Some of you may not be familiar with this but it's a different perspective on health and a much healthier one at that. Society wants us to believe that in order to be healthy, you have to be a certain size, but that just is not the case.
What are the principles of Health At Every Size?
Accepting and respecting the natural diversity of body sizes and shapes.
Promoting a healthy relationship with food, which includes pleasure, need, and appetite.
Promoting all health and well being aspects for people of all shapes and sizes.
Recognizing that health and well being includes spiritual, physical, social, occupational, intellectual and emotional aspects.
Finding joy in movement rather than using it as a punishment for being fat or fear of becoming fat.
It's a fact that a person will be healthier if they exercise and eat healthy, but it's not a fact that anyone who does it will lose weight and keep it off long term. People who do this to lose weight end up being less healthy in the long run. Do these things for health, not because you're ashamed of how you look or how much you weigh or for fear that you'll gain weight.
This is what I do to practice HAES:
I exercise to feel good and to move my body. No worries about weight loss.
I eat to take care of my hunger or whenever I want a little snack. No worries about weight loss.
I'm still fat, but I'm healthy. No worries about weight loss.
Benefits of my practice:
I'm healthy in all aspects.
The only problem is that I still get discriminated against because of my size, because people are ignorant to these facts.
You can't look at a person and tell if they're healthy just by their size.
This is all very interesting to me, as I'm in recovery from an eating disorder and have been all over the weight spectrum. It is so true -- weight alone does not determine a person's level of health or fitness. It was the worst when I was slightly overweight and, if someone found out I had an eating disorder, they'd say something along the lines of "you don't look like you have an eating disorder," which, in my skewed mental process, I'd interpret to mean, "what a fat pig, she even fails at having an eating disorder."
My therapist always says that the focus should not be the number on the scale, but rather how fit/athletic you are and whether you are eating balanced meals. When people focus too much on that scale number, they tend to get overly emotional and take drastic steps -- ie. near-starvation diets -- that have been proven to fail time and time again. When, instead, they focus on eating balanced meals and exercising (but not treadmill staring at the calorie count exercising -- more like doing something you enjoy that is also active) their weight often goes down on its own, naturally settling out where it is supposed to be.
Yes, exactly. The focus should not be on the scale because that causes eating disorders, anxiety, low self-esteem, and a negative body image. It's best to do things that you enjoy and eat as healthy as you possibly can because some people just can not afford to eat extremely healthy meals everyday. The weight will go to where it will and sometimes that means a person can be really thin and sometimes it will mean that the person will be fat. It's only a body size. I, myself, have had to do lots of self-therapy in order to be able to exercise in a way that I enjoy because I had a bad relationship to food and to exercising because I used them in ways to punish myself. Sometimes, I have to repeat a mantra to myself before I exercise and afterwards as well because my mind goes back to the days where I was really hurting myself. I repeat this: "I want to take care of myself using self-love, not hate."
Very good post, thanks for sharing, Mrs. Claus. I'm glad that you've found your balance in staying healthy both on the inside and out.
First, I'd like to point out that fast foods such as KFC are meant to be enjoyed sparingly. While people are attributing fried chicken with the obesity problem in America, there has also been a complete boycott of fast food by a rising number of health concious individuals. I don't find it necessary to avoid fast food in order to stay healthy.
I'd also like to comment on the point "Finding joy in movement rather than using it as a punishment for being fat or fear of becoming fat." Excercising regularly is a lifestyle and not a chore. When I see larger folks at the gym, I think it is very nice to have a diversity of people wanting to exercise for whatever their reason. I know some do not want to lose weight, while others are struggling to do so. I've also heard from conversations in the locker room about how intimidating some athletic women are, and the lack of motivation that comes from looking at them. The truth is, nobody is where they want to be if they want to look like somebody else. I found that physical shape and envy is a never ending battle.
Most importantly, I like this point "Recognizing that health and well being includes spiritual, physical, social, occupational, intellectual and emotional aspects." If there was a healthier balance between my physical and emotional health, I'd be a lot healthier as a person and not just what people see on the outside. I think the focus needs to be on overall lifestyle and not how many hours you hit the gym. The real battle behind "obesity" should be putting those factors into account.
Again, thanks for sharing you bring up some very important points.