Everything You Ever Wanted
"(RACHEL'S) VOICE COMES THROUGH STRONGLY: COMPASSIONATE AND PRAGMATIC, WITH A SATISFYINGLY SHARP BITE."
Audrey Journal, 2018. 4 STARS.
This show contains discussion of eating disorders.
Exploring the science of dieting, weight loss and disordered eating, the project is a deeply personal undertaking into a touchy subject area. Research and development is supported generously by ArtsNSW, the Joan Waugh Scholarship, and given a helping hand by the Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP).
The process of recovering from years of chronic dieting introduced Rachel to the work of several dietitians, scientists and psychologists who question whether it is ethical to suggest weight loss to any client, given the evidence that exists around dieting and weight loss (namely, that dieting doesn't work for sustainable weight loss, increases risk of eating disorders, encourages weight cycling and a terrible relationship with food and body). 'Everything You Ever Wanted' explores this research, and how the fear of being fat plays out in our relationships with our bodies and the bodies of others. Joining the voices of the anti-dieters, fat activists and scientists before her, this project aims to examine weight bias and disrupt our relationship with dieting.
This project it supported by the NSW Government through Arts NSW.
Premiered at The Joan, Penrith in March 2018.
Written and performed by Rachel Roberts
Directed by Erin Taylor
Dramaturgy by Jennifer Medway
Set and Costume Design by Katja Handt
Sound Design by Tegan Nichols
Lighting Design by Chris Page
Stage Manager Karina McKenzie
Produced by The Q at The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre (Thanks Nick Atkins!)
Images by Katy Green Loughrey
If you've seen the show and want to know more about some of the content, here are some resources for you. The process of creating Everything You Ever Wanted happened in bits and pieces over 2 years, and in that time I read and listened to many books, interviews, podcasts, scientific papers, workbooks and textbooks to gather information for the writing process (and also to feed my personal hunger for knowledge in this area). Here are some great ones:
- The Love, Food Podcast. Created by Registered Dietitian Julie Duffy Dillon, this podcast was one of the first things I listened to that tipped me off that maybe all this dieting I was doing was the problem (rather than ME being the problem). If you're new to the kinds of things explored in Everything You Ever Wanted and especially if you're a yo-yo dieter feeling a bit lost, I recommend starting at episode 1.
- Food Psych podcast. Created by Registered Dietitian and Intuitive Eating specialist Christy Harrison, this is another podcast I listened to early on that helped me build compassion towards my eating behaviour. It's very focused on Intuitive Eating and HAES in current episodes, but if you go back a few years you can hear Christy herself start to explore this stuff more explicitly with her guests.
- Unpacking Weight Science. This online course by Fiona Willer is FANTASTIC. If you're a health professional, particularly a dietitian or nutritionist (or studying to be one) I highly recommend taking the course - when I did it in 2018 it was $75 and worth every penny. Fiona breaks down her specialty area of weight science with real clarity and you can complete the course in a day. If you're looking for studies and scientific papers about weight science, look at her website - this is absolutely her area and she's committed to interrogating the research and breaking down weight stigma in the health professions. You can also follow her on social media.
Fiona has her own extensive list of resources here.
- Ruby Tandoh's writing about food is fantastic. Check out her latest book 'Eat Up!' or any of the articles she's written.
- For beautiful writing about her experience with Anorexia Nervosa, read Fiona Wright's 'Small Acts of Disappearance'
- Some instagram profiles to check out:
Body Image Therapist
Untrapped AU - this online course was created by a super-group of Australian therapists, psychologists, dietitians and fitness professionals to help people break up with dieting and develop a positive relationship with food, eating, movement and body.
BodyPosiPanda - her episode of Food Psych is great.
The Mindful Dietitian - if you're a professional or student in dietetics or a related profession, Fiona Sutherland manages some private groups that share great resources. She also has a podcast that anyone can listen to.
Susan Williams of Zest Nutrition. Susan has been so lovely over the past few months, speaking and emailing with me about this topic.
- Are you looking for a dietitian or psychologist for some one-to-one help? Look for someone who uses terms like Non-Diet, the Non-Diet Approach, HAES, Intuitive Eating, Mindful Eating, Body Positive, Fat Positive, Weight Neutral. You can always call ahead before you make an appointment to see if they really do follow these approaches - they might say something like 'I don't tell people to diet or lose weight - I help clients to cultivate a positive relationship with food where the focus is on nourishment. All foods and all bodies are allowed.'
My own psychologist works at Treat Yourself Well in Balmain. All their team are tops.
Some Australian dietitians I love:
Welcome to Wellbeing
What is the alternative to dieting?
And what if I need to lose weight for my health?
In 'Everything You Ever Wanted', I don't have a lot of time to explore the alternatives to the traditional weight-focused paradigm of health. There ARE alternatives out there, and they're been around for decades. Models such as edSatter and Intuitive Eating have been tested in long-term research studies that have found great improvements in health and wellbeing and in my opinion, they offer much healthier ways to relate to food and your body. I'm still only a student of nutrition but I've done a lot of my own research and I have strong convictions that these methods are A+.
Intuitive Eating - if you want to read the book, look for the 3rd edition. It's also available as an abridged audiobook.
Health At Every Size and Body Respect - in Health At Every Size, Linda Bacon breaks down that the HAES movement is all about.
ASDAH - the Association for Size Diversity In Health has a breakdown of what HAES is all about here.
Ellyn Satter - I LOVE Ellyn Satter's work. Particularly if you have concerns about feeding children, READ HER BOOKS.
The Fat Nutritionist - I love this blog. Take a scroll through old posts - this is where Ellyn Satter was introduced to me.