Building an Outfit like a Body Positive Nutritionist with Amee Severson


I hope my children are nerds.

I hope that they have passionate interests in obscure topics. Topics so obscure that, when talked about, others nod along and then say, “It sure is hot today.” I hope their love of robots, or antique synthesizers, or Emily Dickinson’s poetry (but only her poems written in winter, if they’re honest) fascinate them and propel them to learn more and create more.

Why? I have a theory: nerds are more likely to be kickass adults.

Nerds spend their formative years attempting to spread the message of their passions and, usually, their trumpeting is met with ambivalence. Nerds have to learn how to get their message heard, how to continue making stuff that lights them up inside, even when their peers think it’s weird, or dorky, or boring.

Nerds are shot into adulthood having already experienced failure. They’ve been rejected. They know how to work, and continue working, even if their masterpiece isn’t immediately acclaimed and widely celebrated.

Today, I’m so excited to introduce our How They Build It guest, Amee Severson.

Amee and me, Puritan OGs.

Amee and me, Puritan OGs.

Amee and I went to high school together, and I think we’d both openly admit that we were not cool. We didn’t captain any sports teams. We weren’t cheerleaders. Neither one of us was nominated for Homecoming Queen. I’ve included a photo of us in our junior year, in our costumes for the spring play, The Crucible. We’re holding our arms in a C formation because we thought it would be funny to have a Puritan “gang”. That C is our super-cool gang sign.

I tell you this history because Amee could be the poster child for my nerds-are-great-adults theory. She is a kickass adult.

To quote her bio, “Amee Severson is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist whose work focuses on body positivity, fat acceptance, and intuitive eating through a social justice lens.” Amee has taken her passions and experiences from our youth, and now uses them to uplift, teach, and celebrate others. I’m continuously impressed by her drive and how she uses her public voice. (She also tolerates (and replies to) my long strings of texts about Lindy West, so that alone proves that she’s fantastic.)

I’m thrilled to share her creative process today with you today, and to build an outfit following it.

Let’s get to it!


From the Office of Amee Severson


1.     What is my message?

There is always a certain message I want to get out. Usually a root of that message is “fuck the preconceived notions, how do I express me?”. It’s so important to be authentic. And within that, it’s important to be able to be authentic somewhere you are safe to do so. Everyone deserves a safe space. A message I often share is when the world is safe for you, you get to be authentic. So what work can you do to make the world safer for others who need that belonging? At the end of the day, food and bodies and eating disorders are a social justice issue. It’s less important what we are doing, more important is the message we are sending.

2.     What is my authentic self?

How can I accurately represent myself? There are certain things that are commonly said or shared in the eating disorder recovery field and certain things that are shared in the fat activist sphere that I am a part of. And what in those areas is me. I never want to share a message through any medium that isn’t an accurate depiction of me. I never want anyone who knows me to look at my work and be confused. In order to encourage others to be authentic and open, I need to do that myself.

3.     Am I taking up my space?

As a (cis) woman, especially as a fat (cis) woman, I have been cultured to take up less space. To not be too much. However, I deserve to take up space. I can be loud and pushy and extra. I can do whatever the fuck I want. I don’t even have to be authentic to me, that is my right. I can be as loud or as quiet as I choose to be and people who judge me aren’t worth the time of day.

4.     How can I push for social change?

At the end of the day, my most important goal is social change. Because this is a culture where we don’t all fit. We aren’t all accepted just as we are. And this does harm. I always consider how the decisions I am making are pushing that agenda. We all deserve to be authentic and to be our true self, and we deserve the space to feel accepted and to find belonging. We deserve our people. Am I doing something that will help move the culture in that direction? Or am I maintaining the status quo.

5.     How am I treating myself?

I am recovered from an eating disorder. I know I’m not the only one (so far from it). I am also existing in a world that tells me to follow disordered eating patterns daily. I am constantly faced with choices and beliefs and emotions around my food and my movement and my body that should be mine, not because of the cultural beliefs that have done harm. Am I making choices for myself or because I am conditioned to believe something else? This choice impacts everything from everything to food, to movement, to clothes, to words. I deserve to treat myself well, whatever that means to me.



1.     What is my message?

My day began by waking up from a bad dream. It wasn’t a nightmare. I hadn’t been chased, I didn’t fall from great heights, but nonetheless, it was disorienting. That dream colored my mood. It lingered like a cheap fog machine, dampening my thoughts.

As I prepared to plan this outfit, a celebratory outfit at that, my bad dream fog encouraged me to be a bit dramatic.


My snappiness surprised even myself. I sat down on our bed. Breathed a little. Then, I realized the obvious. Of course I have a message. I have a whole page here titled “The Experiment” that details my message. Here at Costume Parade, I break fashion rules and experiment with clothes to wear what I want to instead of what society tells me I should.


I challenged myself to break one of my personal fashion rules for this outfit, and moved on to Step 2.


2.     What is my authentic self?

In January, I kept a dress from Stitch Fix even though I suspected I wouldn’t wear it. The dress is green. It has a scalloped high neckline and it’s form-fitting. It’s playful but also pretty, and has been a hit over on my Pinterest boards. I anticipated that I’d avoid this dress because of it’s body-hugging shape, and I was right. So, I pulled the green dress down and put it on. I love green. I love that dress. Why should I avoid wearing it because it isn’t conventionally flattering?

I moved onto makeup. I wore more than other people might for a Sunday evening dinner because I enjoy the process of it. I braided my hair rather than curl it. I added funky earrings that are large and gold and face-shaped.

I stood there, practically ready save for shoes. Something wasn’t right.


This outfit, on paper, was correct. I broke fashion rules - three of them! (Hold Your Horses on all of that Makeup, Black is Always Best, Don’t Wear Anything Too Revealing.) Yet, it wasn’t authentic to me that day because I hate an inconvenience, and often form-fitting clothes feel inconvenient. They can limit mobility, be difficult to sit in, and ride up. I didn’t want to wear the dress not because it displayed my current body, but because I couldn’t be bothered. I just wanted to go to dinner with my husband, be comfortable and present, and not distracted by my clothing.

3.     Am I taking up my space?

So, I peeled the dress off, and replaced it with a bright orange, flowy, swishy, peasant dress. It was a lot. It was a little extra. And I felt relief.

That dress is far more authentic to me (I love a good costume-esque outfit!), and it definitely took up space. It said, “HELLO, I AM HERE. I MAY BE AN EXTRA ON WESTWORLD, AND I’M READY FOR A MARGARITA.” (The margarita I had while wearing it was excellent.)

I added brown slides, and a small bag with brown details and a dog on it. I was in head-to-toe fire colors, and I felt firey, too. The outfit had incinerated my bad dream fog, and I was feeling clear and lighter.

4.     How can I push for social change?

I don’t think my writing here is as revolutionary as Amee’s work, but I do believe in it. For me, my thoughts about my clothing are often inherently attached to my thoughts about my body and the size of it. I don’t think that I’m alone in that. In fact, I’m sure I’m not.


I’m often buoyed when I see other women wear fabulous clothes that are true, when their outfits match their insides. I hope, by sharing my journey (and struggles!) of getting my outfits aligned with my insides, I encourage other women to do the same. So, while I didn’t loudly and actively campaign for social change on our dinner date, the outfit contributed and aligned with my Costume Parade mission.

5.     How am I treating myself?

What a glorious step. I loved this. I loved that before I rushed out of the door, I could take a second and say, “But am I being nice to me?” It was a simple but important check-in that I’ll be adopting into my daily routine from here on out.

So, was I treating myself well in that fire dress? Would I be happy to take pictures in it? To put those pictures online (the internet is forever)? To eat in it, to sit in it, to brave a public restroom in it?

The answer to all questions was yes. In that outfit, I felt calm, comfortable, and authentically me.

An immense thank you to Amee for sharing her creative process. It really resonated with me, and I hope it moved you, too. Amee’s bio is below and it includes where you can find and follow her. (Her Instagram is top notch.)

This is the final post of FOOD MONTH. I’ll be back on Sunday with a new theme for June! Until then, I’ll be sharing a few more foodie bits and bobs on Instagram and Twitter. And, as always, I love to chat! If you have thoughts about this post (or any post!), leave me a comment below or shoot me an email at

Until next time, Rule Breakers!

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AMEE SEVERSON is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist whose work focuses on body positivity, fat acceptance, and intuitive eating through a social justice lens.

With a mission to break the stereotype that all RD’s live in small bodies and only eat certain foods, Amee cultivates rebellion and liberation on social media, showcasing the possibility for health and happiness in any body. Amee encourages the belief that food can be enjoyed without guilt or shame. She believes that recovery from disordered eating is possible for everyone and that every person deserves to feel trust in their body. Amee doesn’t believe in one-size-fits-all nutrition and health, so she works with clients to make health and nutrition fit into their current life, not the other way around.

She holds a Bachelor's degree in Food and Nutrition from Montana State University, is a dietitian registered in the State of Washington, and is currently working toward becoming a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and a Certified Body Trust Provider.

Amee found Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size when she was recovering from her own disordered eating. After striving for years for weight loss – and pummelling herself with guilt and shame – Amee decided to support others in the quest for peace and normalcy in their bodies and with food. Amee has a passion for banishing the stigma around weight and “wellness” and uses social media and her work with clients to spread that message.

Amee can most often be found with her horde of animals and her family, possibly baking.  You can find Amee in Bellingham, WA or at Western Washington University, and on Instagram, Twitter, and her blog.