Recently, I started listening to podcasts on my iPhone. I love being able to learn while walking along the river, driving in my car, or doing chores.
If you haven’t listened to podcasts before, it’s really easy. You probably already have the podcast app on your iPhone. All you have to do is search for a podcast and subscribe.
One podcast I enjoy, the Nutrition Matters Podcast, had mentioned Health at Every Size® (HAES) a few times, but had yet to dive deep into the topic. I reached out the the podcast host, and she invited me to be on the show. The episode was published last week.
Check it out!
The president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dr. Evelyn Crayton, visited Sacramento last month. She wanted to hear our concerns and priorities for the Academy. So… I mustered up the courage to write a passionate letter about Health at Every Size® (HAES®), and read it aloud at the event.
In this post, I will share segments from the letter as I describe my experience speaking at the event.
I recently finished reading the book Embody: Learning to Love Your Unique Body (and Quiet that Critical Inner Voice!). The book is by Connie Sobczak, co-founder of the non-profit organization The Body Positive.
Embody is a beautiful book, woven with heart-wrenching stories and inspiring quotes, that teaches the five competencies of the Be Body Positive Model. The competencies are:
- Reclaim Health
- Practice Intuitive Self-Care
- Cultivate Self-Love
- Declare Your Own Authentic Beauty
- Build Community
I loved this book. In my experience, the ability to appreciate your body is often a rate-limiting step to rejecting the diet mentality and committing to a Health at Every Size® approach. I highly recommend this book to anyone with a body!
Every parent and dietitian should read Ellyn Satter’s Your Child’s Weight: Helping Without Harming. Ellyn Satter is a registered dietitian and family therapist, and is considered to be the leading expert on feeding and raising healthy kids.
In the book, Satter refutes the idea that parents must force their children to eat less and exercise more to lose weight. In the long run, this technique backfires, as children become preoccupied with food and turned off to physical activity. Rather, Ellyn coaches parents to feed well, parent well, and allow children to grow up to get the bodies that are right for them.
For a summary of the books main points, read on, or click here for a PDF summary from Satter herself.
I recently finished reading Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon, PhD. Bacon agues that promoting weight loss is ineffective in improving health over the long-term. According to the book:
- The vast majority of dieters regain their weight. There is no method proven effective for weight loss maintenance.
- Research is emerging showing that fitness, not fatness, is associated more strongly with health and longevity (1,2,3).
- Preoccupation with weight can be psychologically damaging and may lead to disordered eating (4,5).
- People of any size can improve their health and reduce their risk of chronic disease by eating healthfully and being physically active, regardless of whether or not they lose weight (6,7)
- No study has ever shown that weight loss actually prolongs life.
The Health at Every Size (HAES) approach emphasizes:
- Self-acceptance regardless of weight, size, or shape
- Physical activity for enjoyment and enhanced quality of life
- Normalized eating in response to physiologic hunger and fullness cues rather than external guidelines or rules
- An approach to healthy living that does not necessarily involve weight loss for overweight individuals
With the HAES approach, the fundamental principles of nutrition remain the same. It’s still important to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and unsaturated fats from mostly unprocessed sources. It’s still important to eat breakfast and drink water. If you follow these guidelines and lose weight, that’s fine. But if you follow these guidelines and don’t lose weight, that just may be fine too. What are your thoughts on HAES?
For additional information on HAES, check out:
Also check out this short clip by the Surgeon General, emphasizing a Health at Every Size approach:
- Barlow CE, Kohl HW, Gibbons LW, Blair SN. Physical fitness, mortality and obesity. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1995;19(suppl4):S41-S44.
- Church TS, Cheng YJ, Earnest CP, et al. Exercise capacity and body composition as predictors of mortality among men with diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2004;27:83-88. Abstract
- Katzmarzyk PT, Church TS, Janssen I, Ross R, Blair SN. Metabolic syndrome, obesity, and mortality: impact of cardiorespiratory fitness. Diabetes Care. 2005;28:391-397. Abstract
- Gaesser GA. Big Fat Lies. Carlsbad, Calif: Gurze Books; 2002.
- Campos P. The Obesity Myth: Why America’s Obsession With Weight Is Hazardous to Your Health. New York: Gotham Books; 2004.
- Barnard RJ, Jung T, Inkeles SB. Diet and exercise in the treatment of non insulin dependent diabetes. Diabetes Care. 1994;17:1469-1472. Abstract
- Tremblay A, Despres JP, Maheux J, et al. Normalization of the metabolic profile in obese women by exercise and a low fat diet. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1991;23:1326-1331. Abstract