The Redesigning Wellness Podcast

197: Fighting Back Against Fatphobia with Ragen Chastain, Speaker, Writer, and Consultant

Ragen Chastain with Photo Credit

Despite the fact that nearly 95% of diets fail in the long term and dieters often experience more weight gain than they originally lost, weight loss still remains the focus of many wellness programs and health initiatives. Today’s guest, Ragen Chastain, believes there is another way to health without buying into diet culture that just doesn’t work. She believes that health is achievable at any size.

Ragen is an internationally recognized speaker, writer, and thought leader in the fields of body image and the Health At Every Size (HAES) philosophy. She has presented to corporations such as Google and Apple, and has been featured in notable publications such as the New York Times, NPR, and BBC News to name a few.

In this episode, Ragen talks a little bit about her background including some of the weight stigma she has experienced. She discusses why she believes the HAES data is buried in diet culture research and addresses why being fat isn’t inherently unhealthy.

Ragen explains the HAES philosophy more thoroughly, discusses some strategies bigger bodied people can use to stand up for themselves and advocate for their health care, and touches on the work that she does to educate health practitioners. Finally, Ragen offers a tangible tip on helping to move your health and wellness initiatives away from focusing on weight loss.

This episode is sponsored by University of Wisconsin Health and Wellness Management, offering online bachelor’s and master’s degrees in wellness management. You can visit for more information.

Graduates of the program have launched successful wellness careers with healthcare systems, wellness program vendors, community agencies, insurance providers, even the military. Here are some really cool things about UW Health and Wellness Management:

  • Courses are designed and taught by distinguished faculty from the University of Wisconsin, many of whom actively work in the field.
  • UW Health and Wellness Management is also supported by an advisory board, industry experts from corporations such as Children’s Wisconsin, Willis Towers Watson, and the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds, who offer advice on changing trends in health and wellness so that students are learning the most up-to-date methods.
  • Students often say the flexible, online format is a big factor in their ability to earn a degree. (Our recent situation is an indication of the advantages of online learning.) Although the program is online, you’ll make strong connections with peers and faculty, just as you would on campus.

UW Health and Wellness Management bachelor’s and master’s degrees provide the skills you need to manage comprehensive employee well-being programs that foster healthier lifestyles and promote the value of staying well.

Turn your passion for wellness into a healthy career with University of Wisconsin Health and Wellness Management. Visit or contact an enrollment adviser by phone, 1-877-895-3276.

Interview Highlights (with timestamps):
  • [9:04] Ragen’s background
  • [16:01] Why Ragen believes the health at every size research is buried
  • [21:20] Isn’t being fat unhealthy?
  • [30:06] Confirmation bias in weight studies
  • [32:49] Ragen’s response to the idea that obesity is unacceptable
  • [36:31] Learning to speak up and advocate for yourself against weight bias
  • [40:00] Predisposition to body size
  • [42:32] The Health at Every Size (HAES) philosophy
  • [47:06] Ragen’s work with healthcare practitioners
  • [52:30] Ragen’s tangible tip
Mentioned in this episode:
Full Bio:

Ragen Chastain is a speaker, writer, ACE Certified Health Coach, and thought leader in the fields of Body Image, Health at Every Size, and Corporate Wellness. Ragen has brought her captivating mix of humor and hard facts to stages including Apple and Google Headquarters. Author of the blog, the book Fat: The Owner’s Manual, and creator of the Wellness For All Bodies Workplace Wellness program, Ragen has been featured as an expert in venues including the New York Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post and network and cable news .

Ragen is a three-time National dance champion, and two-time marathoner who holds the Guinness World Record for Heaviest Woman to Complete a Marathon. She co-founded the Fit Fatties Facebook Group which currently has over 7,000 member of all sizes discussing weight-neutral fitness. Ragen lives in LA with her partner and their adorable dogs, and is currently training for an Iron-distance triathlon.

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