Health Magazine

Health at Every Size

By Healthhungry @Healthhungry

You may have heard me discuss something called, “Health at Every Size” or HAES - and perhaps you thought; what does that mean?  It is actually a movement, or new form of thought that takes a stand to say that health is not about the scale or BMI charts.  When I discovered it a couple of years back – I thought; I am not the only one who is tired of dieting, shaming, weighing, calling food good or bad, etc.  Around 10 years ago, I remember hearing about a movement called “Fat Acceptance” – and I wasn’t so sure that made sense to me… I have since learned more about it and realize that they are out to end discrimination based on body size – that is a very good thing.  Most recently, I discovered a website called, “More of Me to Love” or MOMTL – it too is all about offering resources to folks who are done with dieting and body shame methods of change – and examines the concepts of acceptance and compassion.

Why am I offering these websites up for you?  Why am I discussing the concepts of Health at Every Size?  Because I am so passionate about spreading this message of love vs. shame to people – especially women of every size.  All of my life (yes even now) I have struggled with obsessive thoughts surrounding food, losing weight, comparing my body to other bodies, and a generalized belief that I am not good enough.  I am so disgusted by our society’s treatment of people with extra weight.  While I see that some men deal with these issues, I believe the body image struggle is more often a female condition; there is a reason Weight Watcher meetings are filled with 95% women…

As I attempt to break into the Health Industry; I struggle with my confidence as a professional every day for the following reasons:

  1. Most people are still caught up in the diet cycle and want quick solutions, and even quicker weight loss.
  2. I am “obese” by the BMI standards, and therefore many people would deem me unhealthy.
  3. My professional peers (health coaches, personal trainers, dietitians) have mostly bought into the idea that you have to look a certain way, or weigh a certain amount of pounds to be effective in this field.
  4. I, having been on my first diet at age 9, and living in a small Midwest town – too have thought (and still struggle with the idea) that how I look, and how much I weigh, is directly attached to my worth and my success as woman.

I am working every day to break down the lies I have been told – while striving to pass on the message to others.  Our society has a very long way to go, and I know that this work is needed.  I used to think that Health at Every Size was just a way for people to justify being fat.  That couldn’t be further from the truth…

Here is what the Health at Every Size Movement has taught me;

  • Health is not about what size you are, it is about the choices you make – and the way you feel.
  • Health at Every Size does not promote Obesity, it promotes nourishing your body, movement in your body as it is right now, and acceptance and compassion for every person.
  • There is no such thing as bad food, and every individual has the right to eat what they decide is best for them.
  • Every body is beautiful.
  • Find gratitude for what is, rather than wishing your life away.
  • The billion dollar per year diet industry is banking that you will need them for a lifetime; and many many women think they do.
  • Your body has an amazing ability to heal itself, and will if you tune back in – and learn to listen to its cues.
  • No matter what choices I make, or how much I weigh, I deserve respect, love, compassion and health care – just like every human being.
  • Body hatred is a disorder that has been passed down through generations, and I have a choice to continue, or stop the cycle.
  • A balanced relationship with food, and a love for my body is possible at any size.
  • Self acceptance doesn’t mean giving up, it means making choices to live right now – not putting off things until I am a size 6, and being okay with possibly never being a size 6.
  • Self love means that I stop worrying about the number on the scale, the size of my clothing, and I start doing all of the things I/or others have told me I can’t.

There is no end to this… I won’t reach a certain point of understanding or achievement and say, “Look at me now, I’m done and I am a success!”  That has perhaps been the hardest part for me… when I got to my goal weight – I thought it would be “done” too.  It wasn’t.  I still saw a fat girl in the mirror, I still struggled with comparing my body to every woman in the room.  I still hated my butt, thighs, belly, arms, etc.  After 200 lbs. were gone, I still wasn’t “cured.”

The closest thing to healing I have experienced are the moments of peace I experience when I take care of this body I have been given.  When I drink enough water, eat food that nourishes me, and spend the day outside – feeling the sun kiss my skin while I share laughter with people who love me for me; no matter what I weigh.  Only you can stop the cycle of dieting, and self-loathing; I urge you to start now.  Give your daughters, and the generations of women to come the message that they are healthy, strong, smart, sexy, beautiful, capable women – and that it has absolutely nothing to do with how much they weigh.

If you are curious about Health at Every Size, or if you want to explore how to stop the cycle of self-loathing in your own life; please contact me.

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