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  • Writer's picturePaige Smathers

43: Pull Up a Chair & Let's Chat

If you’ve ever had any trouble digesting (no pun intended, hehe) any information on this podcast, please listen to this episode. Paige sits down and reviews some recent feedback and lets listeners know why she does what she does and what to expect from her with this project. Thanks to everyone for being a part of this!

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Full transcript:

Hey guys, it’s Paige. I just wanted to connect with you today about some things. So this is gonna be unedited, unplugged, imagine us just sitting down as friends, just chatting a little bit.

So what I wanted to do today was talk a little bit about the feedback that I’ve been getting about the podcast. As some of you might know, I put out a survey a few weeks ago, asking for feedback about the podcast, to try to get to know my listeners better, understand which episodes have really resonated with people, try to get an idea of where to focus my efforts in the future, and also see where I might be able to improve.

You all know when you open yourself up to get that feedback, it can kind of be a little bit hard to read about what people aren’t loving about you and what you do. First of all I wanted to really make sure you all know that I appreciate the feedback, and I’ve learned a lot from it, but I’m also a little bit sensitive, so sometimes it’s a little hard. That’s something I definitely need to work on and that’s definitely one of my weaknesses - I’m a sensitive person. But it’s also I think one of my strengths, because I think it’s probably part of why you like listening to this podcast, because I try to, as I mention, take a sensitive and realistic and compassionate approach to nutrition. Like with any other strength or personality trait, it can be a strength in some ways and it can also be a weakness in some ways. Anyway, just so you get some insight into me and what I’m working through and what I’m trying to do.

One thing that I just want to clear the air about, I want to make sure that everybody understands what to expect from this podcast, and also just to understand some ground rules for how we can work together to continue this project, and to continue making it run and function. I know that I have a really broad audience - I have people who have dabbled in nutrition or are curious about it, but don’t really know much about the world of nutrition. And then I have people who are in recovery from an eating disorder, I have people who work with people with eating disorders who listen, I have your everyday average Joe who maybe finds an episode and gets interested in the topic and then likes the content and continues listening. So I have this really really broad audience, and part of what’s tricky about that is to continue to provide content that doesn’t alienate anyone. For anyone listening who is struggling with an eating disorder, I just want you to know how much compassion I have for you, and how grateful I am that you listen. I trust that if you do have an active eating disorder, that you are reaching out for individualised care from a Registered Dietitian, a physician who specialises in eating disorders, as well as a therapist who specialises in eating disorders who can help answer some questions that maybe this podcast brings up, or obviously beyond the podcast just provide that individualised care that’s so necessary in eating disorder recovery. If you aren’t yet working with a team, I really really encourage you to get on board with them and definitely don’t rely on this podcast as a sole source of your recovery, because that is just probably not the most appropriate way to work through an eating disorder

Also, I just want everybody to understand that I’m not trying to be an eating disorder podcast, so with that being said it’s not that I don’t appreciate the people who listen who do struggle with that. I just don’t want to feel boxed in about what I can and cannot say by claiming that I’m an eating disorder podcast. I hope that that makes sense. I’m grateful for people who have that struggle who listen and who participate, but I also want to be free to talk about dieting and I want to be free to be able to use the words “weight loss” and not feel like I’m possibly triggering my audience. So with that being said, I’m not saying if you have an eating disorder, don’t listen, but I want you to know that I’m going to be as sensitive and compassionate to your situation as I possibly can. But at the same time I fundamentally avoid restriction and I avoid labels, so I want this podcast to be expansive, both for you and for me, and I want to be able to have conversations that are sometimes taboo. I want to be able to talk about things that aren’t being talked about - that’s part of what energises me about this project and part of what makes it worth it to me. So whenever I do have a subject that I feel might be triggering, I will do my very best to provide a trigger warning for those with active eating disorders, or who are in recovery, but I would also really appreciate some space to be able to explore some topics that might be a little bit taboo in the eating disorder world, because I know that some people need to hear it. So just give me some space in terms of how I portray these messages and the topics that I talk about. Just try to recognise that I’m doing my very best but I’m also trying not to box myself in, trying to be expansive and explorative in my approach with nutrition.

Another thing that I want to talk about is just who I have on this show. For those of you who have been listening or who have listened to a lot of the episodes, you’ll know that I’ve interviewed a wide variety of people throughout the 40-plus episodes that I’ve done, some of whom I completely agree with and resonate with and I’m just on the same page with, and then others who take a very different approach to nutrition and health than I do. I want you all to know that I think that that’s ok. I fundamentally want to avoid this podcast just being an echo chamber. I don’t want to have people on who say exactly what I would say, and just agree with every little thing I say. I love having people on with various perspectives and backgrounds and experiences that differ from my own, because I think that that’s what makes this interesting and useful for each of you. Here’s an example - you guys with remember that I had Sharon Palmer on maybe a couple of months ago,. She is a dietician who is a vegan, and her whole blog and her whole work revolves around veganism. Some of you might not know but maybe can guess that I am not a vegan. I really don’t have any restrictions or things that I don’t eat, so I fundamentally don’t apply that same lifestyle in my own life, but I still think that there’s value in having a conversation with someone who is vegan for a number of reasons. One of them is the fact that - who could we learn from better about eating more vegetables than someone who is a vegan, because that’s a big portion of their diet. I think there’s value in talking to different people from different walks of life with different philosophies, some of whom I agree with, some of whom I take a different stance than. I just want you to know that I expect that, I welcome that, and I embrace that in my approach to nutrition. I know that for some listeners, sometimes that feels like I’m possibly being wishy-washy, or that I don’t have a stance, or that interviewing people with different philosophies makes the listeners feel confused, and I get where you’re coming from on that and appreciate that feedback. At the same time I just want you to know that really the reason I do this is because I think it’s interesting to figure out what you really think and believe and feel about nutrition. Sometimes you don’t really learn that until someone says something that you don’t agree with, and then you realise “oh, I guess I don’t agree with that”. So keep that in mind as you’re listening.

Another thing I wanted to mention - I don’t always know what each of my guests are going to say. I don’t spend five hours reading all of their blog posts and diving into their philosophies. Typically these days I’m connecting with my guests because they’re listeners and they’d like to come on and they have a message that they want to share, and I welcome that. I don’t always know what’s going to be said, I don’t always know if it’s something that I’m going to agree with or something that I’m not, but I just want you guys to know that I think that that’s ok. I don’t claim to have responsibility over what any of my guests do outside of this podcast. I definitely do feel responsible for providing content that’s useful and engaging and interesting for each of you on the podcast. Let’s just fictitiously say that I interviewed someone who was promoting some crazy fad diet on their website and I didn’t know about that, and we had a conversation that was really useful and interesting and good, I don’t claim responsibility over any of my guests and what they do in their various content and in their work. So just because they come on this show, it doesn’t necessarily meant that I 100% agree with them, or 100% endorse them or promote them. Really what I am trying to do is connect and have conversations and allow you to be in this journey with me. So I hope that there’s room for that and I hope that you can see where I’m coming from in my approach with who I have on and what we talk about.

One of the goals of this podcast if to bridge the gap - to help people become more aware and recognize some of the problematic ways that they engage with food or with their bodies. So I am really trying to help people see health in a new light. I’m trying to put out content that helps people and that helps them see, “gosh I thought that this was healthy but now I’m learning that perhaps this is problematic - how can I make some changes to become mentally and physically my best?”. So I want this podcast to be a framework where you can critically examine these nutrition and health topics in a way that can hit home. I don’t expect any of you to absolutely love every single episode that I publish. I know that some content will be really really great for one person, and completely not connect with another. I think that that’s ok - that’s how podcasts are. The ones that I listen to - sometimes I’m obsessed with one episode and not a huge fan of another. But that’s sort of the nature of this, and again as I mentioned in the beginning, this is a really broad audience that listens. So that’s something also to expect.

With my podcast, I really don’t want this to be another all-or-nothing thing. Sometimes when we learn how dangerous dieting is and how mentally and physically damaging it can be to us, sometimes we have the tendency to latch on to the opposite end of the spectrum, but in just as extreme of a way. I hope what I’m trying to say makes sense. As we move away from dieting in these conversations and in our own journeys, I really want to warn each of you to not latch on to the opposite dogmatic way of thinking, where anything related to that is just automatically terrible. I feel like as we move away from dieting, we move towards self-love and nutrition, we really need to embrace each other wherever we may be on our journey. Various guests I have on this show are in different spaces and in different spots. Some people who struggle with disordered eating or eating disorders take decades to work through it. Other people - something clicks in their brain and they’re on the path to recovery really quickly. Let’s be very slow to judge each other in those processes, because this is a really sensitive, sticky, messy issue.

As each of you are digesting this episode in the context of all the other topics we’ve struggled through together in this podcast journey, I’m just pleading with each of you to give myself and my guests a little bit of room to explore and think outside the box. Some of you might feel that that’s me trying to straddle two worlds, but I disagree. I’m not straddling - I’m really trying to build bridges and trying to have conversations. I don’t always agree with my guests, they don’t always agree with me, but I’m hoping that each of you, as you connect and listen, can really discover and critically examine how you individually feel about these topics.

I’m thinking about going to a little bit slower of a publishing schedule, just because the podcast takes up a lot of my time and mental space, and I just need to pull back a little bit. This is not a reaction to the feedback, it’s just sort of something I’ve been thinking about. I think I’m going to go to an every other week schedule - don’t hold me to it, sometimes I change my mind. But that’s what I’m thinking at this point.

I hope that this little episode, this little monologue if you will, made sense. I hope you see where I’m coming from. I want you to know that I’ve gotten so much more positive feedback than negative, and this work has been so rewarding and so expansive and such an amazing learning experience for me, and I hope for all of you. I’m grateful for it. Keep in mind I’m not a professional journalist, I’m not trained in this, so I’m just doing this honestly, truly, out of the goodness of my heart, because I really believe in reaching out to my community at large and providing good quality information for people who are struggling. So that’s why I do this. It’s not for fame or fortune, obviously, but it’s really to try to help people and I know it is, and I’m so so grateful for that. When I’m imperfect in my response or in things I say, or in feedback I give to my interviewees, just give me a little bit of space and just recognise that I am a mom, a dietician, I’m a person, I’m a really super-regular person, and I’m by no means trained in this way. I appreciate a little bit of room to not be perfect.

Thank you all for listening, and I’m so so grateful for your continued support and messages, and sharing the podcast - keep that up! I hope you have a wonderful day.

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