For trans people, food regimen suggestions are limiting


My eating disorder, my gradually changing hormone dose, and my feelings about my body asked me a collective question: when will I feel full, and when will I be whole?

The food guidelines require us to consider the foods we consume under the guidance of the generalized quantity, quality, and size of the serving population for the entire population.

Also, transgender people start hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as part of our transitions we are told that certain changes in body weight, size and muscle mass should be expected. So what happens at the crossroads of food and high-speed rail?

Although there are general set of expectations for trans people in HRT, the results are individualistic based on genetics, dose, age, and so on.

But if HRT is having a hard time following the guidelines for most people, how can we expect nutrition — which is broader and broader than taking hormones — to do the same for us?


Traditionally, methods of assessing nutrition have been gender-based, with one set of guidelines for men and another for women.

According to the National Academy of Medicine, Dietary Reference Intake – released in 1977 and serves as a recommended systemic guideline for recommended nutritional intake – classifies individuals as male and female.

In these cases, although “male” and “female” are “gender-specific,” they refer to sexual characteristics in relation to gender.

A 2020 study Dr. Whitney Linsenmeyer, Dr. Theresa Drallmeier, and Dr. Michael Thomure found that “there is no standard care for clinicians to report methods of assessing nutrition for transgender and non-gendered patients.”

“Clinicians can choose to use values ​​related to the patient’s gender identity, individualize nutritional care based on the patient’s medical transition phase, or use a range of values ​​when appropriate,” the authors wrote.

My first nutrition lesson was in eighth grade health class. I learned that the “proper” bird service should be the size of a palm tree (whose palm, anyway?). I also learned to be afraid of white rice, which is a staple product of our Indonesian family home.

My first lesson on HRT was in the tenth grade when I saw Julie Vu and other brown trans women on YouTube documenting their transitions.

By the time I started HRT, I was expecting breast augmentation and hip worsening, among other things, based solely on cisnormative standards not achieved by all women.

Network trans forums also told me that I was expecting incidents that would occasionally be my “period”. And even though I saw how menstruating as a transgender woman could feel close to most women (and therefore feel more legitimate), a voice in my head told me that it was all a desire.

Zachari Breeding’s “Nutritional Considerations for the Transgender Community” verifies that “calorie, protein, and fluid requirements are not significantly different than those for cisgender individuals. […] [And] Because the time it takes for hormone therapy to change results from person to person, it is sometimes difficult to know where [a trans] the individual is in the process. ”

When I learned this, I went through relief. I thought that if I had the measures and measurements of progress to base myself on, then at least everyone else was on the same bar.

However, in theory, I was perhaps relying on the need to move forward, but in the end I didn’t understand how to get to my diet, and if that would change.

Based on research by Linsenmeyer, Drallmeier, and Thomure, clinicians not only focus their nutritional resources on the binary genitals, they also lack the tools to provide nutritional support to their transgender patients, let alone transgender patients. AHTn.

Another study by Linsenmeyer, in conjunction with Dr. Rabia Rahman, states that because of the limited health care for transgender and non-binary gender affirmation, our community is often advised to talk to health professionals.

“One-third of U.S. Transgender Survey respondents report having had at least one negative experience with a health care provider in the past year, including denial of care; verbal, physical, or sexual harassment; and the need to educate the provider about transgender health issues in order to receive appropriate care, ”said Linsenmeyer and Rahman.

“Furthermore, 23% of respondents avoided the necessary medical care for fear of discrimination and ill-treatment, compared to 28% of respondents in the National Survey on Transgender Discrimination.”

College took me to many crossroads: eating emotionally during the day-to-day breaks of being a college student, eating too much as a paid tactic raised by poor and malnourished parents, and obsessing over morning workouts on campus. the need to be small in my childhood.

The school pushed me to the limit, and being one of the few trans women in the school encouraged me to do so. Eating Disorders, I was gradually changing my hormone dose and my feelings for my body required a collective question:

When will I feel full, and when will I be full?

“People are given a moral value for how we view food and how we view our weight. And we put that on people. [One of the] they are important things with an eating disorder [the] body size link [and] a way for a person to evaluate their self-esteem, ”said Sam Tryon RD (s).

She is a registered dietitian based in Maryland and works with clients (including trans and non-binary) to challenge beliefs about the inadequacy of eating and eating disorders.

“It simply came to our notice then [a person’s] pants size, whether this is it or not [feel] decent enough to show that it’s a job, or a date, or something in general. ‘

– Sam Tryon, RD (s)

I thought Sam’s customers should be lucky enough to work with them, but Sam tells me that luck, for any customer, starts much earlier.

“As far as I can see, there is a certain amount of health literacy [and privilege] because they would already have access to other health care providers to trans-confirm the health care provider, and then they would find their way to me, ”they say.

My university provided a maximum of 10 therapy sessions per student over its 4 years. The director of my residential building banned me from using women’s restrooms, even though a survey of permission on the entire floor revealed that only two women were uncomfortable.

I was catching my changing body.

In addition to my job-study work, the classes were quite demanding. For students with meal plans, we were thrilled by the unlimited access to our three dining halls. We ate as much as we could, and it served as a meaningful moment to express these feelings to each other at meals.

It was nutrition, an event on campus with additional credit for participation. Nutrition, in my experience, was made to be an option.

Jana Spindler (herself), a registered dietitian and online nutrition educator, works with Health Stand Nutrition, a practice based in Calgary, Canada. The goal of Health Stand Nutrition is to help people “live healthier and healthier lives,” according to Jana.

His role, he says, is to “make food easier for the character, but [also] to really individualize nutrition. [My] the approach is to see where the person is right now, how [I] it can make as few changes as possible and make it as motivating as possible. ”

Referring to her trans and non-binary clients, Jana says, “The risk of eating disorders is very, very high.”

In Sam’s experience, “it’s a reduction [seen as] really a gender affirmation for both transmasculine and transfemme. ”

“It’s really feminine to be very tiny in our society,” Sam explains. “For transmasculine people, the reduction will reduce the breast tissue. You will have smaller hips. For transfemales, [restriction means] you won’t have a belly weight [is seen as] really masculine. ‘

The insidious truth about being trans or non-binary is that eating disorders reduce, for some, gender dysphoria, despite the physical neglect that occurs in these situations.


When it comes to food, as a trans person, I found it disturbing to understand whether it was the voice of gender euphoria or the voice of an approach to filling my soul with food that I wanted to hear.

After all, they value white supremacy and capitalism, in practice, discipline, will, and control. In the areas of nutrition and gender, I felt it was necessary not only to choose one over the other, but to choose one over the other, just as my livelihood depended on obsession, discipline, will, and control.

“[Trans or nonbinary people on HRT might say,] “It simply came to our notice then [and trans] it’s not the same energy as someone involved in a diet culture, ”says Sam.

“And at the same time, some people may come from the other extreme.’ I’m already in a counterculture in a way, right? [So] I really need to adapt in every other way. ”

Surrendering to the control and will of internalized fatphobia and transphobia proclaims white supremacy and capitalism victorious.

It becomes easy to see money and price tags on everything: when you buy a new dress, hoping to get into it one day. Hormone costs. Purchase a meal plan guide. Yes, even consulted registered dietitians and nutritionists.

The journey of healing has a price to pay, and it looks different for everyone.

Jana believes that building a “proud list” can ease the tension between body and food.

“Every day, I want to be able to sign up: I’m really proud of that”He says. “And maybe it could be drinking all the water in my water bottle. That could be remembering breakfast today. That could be walking in a mirror and being afraid of my body feeling neutral instead of negative.”

For him, adding boasting points every day allows him to add more quality to life.

We believe that clarifying values ​​can ease the tension. At the heart of this practice is a memento without trial:

The way people deliberately shape their bodies is not a testament to who they are, a testament to the way their bodies should be influenced by their ideas.

Most passionately, clarification of values ​​occurs primarily in trans and non-binary communities.

“Being queer [and trans]if we’re lucky, we can really break everything, ”says Sam.

“Crushing and picking everything, picking and tinkering with what’s important to us, what we want to be, how we want to live, what we want our community to be like, what our values ​​are, that’s really a privilege,” they continue. . “And that makes a lot of sense when we see that someone is focused on nutrition and their body, and how that really doesn’t really fit the person.”

I graduated from college and then graduated from high school more than a year later. The people who mean the most to me see me as I am, no matter how big or small my gender plays in that.

I still inject estrogen into my muscles every week. My parents still make me a bag of home-cooked dishes to take home every time I visit.

As the resident director of my new room for the year, as the fat-phobic culture we live in, as my birth certificate, so many appearing to me have asked me to go against the flow.

I don’t always have to eat or want to eat that piece of cake. But it helps to know that I will always be worth it, regardless of who I am and what it has taken to be here, in terms of nutrition and medicine.


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