Virginia Sole-Smith

As a journalist, Virginia Sole-Smith has reported from kitchen tables and grocery stores, graduated from beauty school, and gone swimming in a mermaid’s tail. Virginia’s latest book, Fat Talk: Parenting in the Age of Diet Culture, investigates how the “war on childhood obesity” has caused kids of all ages to absorb a daily onslaught of body shame from peers, school, diet culture, and parents themselves — and offers research-based strategies to help parents name and navigate the anti-fat bias that infiltrates our schools, doctor’s offices, and family dinner tables.

Virginia began her career in women’s magazines, alternatively challenging beauty standards and gender norms, and upholding diet culture through her health, nutrition, and fitness reporting. Motherhood inspired a reckoning of harm caused, and led to her first book, The Eating Instinct: Food Culture, Body Image and Guilt in America, in which Virginia explored how we can reconnect to our bodies, and our own innate understanding of how to eat, in a culture that’s constantly giving us so many mixed messages about both those things.

Virginia is a frequent contributor to The New York Times. Her work also appears in The New York Times Magazine, Scientific American, and many other publications. She writes the newsletter Burnt Toast, where she explores fatphobia, diet culture, parenting, and health, and also hosts the Burnt Toast Podcast. Virginia lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, two daughters, a cat, a dog, and way too many houseplants.

Virginia Sole-Smith


by Virginia Sole-Smith

Trying To Raise “Normal” Eaters After A Lifetime Of Diet Culture

Precious few of us show up to parenthood with a glowing relationship with our bodies. How do we raise kids who do?