Ep016: Melissa Toler On Opting Out Of Diet Culture & Reclaiming Our Wellness

 
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In this episode, I speak with former wellness coach turned writer, speaker and educator, Melissa Toler.

Melissa has had a really fascinating journey from dieting and fitness fanatic, to completely opting out of the wellness and diet industry. Melissa's journey began - as it has for many of us - with dieting to lose weight. She then began training for fitness competitions, and later became certified as a wellness coach. However, the further along she traveled in the wellness industry, the more disatissfied she became. She began to notice certain things that did not sit right with her. Like how the wellness industry does not cater for everybody. And how our obsession with dieting is not leading us to greater happiness or wellness. How our fear of fatness is oppressive. And how the wellness industry isn't accessible to everybody.

For these reasons, Melissa made the decision to opt out of the wellness industry and instead focus on encouraging people to make the connection between our culture's oppressive beauty standards and our personal struggle with self-acceptance. Her goal now is to help people unlearn harmful messages and behaviors from years of chronic dieting. 

Listen in as Melissa and I take on the issues with the wellness and diet industry, reclaiming our wellness and how writing can be used as a tool for healing.

in this episode, Melissa & i explore:

  • Reconnecting to our big feelings through music and art

  • Melissa‚Äôs personal journey from training in fitness competitions and wellness coaching, to opting out of the wellness industry

  • Why selling the fear of fat is a big problem

  • How diet marketing has evolved to convince us they are not selling us diets

  • Breaking free from diet mentality

  • Why the health & wellness industry does not cater to all of us, and how we can redefine and reclaim our health and wellness

  • How diet culture encourages us to invalidate ourselves

  • Why many white wellness coaches, teachers and instructors are not able to best serve their non-white clients, and can in fact actively do harm to them

  • Why People of Color (POC)-Only wellness and healing spaces are so important

  • Oprah and Weight Watchers recent announcement to offer free memberships to girls aged under 13

  • How the diet and wellness industry co-opts the language of activism and social justice to sell their products and programs

  • How Melissa has used writing as a tool to help find deeper healing, wellness and empowerment for herself

  • Melissa's 4-week writing course, 'Write To Get Free'

I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did. Click the play button below to listen in now. 

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About Melissa Toler

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Melissa Toler is a former wellness coach turned speaker, writer, and educator.

Her work encourages people to make the connection between our culture's oppressive beauty standards and our personal struggle with self-acceptance. She has written extensively on diet culture and the toll it takes on our lives and humanity. Her goal is to help people unlearn harmful messages and behaviors from years of chronic dieting. 

Connect with Melissa at:


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Layla Saad