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-How does codependency relate to weight, body image, and eating disorders?

-If we are always needing the love and approval of others, how does that translate to how we treat our bodies?

-What are some ways we can focus on connection with others for who we are rather than how we appear?

Welcome to Episode 120! Meredith Blumenthal, MS, RDN, CD, joins us to talk about the interconnection between codependency, body image, weight, and eating disorders. If we, as women, are so preoccupied with being approved and loved by others, then how does that translate to our relationship with our bodies, food intake, and weight? Meredith educates us on eating disorders, disordered eating, and patterns we develop around food and weight. You’ll hear how, similar to codependency, eating disorders are often rooted in an attempt to get one’s needs met–it just ends up doing the opposite. We conclude with tips from Meredith on how you can focus on connection with others rather than approval from others of your body. It’s a must-listen!

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More on this week’s guest:
Meredith is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist specializing in nutrition therapy for individuals struggling with food and body image concerns. She owns an all-virtual private practice where she helps clients get to the roots of their unhealthy relationships with food and movement, and reclaim trust in their bodies. Meredith considers herself an “Anti-diet Dietitian” and helps individuals understand how dieting is harmful to their mental and physical wellbeing, and how to honor their body’s true desires without depriving themselves of the foods they love, or jeopardizing their physical health.
More deets on this week’s episode:

We begin with hearing how Meredith conceptualizes codependency. She prefaces her definition by acknowledging she sees it through her lens as a dietitian: a pattern in relationships–romantic, parental, social, professional, therapeutic–where an individual values the approval of others above their own. Codependent seek validation from external sources.

Meredith recalls codependency from her own life and how she often sought validation from external sources. She recalls being praised, approached, and approved of by others for meeting the cultural ideal for those presenting as female. This turned into her always wanting to please others with her looks, outfit, appearance, etc. However, this was met with feelings of isolation and loneliness since she was connecting with others through her appearance.

We shift gears to Meredith’s specialty: eating disorders, weight, and body image. Meredith educates us on eating disorders and how they can be seen on a spectrum. And how do they relate to codependency? Meredith describes how eating disorders, dieting, and related behaviors often develop as a protective tool where we attempt to connect with others. If I’m thin, others will like me. If I eat healthy, others will approve of me. But then, those with eating disorders, become fixated and over-focus on the eating/weight/body image rather than the connection they hope to garner.

We conclude by hearing about ways we can “skip” connecting with people through their approval of our bodies and simply connect with them. Meredith shares an affirmation she uses: I want to be seen for who I am, not for how I physically appear in the world.

Thanks for coming on Meredith! And thank you for listening, my dear listener!
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