Fat Talk: An Initiation
Virginia can speak to your school, university, conference, eating disorder center, corporation, or community group about parenting—and just living— in the age of diet culture. Her presentation combines personal narrative and research to offer concrete strategies for reevaluating your relationship with diet culture, and naming and navigating anti-fat bias in our own lives.
She is available for keynote speeches, storytelling events, and panel discussions.
“Virginia’s words and presentation style were engaging, educational, and great overall!”
“What I liked most about this event was [Virginia] sharing her experiences with her child and providing information on how not to feel guilty about your eating choices.”
“I thought Virginia’s presentation was very well done. She is an excellent and relatable speaker.”
“It’s very difficult to find speakers who can combine a dynamic personal narrative and gifted storytelling with ferocious fact-checking and strong research. Virginia Sole-Smith hit all of these marks with her presentation at The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt. She expertly conveyed her message in a way that was manageable for general community members but also meaningful for clinicians and treatment providers who attended. Like her book, Virginia’s message was reality and research-based but also hopeful and actionable for people at various stages of finding peace with food and their bodies.
I would not hesitate to recommend Virginia’s work, both written and spoken, to anyone committed to helping people understand more about feeding dynamics, eating disorders and our complex cultural relationship with food. On top of the great presentation she gave, she was also a joy to work with, quick to respond and thorough in all of the planning and promotional details leading up to the event!”
— Kate Clemmer, LCSW-C
Community Outreach Coordinator
The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt
What might the presentation cover?
Virginia spent the first decade of her career writing about food, body image, weight and dieting —usually from the perspective of how to do it all better. As a health and lifestyle journalist, she had an inside track on the rise of “wellness” based diet culture, reporting on “foodie” trends like clean eating, detoxing and baby led weaning for national magazines. But when her newborn daughter stopped eating during a medical crisis, Virginia spent two years teaching her how to feel safe around food again — and in the process, realized just how many of us are struggling to do the same thing. She began to see how the pressure to feed our kids and ourselves perfectly stems from a patriarchal cultural narrative that disconnects us from our bodies by creating unrealistic standards around food, weight and health. In the decade since becoming a parent, Virginia’s work has shifted to exploring how we can divest from diet culture —and why that starts with naming and unlearning our own anti-fat bias. Virginia has strategies for building a more weight-inclusive world that are useful to parents, healthcare providers, educators, and workplaces of every kind. She weaves research, personal narrative and analysis of diet culture together into an insightful and provocative talk.
Who can benefit from hearing Virginia’s story?
Anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder personally, or is close to someone who has; parents of picky eaters; people interested in learning more about how diet culture affects us all; people interested in examining their own relationship with food and eating; students studying food and food systems; diet and wellness professionals; educators trying to make classrooms and activities welcoming for kids of all body sizes; healthcare providers working to unlearn their biases.
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