People who are in larger bodies and who have eating disorders are so often overlooked – they are told to go on diets when they are already starving themselves! – and I want that to change. So right now I have to be the change I want to see in the world – I find that incredibly motivating.
Co-creator and host of one of our favorite HAES podcasts, registered dietitian Glenys Oyston, may not be a private investigator traveling in a van with her dog solving mysteries, but she certainly is making a difference in the lives of everyone she reaches. Podcasting, private practice, as well as continuing to support vets at the VA offering home-based primary care nutrition therapy – Glenys is in the job she loves and chose as a second career. Learn more about EDRDpro member Glenys below, and make sure if you haven’t yet, to tune in to one of the latest episodes of Dietitians Unplugged.
If you didn’t do what you do professionally, what other job or field would you have pursued, and why?
This is actually the profession I chose as “What else would you do?” I am a second-career dietitian – it took me forever to get it all done but so happy I made the leap. There is no other career that I would realistically pursue at this point, so here are the unrealistic things I think I might like to do: professional beach bum; mattress tester; private investigator traveling around in my van solving mysteries with my dog (I don’t have a dog); National Park Ranger (I suspect my allergies would keep me from doing this).
I also have a podcast, called Dietitians Unplugged, with my friend Aaron Flores! That’s the part of my career that lets me play make-believe – like I’m a radio or TV host or some such.
Just for fun, tell us something most people don’t know about you:
I can throw on the potter’s wheel. I’m not great but after 20 years of intermittent dabbling, I’ve recently made it just beyond the beginner stage!
Where do you work?
I work in my own private practice, Dare to Not Diet, where I help people who suffer from chronic dieting, weight cycling, emotional eating and binge eating find peace with food and their bodies. I also work part time at the VA in home-based primary care where I visit elderly people in their homes to do nutrition assessment and follow-ups – it’s a great job because almost nobody is looking for weight loss! I’m mostly helping to prevent malnutrition.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I love really diving deep into someone’s eating problems to help them to see what is really at the root cause of their disordered eating (usually diet mentality) and I love seeing the light bulbs go off for clients when they realize they aren’t “broken” – that they are perfectly capable of feeding themselves well when they trust in the wisdom of their bodies. So gratifying to see people learn how to take care of themselves in a positive way!
Why eating disorders treatment? What drives you?
I think my own history with restriction and body dissatisfaction helps me to connect with eating disorder treatment, and particularly binge eating disorder, because diet culture is such a big part of why people develop EDs. I love working with people in larger bodies because often I’m the first compassionate voice they’ve ever heard, and the first person who is validating their experiences of weight stigma and restriction culture. People who are in larger bodies and who have eating disorders are so often overlooked – they are told to go on diets when they are already starving themselves! – and I want that to change. So right now I have to be the change I want to see in the world – I find that incredibly motivating.
Who are your favorite social media influencers in the non-diet, recovery, body liberation space?
I don’t spend too much time on social media these days, but here is who I love: Summer Innanen, Ragen Chastain of Dances with Fat, Virgie Tovar, Linda Bacon, Rebecca Scritchfield, Melissa Toler, Vivienne McMaster.
What is/are your favorite book/s or resource that have made a difference in the way you work?
Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon, Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, Fat?So! by Marilyn Wann, Binge Eating Disorder: A Journey to Recovery and Beyond by Amy Pershing and Chevese Turner, Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family by Ellyn Satter.
What is one non-diet, Intuitive Eating, or Health at Every Size® pearl of wisdom you’d like to share?
I’ve learned to stop trying to convince people they should stop attempting weight loss. Instead, I now spend more time acknowledging and validating their desire to lose weight in a fat-phobic world, and sitting with them as they begin to grieve the loss of the thin ideal. I will sometimes say, “I wish I knew how to make that happen for you without causing more harm.” Of course they need to know the science around weight loss, but first they need someone to listen and empathize. Resisting the temptation to fill the silence with facts is something I’ve had to learn!