The obesity epidemic rages on with no end in sight. Unfortunately, as we focus more on weight control and body size, more people are affected by being the victims of fat shaming. Even health professionals are often guilty by not addressing the weight problem with their patients – patients become ashamed due to the lack of help they experience from their physicians or the professionals themselves may be victims of the epidemic. They may be crying out for help for weight loss advice and interpret the silence as a shameful topic. This can result in more cases of body dissatisfaction, more dieting attempts like yo-yo dieting and/or avoidance of reporting eating disorder symptoms such as bulimia and anorexia.
There is an alternative approach – Health at Every Size (HAES). This concept focuses more on healthy weights rather than how much a person weighs. A study in 2011 called the Succeed Foundation conducted a Body Image Survey that aimed to improve body image and prevent eating disorders. The survey revealed the following:
- “30 percent of women say would trade at least one year of their life to achieve their ideal weight and shape.
- 46% of the women say have been ridiculed or bullied because of their appearance.”
“ HAES approach briefly states:
- 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 and satiety.
- Finding the joy in moving one’s body and becoming more physically active.
- Reference: https://haescommunity.com/pledge/
Evelyn Tribole, M.S.,R.D, Elyse Resch, M.S., F.A.D.A., C.E.D.R.D.
Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works.
One thought on “Body Image Acceptance: Health at Every Size”
You said HAES “focuses more on healthy weights,” when in actuality, HAES separates weight from health. It recognizes the huge amounts of research showing that weight is not in fact a cause of poor health outcomes. HAES focuses on health promoting behaviors and recognizes that weight is not a behavior.