Bethany Wheeler, MS, RD, LD
I am a registered and licensed dietitian specializing in eating disorders, body image and sports nutrition through social and health justice lenses. My practice philosophies include Health at Every Size®, weight inclusivity, body autonomy and self-compassion. I believe diversity is valuable and that all forms of diversity (size, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability, immigration status, age, class, etc) need to be recognized and honored. I hold a Bachelors of Science in Dietetics from the University of Georgia as well as a Masters of Science in Applied Exercise and Health Science with a concentration in Exercise Physiology from Kennesaw State University. Prior to opening my private practice, I worked at Kennesaw State University (KSU) where I was a founding member of the university's eating disorder treatment team, provided outpatient nutrition therapy for students and also provided nutrition services for student athletes. I am also formerly part-time faculty within the Exercise Science and Sport Management Department at KSU. I am currently a member of the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH), Eating Disorder Registered Dietitians & Professionals (EDRDpro) and the International Federation of Eating Disorder Dietitians (IFEDD).
All bodies are good bodies.
Everyone deserves quality, non-discriminatory healthcare.
In a Health at Every Size and weight-inclusive approach to healthcare.
Body trust is our birthright.
In working with our bodies, not against them.
Eating and movement are meant to be enjoyable.
Self-compassion is an integral part of healing our relationship with food and our body.
In evidence-based practice and research that are free of weight bias and are inclusive.
Diversity is valuable and that all forms of diversity (size, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability, immigration status, age, class, etc) need to be recognized and honored.
In inclusivity, body autonomy and body liberation.
More about my philosophies and approach…
I was trained and educated through very narrow and privileged lenses (most dietitians and healthcare professionals are). And as I started practicing as a dietitian I began to practice the way I was taught. Yet, as I met with and truly listened to real human beings (not just some case study out of a textbook) things were not adding up. Why were the guidelines and interventions I had learned to use not working (ie. not helping others improve their health)? Conventional “wisdom” would have me believe that it was the individuals who had the problem (not the guidelines or intervention). However, that could not be farther from the truth. It is within us, within our bodies, that has the answers and the wisdom. No health professional, intervention or guideline is the expert of our body. We live in our body every single day and we each know our own body the best.
Does this mean that I ignore the science or the research in providing care for my clients? If the evidence is ignorant to social determinants of health (factors that influence health status beyond genetics and lifestyle that are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources in society, and include history of trauma/abuse, socioeconomic status, social connection, access to healthcare, stigma and discrimination (1,2), perpetuates shame, guilt and stigma and does not include all aspects of health-ie. social, emotional, cognitive, spiritual, financial, physical) then the answer is yes. I do disregard this form of research because it is not applicable to the true human experience. Thankfully, though, there has been and continues to be research that considers social determinants of health, is inclusive, challenges our biases and truly views all aspects of health (not just the physical one). Utilizing this latter form of research as well as the evidence within a human being is what I believe engaging in evidence-based practice really means.
Association for Size Diversity and Health. Social Determinants of Health. https://www.sizediversityandhealth.org/content.asp?id=283&sessionID=605746114
World Health Organization (WHO). Social Determinants of Health. http://www.who.int/social_determinants/sdh_definition/en/