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August 18, 2021

Episode 58: Advancing Eating Disorders Education with Shikha Advani

Episode 58: Advancing Eating Disorders Education with Shikha Advani

Episode description:

Shikha Advani is an incoming master’s student and dietetic intern at Boston University who is passionate about eating disorders awareness, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion in the nutrition and eating disorder fields. As a teenager, Shikha battled anorexia and orthorexia. She hopes her story can help others with eating disorders, no matter where they are in their recovery process.

In this episode of Peace Meal, Shikha discusses what her relationship with food and her body was growing up, how professionals and her loved ones responded to her eating disorder, and how she believes nutrition and eating disorders curricula in universities could be improved. She talks about the weight bias and racism she experienced as a South Asian woman living in a larger body, including the praise she received from doctors for weight loss. Shikha also emphasizes the importance of therapy in addition to any other kind of treatment for eating disorders. In addition, she dives into what her dietetics curriculum at her university was lacking, including topics like social justice, fat positivity, and more, and what it was like to push back against outdated ideas. Finally, she discusses her hopes for the future of the dietetics and eating disorder fields.

We cover:

  • How weight bias can prolong an eating disorder diagnosis
  • Why recovery from anorexia is more than just weight restoration
  • How eating disorders can take away the joy of food
  • How Shikha pushed back against the weight-centric curriculum of her university
  • What Shikha’s hopes are for the dietetics and eating disorder fields going forward

In Shikha’s words:

  • On the true meaning of food: “[I’ve] learned that food is more than what you should put in your body… food is joy, food is something that represents culture, food is so much more.”
  • On the future of the dietetics and eating disorder fields: “I’m really hoping to see a lot more diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field. I’m seeing a lot of people talk about why diversity is important, but a lot of people tend to forget about the equity and inclusion part of it.”
  • On inherent worthiness: “Diet culture is rampant and there’s constantly people around you that will tell you, you are not worthy because of the size of your body, the color of your skin, but you’re strong and you’re worthy.”

Follow Shikha Advani on Instagram @nutrition_by_sa

Learn more about The Emily Program online or by calling 1-888-364-5977.


About the podcast:

Peace Meal is a podcast that explores topics related to eating disorders, body image, and how society may influence our thinking.

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