If you didn’t do what you do professionally, what other job or field would you have pursued, and why?
Aaaaanything with plants! If I could do anything at all and didn’t have to worry about paying bills, I’d have a little shop selling all kinds of tropical houseplants where I’d get to talk about plants all day and get to put my hands in soil every day. Maybe I’d sell some of my crafts or quilts on one side of the shop, too.
Just for fun, tell us something most people don’t know about you!
I’m saving up my money to live in a tiny house! Let me know if you have a place for me to put it. Haha 🙂
Where do you work?
I have a private practice (Erin Phillips Nutrition – I got real original with the name) where I focus on working with people with diabetes and disordered eating/eating disorders in the Seattle area and virtually all over Washington state. In addition, I work in primary care at UW Medicine, where I work with patients of all ages and all diagnoses. Though it is challenging to be a fish swimming upstream in the traditional medical model, I love being able to bring body liberation and HAES to people who wouldn’t otherwise hear it. That includes patients and other healthcare clinicians! I also have been doing more speaking and training on the subjects of eating disorders and weight inclusive care for people with diabetes, and I’m speaking on weight inclusive diabetes care at the upcoming American Diabetes Association Annual Scientific Sessions (with fellow EDRDpro member, Holly Paulsen)! Wish us luck!
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I love being able to develop relationships with my clients and patients. Being a part of an individual’s journey to figuring out a new relationship with food and their body is so incredibly rewarding that it’s difficult to put in words!
Why eating disorders treatment? What drives you?
I was a “traditionally trained” dietitian, from taking my exam in 2008, until around 2012 when I started seeing more and more people for “weight management” in my job at a low-income health clinic. An a-ha moment for me at the beginning of my HAES journey was the quote “What we prescribe for fat people we diagnose as disordered for thin people.” (Thanks to my friend and former classmate Shena Washburn for bringing me to that talk!!) That hit me right in the gut and spoke to the “ick” I felt working in traditional dietetics. I originally came to eating disorders work as a combination of working with adolescents with and without type 1 diabetes, which led me to do an interdisciplinary fellowship in adolescent health at Seattle Children’s Hospital (shout out to my LEAH fellows!!), and the focus on social justice there really helped me hone my interest in eating disorder work. As I started exploring working with eating disorders, it quickly became clear that this is what I was meant to do all along. Seeing lightbulb moments for people, as well as being able to talk about more than “just the food” makes eating disorders work so much more rewarding than any other area of dietetics.
Who are your favorite social media influencers in the non-diet, recovery, body liberation space?
I really enjoy posts from Anna Sweeney (@dietitiananna), Amee Severson (@amee_rd), Be Nourished (@benourishedpdx), and Katherine Metzelaar (@bravespacenutrition). I also just started following Jessica Wilson (@jessicawilson.msrd), whose posts about HAES and IE have been blowing my mind. I’m sure I’m leaving out others that I love; there are just so many!
What are your favorite books that have made a difference in the way you work?
Of course the books by Lindo Bacon and the Intuitive Eating books/workbooks have been lifechanging. But I think books written by people with lived experience in larger bodies have made the most difference in the way I work, including Shrill by Lindy West, Landwhale by Jess Baker, and Hunger by Roxane Gay.
What is one non-diet, Intuitive Eating, or Health at Every Size® pearl of wisdom you’d like to share?
Your body is meant to change. Change is certain, expected, and inevitable in all aspects of life. That includes our bodies!