Episode Transcript

The Anti-Diet and Body Respect Movement with Tanya Mark



[00:00:08] BS: Hi there. You’re listening to Love Your Enthusiasm, a show where creators, teachers, and explorers talk about what makes them tick and how they make space to pursue their greatest passion.

I’m your host, Britt Skrabanek. Today, I had the pleasure of introducing you to Tanya Mark, who is a non-diet nutrition and body image coach. In this episode, Tanya talks about her mission as an advocate for the anti-diet and body respect movement. Tanya is incredibly knowledgeable in her field. She believes in taking the focus off the scale and teaching women gentle nutrition, and how to honor our unique genetic blueprint. We talk about everything from faulty weight science to changing our mindset when we feel that we are “not enough”.

Remember to subscribe to Love Your Enthusiasm’s monthly newsletter to receive a roundup of recent episodes once a month, and subscribe on your favorite listening app. So, you know when the latest episode comes out. Enjoy this insightful and uplifting hour with Tanya.


[00:01:25] BS: Hello, Tanya, welcome to the show.

[00:01:27] TM: Hi, I’m so thrilled to be on your podcast.

[00:01:31] BS: I’m thrilled to have you here as well. I have to start by saying I was blown away by your responses on the pre-interview questionnaire that I sent you. I always send a questionnaire to my guests before they come on the show. So, that way, I can get to know you a little bit better and customize your questions appropriately. I loved how much detail you gave me. I mean, it was awesome. And you even said about halfway through one of your responses you said, “Britt, as you can see, I can go on and on about this. I am super passionate about this subject.” I just love that because it was so true that your enthusiasm was just shining through as you were answering your pre-interview questionnaire. So, I’m very excited to talk to you today.

[00:02:23] TM: Well, thank you. Yes, I went a little crazy. That is true. I get pretty fired up about this subject. You’re going to hear my story here shortly. So, you’ll see where I was and how I got here and how powerful this transition has been for me, not just personally, but professionally.

[00:02:43] BS: Well, let’s dive right in because I can’t wait to hear about it. I know you told me you have a really long story to tell about your journey. So, let’s start there. Let’s talk about you being an advocate for the anti-diet body respect movement and how did this become your greatest passion?

[00:03:03] TM: You bet. I’ve been involved in wellness for about 20 plus years. I started out as a bodyworker, therapeutic massage, for about 12 years, then I became a fitness professional working in a private training facility. And then, you know, just adding these pieces to wellness that I felt like were necessary to help my clients feel their best. So, that naturally led me to want to go to holistic nutrition school. My husband and I picked up, packed up, moved from Jackson Hole to Denver, Colorado, and I went to school there. When I came out of school, it was super fun. I loved it. But when I came out of school, I found that I was really neurotic around food. I become obsessed with only eating healthy foods.

So, I’m going to tell you a little story so that you can understand what I mean by obsessed with healthy foods. I mean, that sounds kind of crazy, because you’re like, “Wow, that sounds like a good thing, right?”

[00:04:17] BS: Tanya, I know it’s possible because as someone who is a certified yoga teacher and kind of going down that path for a few years and being surrounded by a bunch of yogis and yoga teachers, it is absolutely possible to overdo it with wellness and with things that are healthy for us and to turn that into an unhealthy thing as well.

[00:04:39] TM: Absolutely. I can absolutely see that in the yoga community as well. My husband, I’ll tell you this story just because it illustrates kind of how nutty I got. My husband and I were in Boulder. We went rock climbing that day, a very intense day of climbing, exhausted, didn’t pack enough food, was super, super hungry. And on the way home, the first store we came to is a gas station. Gas stations don’t have a lot of food choices.

[00:05:18] BS: Yeah, packaged dry nuts are about your best option at a gas station. If you can eat nuts.

[00:05:25] TM: Yeah, totally. But I love peanut butter crackers. But at this point in my life, what do peanut butter crackers contain? I was really diligent around reading ingredient lists, and so it contained high fructose corn syrup. I refuse to eat the peanut butter crackers, you know, I was starving. And this is when at the time, I didn’t realize this was not healthy to actually not eat at all when I was ravenous just because of a simple ingredient. Peanut butter crackers are delicious. Sure, they have high fructose corn syrup in them, but these are foods that I don’t really eat a lot, but it’s just another food and I needed the energy.

So, this obsession with only eating healthy foods, there’s actually a term for it now, it’s called orthorexia. It’s not an official eating disorder, it’s just considered disordered eating. And this way that I was eating, I thought I had to do this as a nutrition expert. I had to walk the talk as a nutrition expert. So, I continued practicing for years in this eat this, not that, paradigm, until I discovered eating psychology.

I was in Colorado at the time, and there is a school called the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, and that’s where I learned that healthy eating was more than what to eat, it’s about how you eat, why do we and this was a huge aha for me. Attending this school certainly moved me forward in my journey, but I really needed more. I started to see the harms of this restrictive labeling foods, good foods, bad foods, this kind of approach to healthy eating. Here’s a few good ones. Feeling like clients, I live in a small town, so this is back in Jackson Hole now and I would be pushing my grocery cart around the store. Of course, I would see people I know. Sometimes I’d even see some of my clients, and they would be hiding from me. They were hiding the contents of their grocery cart.

[00:08:04] BS: Oh, goodness.

[00:08:06] TM: Also, in a small town, we were very likely to end up eating in the same restaurants, and the hiding of the “bad food” on their plate. And then, I’d hear stories from my clients, moms worried about their pre-pubescent daughters thinking they’re fat, wanting to go on a diet, or some sort of food plan, a six-year-old boy feeling ashamed to eat a cookie that his mom pack for lunch, because he learned from his teacher that sugar was “bad”. These stories kept just coming up and I’m like, “Wow, this just sounds like madness.”

Some of my clients, it’s funny, because I’m going to talk about social isolation and this was before the pandemic. So, skipping parties or dinners because they couldn’t control what foods would be there, or what drinks would be there. They’re not on the plan, or feeling like you can’t have Oreos in the house, because you’ll just freaking go nuts with it. I can relate to all this stuff, personally and I was seeing that this doesn’t really sound all that healthy. I started to feel out of integrity with the do no harm approach in health and in this healing profession.

[00:09:37] BS: Yeah, there was this social graphic that I saw once and I forget exactly what it said, but it was like, “Gluten free, dairy free, soy free”, just listed all of these free things. And then it said at the bottom, you’re not actually free from anything. It was like really impactful. There’s not enough of that kind of messaging going around. It’s exactly what you’re talking about with just overdoing it with what you might think is healthy and then just restricting yourself to the point where you do end up with an eating disorder, even though you were just trying to be healthier, and part of that just overdoing it and it’s totally possible, like you said, and like you’ve experienced.

[00:10:27] TM: Yeah, a really good point is that, well, that may not put you towards an actual eating disorder, there’s this gray area in between normal eating and an eating disorder. It’s called disordered eating, you know that preoccupation with food and our bodies. That’s what kind of brings me to the next point in my journey was that I started to see a lot of tears, a lot of tears with body dissatisfaction. People feeling, especially most of my clients are women. But my body is changing, I need to fix it or fight it.

So, what happened to me next was pretty powerful. I came across this video that totally changed me. It’s a video of a woman named Amy Pence-Brown. And at the time, I think it’s about five years ago, this video came out. But at the time, she was 39. She’s a mother of three, and a body image activist. And the video is titled, The Stand for Self-Love.

So, let me describe what happens in this video for our listeners. Amy is standing at a really busy farmer’s market in Boise, Idaho, and she is standing in a black bikini. That’s all she’s wearing is a black bikini. She’s blindfolded and she has a sign in front of her, you know, one of those like, dry erase boards. And this is what it says on the board, “I am standing for anyone who has struggled with a self-esteem issue like me, because all bodies are valuable.” Her sign went, “To support self-acceptance, draw a heart on my body.”

So, the video proceeds to follow people coming across, seeing Amy standing there in her black bikini, and going up there with the marker, all kinds of different people, sizes, shapes, genders, you name it, would go up and put a heart on her, just draw it on her skin.

[00:12:58] BS: Wow, that’s awesome.

[00:13:00] TM: And it came to me, I mean, the power of her vulnerability just really struck me. It really resonated with how I felt about my body and my perceived flaws. This video went viral. I mean, three years ago, there were over 2 million views. I’m going to share this video with our listeners, if you reach out and want to learn more, I’m putting it in the resource section of a free guide I have. So, if that’s something you want to check out, it’s so powerful. And this video really is what drove me into the body image work. In addition to how many tears I was seeing from my clients in my office, and I became an ambassador for the body image movement at that time. I started really thinking about how body diversity is just part of being human, and that our bodies are meant to change as we move through the stages of life, like aging, and life experiences, and it’s normal.

So, this is the next phase of how I started moving towards the anti-diet movement and body respect movement. This is when I stumbled upon intuitive eating as an alternate approach to diets. I put that in air quotes because these days, the diet industry is trying not to use the word diet and is offering eating plans in a way that – they know that word is now taboo, so we can be easily tricked into thinking it’s not a diet when it is still full of restriction, elimination, should, feeling like you failed if you had a “cheat”, you know you cheated or things like this, that make us feel guilty or shame. When I stumbled upon intuitive eating, it’s like, it is the anti-diet approach to good nutrition and healthy eating.

For listeners who don’t know what intuitive eating is, it’s a self-care eating framework. It’s based on 10 principles that teach us to listen to the signals that are coming from our own bodies, things like hunger, fullness, satisfaction, and how certain foods make us feel, versus the rules of dieting, eating plans, when you’re allowed to eat. It sounds kind of simple, but it’s really not. It’s full of nuances. I almost feel, I mean, this is my profession, so of course, I’m going to raise my hand and say, I feel like most people on the planet could benefit from taking them through the process of these 10 principles of intuitive eating.

So, this is the non-diet approach that I now practice and teach to clients. While teaching intuitive eating, I have to pause for a moment, I learned that it was really difficult still, for clients to stop focusing on the number, on the scale, as an indicator of their health. So, at this point is where I started really digging into weight science by experts, people in the field, such as Dr. Lindo Bacon, who’s the author of Health at Every Size and Body Respect.

At this time, I really understood how important it is for us to separate weight from wellness, which is such an ingrained belief in our culture. I believe that for most of my life, and it took me about, I don’t know, maybe three or four years to read this research, feel kind of resistant. I was like, “How can this be true?” But then, as I kept digging and digging, I was like, “Wow, this is so powerful and it’s really helped me transition and become an advocate for the anti-diet movement and body respect movement.”

Thus, it’s changed me personally and then professionally. Now, I teach and offer food and body freedom, which I think is – nutrition is, when people are like, “Oh, what do you do in nutrition?” And it doesn’t sound very dynamic or fun. But when I say, “Hey, I’m actually teaching and offering liberation, that we don’t need to feel crappy in our bodies, and we can make eating healthier, much simpler, when we understand that we don’t need to approach nutrition from a restriction and elimination type of approach.” When we understand that our bodies can be healthy at different sizes and shapes, I feel like my clients have this huge cut a weight lifted off them, there’s this sigh of relief.

[00:18:41] BS: Gosh, Tanya, there are so many things that you mentioned that – I mean, I could go on forever. But one of the things that really stood out to me that I’m glad that you’re bringing more awareness to is how diet has become this word that is taboo. But diets are still happening and still being encouraged, left and right. And even thinking about that image that I was talking about, that social media image about, gluten-free, and all these things free and not being free at all.

And here you are, as an advocate for this food and body freedom. It’s just so wonderful because there should be more awareness around this particular topic, because we don’t necessarily understand what we’re being surrounded by all the time, you know when we’re trying to be healthy and trying to be well, and then there’s this undercurrent of information and imagery that is showing us that we need to look a certain way. There are so many layers to the digital environment that we are all living in, now more than ever before, and it’s really important for us all to be careful about what we’re consuming in the digital world, and how that is impacting our lives and our health.

[00:20:08] TM: I couldn’t agree more. The non-diets that have been out in 2020, and of course in this year, ultimately, what I find is that they’re putting an enormous amount of stress on us. I don’t know if we’ll be deeply rooted in this pandemic, still, by time this episode airs, but during times of pandemic, to think we are under an enormous amount of stress already, and adding the stress of perfect strict eating, not giving your body enough energy, in the name of “health” is just another layer of stress that we just don’t need.

And the good news is, there’s another way to take care of our health that doesn’t involve being stuck to some ideal number on the scale because it’s a myth, this ideal number. And I can really speak to that because I’m now 51 and postmenopausal woman, so my body has changed. If I wasn’t engrossed in this work, and doing this for myself, and understanding that health can come in different sizes and shapes, body diversity is part of being human, aging, and the way our body changes we age is completely natural. If I hadn’t done this work, personally, I would have gone right down that rabbit hole of the non-diets too. And there to the listeners out there, I’ve tried all of them, I’m not going to name them, but I’ve tried all of them. I experienced all these different styles of eating and maybe would do them once or twice or three times, and it was really based around this feeling of my body has to stay a certain way or look a certain way to be “healthy”. This is one of the powerful pieces of my work is, is debunking these myths for my clients.

[00:22:37] BS: Tanya, can you talk a little bit about your own stress management techniques. I know you started to touch on the stress of the pandemic and as we’re recording this now it is in January, and I will be releasing your episode in May for the listeners who are listening now who knows where we are, hopefully in a better place. But stress has been such a major force in all of our lives over the last year. I’d love to know what you’re turning to and these days for stress management.

[00:23:12] TM: I’d like to say that it’s not one thing.

[00:23:18] BS: It’s a whole package. I know, I’ve got that as well.

[00:23:21] TM: Yeah, I feel like I’m kind of a variety girl when it comes to what helps me pull back the layers of the stress to keep it from accumulating, not allowing my bucket to overflow, and nature is a big piece for me. Spending more time in the mountains. I live in Jackson Hole, Wyoming so we get a lot of mountain scenery here.

[00:23:53] BS: It is absolutely a beautiful place. I was telling you before we actually started recording, I went out there a couple years ago on a family road trip and went to Yellowstone and Bozeman and Jackson Hole, and I had heard so much about Jackson Hole and I was just blown away when I was there. It’s so gorgeous. You are a lucky, lucky woman.

[00:24:16] TM: It’s kind of crazy because I’ve been here for about 20 years, and I still take ridiculous amounts of pictures of the Tetons, which is the spectacular mountain range here in Jackson Hole, in Grand Teton National Park. I just find it so healing to be in these quiet pristine places. It’s meditative for me.

[00:24:44] BS: I was on a raft. I did one of those kind of like lazy rafting tours because my sister and her kids, my mom and my husband, and we actually were floating down the – I believe is the Snake River if I’m not mistaken. And then this huge thunderstorm happened while we were on this raft, and it was pretty big raft and we had a tour guide and everything and he’s just like, you know, busting out the the rain ponchos and everything. It was incredible to see that storm coming over the Grand Tetons and being on the water like that when that happened. Nothing bad happened, of course, while we were on the raft. It was a very, very chill river. It did get choppy, of course, once the rain started, but it was an experience I’ll never forget.

[00:25:35] TM: Yeah, I can only imagine I have not been on the river during a thunderstorm.

[00:25:43] BS: It wasn’t ideal. But there we were in the middle of like a two-hour tour. So, we survived.

[00:25:51] TM: Obviously, it was very memorable.

[00:25:56] BS: I live to tell the tale.

[00:25:58] TM: Yeah. And it’s funny, spending time in nature, as I said, is really helpful for me to peel back the layers of stress. But I also am an ocean girl, too. I’m originally from Maryland. So, we spent our vacation as kids at the beach. And now my husband and I love to travel on our vacations to kind of more desolate beach areas in Mexico and Costa Rica. We’re surfers. And that’s, oh, my God, we talk about peeling back the layers of stress. I just feel amazing after those trips.

[00:26:40] BS: I love that ocean as well. I’m a Southern California girl. So, I’ve always had that connection to that ocean. But I love the mountains as well. For me, what happens at the ocean is just so different. For me, what I’ve realized it is, is that there’s just this endless horizon and water, and that’s very calming for me. It’s very different from the wild storm coming over the mountains and being on the river. I mean, that’s just a completely different type of energy from Mother Nature. So, I do love the ocean. It’s very calming for me.

[00:27:20] TM: Yeah, and I have to just tell you a quick story. Last winter, my husband and I, we have one of those camper vans, and so we packed up. My husband and I and our dog, we have a 13-year-old dog. We packed up and drove the van from Jackson to Southern California. We really enjoyed the entire winter there living from our van and one of the things that I found amazing in California at that time, were the sunsets. Holy mackerel! They were amazing. I still can’t get over how amazing they were. Do you know what I’m talking about?

[00:28:02] BS: Yeah, we have the best sunsets in Southern California. A lot of it has to do with the smog that just turns the sky, these incredible colors, orange and purple like the sky is on fire, and it’s just amazing.

[00:28:21] TM: It is amazing and I think it’s so relaxing. I just love just putting out a lawn chair and sitting there watching the sunset. Just awesome.

[00:28:31] BS: Tanya, I’d love to talk to you about weight science a bit. Can you explain the challenges with weight science, and why it should be reexamined?

[00:28:44] TM: You bet. The first thing I want to say is that this is a really complex subject. So, what I’m going to bring up today is really just going to scratch the surface, because just think, beliefs about weight, body fat, and equaling our health has really become ingrained in our entire culture and it was ingrained in me. It’s ingrained in most people.

[00:29:11] BS: Oh, yeah, me too. Definitely.

[00:29:14] TM: All of us. That’s why I like to pause before I go into this subject because it is really complicated. And so, when I talk about these things, I like to ask my clients or I ask our listeners today, is to maybe see this all with an open mind, beginner’s mind, and maybe just be curious. I want to just maybe plant some seeds today that might cause you to want to know more about this and get curious and be like, “Huh, everything I’ve ever thought about weight and health, maybe it’s not quite what we thought.”

[00:29:54] BS: Yeah, that sounds perfect. Let’s do it.

[00:29:59] TM: I mean, I’m going to start with something really simple and that is the measure of body mass index, otherwise known as BMI. Our listeners probably maybe have heard of it. Are you familiar with it?

[00:30:15] BS: I am. Yes.

[00:30:16] TM: Okay. Yeah. So, in the past years, I believe that it has been coming out that it is not a great indicator of our health. And what we need to understand about this, is that BMI, for those of you don’t know what it is, is essentially the ratio of your height to your weight. So, that’s really what it is. It’s not telling us anything about your eating habits or your physical activity, or just anything that affects your health. So, it’s a very simplified, really, not very useful measure of health, and one of the caveats of BMI is that it doesn’t indicate how much muscle mass somebody has, and most of the research is using BMI.

So, you can see that that’s kind of troubling right there. That if the research around weight or in relation to mortality, how long you live, or how it affects your health or certain conditions, the research that we’re seeing is based off of using this BMI. BMI categorizes people into underweight normal weight, “overweight”, and above, for those of you who are not familiar with the term.

A little history, just quickly, about BMI is that when it was originally created, it went by a different name and it was created by a Belgian astronomer. So, it had absolutely nothing to do with how health –

[00:32:07] BS: What? I didn’t know that. That’s so random. Okay, continue.

[00:32:19] TM: It is fully random, but you get to kind of blown away by that. And then, as the years progressed, it became labeled, the body mass index, instead of – I’m forgetting what the other term was from years ago. Insurance companies were looking for a way to categorize people’s health and put them in categories regarding what to charge for premiums, things like that. I think it’s about 1998, there was a meeting of these insurance people, health professionals, and they decided to lower what constituted the overweight category, making millions of people “overweight”, overnight. So, this was, yeah, I think it was about 1998, that it happened.

But there is some crazy stuff that we may not be aware of. And as I just dug in, dug deeper, and read research from people who’ve gone down the rabbit hole of digging and digging and looking at these numbers in these statistics, I was really blown away, personally. I want to mention one really amazing piece of research that I will also include if our readers want to check it out. In my guide, there’s an amazing research paper called Weight Science: Evaluating the Evidence for a Paradigm Shift. It’s a nutrition journal, and the authors are Dr. Lindo Bacon and Lucy Aphramor. It’s a really powerful paper that debunks a lot of myths such as fat kills that causes disease, weight loss prolongs life.

So, if that’s something you’re curious about or interested in, I highly encourage you just to at least start with that one. It’s a great beginning point if you’re curious about weight science. It’s a really big, huge aha for me, because one of the things that I really got out of that, just kind of a nutshell, is that if you improve your nutrition or physical activity, this can improve your health markers. Just think, that’s my goal with people if they’re coming to me to work on improving their health, like how’s your cholesterol, your blood sugar, your cardiovascular health? What the researchers found was that just making these healthy behavior shifts, and I want to pause, not restrictive, it doesn’t have to be an elimination diet, you don’t have to over-exercise, simple shifts in movement and nutrition can improve our health markers, regardless of whether your weight changes.

So, I’m going to repeat that, again, regardless of whether your weight changes. So, I find that sometimes people will give up on healthy behaviors with food or exercise, because maybe they’re not seeing a change in their weight, or it’s not enough. I really want to encourage people to keep going with these healthy behaviors, because this is the better indicator of your health, not the number on the scale.

[00:35:44] BS: Yeah, I totally agree. I’ve never been one to weigh myself very much. My husband, he’s in a weightlifting. And so, he brought us scale into our house, much to my chagrin, because I have lived without a scale for so long, and started weighing myself, you know, off and on over the holidays, maybe not a great time to start weighing yourself. But anyways, I tried to look at objectively the number that I was getting, and it was impacting me. Just that number and I hadn’t weighed myself in so long, I didn’t even really have a comparison, which is just ridiculous. But yeah, it just didn’t make me feel great, because internally, I feel good and that’s always been my gauge is how do I feel. It’s more about how I feel rather than how I look.

Now, if I am changing sizes and clothing, then whether that’s going up or down, then there’s definitely some changes, some physical changes that are happening. I mean, that’s very obvious whenever you’re going dramatically in one direction or the other, which I have done both and kind of going back to what you were talking about at the beginning of our conversation when I was going through my yoga teacher training. And also, when I was a yoga teacher, I lost a lot of weight, because I was overdoing it on the healthy front with all the wellness stuff, with my diet. I was being very restrictive, and not allowing myself to enjoy and indulge very often at all, at that time. Today, I feel great. So, there’s something about that. Paying attention to those numbers can be very – I don’t know what the word is to describe it, but I know that it can impact us. And for me, it’s always been more important about how I feel.

[00:37:40] TM: Yeah, I couldn’t agree with you more. That is what I have my clients focus on is how does moving your body make you feel? How does eating no food or getting set, feeling satisfied or honoring your hunger, noticing what fullness feels like. So, again, that keyword is “feel”. I will pause because this is a really tough subject with body image, and our changing bodies, and how our current culture which I call diet, culture, around health, and fitness is the way I describe it, does define health or fitness as having a certain look. And whether or not you have a body type that fits that, say if you do, which is a very, very small percentage. I think it’s like only like 5% of people naturally possess the body type that is portrayed as fit and healthy. Even if you have that body type, then a lot of people may try to control their food or fitness to keep their body.

So, what about the other 95% that don’t possess that body type? Where does that leave us? And so that is a really important piece that I point out to my clients is that you really have to honor body diversity and genetics and getting you to take care of your health, regardless of the number on the scale and separating your wellness from your weight number, which people freak out. I get it too, as a postmenopausal woman, is that my body size did change. I did buy new clothes. I would have freaked out before but understanding the science and realizing that I wasn’t unhealthy, and that it was unnatural change in my body as I grew in age, and I should be thankful and grateful for the privilege of growing older and that my body, it’s just a natural sign of aging.

[00:40:03] BS: As women, we often think we are not enough. And this whole conversation all plays into that, absolutely. Tanya, can you talk about a time when you felt that way and how you were able to change your mindset?

[00:40:21] TM: Yeah, I would say now that I’m 51 going back to the aging process, is midlife in my 40s, and as I went from the low-level numbers in the 40s to mid-40s, to 50, to now postmenopausal, I used to be a former fitness professional, and it’s not that nutrition professional, and obsessed with food, and exercise, neurotic around it. My identity was the way I looked.

I have to say, it was really powerful to go through middle age and into menopause, and starting to feel this not good enough type of feeling as my body changed. I had to really turn that around. Like I said, I started to do this work and body image and change the way I was approaching my food, and understanding that the ultimate goal for me was gentle nutrition, which is a principle and intuitive eating. And gentle nutrition is about, for the most part, eating. For the most part. So, not just black and white thinking around food, what we’re eating most the time matters.

So, I’d say midlife was really pivotal, for me in this whole, pulling out of this, not good enough stage of say, “Dang, I am good enough.” I want to point out a really cool thing that I learned in eating psychology school, and it’s about archetypes. They discussed two archetypes for women and one is princess stage and one is Queen stage. It really shed a light on the challenges that we, as women, may have with not liking our bodies, perfectionism. These are collective issues that have been passed down from generations of women who came before us. A lot of us are getting stuck in what’s called the princess archetype and it’s a really natural time of it. Basically, when a woman is between 0 and 30 years of age, and this is when we’re developing as women. We’re trying on many hats and effort to strengthen who we are in the world, finding our true gifts. It takes time.

So, we’re evolving during this time period. And by the 40s, and 50s, we’re really supposed to be moving into this queen stage, this wisdom stage. This is a time where we’re really honoring our feminine self, and celebrating who we are, and not following strict rules around what women should be or what we should look like, or how we take care of ourselves.

So, for me, when I was investigating these archetypes of princess to queen, I realized that “Wow, I was really stuck in princess mode,” which is not a bad mode at all. It’s just a normal phase of growing and evolving as women and what are our priorities. When we’re younger, there are certain things that are more of a priority for us, and then we’re being asked, as we grow in age to move into the wisdom and try on the crown of queen, which sounds kind of funny. But this is where, gosh, I’m so grateful that I’ve done this work and body image and changing the way I approach food so that I can arrive into this queen phase, into this wisdom phase, and that I can teach it to other people now.

[00:44:38] BS: while I am right on the cusp of the queen phase. I’ll be 40 and December of this year, so I am making that transition from princess to queen and I can feel it and every bone in my body that I am changing and the body wisdom, all of that is something I’m going to continue harnessing because I know that during this next phase, it’s going to become all even more important to develop that and continue practicing that.

[00:45:12] TM: Absolutely. There’s this really awesome quote by Martha Beck that I love to share, that I feel can help illustrate the direction we want to move away from weight is worth. So, it’s quote, “How much did Florence Nightingale weigh when she founded modern nursing? How much did Rosa Parks weigh when she took a seat on that bus? How much did Malala Yousafzai weigh when she started writing about the lives of girls in Pakistan living under Taliban rule? You don’t know? That’s the right answer because it doesn’t matter.”

[00:45:59] BS: Thank you for sharing that. I feel like that’s another one we’re going to need to include in the show notes for the listeners. Because Yeah, that is so spot on.

[00:46:12] TM: Yeah, it’s funny when I shared that on Instagram, it was met with a lot of love. Because it’s so powerful when you’re like, “Oh, wow. Oh, right.” That’s not why we’re here on planet Earth, to be thin, young, pretty. We need to aim higher.

[00:46:29] BS: Tanya, I’m going to go ahead and wrap up this conversation right here because that is just a beautiful quote. So, let’s go ahead and let the listeners know how they can stay in touch with you and find more info.

[00:46:44] TM: You bet. It’s really simple. My website is my name, tanyamark.com. I mainly am on social media with Instagram, @tanyamark, really easy. Again, I’m also on Facebook as Tanya Mark Non-Diet Nutrition. If any of our listeners are really curious, there’s a free guide if you want to get started and check out the anti-diet body respect movement, how you can stop focusing on the scale for your self-worth and your health, and it’s called Five Steps to Stop Feeling Crappy in Your Body and Make Eating Easy.

[00:47:30] BS: Love it. Tanya, awesome conversation. Thank you for all of the body wisdom that you shared today yourself. I really appreciate everything that you taught us today on the show. Thank you.

[00:47:46] TM: Thanks for having me. This is a lot of fun, Britt.


[00:47:51] BS: If you love this episode with Tanya, you will definitely want to listen to recent Episode 39 with Courtney McCarthy called create your own version of health. Courtney is the owner and CEO of Loyobo FIT. Loyobo stands for love your body and she is passionate about getting women to truly love their bodies by creating a nonjudgmental and open fitness space, where exploration and community are a fundamental part of the experience. Very cool woman it’s a phenomenal episode. So, check that one out for sure. Thank you all for tuning in to Love Your Enthusiasm. I’ll see you next time.


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