves. And it’s really unfortunate, because I’m just like, your body type is not necessarily going to be the same as everybody in your circle. And it’s really unfortunate to have so many projects that onto you, when that was never how your body type was going to be.


    Impact of Family and Societal Comments on Body Image (25:41)

    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 25:41
    That’s tough to think about the family. Impact on like those messages, too. I think it’s, you know, the world is pretty tough as it is. But then when you’re growing up in a family and having like your parents or siblings or family members making negative comments about your body, or pointing things out that you might either didn’t know what you should feel insecure about, based on these comments, or now that you already are constantly saying these things. I feel like it makes it like there’s no safe place, right for you to just like exist in your body and be comfortable. Because how can you be mindful and present? When you’re constantly going through these thought process of what are they thinking about me? Do I look bad? How am I looking? Should I cover my stomach? Alright, it’s like a kind of like the OCD, right? You have all these thoughts going through nonstop and how can you be present or enjoy your relationships or whatever you’re doing in that moment when you constantly have this like chatter in your head and outside in your family, too?


    Dr. Katie Manganello 26:36
    Yeah, and I also this is like, a little off, but like I going back to what you were saying about how it’s like more acceptable for men to be in bigger bodies. Like, I was thinking about how women are always like, I love it. Dad, like y’all, that are very like, I love a mom. Like, that doesn’t happen.


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 26:58
    That’s so funny. You know, they say MILFs but that’s not what they mean.


    Allen Michael Lewis 27:06
    Yeah. Like even Hollywood standards, it’s like, Oh, I love you know, Pamela Anderson, or I love Taylor. I love Taylor Swift. But you know, like, a lot of people will say, I love Taylor Swift. You know, but then they’ll be like, Oh, I love Adam Sandler. Oh, Adam Sandler so hot. And I’m like,


    Dr. Katie Manganello 27:29
    yeah, like, everybody’s like, Oh, yeah, but for women. It’s like Stacy’s mom. Yeah,


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 27:37
    she’s got it going on.


    Allen Michael Lewis 27:38
    I’m like, Go Adam Sandler, you know? Yeah, I’m like, Go Adam Sandler, you are getting it. You’re living the dream. But like, there’s even that double standard, like, like you said, like, you know, they say no, but it isn’t because they like a mom. It’s like, no, it’s this person who’s fit? And is cooking and have time between kids to go get lingerie? And I’m like, that’s, that’s the standard?


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 28:01
    I’m gonna tell you. That is not. No one’s got time for that.


    Allen Michael Lewis 28:08
    Somebody who’s listening is like, Excuse me, I do.


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 28:10
    Good for you. For you let me know who’s your babysitter? And are they affordable, because I need this in my life.


    Allen Michael Lewis 28:23
    I’m speaking I’m Taylor Swift, because you know, I was going to bring her up. Maybe I am looking a little bit too much into the era’s tour, but hear me out. Because, you know, as I said, there is that standard response, if you’re bigger, you don’t take care of yourself. And I immediately think of Eris toward dancers, there are so many different body types represented on her dance like team. And I’m like, you cannot tell me that any of those people, no matter what their body type look like, doesn’t take care of themselves. They are running, they’re jumping, they are dancing their heart out for hours. And, you know, it just shows like, no, your body is just going to look the way that it looks. It doesn’t mean that you’re unhealthy. If you’re a bigger body, these people are doing things that I already get tired, like watching them do and they’re just doing it in the heat and everything. So I’m just like, I don’t think that this adage of like, if you’re bigger, you’re not taking care of yourself. I don’t think that it stands on anything because yeah, I’ll say go watch Aris tour. But you should watch it anyway. But really just I think I think it really does take something Yeah,


    Dr. Katie Manganello 29:33
    or just go to the gym. I think this every morning when I when I go to the gym and I see other people and I look at the different kinds of bodies that people have. And it’s like, I know this isn’t like you know, your first week at the gym like I see the same people and I’ve seen them for months and everybody has a different type of body some much bigger, some much smaller and I mean it bring it back to food like it that plays a lot into it. doesn’t mean you’re not taking care of yourself or at least in terms of exercise. In fact, perhaps you’re not taking care of yourself. Not always. But you know, sometimes people in smaller bodies are not taking him themselves. Like there’s a reason that people with eating disorders, you know, like, it’s one of the highest mortality rates for mental health and you know, so that’s scary.


    Allen Michael Lewis 30:26
    Have you had any experience with it’s like a, an aversion to eating certain types of food I want, I want to say it’s FICA, it’s not FICA, that’s a credit score. Well, not the, like, I’m so mad because I’m like seeing it in my head, but it’s all like, shadowy, and once again, I follow somebody on Tik Tok, who, they have this thing where they can’t eat certain foods, like they have an aversion to eating like foods, because I’m like, texture, and there’s a name for it, but I’m not going to be able to remember right now. But in the video, you go on a journey with this person. And it’s not because they’re picky eaters. It’s not because they just are like, Oh, I stick to what I know. It’s like, literally, it’s a mental battle for me to eat this new substance. And it was, it’s really cool to be able to see this person, like, try the new foods and like, you know, love the flavors, or like, I hate the consistency, but it was nice to try that kind of thing. But even that, sometimes it’s like, downgraded to Well, that’s not a just eating disorder, that’s, you know, you’re just being picky. And it’s like, no, you don’t get to tell people like what they’re going through doesn’t matter when it comes to food, their relation to it, relationship to it, and the way that they have to kind of like talk themselves into eating certain foods.


    Dr. Katie Manganello 31:44
    Yeah, for sure. I see that with autism spectrum disorder all the time. Like, that’s like a big presenting thing that I see working with individuals on the autism spectrum. Yeah, we, we see a lot of different food sensitivities. And like I was saying, like around sensory related things. Oh, my gosh, that reminds me, this is not related. It is related. But it’s not really it’s related to me. This weekend, I was getting sushi and my brother got this boba tea. And I never had it before. And I always envisioned the the little like bubbles like to pop in your mouth. And I guess there are some that do. But the ones that I tried do not pop in your mouth. And you should see my face when I was trying that because I was like, so surprised because I thought it was going to like, and that would be like this nice little like, satisfying moment of it bursting and it didn’t and it was like, like mushy and slimy. And like, for me with my sensory desires. That was not it.


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 32:53
    Keep my jokes to myself, I


    Allen Michael Lewis 32:54
    can’t eat. I can’t. I can’t do it. I can’t do bubble tea. And it’s for that same reason. My body’s like, Oh, we’re drinking something. And then when there’s something that comes up that is supposed to be like chewed or something that shouldn’t be happening, you know? Like, spit in it or something like that. And I’m like, some people swear by bubble tea. And I think that’s wonderful for them. Right? For me, my body’s just like, we cannot do this. We can’t


    Eating Disorders and Sensory Processing Conditions (33:19)

    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 33:19
    do I have that feeling about rice pudding? I think it’s very similar. Like rice pudding really rubs me the wrong way to yoga. Ya know? It’s interesting that you brought up on it’s cheese. I actually like cottage cheese. I love cheese. But I think there’s a lot of I don’t want to say disorders, but a lot of sensory processing conditions where that comes up, right, like feeling icky, or having this like unsettling experience around food or different things. Does that? I mean, I know I have ADHD that’s like part of it. Do you see that at all? Katie or Alan, like anybody with different kinds of like mental health disorders, having that very similar experience with it that may not be an eating disorder, but like something in terms of like sensory processing? Yeah, absolutely. We,


    Dr. Katie Manganello 34:12
    I would categorize that under like, Disgust got what was the term the


    Allen Michael Lewis 34:20
    term is arfid.


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 34:21
    Or, wait, I’m sorry, what is arfid? avoidant


    Allen Michael Lewis 34:25
    restrictive food intake disorder, that’s the one where it’s what I was talking about the that, like the aversion to eating, like certain foods or like restricting what type of food you are eating, and then you know that it’s not just like, Oh, I’m picky. It’s more of like this cognitive, like, I am fighting to, like, go out of my way to do this, you know, so


    Dr. Katie Manganello 34:49
    I’m glad you look that up. Because when you said FICA, I thought of pica, and I was like, but that’s not the same thing. That’s like when people are eating things that they shouldn’t be eating right like chalk or whatnot, which is is also like a legitimate disorder.


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 35:02
    So interesting. Is there a show? I think there’s a show on I don’t know if it’s like Bravo or like High Street. Yeah. Something like that. And like I remember watching one episode with this lady, he just could not stop eating mothballs. So interesting. It’s fascinating to see like, what our minds either like are disgusted by and just push away versus like what we just cannot help but do because somehow it’s satisfying in some way, right? Like cognitively something’s going on. To make that like make you want to do something that that you know, is not good for you. I guess that goes for a lot of things in our life.


    Allen Michael Lewis 35:36
    Well, and then being able to like bring it up to talk about it, because there’s so much shame around it like, Oh, this is very weird for me, even when it is like, Oh, I might be picky, or, you know, I do have disordered eating, or this is going on, like the the shame of bringing that up. Because it’s this idea of like, oh, you know, you need to, you know, fit this image of health, you need to do this. But you know, we don’t care how you do it, just do it. And so this idea of like, oh, I have disordered eating, or I am restricting, or I’m binging. There’s a lot of shame in that. And for my clients, just even being able to, you know, recognize that maybe their relationship with food isn’t as healthy. And even for myself, as therapists being able to say to myself, like my relationship with food isn’t always the healthiest. And what does that mean? And who do I have in my support system to talk about it with because just kind of keeping it in yourself and keep in your head and keeping it to yourself? It just keeps you in that shame spiral? And it’s like, how am I going to get out of this, other than find that community that’s going to support me? And allow me to kind of share with this is what’s going on with me? What does that mean for my relationship with


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 36:47
    food? Yeah, I feel like a lot of people, either they’re considered picky eaters, or some people might view them that way, or eating disorders, like people around them make these comments like, we’ll just try it, like just this pushy nature of like, just do it, it’s not a big deal. You’re it’s just willpower, or you’re just being silly, like, just do the thing. Without taking time to think about like, this isn’t just like a quick decision or something like that, like this is ongoing, like an ongoing struggle, internal battle that they’re having. So I think just like, also letting people know, if someone seems like a picky eater, like, don’t force them, right, if someone is sober, and they’re coming to a party, and they don’t drink, don’t continue asking them to drink something, right? Like you respect people’s decisions and wishes to like, do what they need to do for themselves.


    Allen Michael Lewis 37:35
    Yeah, and I think just this idea of, you know, Jeff, do X. I mean, you know, we’ve heard the adage of like, Oh, I’m depressed. Well be happy. Who did not think about that? Wow, I bet. So it’s like, oh, you’ve been donate as much. Who would have? Who would have thought that? Are you thinking? This is crazy? You know, I wish it were that easy.


    Dr. Katie Manganello 38:05
    Yeah, sad people all the time. Get just don’t think about it. Wow.


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 38:12
    Great idea. We would all be out of jobs. If it was that easy. This whole field?


    Allen Michael Lewis 38:20
    I would love that. Yeah, hey, just communicate better? You know, I’ll communicate. Let me get that. Let me get that message to my mind. And like, let me stop overthinking. Or let me stop, you know, ruminating on this fact, you know, so, I would love being out of a job. But that’s not what people need. People. People need therapy. And you know, I would love for that to be true. But, you know, some of these things that we are just just do this. It’s deeper than that. And I’m hoping that for anybody who’s listening who, who has been told, Oh, Jeff, do this thing. Unfortunately, as you know, it’s not going to be that easy. So, definitely reaching out to folks who are here to support and help this probably, and hopefully your next step, after hearing some of the things we’re talking about. I


    Psychedelics in Therapy (39:26)

    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 39:12
    mean, these things are habits and patterns that are ingrained, right, like just automatically like a default that goes through. You know, like, just when you start your day, like you wake up, you might go to the bathroom, brush your teeth, like it’s just on autopilot. Some of this like this is ingrained of things that you just do. Try starting a new habit. It is not easy, right? Even if it’s something you want to do, it’s good for you. There’s all these reasons you’ve been set up everything around you, you’re still gonna like fall off because it takes a long time to like develop something different, right? Like, it’s a whole paradigm shift. It’s not just I do this thing one time, and now it sticks forever. Like it’s just not how our brains work. I think it’s people have a hard time recognizing that in other people and not themselves, right? Because how many times have we all tried to do something and it doesn’t stick but we think someone else can do Just fix something or do something different, there’ll be fine. So there’s actually this. This is like unrelated but kind of related in. So when I was learning about like psychedelics and things, how it impacts our brain, there’s actually this thing called the default mode network in our brain that has like these neurological pathways that like build grooves for beliefs and narratives that we have constantly. And so there was like this good example in this book called change your mind or change my mind is that when you know you’re born, you have all of these messages coming at you, if you think of like a field of snow, if you walk down a certain path, where your footsteps are, you continue to go down that same path, right? Because the footsteps are already there. So it’s kind of like the beliefs we have about ourselves and these narratives is just constantly the same thing. Like I’m a bad person, or I’m fat, or bla bla bla, right. And then when you do a psychedelic, it shakes it up like a snowglobe and puts in lays flat snow again, and you can have a new belief or a new narrative about yourself, that wasn’t there before. And it creates this whole new path for you to think about yourself in such a different way. And it actually sticks, because it’s on such a deeper neurological level than just on like a conscious level. So that was super fascinating. Yeah, wow. That’s simply saying. That’s my small TED Talk.


    Allen Michael Lewis 41:26
    That almost sounds like what happens when I like engage folks in narrative therapy, this sense of like, attempting to rewrite this narrative and attempting to, you know, like, focus on this old, unfortunate or not helpful narrative as the issue and working to, you know, block it from continuing and forging this new way of thinking. Obviously, it seems like a little bit more internal and medical, but, and probably a little bit more short term than long term Narrative Therapy. But it does sound like that very similar thing of like, just laying this new narrative and laying this new thought pattern, and kind of deleting that old way of thinking.


    Dr. Katie Manganello 42:12
    Yeah, very similarly, I was thinking about treating PTSD and doing like cognitive processing therapy, especially if you’re doing the version where you’re writing the account out. Either way, you’re still trying to kind of reframe a lot of those beliefs. And it makes sense because there’s so much research coming out now about like psychedelics and treating PTSD. So we got some interesting stuff coming up in the field around that


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 42:37
    I’m super excited for I think it’s gonna be the next wave is the psychedelics are coming through. I’m ready for it. I’ve been fascinated in love with this for a really long time. I think that maps, I think it’s the Multidisciplinary Association of psychedelics just passed their law in Oregon to be able to provide us Silis is it no psychedelic assisted therapy with MDMA, for social anxiety and for trauma, because they’ve seen the, the trials that they were doing on social anxiety is that when people were taking this, and going through it, their symptoms, even PTSD, I think it was like 40 to 50% of the participants no longer qualified for the diagnosis of PTSD, after I think, three or four, don’t quote me, I forget how many, but like a certain amount of being able to take this with a therapist, they’re in a safe environment and everything, and then no longer can, being able to identify or no longer having that diagnosis, because their symptoms were gone over six months. Like this wasn’t like a week later, they test that it was like over a six month period, they were able to see like they were no longer having PTSD, which is wild to think


    Allen Michael Lewis 43:49
    about. I’m curious how that my how, like, these types of treatments don’t apply to like, disordered eating and like those types of processes? And has there been any, like, study on that? I’m sure. I’m sure once insurances find out that this is a shorter stay, then they’re gonna make this great, you know, so yeah, we’ll see the


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 44:10
    the policies and the regulations around it. But I mean, these things have been around for forever, right? Indigenous people have been using these plant medicines, I could go into this for like another five hours. But this just made me think about all of this is how much it shifts our narratives and our beliefs. Like you were saying, like narrative therapy, or cognitive processing is like changing the beliefs, right? It’s not just doing the thing, it has to go in hand in hand with like, the actual belief and thoughts we have with it. Otherwise, it’s pretty short lived. So we’re getting close to the end. Is there anything either of you want to share any closing thoughts for the listeners? This was like, kind of a rogue episode where we kind of just like, went with the flow, which was really cool.


    Allen Michael Lewis 44:51
    Yeah, I think that one of the biggest takeaways is, you know, if you’re a clinician really being willing to go into those hard conversations about food and the relationship of food, and not just assuming that it’s not necessarily playing a role in the things that you’re talking about in therapy. Because I think it is something that is often overlooked, especially by clinicians and really start challenging some of your internal thoughts about food. And then if you’re a listener who’s struggling with their own internalized thoughts about food, you know, reach out if you don’t have a community that’s going to be supportive, reach out to a therapist, reach out to myself, so that we might begin, you know, exploring, like, what does a healthy relationship with food look like for you? And what are some internalized, you know, thoughts or patterns that you’ve noticed that you need support in breaking and changing? Well,


    Kira Yakubov Ploshansky 45:43
    Alan, thank you so much for being a guest on today and returning. This was awesome, Katie. Thanks for guest co hosting. This is a great time. Thanks so much for both being on and if you liked this episode, please like, share and subscribe. And we’ll see you in two weeks. Yes,


    Dr. Katie Manganello 45:58
    thanks so much.


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