In a weight centered approach body size is used as a proxy for health – assuming that a thinner body will be a healthier body and so if someone is above what is considered a “healthy” weight, weight loss is advised to increase health. There are several issues with this
I received this blog post from Ragen Chastain’s Dances With Fat yesterday & decided to share it because I thought it was topic worthy of a signal boost.
I don’t talk a lot specifically about HAES, but I like to think I live it & I talk about that. After all, practical application is a necessary balance to intellectual discourse. It’s something new for me, & my long time readers will know this started out as a Weight Watchers blog just last year. Ragen here has some definite ideas & facts & things that might be useful to those looking to understand what it’s all about or trying to find ways to help other people understand.
A few choice snippets I’ve decided to pull out (but please do give the entire post a read as she says a lot more good stuff, & it’s not even a very long post):
Health at Every Size (HAES) is a health practice where the focus is on health rather than body size, based on the evidence that habits are a much, much, better determiner of health than body size.
With HAES the focus is on practicing healthy habits and allowing your body to settle at whatever weight it settles.
The transition from a weight-centered health practice to a health-centered health practice can be difficult. The problem that I most often hear from people initially is how to set goals. In a weight centered practice the scale is our judge and jury. All eating and movement activities are centered around changing the size and shape of the body. In HAES our activities are focused around nurturing our bodies and giving them their best chance for health.
That last one, goal setting, is what I struggled with most after I transitioned from a weight loss oriented blog to HAES/running. Weight loss made progress easy, I posted numbers & progress pics. Without something as concrete as those numbers, how could I simply track progress on my blog? If you’ve seen my Victories page you can see I opted to track how many miles I can run without stopping & dates of when I meet certain milestones. The more I run, the more I love & appreciate my body as it is for what it can do, & the better I want to take care of it. I have found myself to be much happier & healthier since I decided to embrace fitness over thinness.
I am going to end this by quoting someone I generally consider a travesty & hearing him speak makes me want to poke my ears out, but this one time in the early days of Dr. Phil having his own show I accidentally watched part of it & he said something that has always stuck with me. I can’t quote it verbatim, but the basic idea was, to focus on behaviors rather than weight loss because you can’t control what the scale says but you can control what you do. I know, he actually said something smart. Who’d have guessed it?