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Author Joy Overstreet smiling

About Joy

Joy Imboden Overstreet created the original Thin Within workshops in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1975.  She was one of the very first health educators to ditch diets in favor of mindful eating. Unfortunately, being mindful often amplified those shaming internal voices that plague so many weight-worriers. What to do?


After a life-changing encounter with a cherry pie-eating friend, she designed a sequential process of self-discovery to root out that inner saboteur, as well as the tired stories, invisible beliefs, and counter-productive behaviors that had kept her failing at so many diets. She created some simple practices that increased her pleasure in eating, improved her relationship to her body, and have kept her slim ever since. Thousands have benefited from this process over the years. 


Joy has a Masters in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley. She's a very good cook, but sucks at making pies.

Joy Overstreet Author with children as pioneer family

If you're still curious

I'm curious too. It may explain why I've done so many things since I finished college: guitar teacher; food writer; health educator; computer nerd & tech writer; photographer & blogger; feng shui & color consultant; Clark College instructor; elderly Lego enthusiast.  


Worst "job" ever: young widow navigating single parenthood. Best "job" ever: mother of three (two Imbodens on the left. Young Mr. Overstreet had not yet been born).
Jobs that taught me the most: remodeling four homes and their gardens, and serially downsizing from 4,800 sq. ft to 736 sq. ft.  I make mistakes so I can help others avoid them.


I've written for many publications, including The New York Times, Parents Magazine, Working Mother, Computer Currents, San Francisco Chronicle, HealthSteps, and the weekly food page for the late lamented Berkeley Gazette, but this is my first book.  

Featured In

Living Well with Shelia Craig Whiteman Video interview with a physical therapist who specializes in urinary incontinence. 

(Best to fast forward a couple of minutes.) Another far-ranging conversation. Life lessons from the Cherry Pie Paradox. On to personal color analysis... Habit change and self-identity shift. And we laugh about how men are easier clients because they follow instructions, whereas women have stories about why they can't.

Catalyze your Potential Podcast/video with Stéphanie Bergot, a life coach in Quebec. We talk about serial entrepreneurship, following one's curiosity, the shift from being a naysayer to saying Yes to whatever life throws you, about the challenges of finding life balance as a woman, career person, parent, wife (resentments and boundaries). If you could live your life over, would you do it differently? Would it even have been possible, given your limited life experience at the time? Then we got into the power of color. I really enjoyed this far-ranging conversation.  


Hormone Hub Podcast with Kylie Pinwill, a delightful nutrition coach in Queensland, Australia. We talk about the mindset shift, tools and daily practices that I created to end my weight struggles four decades ago (long before “intuitive eating” and the “anti-diet").

Making FIT Work with Nina McGoff Podcast. Nina is fitness coach in Maryland. We talk about the origins of my weight obsession at summer camp when I was a teen, my dieting failures and how I quit them forever.


Widowed Parent Podcast with Jenny Lisk

  • The shock of my 29-year-old husband being diagnosed with testicular cancer when our two kids were barely 1 and 4;

  • Angry feelings after he died, followed by shame and self-loathing -> weight obsession -> Thin Within

  • Reflections decades after the fact on how this loss played out in my kids' lives. 


#AmWriting Podcast with KJ Dell'Antonia

In which we talk about writing a book after procrastinating for 40 years. Working with a book coach to keep me on task. Three complete drafts.


Mindfulness-Based Weight Loss Podcast with Lucia Hawley

On creating the Thin Within program, based on my own struggles back in the early 1970s, and why it took so long to write about it.


Women Over 50: A Life Redesigned with Shelley Drymon 

A discussion of using curiosity as a tool to solve personal problems, and how I've repeatedly used that strategy, including to resolve my own weight problem and to thrive on a solo sabbatical.

Audiobook Connection Podcast with Becky Parker Geist

A fun "behind the scenes" peek at an audiobook production - choosing a great narrator, what's behind the title, 

Podcast version:


Color Designers Int'l: discussing the link between personal color analysis and Thin Within

Essays and Articles

The majority of my published writing predates online posting. However, a piece I wrote for the New York Times' Motherlode blog became one of the most read that year. It's about my older son, the sex toy designer. (He's long since moved on.) It was fun to write, and even more fun to be part of his launch. Enjoy.

Below you'll find a sampling of other pieces I've written about food and/or family life:

"Culinary Chicanery" for Wellesley Magazine: some techniques for coming up with dinner when you haven't shopped in days and you have to improvise. 

"A Different Thanksgiving" for Parents Magazine: how my two kids and I created a meaningful celebration out of a holiday that was hard for us after their dad's death.


"Night Walks, Night Talks" for Working Mother magazine: a trick that helped me converse with my children at a deeper level. 

"Tackling a Kitchen Remodel" for the Berkeley Gazette. I got to visit the kitchens of some prominent cooks, including Joyce Goldstein, a chef from Chez Panisse and cookbook author. 

"Peking Duck and Mongolian Hot Pot" for Wellesley Magazine. In 1981 I toured China with some dietitians and agricultural experts from the midwest. The country had just begun to open up to outsiders, so we saw it before it was "Westernized." We visited farms, hospital and hotel kitchens, communes and an acupuncture clinic. Street life in Beijing blew my little American mind.

Joy Overstreet, author, cooking dinner when the cupboard is bare
Beijing street scene 1981
Other Writing

Color Consulting

I've been a professional color consultant since 2001. At first I created color palettes for home interiors as part of my feng shui practice. My clients loved how the right paint palette brought out the best in their furnishings and increased their comfort and pleasure in their dwellings. The right colors gave such a bang for the buck I wanted to do more--like for people. 


I knew how the right colors could enhance the way a person looked and felt because I "had my colors done" back in 1971. For years I wanted to add that to my services but had been unable to find someone to train me. In 2014, a friend turned me onto Olga Kamova at Image and Color Institute in Cupertino, who specializes in teaching the analytical techniques and 24 "seasons" originated by Suzanne Caygill in the 1940s. I've been creating unique personal color palettes in a collaborative face-to-face process in my studio ever since.  

For lots more about these services:

  • Joyful Spaces (for the home--focussed on color, but informed by feng shui principles)

  • ColorStylePDX (for custom color palettes and seasonal style)

Woman with Vital Spring color palette
Man with Dusk Summer color palette - analysis by Joy Overstreet, ColorStylePDX
Color Consulting
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