Embodiment for the Rest of Us – Season 2, Episode 8: Shelby Gordon

August 25, 2022


Shelby is a retired world-champion, professional dieter who broke the chains of restriction, excessive exercise, and body hatred by embracing Body Trust®. She now works with helping professionals and organizations to ignite and elevate their awareness of the intersection of fusion of systemic racism and dehumanizing diet culture.  She is an awesome daughter, prolific social media disrupter and future puppy owner.

IG:  @fit.flexible.fluid

TW:  @fit.flexible.fluid


Content Warning: discussion of privilege, discussion of diet culture and behaviors, mention of mental health struggles, discussion of co opting of BIPOC practices, discussion of healthism


Trigger Warnings:

11:57, 13:55, and 59:20: Shelby uses the word “tribe” in a way that is offensive

11:59: Shelby discusses a suicide

21:50: Shelby discusses the murder of George Floyd

30:01: Shelby discusses Lindo Bacon’s work before more awareness of the harm that they have caused in their work came to light in the first two weeks of March 2022 here, here, here, and here among others (with updates here and here) (this episode was recorded in early March 2022)

42:50 and 55:16: Shelby uses the word “crazy” in a way that is ableist


A few highlights: 

3:55 Shelby shares her understanding of embodiment and her own embodiment journey

19:41: Shelby discusses how the pandemic affected her embodiment practices

32:17: Shelby shares how her social media work affects her own embodiment

40:03:  Shelby discusses how humor can be helpful with practicing embodiment

44:19: Shelby discusses the lack of nuance of embodiment in social media

53:16: Shelby shares her understanding of “the rest of us” and how she is a part of that, as well as her privileges

1:12:06: Shelby discusses how listeners can make a difference based on this conversation

1:26:04: Shelby shares where to be found and what’s next for her


Links from this episode: 

Alishia McCullough

Amplify Melanated Voices

Belly of the Beast

Body Trust

Da’Shaun Harrison

Dana Sturtevant

Desiree Adaway

Fat Torah

Fearing the Black Body

Ginger N. Whiskey

Hilary Kivaney

Jessica Wilson

Mikey Mercedes

Ragen Chastain

Rebecca Scritchfield

Sabrina Strings

White Supremacy Culture

Whitney Trotter


Music: “Bees and Bumblebees (Abeilles et Bourdons​)​, Op. 562” by Eugène Dédé through the Creative Commons License 


Episode Editing:

A special shout out to Christine Anatone at Anatone Creative, who was our editor for this episode. THANK YOU CHRIS!!!


Please follow us on social media: 

Twitter: @embodimentus

Instagram: @embodimentfortherestofus




EFTROU Season 2 Episode 8 is 1 hour, 34 minutes, and 47 seconds long. (1:34:37)


[Music Plays]



Chavonne (C): Hello there! I’m Chavonne McClay (she/her).


Jenn (J): And I’m Jenn Jackson (she/her).


C: This is Season 2 of Embodiment for the Rest of Us. A podcast series exploring topics within the intersections that exist in fat liberation!


J: In this show, we interview professionals and those with lived experience alike to learn how they are affecting radical change and how we can all make this world a safer and more welcoming place for those living in larger bodies and those historically marginalized who should be centered, listened to, and supported.


C: Captions and content warnings are provided in the show notes for each episode, including specific time stamps, so that you can skip triggering content any time that feels supportive to you!


J: This podcast is a representation of our co-host and guest experiences and may not be reflective of yours. These conversations are not medical advice, and are not a substitute for mental health or nutrition support.


C: In addition, the conversations held here are not exhaustive in scope or depth. These topics, these perspectives are not complete and are always in process. These are just highlights! Just like posts on social media or any other podcast, this is just a glimpse.


J: We are always interested in any feedback on this process if something needs to be addressed. You can email us at listener@embodimentfortherestofus.com And now for today’s episode!


C: Hello there listeners and welcome to the 8th episode in our 2nd season of the Embodiment for the Rest of Us podcast. On today’s episode, we have the compassionate resource and energizing being that is Shelby Gordon (she/her).


J: Shelby is a retired world-champion professional dieter who broke the chains of restriction, excessive exercise, and body hatred by embracing Body Trust®. She now works with helping professionals and organizations to ignite and elevate their awareness of the intersection of systemic racism and dehumanizing diet culture.


C: Shelby is also an Anti-Racism Consultant, Diet-Culture Historian, Certified Body Trust™ Provider, and 2021 TedX Speaker. She is an awesome daughter, prolific social media disrupter, and future puppy owner. She does individual coaching and organizational consulting on a limited basis, and can be contacted via email.


J: She will also have two live boundary sessions around Dealing with Family & Friends during the holidays on October 11 and November 8, 2022, later this fall. The sessions will focus on how we can get the people we love most to stop hurting us deeply about our weight, shape, and food choices.


C: You can find links to Shelby’s social media, to her email for coaching and consulting, as well as the links to get into those boundary sessions in this episode’s show notes. A special shout out to Christine Anatone at Anatone Creative, who was our editor for this episode. THANK YOU CHRIS!!! Thank you so much for being here, listening, and holding space with us dear listeners! And now for today’s episode!


C: Our second season continues today with Shelby Gordon (she/her), who is joining us from San Diego — someone who keeps us so connected to the information around us. There is so much to get present to and we can’t wait. So let’s start! How are you doing today, Shelby?

Shelby (S): I am superiorly excellent, fantabulously wonderful.

C: OK, I love it. [laughs]

J: So good, I love that already. This beginning.

C: Yeah, same.


J: So as we start this conversation today about being awake and aware in our bodies, I’d love to start with asking our usual centering question about the themes of our podcast and how they occur to you. Can you share with us what embodiment means to you and what has your embodiment journey been like, if you would like to share that with us?

S: I think for me when I hear embodiment, that strikes me at a cellular level. I am a retired professional dieter. I would not have won a world championship in dieting, I would not have won a gold medal, an Olympic gold medal in dieting. If there had been a Nobel Prize in dieting, I would have won that.

J: [laughs]

S: I, I was serious in the height of my diet craze. I had a primary care physician, a bioidentical hormone doctor, a body image therapist, a nutritionist, and an anesthesiologist who I went to his office and he intravenously put a diet cocktail straight into my veins.

C: Wow.

S: I had an, an acupuncturist, an herbalist, and a hypnotist, and I would go to really high intensity workouts 2 to three times a week and I would weep through class, I would cry through the class. So I had cold pressed juice delivered to my house. I mean, I, I was serious. So my embodiment journey surprisingly, uhm, was catapulted through burlesque dancing.

C: Ooh, nice.

S: Because for so long my head and my brain and my thoughts and my motivations were totally disconnected from everything happening for me from the shoulders down ’cause my brain was solely focused on being thinner, on restriction, restrictive eating, with overworking out, with managing through sleep deprivation. Uhm, not really understanding the depths and scope of my depression. And so embodiment meant that my head reconnected to my body. And that happened for me in Ginger Whiskey’s Bump and Grind class dancing to The Beach Boys. That’s when I figured out that there had been something missing and that burnt the reconnection for me. So embodiment for me happens at a cellular level, uhh, because it was important for me to get out of the brain space and reconnect my head to my body.

J: So in Ginger Whiskey’s Bump and Grind class listening to The Beach Boys.

S: We were dancing to The Beach Boys.

C: Wow.

S: I went to this place on a Groupon, ’cause we know all good things come from Groupon, and it was a Saturday morning and I went to class. I did not know what to expect. Just to give you some further context about this, I’m born and raised in the Black Baptist Church. I live in San Diego which has a small Black community. The Black Baptist community in San Diego is even smaller. So everybody know my mama, my daddy, my auntie, my uncle, my cousin, everybody know everybody in my life.

C: Ahh, right. [laughs]

S: And you know, we run into everybody everywhere, at the grocery store, at Home Depot. Uhm, tragically, what’s been happening now is there’s been so much death, you know, through COVID and everything we run into each other at home going services. And my mother came home the other day and she said she ran into so and so at the, in the mayonnaise aisle at Albertsons the other day. And she was talking about how, how cute Shelby’s dress was on Easter. And we tracked it back and it was 1970. This 1970s she was talking about that dress up, so you know…

C: Oh, wow.

S: Hard core, hard boundaries, strict religious upbringing. Uhm, I do not have church hurt over my body image. My, my body image issues don’t come through religion or through the Church, but the performativeness of it, and the family status, and the family reputation through the church. [unintelligible] So you got this Black Baptist girl, right? Churchy, I’m church going to burlesque. OK, so I go to this class and I walk in and I am not kidding you, there were women there, every age, every ethnicity, every body size, all levels of dance proficiency, right? And so we get in the studio and you know, I’m putting on my shoes and then here comes Ginger Whiskey. She looks like a pinup girl from the 50s, right? She’s got swoops in her hair and it’s red and it’s burgundy and it’s black and, it’s, she’s got a flower in her hair. She’s got a tie dye halter top. She’s got booty booty shorts and some platform heels and uhm, she turned on The Beach Boys. And that that child can shake her butt like I had never seen anybody shake their butt before. And I couldn’t follow the dance moves, ’cause I was like, how is she doing that, right? And what she gave to me was I need to look at myself in the mirror, which I was not comfortable doing. I had not been comfortable looking at myself in the mirror. I had to take big steps. We were dancing across the floor. We would do a series of steps across the floor, one side to the other. And you had to take big steps if you want–we’re going to get across the floor so the group after you could come take bigger steps, Shelby, take bigger steps and come and wearing those heels. I left there that day, first day I left there that day and I made a vow to six pound five ounce baby Jesus that I was going to dance Burlesque for the rest of my life. And with the pandemic, you know, we sat down, and I was talking to my doctor yesterday and I told her, I said I’m ready to go back to class. Just when I’m ready to go back to class and we get another variant. So uhm, Ginger now has a class on Sunday afternoons, so I think I’m gonna go to real church at 8:00 and then stripper church at 9.

J and C: [laugh]

C: I love, what a joyful, a fun, a different way of coming home to your body.

S: You know what I’m saying?

C: It’s so cool. I love it.

S: And I sweat, and my heart rate is up and you know, we danced to everything. And the women there became my tribe and we…you know, we had a…we had a situation where, uh, a girl that we danced with, she took her life. And this was after a big student showcase. We had practiced for months for a big student showcase. And I, I’m still not in the position to take my clothes off in front of people, umm, so I didn’t dance in the showcase. But Coco, the owner of the studio, she pulled me aside after class one day and she said Shelby, I would like for you to be the kitten for student showcase. Do y’all know what a kitten is for a burlesque show?

J and C: No.

S: A kitten is the person that comes after each act and picks up all the clothes that everybody took off. Uhh, so I got this great fake leather jumpsuit and this great lace duster. And uh, my, my burlesque name is Dahlia Noir. But I’m also known as the Sanctified Stripper.

C: [laughs] Sorry.

J: I love it.

S:  Right so, so I was the kitten that night, and Coco wanted me there to do that work, but because I had da– I learned every dance on this, right? So I was backstage with everybody and like 2 weeks after this showcase, this young woman took her life. And Ginger Whiskey, honey, fired up the burlesque e-mail chain and we, we had counseling, we provided resources for her family. And so they became my tribe, and, uhm, never any judgment, never any, uhm comparisons, never any comparisons. Always just love and joy and a ton of laughter. So yeah, burlesque did something for me, that therapy, that talk therapy couldn’t do, and it, it helped me reconnect my head to my body.

J: Wow, that sounds incredible, opening, and expansive, and just a lot of…I’m just…a lot of words and sensations sitting in my body. I can feel my heart pounding, but it’s the good kind.

S and C: Yeah.

J: The, the connected kind.

S: And I think, I think the lesson there is nobody should have to cry through a fitness class. Uh, you know, and it was me and it was another, and we literally would weep. And at the end I literally am blowing my nose and wiping tears. And she would look at me, she would be like, see you on Thursday. [mock crying voice]

J and C: [laugh]

J: Wow.

S: You know, you can find movement that brings you…that’s another reason why I want a puppy, right? Get a little puppy out and walk and breathe fresh air and get some vitamin D and and start moving. Absolutely you see me post often now that my body changed because I’ve been locked in the house for 720 days.

C: Mm-hmm.

S: So, uhm, we got a new pool guy. I fired Daddy as the pool guy. And the pool is like so inviting, so I’m like I’ve bought myself a big old float and some cute little swimsuits and I’m gonna get in the pool.

C: That’s wonderful.

J: Sounds amazing.

C: It’s, it’s a really great reminder of how I think movement, whether it’s, you know, fast-paced, slow paced, brings your heart rate up, doesn’t, you know, whatever kind of movement is important to you and really helps bring on this sense of embodiment. That’s really, it, it’s really great.

S: Yeah. It’s so bad that Coco plays this song when we’re warming up, right? Right, and it’s a hip circle and a hip circle and a hip circle and a hip circle, y’all. The song came on the other day when I was in the grocery store. There was nobody in the aisle. I was in the cheese aisle. There’s nobody in the aisle, so I did the full dance to Coco’s warm up in the cheese aisle at the grocery store and got my same happy feelings and three or four years ago, I wouldn’t have done that.

C: I love it.

S: I would have thought that the only way that I was making a difference in movement was to cry through a fitness class. So embodiment is a new concept for me. It’s an evolving concept for me and it is not woohee woohee. It’s not in my brain, it’s in my cells.

C: Yeah.

S: It’s embedded, yeah. I can hear that.

C: Yeah, absolutely.

J: And it’s with you always, it’s also something that I can hear.

S: yeah.

J: Which is really amazing. And when you were talking about the pool, I was thinking about movement there, the movement of a floating thing on the pool, but that’s a kind of movement.

S: Yes.

J: The stillness within your body, but your body knows you’re moving. It’s still movement. I was just really thinking about that actually just chills. And the sun, the way this, our skin reacts to the sun with another kind of movement, right? Rest is productive is something that I was hearing in that because it’s moving, we’re moving.

S: Yeah, and it’s why I also like to walk at the beach, because the movement of the waves is consistent no matter what’s happening in your life. In San Diego, you can drive to the beach and those waves are coming in.

J and C: Yeah.

S: So that’s why I love walking down there. And, and that’s the other thing that I, I think I’ve learned through the pandemic is the value of rest. And I have what Reagan Chastain calls personality privilege and she talks about, you know, you get to a certain point and you’re just like, yeah, we’re gonna do this my way, but I also have professional privilege. I, I worked for the Walt Disney Company for 14 years at Disneyland, which means at this point I can do any job I want, anyway I want. So two years ago I went to work at this museum, 90 year old…it actually is a San Diego Historical Society. But they run two physical museums and I don’t think they ever seen anything like me before. I walked in saying, yeah, I’ll take your job, but I’m only coming there–it was three days a week. I started three weeks before our first lockdown.

J: Wow.

S: Yeah.S o I have been working from home for two years. My boss sent me, I know yesterday, goes happy, you know, 2nd anniversary! And I, I do things my way. I’m, I’m a early riser. So 6 o’clock I’m firing emails, 2 o’clock, I’m taking a nap.

Jand C: [laugh]

J: Love, love a nap.


C: Speaking of the pandemic as a human being, how has the pandemic affected your embodiment practices in ways that challenge your process? Has there been anything that feels like it connects you further?

S: Yeah.

C: What lights you up about this work and when do you feel most embodied?

S: I have acknowledged the fact that I am not my productivity. And uhm, I am a high performer, but through the pandemic and through my embracing the concept of rest and me care and soul care, I, when I’m done working, I’m done working, right? Some days at 6:30 in the evening. Some days that’s 10:45 in the morning, right? And I’m playing my farm game and posting on social media. So I am not my productivity. You know they have that old Marine TV spot that said we do more before 10:30 than most people do all day. You know, well, if I start firing emails at 6:00 o’clock in the morning, you know by 11:00 or 12:00 o’clock I’ve done a full day’s work. So I have climbed over the mountain of thinking that I had to continue to work and continue to push myself. I knew that I could stop and rest or stop and go see what my badass parents were up to.

C: [laughs]

S: Or go and take myself out to lunch or go, uhm, you know, get my nails done. There are…uhm, I am not my productivity. I learned that through the pandemic I learned the value of rest of the pandemic.

C: Yeah.

S: The other thing that happened is I originally…once I retired from dieting and once I found Body Trust, I thought that I would be coaching Black women on how to eclipse their issues with their bodies and get to a better place. And then George Floyd called out for his mother, George Floyd called out for his mother and everything in me shifted.

J: Hmm.

C: Yeah.

S: Jessica and Alicia did Elevate Melanated Voices and I literally went from 345 followers on Instagram to 10,000 like in six weeks. And my place ended up being in the anti racism space and literally people were calling me going, Shelby, can you talk about this? Shelby, can you talk about this? Rebecca Scritchfield is one of my coaches and I emailed her on a Sunday morning and I said, I think there’s something happening here and she emailed me right back. She said these are your boundaries. This is your hourly rate. You don’t do anything for free. You know, she just like nailed it down for me and that sort of helped me get in mind what this could be. And I, I am a professional student, I’m a professional researcher. I’m supremely curious and I love libraries, so I do a lot of research and a lot of reading and a lot of listening, and where I ended up was I was being contacted by eating disorder treatment organizations saying Shelby, can you come and talk to us about anti racism? And I’m like absolutely I can. So I signed a big contract, turned around, called my anti racism coach Desiree Adaway and said I need three sessions like literally and she laid it out for me. Go to this work. Start with this framework. This is your hourly rate, blah, blah, blah and so boom right there I literally had a business land in my lap. And so been very successful with that, umm, because I am very distinct. I don’t do DEI work, which I actually called DIE, DEI work. You know, when people say to me Shelby, can you come and do some DEI work with? I say, do you know what race is? And they can’t tell me. I’m like, well, if you need for me to talk about that step with you, I’m perfectly willing, but I don’t skip that step and go to the…So uhm, yeah, and then, bizarrely enough, I work at the museum community. My particular case is, is the Historical Society. Our collections were not taken from somebody else like a lot of museums that I partner with. They’re dealing with a lot of those issues. That’s not my personal issue with our museum, but we’re still trying to bust out of this, and the pandemic forced us to bust out of a model of being only concerned about the people who walked in the four walls of our museums to having a digital first strategy and being inclusive. So today is the 17th of March. I have finally recovered from Black History Month.

J and C: Mmm.

S: Can I tell you? Being a black marketing manager at a history center, yeah, and the town you grew up in during Black History Month. It’s not for the faint of heart.

J: Yeah.

S: And we have two exhibits in our museum now that focus on, 1: A black homesteader, if you can believe that, turn of the century guy living up in the mountains. I say if he had been living today, he’d be a reality star. And then we have another exhibit that really focuses on celebrating Black San Diego. So I have built–it’s some really dynamic programming around that, which means that Black History Month for me is like a triathlon.

C: Yeah.

S: And I was so depleted at the end of the month and I described my depression this way. You will hear diabetics talk about how they can feel their blood sugar shift. I, I can physically feel my depression shift. So what I had was my regular depression, then seasonal depression, then pandemic depression, then Black Girl depression. And it was converging and then I had to live through Black History Month. So I talked to the doctor yesterday. When I talked to her two weeks ago, I was in the bed. I was doing a zoom call in the bed. That’s how bad I was. And she looked at me yesterday. She goes you look 150% better. I’m like I’m feeling much better. OK, but what I learned is I can’t go through that next year, right? And I need to start now to build an infrastructure so that Shelby is not the only one, but it’s on TV, that’s in the newspaper, that’s doing podcasts, that’s doing radio, that’s giving tours, the screening presentations, but I can’t be the only one doing that. So we’ll do that, but, uhm, so my embodiment. You, you serve with your overflow, right? The Bible talks about your cup runneth over. Well, girlfriend’s cup was empty.

J: Hmm.

S: Yeah, reserve tank was empty. Backup reserve tank was empty. And gas is 599.

J and C: [laugh]

S: Yes, so I literally had to stop for me to be able to refill organically. I will continue that. I’ll go sit with the puppies for four days and their just unconditional love and antics really helped my mood. So, excited about that.

C: Nice. Sounds like for you and a lot of people we’ve spoken to, the pandemic has taught us it, myself included, has taught us to be a little bit more self protective.

S: Absolutely.

C: Like I can’t let myself get, you know, not as burnt out, not as crispy like planning to waste time. Kind of having these, these measures to protect.

S: I was a puff of smoke team and there was no organic material left. So the other thing that pandemic taught me is that I will never work outside the home five days a week. I teach at 2 universities. I will never teach face to face again. I am highly selective with social things, you know, and I think that’s protection.

C: Mm-hmm. Agree.

S: You know it, it takes a whole lot of energy to be Shelby. I expend a lot of energy doing this and before I just did it, right, and now I know how much energy I was expending and that in order for me to be whole and well and rested and sane and, and me, I need to keep some things in reserve.

C: Absolutely.

J: This is, we were talking about that, I was really thinking about how earlier I said rest is productive and you’ve also said you’re not your productivity and I’ve been sitting with that. That being rested is its own thing. It doesn’t have to become productive. It doesn’t even have to be productive to be valid.

S: Right. I, I think the other thing is you have to protect your rest.

J and C: Mm-hmm.

S: A couple years ago I lost my peace. Have you ever lost your peace before?

J: Oh yeah.

C: [laughs] It sucks.

S: And when I got it back, I made a vow to six pound five ounce baby Jesus that I was never gonna lose my peace again. And what I’ve discovered is that I need to protect my rest the same.

C: Yes. Absolutely.

J: Hmm.

S: So I go to the office on Wednesdays and I come home and take a nap.

C: I love that.

J: Yeah, I love a nap.

S: Uhm, so you know, and lately what I’ve been doing is 8:00 o’clock, I am like putting my buds in, listening to my book, and the lights are out, and I’m sleeping. And so I think protecting your rest, me protecting my rest as diligently as I protect my peace.

J: And I can hear the flow that can come from that you were talking about overflow earlier, and if rest is to be productive, or if rest is required to be productive, like there’s an obligation like there’s some other element to. But it’s not going to be peaceful, and it’s definitely not going to become overflow.

S: Right.

J: It’s going to be something else. It’s still inside of that productivity bullshit.

C: absolutely.

S: Right, right.

J: Well, I really appreciate what you said, ’cause it… I…this was like real immediate reflection. I was like, oh. And I just said that.

C: Yeah yeah yeah yeah.

J: Oh gosh, so thank you very much for that. There’s something really powerful in, in what you’re standing for, for yourself, for no other reason other than you’re a person and you deserve to have rest.

C: Right, absolutely.

J: And you deserve to have peace. You’re just a person. There’s nothing that has to come after. Uh, no, and I don’t need to justify it.

S: exactly. There’s nothing that needs to come out. I don’t need to justify it. Grace.

C: Right. I love that, absolutely.

J: Oh, I appreciate that so much.

C: Me too.

J: So, so much.


J: And it’s reminding me of the next question, that you are such a source of intersectional content on social media, what you repost, what you share yourself, what you highlight, it’s very specifically not highlighted in thin and white dominated spaces. It’s also not highlighted in white fat spaces, either, is something I want to acknowledge, right? People who look like me. It’s not there, either, about embodiment, body image, Body Trust, which you mentioned. I’m curious how highlighting these things and going through this information affects your own embodiment.

S: That’s my niche. That’s my work. That’s my ministry, right? I see, perceive, and process things in a different way. Because I’m a Black fat woman I see, interpret, and process things differently ’cause I’m a Black fat woman who has and still works in predominantly white spaces. So that gives me an opportunity to share in a way that somebody else may have glossed over. Sometimes you will see me say, let me Black girl interpret this for you. Let me tell you what this is really saying or I will say a lot, just so we’re clear, this is what’s happened and that’s my space. That is my work and it, it’s very rewarding for people to say I’m seeing this in a different way or I, I didn’t know about this or I didn’t understand the ramifications of this and it’s everything from don’t touch my hair.

C: [laughs]

S: I am not your pet. Do not touch me, I’m not your pet. And I often post about if white women fought for racial equality, as hard as they diet, we would not have white supremacy culture. And that’s a post that gets a lot of feedback, so I only post it when I’ve got a lot of time to deal with trolls. And my goal with that role is to troll them until they either block me or say, you know what, I see what you’re saying. So I post, you know, nomenclature. I’m Black, I’m not BIPOC. If you’re talking about me, I’m a Black, I’m a Black woman. Don’t call me a person of color. I’m not a person of color, I’m a Black woman.

S: No, Blackity, Black, Black, Black, Black, Black.

C: All day everyday, all day everyday.

S: Do not touch me. This is the difference between diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. I mean, sometimes it’s, it, you know, it’s just standard stuff. And then the other thing is, you know, what if diet culture really worked, me and Oprah would be skinny by now, I’m just saying.

J and C: [laugh]

C: That’s right.

S: If that mess really worked.

C: Right.

S: That’s the title of my dissertation. When somebody pays for my PhD work, that’s my first book. If diets really work, umm, enough, I would be skinny by now. So I really enjoy it and I’ve learned so much through social media through the community. And my communities on social media is everything, from certainly anti fat, anti blackness. But that’s about half of the accounts that I follow on Instagram and Twitter. The other half are puppies. So my feed today is like full of puppies in Saint Patrick’s Day garb.

C: [laughs] Oh, nice.

S: Uhh, and then about another section of that is granny squares ’cause I crochet, so it’s like this odd mix. Uhm, so I really, I’ve learned so much and been able to connect with so many people, knowing them, right? But then I mean, you know, like Alishia McCullough and Whitney Trotter, to then know them to the point where you know Whitney and I, we teach together and Ragen Chastain and I, she’s constantly sending me, you know what? Contact Shelby, she can talk about the anti racism piece and I’ll talk about this piece and so we’ve been able to interact and lift each other up and hold each other up and support each other. And because this is my passion, that’s meant a lot to me. I am never lonely. I’m never alone. I’m never lonely.

C: Hmm. That is a gift.

S: I am comfortable with my own company and as long as I got Internet, I’m good.

C: [laughs] Yeah, yeah.

J: I love that. Thank you for answering that. I love that so much. I–my brain is often thinking about how much social media sucks, so I really appreciate what you just said, because there’s a lot of power, connection, community resonance, lots of other things that really can exist there.

C: Mm-hmm. Absolutely.

S: Well, I teach how awful social media is.

C: It’s terrible.

S: Yeah, I mean, don’t get me talking about Zuckerberg. Oh my God.

J and C: [laugh]

S: You know, I, and I could talk about that, but for me it has been really–I’m going to say it really has been a lifeline because I would have been in the dark, I never would have found Body Trust, right? I never would have found, umm, Da’Shaun Harrison, I never would have found, umm, Sabrina Strings. I mean, I never would have found them unless I was on social media. Following these people, listening to podcasts and having, I mean, have you ever physi– Umm, the next time I have an epiphany. I must try to see if I can videotape myself having a pit–an epiphany. I was listening to the Body Kindness podcast. You know, Rebecca, you know, she’s been my coach for a long time. And when she, when she had Sabrina Strings on, I literally did a Pentecostal dance in my house, ’cause because that was the, a piece that I was missing. And then when Da’Shaun came out with their book, umm, I call it the Old Testament, Sabrina Strings is the Old Testament for me, Da’Shaun’s book is the New Testament from.

J: Amen.

S: And they both are must reads and they go together.

C: Love that.

J: Me, too.

S: But, but and then to take it further from me to be able to interact with Da’Shaun and say congratulations, honey, on your nom–your book nomination, congratulations on a reprint. You know, I’m so proud of you, that, that means a lot, too.

C:  That’s true. It’s a beautiful way to look at the connection that it brings. Absolutely.

S and J: Mm-hmm.


C: Speaking of social media, I really love how you use humor to discuss diet culture on your social media outlets. I crack up and I talk about your ranting about cauliflower substitutes, like they kill me.

J: [laugh] Yes.

C: I love them so much. I mean, how do you feel that humor can be helpful in practicing embodiment for someone?

S: Well, that’s my standard operating procedure, right? I was a funny child. I was voted class clown in high school and I use humor to communicate light content and heavy content. I may want to present you the same concept in a bunch of different ways. So I may come at you with it humorously, then factually, then academically, then socially, then culturally, so I may come at you a bunch of different ways. What I really hope that the cauliflower posts convey is the diet culture industrial complex.

J and C: Yeah. Right.

S: And while I still respect and honor those who are unable to eat, who are unable to eat gluten and other ingredients, and who really find tremendous value and these cauliflower based alternatives, it’s all pretty ridiculous, right?

C: Mm-hmm.

S:  And uh, and the one I, you know, I did a special series over the holidays about pumpkin spice.

J: Oh, I know, oh, you did.

J and C: [laugh]

C: I loved it.

S: Uhm, the pumpkin spice mattresses got me.

[J and C laugh]

S: And, uhh, the funny part is that, you know, I, I still get, I get, I get a new one every week. You know, my, my cauliflower correspondents are, they are on the J-O-B and they still get them, you know. So, uhm, it, it was, and it’s funny because literally everybody I talked to every podcast that I talked to, they talk about cauliflower and this is all over the world, right?

C: [laughs]

S: So I was talking to Germany the other day and she was talking about cauliflower, so it’s hysterical, so yeah, it, it’s very funny. I mean, it’s very funny, you know, haven’t we determined that cauliflower don’t have no wings?

J and C: [laugh]

S: And it’s just, it’s hysterical?

C: I love it. I’m gonna, I’m gonna try to be one of your pumpkin spice people. Like there’s a new, where my husband works, there’s an auto shop and like last year they said, rejoice, we have pumpkin spice oil changes.

S and J: [laugh]

C: So, I’m gonna, I said next year, they’ll put it up and I’ll take a picture and send it.

S: Yeah, yeah, I mean, I absolutely love it. What kind of colonic do you want? We have pumpkin spice colonics right now, it’s, like, it’s crazy. So I, I love memes, right?

J: Yes, yes.

S: I am the mean queen.

J: You are.

S: So my Oprah memes, I love them. When the tanker got stuck in the canal…

C: Ooh, I loved those.

S: I’m, I’m a, I’m a meme lover,  and but on a funny, on a funny meme I will do…but a while ago, uhm, there was a hashtag, uhm, I have a white friend. And I did a whole series about.

J: I did see that, yeah.

S: Yeah, I have a white friend and how Black people were really talking about I have a white friend and I was like, you know, Derek Chauvin was George Floyd’s black friend. And Desmond Tutu, talking about how white colonizers, white missionaries, came in to Africa, talking about the Bible, but then they ended up enslaved. I’m like those were white friends, you know. And so, I, I’m, I’m good on it, good, I, I’ll run a good hashtag in the ground. I live for that.

C: Yeah.  I love that it’s much appreciated. Absolutely.

J: Yeah, especially when so many hashtags are taken over on social media by people trying to do some real harm.

C: Yeah.

J: And they come in droves. They communicate ahead of time and do that. I love that.

C: Yeah, absolutely.

J: Highlighting something, bring something forward.


J: That actually is a great segue into this next question, which is, what nuance do you wish was more present in social media related to embodiment, Body Trust, food, our relationships with food and body or anything?

S: We’re gonna see it now with HAES apoca–, uhh, what were they? The HAES apocalypse.

C: HAES-pocalyse?

S: The HAES-pocalyse. I think we’re going to see it now and I posted this morning because I primarily was on Twitter over the weekend and didn’t post a lot about this on Instagram. Uhm, but I think that this fat liberation space is going to be filled based on the hole LB dug for themselves. It’s going to be filled to the brim with new, vibrant, appropriate and diverse voices, and it’s going to be what we have needed, what we have wanted, and I don’t think it’s necessarily going to be nuanced anymore. I think it’s going to be mainstream. So I think where this is coming, so I’m like, uhh, TBD, because then I think the next three to five years is going to be, we’re going to see a quantum shift in how our movement is talked about, how our bodies are talked about, how our healthcare has talked about, how discrimination against us is talked about. It’s going to be a quantum shift.

J: So we’re in the middle of something changing. I love that perspective or the, the beginning, not the middle.

C: Right.

J: The beginning of something changing.

S: We’re in the middle and, it, it, it is big. And we often talk about, we should just blow up this system and start over. Well, guess what happened over the weekend, y’all. It blew up and now we’re gonna have an opportunity to rebuild it in a way that is broader, that has more opinions and more research and more facts, more, umm, feelings, more emotions, more evidence, more case studies, more lived experience.

J: Yes. From a broader group of…and something I’m hearing and what you’re saying is also this potential for how things like Health At Every Size, they didn’t start there. They came from something else, came from fat activism, for example, and also in a lot of like really kind of historical and ancient wisdoms kind of, way of, of structures and societies that are oppressed, that other people took them and said, oh, this is a great idea and now we put evidence all over this. But there’s also, and you’re talking about lived experience, uhm, but what a fat person says about their body is what is the most important thing first of all.

C: Right.

J: And why aren’t we listening?

S: Right. I, I see two things happening. I see this new, this new movement happening, this restructured movement happening. But then I also see the old movement recreating itself and still pushing out people with lived experience. So I see it as two pronged because that diet culture, that, uhm, that white dominated industrial complex was too valuable for those folks to just let it go. They are gonna restructure. It’s gonna be like something out of Star Trek, right? They’re going to restructure it so that they can keep, keep their momentum going and keep their followers fed and it’s gonna be a dual path. And you know what? That’s OK, it’s gonna be a dual path, but I think the new movement is gonna have much more real estate in that space.

J: Oh, I love that. I love, I love the hope in that.

C: Yes, that’s really helpful, absolutely.

J: Yeah, I love the space in that.

S: If it had been just Mikey then I would be instead, oh, you know.

J and C: Yeah.

S: But baby, it was coming. I got a story and I got a story and I’ve got a story and this happened to me and I have emails. I heard that on a call yesterday, somebody say you don’t wanna see my emails, I’m like oh.

J and C: Hmm.

S: Oh my. Oh yeah. So, uhm, I think the avalanche of it and people, somebody was pounding their fist on the desk yesterday. How can they not see this pattern? How can they not see this pattern? How can they not see it? I think that gives me hope that the epic fall of this person is to the point that it is full and complete. You know, I posted this morning, there will be no apology. And you know what? I don’t need it. There will be no apology. And that’s OK. Because truly, there’s nothing left to be said. And we are, we’re moving on. We’re moving out.

C: I fear that the cynic in me is like, but there there will be and that it’s just a falling upwards. So I, I feel like it’s just the weariness of everything. It’s just, I’m just tired. And I’m hoping that there’s some change. I just feel fearful, I guess.

S: Well, no, I see, I think that there are enough people and enough niches. Eating disorder, nutrition, dietetics, hospital nutrition, childhood eating, you know, decolonization of food, you know, trauma. I mean, there’s enough of us that I think we can, we can. We’ve got the research, you know, we’ve got the scientists. We’ve got the doctors, we’ve, I mean, there’s enough of us that we can really coalesce and, and remake it in a way that better reflects us and our lived experience.

J: Yes, destroy worlds as Da’Shaun Harrison would like us to do, talks about blowing it up.

S: Mmm. I love that.

C: And I’m not trying to sound like, oh it’s not going to, it’s just, I think…

S: It’s fear, that’s fear.

C: Right, yeah.

S: Oh no. That’s human nature. That’s, that’s human nature. I guarantee you, I’m gonna crash and burn at some point.

C: I think that’s where I am right now. I think it’s just, I need to, it’s been…Jenn and I, we were talking about this before we even got o, how it’s so important to say something, but it’s not  protecting your peace, right? How much do you say without expending so much labor that you’re burning yourself to a crisp?

S: Right, right. So I think there’s just got to be that balance, right?

C: Yeah, absolutely.

S: You know, and it’s supporting Mikey, right?

J: Right.

S: You know I sent her money this morning. I asked you all to send my stipend to support her as well. She’s got, you know, she’s, she’s taken care of because she laid it all out there.

C: It’s so important.

S: She laid it down.

J: Yeah, yes.

C: And also keeping in mind the people who did and weren’t heard. I think, it’s, it’s, I think it’s a, it’s, it’s a, it’s a, it’s also a sign of the the fact that we’ve been in, this never, it’s not never. It feels like it’s sometimes, it’s never ending pandemic. We’re all, we’re all burnt to crisp them that way. And, and I think we…I think we, we’re all on this sort of precipice within the fat liberation world that we were able to hear it. I mean, I think people like Alishiia McCullough, just ones who’ve been–

S: Right.

C: –saying things for years, right? But thank goodness we actually heard at this time. That’s what gives me hope more than anything.

J: Yeah.

S: And I think we’re highly attuned to it now. And I think that organizations like ASDAH will build some infrastructure so that there will be a mechanism where people can report these kinds things.

J: Ooh, I like that.

C: Me, too.

S: I equate it to, I equate it to the changes that we need to make with the US presidency to ensure we don’t get a crazy person again, you know. We just thought at the kindness of people’s heart that they would be saying when they ran for president, right? And that they would operate in a certain kind of way. There was no, there’s no infrastructure there to check and balance.

J: Hmm, hmm.

S: We need to do that, on that, and I’m hoping that we’ll do that too on the ASDAH side and with other organizations and within institutions and within other groups, and that, we, I think now, we’re all gonna hold ourselves accountable.

C: Absolutely. Absolutely.

S: And that’s not, that’s not cancel culture. That’s called accountability.

C: Absolutely.

J: And there’s other organizations to hold to account also even who’ve made public statements in support of the person who’s doing harm.

S: Stupid public statements.

C: Mm-hmm.

S: And, and I think the other lesson here is that whether it was intentional or not, you cannot have an entire movement seemingly being led by a single person. Because that person is human. They have good points and bad points. Sometimes they have horrifically bad points and, uhh, my, my analogy is from Martha Stewart. How Martha Stewart Brand was about Martha Stewart, right? She planted flowers and she cooked and she set tables and she took care of dogs. And you know, I love her pretentious ass to death, but she still lied to the FBI and went to jail.

C: Right.

S: You know what I’m saying? And she had to rebrand herself, but her business was impacted because everything was around a single person and whether it was intentional or not. Well, it was intention on their part because they took ownership of that spokesperson’s legacy. But as they ain’t gonna let that happen no more. And it never needs to be a single person, correct?

C: Absolutely.

J: Exactly, especially not a thin white person.

C: Agreed.

S: Who didn’t even create what the book was about.

C: Right, right.

S: So very interesting.0

C: Mmm. Lots of unacking to do.

J: Yes, one of the biggest highlights for me is that LB has described– LB is the, the initials, by the way, it’s feeling like I want to also sit in that space– but just sitting with that that they described. Oh shoot, I lost my thought. OK, it’s gone, shoot, I love something that you said.

[All laugh]

J:It’s OK, it’s gone. But I loved, I love something that you said. It will come back.

S: Because, you know, you’re like 2 in the morning. You can e-mail me over here.

[All laugh]

S: There you go.

J: Yeah, I know if I e-mail you at 6 AM you might get it then.

S: Oh absolutely, I’ll fire it right back. 2:30 I’m napping, though.

[All laugh]

C: Right, right. OK.


C: Uhm, I’d like to pivot if that’s OK. I wanted to make sure that we made time to ask about the second-half of our podcast title. So what does the rest of us mean to you? How do you identify within the rest of us? And we’d also love you to share your pronouns and identify your privileged identities in context here as well.

S: OK, I’m Shelby Gordon. Born and raised in San Diego. Uhm, my privileges are I was raised in a  2 parent home and I’ve had my dad in my life every single day of my…He is my confidant and my go to person. I tell him everything and I make him tell my mother.

[J and C laugh]

S: I have personality privilege, meaning that I am in the place in my life where I am as obnoxious as I want to be. So if, if the time calls for it, and you know, if I think I’ll get some equity from it, I’ll be totally obnoxious. I also have professional privilege which means I work on my terms and I work, uhh, how I want, the way I want, for who I want. And I am the worst job interviewer, uhm, I apply for jobs as a hobby. I [unintelligble] for a hobby. And I had to stop drunk applying ’cause I used to do that a lot. Get really drunk and then started applying for jobs and then people would start calling me about these jobs and I didn’t remember, I’m sorry.

[All laugh]

S: The benefit, the benefit of that is that I’m able to teach that to my students, right? And so one of my students, uhm, just got a new position as a senior designer for a big agency and he sent me a note that said you taught me how to be this obnoxious. I’m like that’s it. So I have great professional privilege. I worked for the Walt Disney Company for 14 years at Disneyland. If you cut me, I still bleed Mickey, red, yellow and black. Once a cast member always a cast member.. Second, I dance burlesque, so that’s a privilege that I have is that I’ve been able to find movement that I love that benefits me, that has provided me with a tribe. And uhm, a way to rethink my fitness that’s been just super beneficial and fun. Uhm, another privilege that I have that you might not think as a privilege is my mother is my chief weight stigmatizer, is horrifically fat phobic. And I have been able to build boundaries and teach others how to build boundaries because of her and her utter hatred of my fat body so I count that as a privilege. I’m also privileged to be the keeper of the neighborhood cat right now, his name is Sam, our next door neighbor’s house burned, and while the house is being re, rebuilt, everybody up in our cul-de-sac has been taking care of Sam. So I’ve got Sam now and I was on a Zoom last night and there was somebody on the zoom who had a cat and was petting the cat, and I kept hearing this meow meow meow. I thought it was the cat on the zoom and it was Sam who was outside my window? Because it was dinnertime and he was like shopping. So I find it a great privilege to be able to feed Sam and cuddle with him. Uhm, I have wonderful friends, I have a wonderful family. I have wonderful memories and milestones and I have built a life that I enjoy. Uhm, the only regret, you know, people say don’t, do you regret not doing this, so you know the only regret that I have, like, really and truly is I wish, I wish, I wish, I wish that I had been a surrogate. A couple of my friends were unable to have children naturally, and I wish I had been a surrogate. That’s really my only regret. I, I’m, I’m looking forward to, to building a new, a new life. I don’t want to say post pandemic, but living within the pandemic. I don’t want to go back to normal ’cause that normal wasn’t working for me, no kind of way.I do not want to go back there. I have really…it’s been thoughtful and understood, the abrupt, sudden, unplanned for change that COVID-19 is costing our lives, it’s changed. Every single thing about everything we do. And while I just grieve the amount of death and sickness that we have had, umm, I do not want to go back that that normal if you want to call it. That was not normal for me and I do not want to go back there. I’m hopeful about getting a puppy. Uhm, I, I want three eventually. The first one is gonna be Kensington. Uh Kenny G. Named after Kensington Palace. I’m a recovering royal watcher. I retired from being a royal watcher, uhh, the day Meghan Markle got engaged to Harry because for me, the dream was over. The Black girl gets the Prince, she gets married. I was done. I’m done. So I’m, I’m looking forward to getting back to dance class, I’m looking forward to continuing and playing the role I need to support the black anti diet culture, fat activists. I’m looking forward to interacting with white providers and clinicians on how they can be more aware and more attuned and better serve all of their clients, including black and Brown clients. I’m looking forward to where the movement is going, and will be patient and understanding. My role in that, I don’t want to force it. I want for it to come organically and will help any way I can. God, I’m looking forward to going to Paris when the cathedral reopens. I’m looking forward to renting an RV and going to the Grand Canyon. I’m looking forward to lots of hotel suites with lots of soaking tubs ’cause that’s nice.

C: That is, it’s the favorite thing about my house.

J:  I want that in my house.

C: Yeah, absolutely. What do you identify as your marginalized identities?

S: I am Black, fat, cis. I am educated. English is my first language. I am middle class. I am self supporting. I am healthy. I’m a highly functioning person with depression. So when people want to question me about my weight, I tell them that that is not my health concern. My health concern is managing my depression. Uhm, I am able bodied. Uhm, I will be more able bodied when I get back to dance class, but I, you know, I’m able bodied. I am a recovering news junkie and I like to speak on different topics to different people, which means I need to read a lot, see a lot, listen a lot, think a lot, process a lot. I am a learner, but I’m also an educator. I am spiritual and religious, but I’m churchy churchy. Everything is a church song to me. Uhm, Pharell’s Happy is about Jesus. I, I hope you all know that I, I really really want to grow myself to a place where I can serve Black women. And uhm, I’ve done boundaries classes, uhm, that are taught respectfully. My boundaries classes are caught respectfully, ’cause as a Black woman you need to be respectful, but you also need to call people on their stuff. I have a class coming up that’s looking at body diversity from a Biblical lens. My goal really is to be able to take this into Black churches and coach Black women so that they can find Body Trust. Umm, I was never going to have peace with my body. I had hated it for too long. No peace. I was never going to find joy in my body. I had hated my body and tried to change it for too long to have joy. But when I got up on Body Trust, that was a concept that I could embrace. That was something that I could incorporate into my life because I have to trust my body. I have to trust that my legs are going to take me from my car in the parking lot into the museum up the stairs to my office. I may need a defibrillator once I get up there, but hey, I trust that my body is gonna get me there. I’m trusting that my circulatory, lymphatic, digestive, blood is circulating. I have to trust that. I have to trust what my depression is telling me to do, whether it’s telling me to push through, or whether it’s telling me to rest up. Body Trust was a concept that really resonated with me and when I found that I found a key that unlocked an important part of my body, my embodiment journey and my, my body revolution journey being a one of such body hatred to body acceptance and body trust was key to that. So that’s a privilege that I have, being able to work with Hillary and Dana, and, and, and that whole community. So I am privileged to live in Southern California where I can ski and surf in the same day. Where there are outdoor spaces for me to move and interact and the weather is pleasant most days. And really, our lifestyle encourages us to be out, I’m also privileged enough to live in Southern California and reject all the diet culture BS and be able to filter that through. I’m privileged enough to call out people who talk about excessive exercise or restrictive dieting, uhh, to their face. And call them on it and let them know that diet culture is racist. And I’ve got the receipts.

J and C: Mmm.

S: So I’ve, I’ve got that privilege. I have the privilege of having access to university libraries so I can dig into all of the papers and read all of the papers and all of the journals and all of the books and reconstruct that and present it in a way that people will understand and hope, and hopefully be provoked to learn more.

J: There’s such an awareness when you’re talking of where you sit in the world. It’s really powerful. I could also hear your commitment to rest even in these other things that you were describing.

C: Yeah.

S: Right.

J: It takes a lot to do those things that you described.

S: Yeah.

J: Even in privileges they’re very emotionally exhausting. Draining our bodies, minds.

C: Absolutely.

S: I have two badass kids, right? A full time job. A consulting business. You know? Three social media accounts. And you know, if I don’t rest, I’m gonna break down.

C: Right.

S: And, and, and earlier this month I, I mean, I was like, I was broken. That, that was a revelation to me, because we think we can do it all, right, and I can’t do it all. But I’m not gonna do it all anymore. So I’m gonna have to retrain my boss. He’s got a lot of [unintelligible], either you take some of this on because I can’t. I can’t do this again.

C: It’s too much.

J: Huh, huh.

C: And that’s really important to be able to know what your limits are, that’s embodiment to me as well.

J: Yes, yeah.  Embodied boundaries is something I think about a lot.

C: Right, yes, absolutely.

S: I’m a boundary bitch.

[J and C laugh]

J: They create space, aren’t they amazing? They create more space.

C: They do. They really, really do.

J: And no as a complete thought.

C: Absolutely, absolutely.


J: Yes, so we’ve talked a lot about big and small picture things today in this conversation. What do you think we can all do to make a difference with what we’ve talked about and learned through today, or unlearned through? I did one of those today.

C: [laughs]

S: I think having a critical thinking lens and not necessarily taking things at face value. Maybe asking more questions, expanding our network to include people that we may not have heard from before or listened to before.

J: Hmm. Feels like in hearing you say that, that it might especially be with people that on the surface we don’t feel like we agree with at first as well, not just another echo for that.

S: Or we or that we agree, that we agree no questions asked.

J: Hmm.

S: We just take it and we don’t ask any questions.

C: That’s really powerful.

C: Or, or take it and even tell other people about it without adding a disclaimer of what we may want to be careful about or know ahead of time or ask questions of really specifically like why is the Health At Every Size book written like a diet book?

S: Correct.

C: [laughs]

S: Or I, I was on the Zoom last night and we were talking about OK, so how do you attribute, how do you cite LB’s work, right?

J: Oh yeah, that, those fingerprints are everywhere.

C: I have that same question, yeah.

J: Right? Great question.

C: I’m editing an episode that’s going out today and I just have that question for us to talk about after this. How do we even do that?

S: Right.

C: I don’t know.

S: Right, how do you, how do you attribute that? How do you take note?

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And I said, oh yeah, this is, but so and so said before I found out, that, that they were a colossal ass-wipe-ay.

C: [laughs] For all that fuckshit, that’s the word that I’ve been using. It’s fuckshit, I cant’ stop saying it about the whole situation.

J: [laughs]

C: I emailed Mikey about it, too, and she’s like, that’s the word, I’ve been using it, too. And I’m like I really feel validated calling everything fuckshit. It’s all fuckshit. It’s ridiculous.

J: Yeah, yes, and it was like layers of fucksht kept unfolding.

C: Just more and more and more. [laughs]

S: Oh my gosh.

J: I’m like, it’s not surprising, but there’s something in my body that’s like wow, another one, like oh my gosh.

C: Again?

J: I guess we’re gonna be getting present to a lot of layers of fuckshit

C: [laughs] So many layers of fuckshit.

J: I like that, I appreciate that term.

C: Yeah, me too. It’s, I’m quite a fan of it.

J: It, it just landed over here.

S: The only thing I wish that we had was that I wish we had had a body cam on LB while this was going down.

C: [laughs]

S: Right, because their livelihood just blew up. No, their sphere of influence shrunk colossally.

C: Absolutely.

S: Like, yeah.

J: One of the things I think that was so interesting to me about the social media aspect is how much they thought they could still get away with some of the same old things. But people found them so fast. Look what’s happening. Snarky comments on other people’s posts and things like that is what I’m remembering was happening.

S: Yeah.

J: As if those wouldn’t be visible, too. I ,and I think that’s really important because oh, I remember I was going to say earlier that I love that you said! OK, back when you were talking about LB and thinking about them being the face of something that wasn’t theirs to begin with, and in fact wasn’t the whole way throughout, as I think something that I’m recentering my thoughts around that, even that I was susceptible to thinking that talking about referencing them. That…oh my gosh it left my brain again. I’ll write it down. Oh sorry. Oh no, wait, maybe I did, oh, shit. No I didn’t oh let me see…So show me social media snarky comments. Ah, I remember how much I had let myself forget, right? This is my privilege as my bias is showing up. Forgetting that this is what white people do, so this includes me. I am a white person, this is what white people in power do. This is what thin white people do with the ultimate in power is they get constantly…we, I’m gonna say, I’m gonna say we, I think that’s really important because some of that responsibility is on me as well. That there, there is constant re centering around ownership that, that person what the, ultimate Power has, which is a hoarding of power, a sequestering of power and it’s being taken from people.

S: Right.

J: Which is a characteristic of white supremacy culture, is power hoarding.

C: Yes, yes.

S: Yes, the other thing that got me this weekend and it happened with this instance and also with the Critics Choice Awards and that director who insulted the Williams Sisters.

C: Oh my God.

S: And yeah, oh, well–

C: You never come for Serena in my world, but  that’s another conversation.

S: The people that randomly wandered into these social media conversations, not knowing anything about the conversation that was going on.

C: Yeah.

S: Not knowing anything about the snowball that was building, but just like oh, I like HAES. And bam. And their responses and one girl, I literally said you mean to tell me you didn’t know anything about this? And that you just thought that you would center yourself in this conversation that you were jumping in in the middle of, how random is that?

C: Oh my God.

S: And that was the other thing that got me was in those two instances on LinkedIn, actually. There was this woman, and she was from New Zealand and said she was defending the director talking about how New Zealand has got this different history with racism and blah blah blah blah blah and honey, we trolled that woman so bad she deleted her account and I’m like that is winning, that is winning to me. Most of my trolls seem to be white European men who have lost a lot of weight.

C and J: Hmm.

S: And my argument with them is you can’t talk to me as a Black fat American about your weight loss. Because guess what? Americans don’t walk down the streets of America eating Big Macs ’cause they literally think that.

J: Hmm. Yes.

S: Talk a lot about McDonald’s and I’m like y’all really think we walking down the street.

C: And if you do, that’s fine.

J: Yeah, also. [laughs]

C: Health is not a moral imperative.

S: Y’all really think that we walking down the street with Big Macs. Not, yeah. I don’t really. That’s your picture. You really think we walk down the street? I see, eating Big Macs? So the people that just randomly wandered into these conversations not knowing that you know we were in Act 3, right? We had got through act one act two that you know the, the break and we had the intermission. We were, by Sunday morning, we were into Act 3. Just wandering it like, yeah you need to way whoa up, as they say, in NASCAR racing, you need to way whoal up, cowboy.

J: I’ve never heard that. I love htat.

C: Me, too. Way whoa up.

S: And figure it out. I love that.

J: OK, and that’s so interesting. I’ve heard this about white people from Ireland from Australia and New Zealand, including what we’re talking about about LB, that’s like, it’s different over here. We don’t have this problem over here, but it’s always a thin white woman talking and saying that.

S: Right, right.

J: And it’s always someone with an incredible amount of power. And in this case they were all people with an incredible amount of power in the dietetics field and the HAES Australia area.

S: Right.

J: And in, and are people who are often centered, so, umm, yeah, I…something that I feel like I’m, have known about, but I’m really trying to pay attention to in real time.

S and C: Yes.

J: It’s how there are people who are already centered, that you can watch, that being threatened and their responses in real time. First, it makes me want to listen more because I can see the lack of listening over there. and it.

S and C: Yes, yes.

J: It’s also, it’s not just listening that’s missing. It’s like just the basics of paying attention.

S: It’s critical thinking.

J: Yes.

S: You know what I’m saying?

J: What’s happening in this room that I might be inside of?

S: And let me think about this for a minute. And let me, you know what? How does this impact and where is this coming from? And then where are they getting this information and, you know? How did, how could I think about this? And then how should I think about this? And who can I share this with? I mean, it’s critical thinking.

J: Yeah yes, and when it comes to being in conversation with other people, not even asking if they can be like I don’t know, I’ll have a question, but is it even the time for me to ask it? Not even allowing even the smallest amounts of space.

C: Right.

J: For their voice not to be coming out all the time, I’m sitting with that.

C: me, too.

J: Uhm, I used to have a story about myself. I’m just loud, I just talk over people. Just loud and yes, I do that, those things are true, and I can’t listen while doing that. And I actually have to create distinct moments where I’m not doing that and especially being part of a group.

C: Yeah.

J: Uhh, white women who are causing an incredible amount of harm just globally, in the supremacist way we’re talking about a space, but in this way, like am I contributing anything to this that hasn’t already been said? And usually the answer is no. Something’s already been said, I don’t need to say it. Uhm, or pretending like something that I just learned a moment ago is now my thing to say. I feel like I would have been really susceptible to that in the past and now I just, I’m not doing that but noticing it’s happening a lot.

S: Definitely.

J: I can feel I’m on the cusp of really wanting to troll my white people.

[All laugh]

S: And you know my tactic, my tactic for that is to repeat the question. So help me understand.

J: Oh, I’ve seen you. I’m often in your comment section, by the way, just reading, I’ve seen you do that.

[All laugh]

S: Right.

J: It’s like the, it’s like, did you say that with the intentions of…did you just hurt me or to help me, ’cause I’m unclear.

S: Let me just help me understand, you know or just so I’m clear what you’re saying is Americans, all Americans are walking down the street, eating Big Macs, is that what I hear you saying? And what’s your evidence of that, right? Or you will hear, you’ll, you’ll see me say prove it.

C: [laughs] Prove it. I love it.

J: That’s right.

S: And then, and you know, oh, you can do calories in calories out. I’m like prove it. They will come back to me with a study of 10,000 white elderly people and northwestern Sweden. I’m like, OK hold, way whoa up. Wait, wait. I can’t, you need to come at me with some information that will impact me, Shelby Gordon, Black fat woman living in America. Post the thread.

C: Right, absolutely.

J: And as you were talking about that I was also thinking about how research is always so behind. You know?

C: Yeah.

J: And it’s five years minimum, 10 years more likely and everything is in this tiny little box or a vacuum.

S: And then funded by weight loss companies. So you know, Ragen taught me how to read the studies, you know. So you may, you may have fallen in love with the headline. But I’m gonna read the conclusion that says and people gain their weight.

C: Right, absolutely, absolutely.

S: So you, you, I’m I’m glad that you loved the headline, but baby, I read the whole study including the conclusion and including who funded it, and including that there’s only two people left after they did the whole research.

J: Right.

S: So absolutely, that’s why I say prove it.

C: Uh, I love that I really, really love that.

J: Me too, I can hear, prove it unequivocally in what you’re saying, like move it to me that this is the one truth. Now you can’t, so go ahead and try.

S: And I need something other than a survey, a survey of 10,000 old people in northeastern Sweden.

J: It’s a super remote and snowy and cold and unique area.

S: They’re living at the retirement home.

C: Right?

S: So all their food is monitored anyway. Hell yeah, they’re gonna lose weight.

J: Right?

S: I don’t have nothing to do with me over here trying to deal with Taco Tuesday.

C: I, I love it. I love it. You’re absolutely right. That’s really helpful.

J: [laughs] I love that so much.

C: Umm, thank you so much for being here with us.

S: Yay! It went fast. I’m so glad, I’m so glad we got through everything too

C: Oh wait, there’s one more question.

J: [laughs][1:26:04]

C: As we finish up with this question, as we finish up this episode today what would you like everyone klistenting to know about what you’re up to you and how they can find you? What direction do you see your career and or work taking in the future?

S: Umm, so everybody can find me on Instagram at Fit Flexible and Fluid. Uhm, I am taking a year break from taking classes so uhm, and I’m being very, very selective in what I’m teaching, so I have my Bible class coming up. And uhh, I got a question, uhh, that if this was from a Christian perspective, no, this is biblical. I do Fat Torah with Rabbi Minna. In case you guys didn’t know I’m bout to Jewish and I have Torah with Rabbi Minna on Sunday mornings. And because I really wanted to go back to the Hebrew Bible and really see what God was saying about our bodies without the whole religiosity thing going on. So I’m doing that. I most likely will do a boundaries class, and that class is called Respectfully and it’s basically how to how to set boundaries with the fat haters in your life, but doing it in a way that is respectful but also factual and helps you build your confidence in your language around how to counteract weight stigma. And I do that, I do 2 sections of that. One for family and friends, and then I also do one for your health partners, so that probably will come up in in the year. And I anticipate, uhh, Whitney Trotter and I will do a series of coffee and anti racism practitioners group. Where I do the anti racism piece and then she does the practical piece of how you put those actions into your practice and into your business.

J: Ooh, yeah.

S: And we do a lot of discussion. And talk throughs and case studies and that sort of thing. So I anticipate that that will happen before the end of the year as well. So being just being very selective and very mindful and intentional about what I’m teaching this year, I think, that with this whole, umm scenario, now we–seems like we’re going to be rebuilding a movement. I wanna have the bandwidth and the space and the time to be supportive and to help any way I can, and, umm, to really ensure that it is rebuilt in a way that really serves more of us and has more of our voices and that those voices are elevated and that there are structures built so that we can ensure that we don’t have to go through this harm again and that we’re able to sustain, maintain, evolve and elevate this movement in a way that has a great impact for those of us who need it most. That includes not only us fat people, but also those white people who deal with us fat people.

C: Absolutely, absolutely.

S: I’m hoping to get a puppy, I’m hoping to go back to dance class.

C: I love it. I hope you get to.

J: Yeah, maybe even on Sunday, I think is what I heard at 1:00 PM. Oh, did I hear that wrong earlier?

S: No, I’m going, I’m going over now to deal with the puppies, I’m, I’ll post their picture on Instagram so you can see them and I’m gonna be in my happy place. So I think I have a cauliflower video that somebody sent me that I’ll probably post tomorrow for Happy Caulifrday.

[All laugh]

J: It’s even better said out loud.

C: It really is. It really, really is. It makes me incredibly happy, it really does.

J: Yes.

S: I’m glad that you enjoy my content.

C: Love, love, love. So much.

S: I’m, I’m really grateful to come for you to invite me to, to chat and happy to do that any time and happy to help you any way I can. And you know, we’re all in this together and this is a crucial time for all of us. And uhm, fat people are sexy and beautiful and important and vital to our, our culture and our society and our lives now. And we need to do what we can to ensure that they’ve got the support, that we have the support that we need to ensure that we get the best. Their mental health, physical health, that we are empowered to find movement and food choices that agree with our sensibilities and that we have the information that we need to hold up this movement and ensure that. We can spread it far and wide, and also that we have the patience, the patience and the grace to deal with folks who are going to be slower to understand and embrace where we’re going, who are going to be slower to let go of what has happened before that we have the patient and the grace to come to guide them along. And to answer their questions and to deal with their angst and to work around their denials.

J: Ooh, now that’s a tool of white supremacy, yes, that does not help.

C: Oh, this has been wonderful. Thank you so, so much, it’s been an honor, truly.

S: My pleasure, thank you. And for me, too.

J: It’s so nice to see your face and be in conversation with you, truly.

C: I know, I’ve been following you for so long. I’m really excited.

S: Yeah, I’m gonna pack up my stuff, see what my badass parents are doing and pack up my stuff and then I’ll be with the pups. I’m doing a presentation tonight on museums and the visitor experience, it’s for Design Week 2022 and then tomorrow I’m dealing with, I’m doing a 3 hour diet culture is racist presentation for, uh, a health group. Uhm, they asked me to do that so it probably will be from the office bed. And last week in the meeting the puppy got under the laptop and the laptop went spinning down the bed and the camera went everywhere and then the other puppy was snoring so loud that somebody said, what is that noise? And she’s only like 5 pounds, right? Like how can something that’s small snore that loud and the other one’s my new name for him is Honey Baked Ham, right, ’cause he’s just sweet dead weight.

C: You’re very busy.

J: Oh, I love it though.

S: Like he lays down on you and you cannot move. I’m in my happy place.

J: I can tell and we love it.

S: I’ll post it on Instagram.

C: Oh, I need that in my life.

S: Good to see you all.

J: You, too.

S: Let me know again if there’s anything I can do for you.

C: Thank, thank you so much.

S: Happy to help you any way I can. Yeah, I, keep me posted.

C: We will thank you.

J: OK, thank you, bye!

J: Thank you for listening to season 2 of the Embodiment for the Rest of Us podcast. Episodes will be published every two weeks-ish (because let’s be real here) wherever you listen to podcasts.

C: You can also find the podcast at our website, embodimentfortherestofus.com and follow us on social media, on both Twitter  @embodimentus

J: And on Instagram @embodimentfortherestofus  We look forward to being with you again next time in conversation.

[Music Plays][1:34:37]