Kiss BMI Goodbye: Breaking Up with a Weight-Centered Approach to Wellness
PRESENTERS: Sarah Stevens and Michelle Roling LMHC, CEDS
DESCRIPTION: Is it really possible to break up with a weight-centered approach to wellness
once and for all? It’s one thing to understand diets fail. It is another to recognize disordered
eating and eating disorder recovery is dependent on creating a rule-free relationship with
food. How does it work? The role of society's ideal body size must be acknowledged. We
must call out society’s weight belief that a healthy body is a thin body. Abandoning this myth
that thin equals healthy is the very foundation on which a sustainable approach to wellness
can - and should - be built. This session will focus on how we can each move toward a
weight neutral, body affirming lifestyle.
At the end of this presentation, participants will be able to:
1. Identify 3 dangers to patients/clients when weight focused care and weight stigma are
present in medical/treatment settings.
2. List 2 strategies which decrease body shame and build body resilience.
3. Discuss potential patient/client benefits, in several life components, for those utilizing
weight neutral approaches to wellness.
4. Create a personal wellness paradigm diagram.

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Sarah Stevens

In 2016, Sarah left a successful, decade-long career in corporate healthcare in favor of work that better aligned with her passion and purpose. After serving for two years as a freelance consultant to small businesses and start-up nonprofits, Sarah founded The Beautifull Project - a storytelling collective that invites women back to their bodies and into a world where they belong with substance and with strength.

Sarah is a gifted storyteller with a skill for using her own experience as a woman navigating the world in a fat body to invite her audience to encounter the parts of themselves they hide away from the world - the parts they believe to be “too much”. Addressing everything from too-big bodies to a fear of failure that cripples confidence, Sarah amplifies a message that moves beyond a body positive sentiment and creates a movement that makes room for every body to tell their truth and take up space. She draws out confidence and courage. She believes in being free and full. And she will make a believer out of you, too.



Michelle Roling LMHC, CEDS

Michelle Roling is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. She has been a Senior Staff member of Iowa State University’s Student Counseling Services for twenty years in a variety of roles and is the eating disorder coordinator. Michelle is a co-founder of the Eating Disorder Coalition of Iowa which will be celebrated it’s 10th Anniversary in 2020. Michelle has a private practice, in Ames, Iowa, “Sharing is Healing”, working with clients ages 5-95 with presenting concerns of body image, eating disorders and their co-occurring mental health diagnoses


The largest part of her life comes from the time spent with husband, Shawn, their 3 boys,  2 new daughter –in laws  both weddings during Covid and she loves spoiling  the family fur babies. Advocating for the older sons’ cystic fibrosis treatment and fundraising for a CF cure play a significant role in her life.