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Health at Every Size

Updated on March 3, 2015

Ms Ella Phant out and about

Me Ella doesn't let the fact she is an elephant keep her from getting out and having fun.
Me Ella doesn't let the fact she is an elephant keep her from getting out and having fun.

Health at Every Size

Health at Every Size (HAES) is a weight neutral approach to health that focuses on changing and adding healthier habits for better health and well-being.

The reasoning behind HAES is simple:

Health at Every Size is based on the simple premise that the best way to improve health is to honor your body. It supports people in adopting health habits for the sake of health and well-being (rather than weight control). Health at Every Size encourages::

-Accepting and respecting the natural diversity of body sizes and shapes.

-Eating in a flexible manner that values pleasure and honors internal cues of hunger, satiety, and appetite.

-Finding the joy in moving one’s body and becoming more physically vital.

Studies have shown that when the focus is not on weight loss, but on simply changing habits that people are more apt to keep on with the healthy habits and are healthier AND happier in the long run. How many times have we ourselves started on a new healthier habit, but when the scale won't budge or budge enough, discouragement sets in and we gave up?

By taking the weight factor out it is easier to see that the healthier habits are working when the only numbers you look at are things like blood levels, blood pressure and such.

Hiking the great outdoors is a great and fun activity.
Hiking the great outdoors is a great and fun activity.

How to adopt a HAES way of health

Starting down the HAES path takes time and should be done in small steps.

Step one: Stop hating your body and learn to be at peace with it. Your body is not the enemy and by treating it as such you lose touch with it.

Step two: find a HAES friendly health care provider or at least a healthcare provider who is willing to help you approach your health needs on a weight neutral basis.

Step three: find activities that you enjoy and allow you to feel good in your body. Be it walking, bicycling, swimming or even dancing around the living room to some great music. The key is to do activities that YOU enjoy, make you feel good and the end goal is not a number on a scale.

Step four: stop making moral judgements about food. Food is neither "Good" or "Bad", food is food. Eating something does not make you a good or bad person, it makes you a person who simply needs to eat. If you have allergies or certain foods upset your body, then you should stay away from them.

Step five: learn to listen to your body while you are eating. Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full. If you are craving a chocolate bar, having a carrot instead will most likely backfire since a carrot is not a chocolate bar. Conversely if you really would prefer a carrot, go for it.

Step six: Live! Start enjoying life now. Take time to get out and about even if it is only to sit in the sun and relax. Learn to love your body and give it the self care it deserves. Also remember, new habits will take time to get used to, so keep at it. If you need to do it using baby steps, then baby steps is the way to go.


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