Polly Young-Eisendrath with Ali Shapiro: Thinness, Beauty, and Power

By Ali Shapiro

Last year, after reading Women and Desire: Beyond Wanting to Be Wanted, I put Dr. Polly Young-Eisendrath on my bucket list to have on the show.

This book explores the power in women having their own needs and wants, rather than focusing on wanting to be wanted.

This book dovetails with my Truce with Food work as it provides a road map and skills for clients to go from the “good girl” based on what others need and want to developing their own preferences that are in alignment with who they are. Knowing your body’s own unique nutritional needs and truest personal callings are under this umbrella.

What I love about Dr. Young-Eisendrath’s work is she makes the distinction between what we think we want and what we’ve conditioned to believe we want, like a size 4 body.

My clients, like me, are often shocked to find they aren’t completely living life on their terms.

My clients tend to be great in their careers and while they have challenges, feel they are in charge of their life and can manage well enough, except in their weight loss or healthy habit “thing”.

What they don’t realize is in some areas of their life, like being a foodie or wino, isn’t their genuine preference. How they are is how they were taught to belong, versus choosing for themselves where they want to belong.

Examining our relationship to our body is to examine our relationship with our needs, nutritional and emotional fulfillment included there. This is where life-changing power lies, not in the shape of our body.

In this episode, we dive deep into this thanks to Dr. Eisendrath’s expertise:

How thinness or “strong is the new sexy” offers an illusion of power but won’t get you what you want

What is true power or what we think of as confidence and courage? Dr. Young-Eisendrath gets into the nuance of this fascinating topic

The sneaky difference between self-awareness and self-criticism and why need to know the difference for personal sovereignty